Online music sharing service Napster is bound and determined to abide by the ruling of a San Francisco District Court judge earlier this month, and the company has enlisted the help of Gracenote — the folks who maintain CDDB — to do it. Napster announced today that Gracenote has been selected to enhance Napster’s file filtering process.
On March 5th, a district court judge ordered Napster to work together with the recording industry to deploy a workable way of blocking online access to copyrighted music available for download using Napster. The injunction issued by the judge requires copyright holders to notify Napster when copyrighted music is made available for download; Napster then must block access to the offending file or files.
Already, a few hacks have popped up and have been proposed to work around the restriction, including filters that modify the song and artist’s names to prevent simple text searches from working properly. Not so fast, said Napster.
Gracenote maintains a database of audio CD and song titles that’s accessed by more than 27 million unique users every month, according to their own statistics. Many MP3 applications, including Apple’s own iTunes software, make use of Gracenote’s database — making it possible for Internet users to nearly instantly catalog their CD collections by inserting an audio disc and querying the Gracenote database.
Napster indicated that it will now use Gracenote’s CDDB music recognition service to help identify “possible user-defined variations in related artist and title names” made available by Napster users. Gracenote features advanced heuristic methods to match songs and artist titles, including exact matching, phonetic matching, recombinant string matching, and text correlation.
Napster said that Gracenote’s database will tremendously enhance its file-filtering process. Napster noted that Gracenote’s database currently has 140,000 variations on 250,000 different artist names, and sports about 3 million variations on more than 9 million different artist and song title pairs.
Napster CEO Hank Barry said that his company has been looking for a way to partner with Gracenote for months, and he expects that Napster’s partnership with the database company will improve its effectiveness.
“We are leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to comply with the court’s injunction,” said Barry.
Napster and Gracenote have already started to work together, and integration into Napster’s file-filtering system is expected to be made within the next week.