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Napster Licenses "Acoustic Fingerprinting"

michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the daily-dose-of-vitamin-N dept.

Music 246

n8willis writes: "Well, it was probably only a matter of time, but Reuters reports that Napster has licensed an "acoustic fingerprinting" technology from someone called Relatable to insert into its filtering system. Boy, I just can't wait for the opportunity to pay Napster a monthly fee to share my music with other people. And have them censor me for my trouble, too."

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Hey, Captain Mensa! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#276289)

The clue phone is ringing... I think it's for you.

"Boy, I just can't wait for the opportunity to pay Napster a monthly fee to share my music with other people. And have them censor me for my trouble, too."

If you don't like the way the service will be, don't pay for it and don't use it! Yes, it is a shame that Napster will go bye-bye (at least in the way we have all grown to know and love it) but let's face it, what we did, and what it does is THEFT on a grand scale. And all you fools who keep bitching about Napster going away and selling out and how the RIAA/MPAA screws the world etc... if you don't like it, don't buy CD's or videos! DUH! The reason they can and will do what they do is because YOU give your money to them and give them their control and power.

Let's say you buy a book, a paperback. Now, the publisher won't give a shit if you loan that book to a friend to read. Or even if that friend gives it to another friend and he/she reads it. That's fine. Or even libraries (for now). But if you take that book, and print several thousand copies and go trading it with other readers for thousands of other books over and over and over... HELL yes they'd get pissed!

Yes, the MPAA is corrupt. Yes, they ass rape artists waaaaay more than Napster ever did. But come on, stop with the poor me pity blues crap. Sure many people bought CD's after hearing the tracks downloaded from Napster, but that doesn't matter! There were PLENTY more people who downloaded entire bloody CD's and never paid a cent.

The system is the way it is, and it will remain so. Why? Because sheep keep buying music and CD's no matter what. Because the music industry keeps coming up with canned crap music and telling people it's what they want, and morons keep buying it (I mean come on... you can NOT tell me New Kids On The Block and N Sync got famous on raw talent and determination). Because anyone with talent can never get ahead in the industry without the help of the industry, and with BILLIONS upon billions of dollars to back it and more than half the politicos around the world on their bankroll, it will NEVER change.

Re:Hey, Captain Mensa! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#276290)

you can NOT tell me New Kids On The Block and N Sync got famous on raw talent and determination

Perhaps not those two bands, but really good bands like The Backstreet Boys did it exactly that way.

Re:I love you! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#276291)

Why don't you swim back to Mexico where your kind belong.

Re:Beat by... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#276296)

Cranking the MP3 file through xor 0xff...

The processed MP3 could sound like white noise to the fingerprinting software, and be rejected by the filter as an MP3 of some retarded techno band.

Gimme a break... (4)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 13 years ago | (#276298)

"Boy, I just can't wait for the opportunity to pay Napster a monthly fee to share my music with other people. And have them censor me for my trouble, too."

Yeah, it's getting so stealing other people's copyrighted material is hardly worth it anymore. Why, just the other day, I almost had to *buy* a CD, like back in the dark ages.

Oh wait, I forget. The record companies have it coming because they charge too much and put out crap and rip off the artists and drag their feet in new technology and pay off politicians for favorable legislation. I also forgot that all Slashdotters only use Napster in a way consistant with fair use to get digital copies of music they already own. Silly me.


stupid business model... (1)

pb (1020) | more than 13 years ago | (#276300)

Then don't use Napster, silly!

The entire reason that .mp3's were successful is that encoders, data, and players, regardless of their legality, became easy to find and use. That made it a de-facto standard.

No content service gets more users by censoring them, or restricting their rights; it's quite the opposite, really. They get more users *either* by dumping lots of money into advertising, and squashing their competitors, and keeping their service closed, (see AOL, Microsoft, MSN, and now Napster...) *or* by letting their service, integrity and reputation do their advertising for them. (a great example of this is google)

...and given a choice between the two kinds of companies, I'd always pick the latter. Unfortunately, people who don't know enough to ignore the advertising or find the alternatives will back the former, and more's the pity.
pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [] .

Relatable (1)

bgue (4676) | more than 13 years ago | (#276303)

Anybody who's been using Freeamp for the last several betas probably knows about Relatable...their former idea was to check out your MP3 collection and suggest similar music from it. Whether you like that idea or not (I don't), or this new licensing, it's still a pretty cool technology.


Re:What? (1)

bgue (4676) | more than 13 years ago | (#276304)

LOL,funny as hell! Wish I had mod points...

Re:what about... (2)

Sancho (17056) | more than 13 years ago | (#276316)

What you have to realize is that the RIAA is a bunch of old, fat, rich bastards who want every dime they can squeeze from you and don't give a damn about fair use rights.

When you purchase a CD, I think you still own the CD. The media. You don't own the music on there, but you own the disc itself. You have a LICENSE to listen to the music on your CD, but not to let anyone else listen to it. You can't play it in public or anything, in other words.

Under fair use, you are allowed to rip that CD for your own personal use. However you are not allowed to transfer that rip or those rights to anyone else. Furthermore, you aren't allowed to download someone else's rip because you don't have their license to use the music, you only have your own. It sounds stupid, and indeed it is, but that's the way it is.

Re:So what? (1)

Shadowlion (18254) | more than 13 years ago | (#276318)

Better yet, just encrypt the MP3 file, as well as the name, and append the password onto the end of the filename (so files might look like, "aB33o98#xx2b55.password").

Then, all you need is some descrambling plugin that automatically converts those encrypted files into standard filenames (and will, _CLIENTSIDE_, descramble those files).

Better yet, include some small portion of your OWN copyrighted material in each encrypted file (throw in half a dozen haikus). If the RIAA decrypts the file, they're circumventing encryption designed to protect copyrighted works (namely, yours).

Yeah, I know, it probably wouldn't stand up to legal scrutiny, but it sounds nice for about 45 to 60 seconds of random thinking.


Re:So what? (1)

Shadowlion (18254) | more than 13 years ago | (#276319)

No, it would just slow it way down, because you'd need to decrypt every filename.

However, given that the DMCA requires no particular strength for encryption, you could conceivably use some pathetically weak (and, most likely, fairly fast to decrypt) algorithm.

Perhaps this would be better suited for something like Gnutella or Freenet, which don't have any centralized search listings.


What? (3)

BilldaCat (19181) | more than 13 years ago | (#276322)

What is this "Naptser" thing you talk about?

God, slashdot editors. I swear.

Re:Napster is dead. Hurah! Now get over it. (1)

jaa (22623) | more than 13 years ago | (#276324)

yes, but this isn't Napster, it's Naptser (see title). Looks like Michael's been morphing song names a bit too long.

Re:Napster is dead. Hurah! Now get over it. (1)

jaa (22623) | more than 13 years ago | (#276325)

In My Ear []

workaround (1)

cjsteele (27556) | more than 13 years ago | (#276326)

Could you work around this by inserting low-level noise at the beginning or end of a song at the time of ripping? Unless the accoustic fingerprinting filters with a margin of error, you'd be able to alter the fingerprint (essentially its a checksum, right?) Well?

napster dead? not quite! (1)

cjsteele (27556) | more than 13 years ago | (#276327)

Okay folks, lets think about this... why is napster dead? There are more than a hundred million people on the Internet, and how many of them do you suppose are so tech savvy that they will be capable of or willing to seek out an alternative to Napster? I think the vast majority of people out there (think of your neighbor in the dorms, or your Mom's friend, or whomever is the most technically inept person you know who manages to use Napster) would be willing to pay a small innocent fee on a per-song basis. Just because we /.'ers wouldn't (based -- in large part -- solely on philosophical objectsion) doesn't mean that Napster won't survive as a business entity.

Napster is dead. Hurah! Now get over it. (1)

Vladinator (29743) | more than 13 years ago | (#276330)

Really, you didn't think the entire music industy was going to let you steal from then forever did you? In the wise words of Marshal Mathers III, "Napster is bullshit."

Fawking Trolls! []

Re:Napster is dead. Hurah! Now get over it. (1)

Vladinator (29743) | more than 13 years ago | (#276331)

That was the old hosting service. We're on a new one now. ;-)

Fawking Trolls! []

Re:Uh, how will Napster fingerprint? (2)

JatTDB (29747) | more than 13 years ago | (#276332)

How about making the client software generate the fingerprints as it generates the file library? Then, when a transfer is requested, the client software is required to send the fingerprint of the requested song to the server, which checks it against a database.

Of course, client side could mean easily fucked with, but is that such a bad thing?

Uh, how will Napster fingerprint? (1)

jacko_le_wacko (37540) | more than 13 years ago | (#276340)

Napster is a _directory_ service.

How the hell will they fingerprint everything from all their users? I don't think they have enough bandwidth...


Re:Napster is dead. Hurah! Now get over it. (1)

Saige (53303) | more than 13 years ago | (#276342)

Umm... what song is that quote in your sig from? I'm a huge Toad fan, but just can't seem to place it and it's bugging me badly...

Opennap? (4)

Saige (53303) | more than 13 years ago | (#276344)

Wow, I didn't realize people were still using the official Napster service. I thought they had all long gone to OpenNap, like I have, to get around all that annoying filtering stuff. (Actually, like I was doing before Northpoint when belly-up and I found myself without net access at home)

The official Napster service itself is becoming more and more irrelevant, little more than a symbol of where people are taking the music industry as it tries to fight back unsuccessfully.

I had to go to opennap to find the songs I wanted to DL so I could decide I liked them enough to buy the CD's... next thing you know they're going to have guards at music stores and require you to give proof you didn't download any mp3's off an album before they let you buy it. After all, they do seem to be doing everything they can to discourage people to enjoy music more.

How the mighty have fallen (1)

Wariac (56029) | more than 13 years ago | (#276347)

How things have changed in the past year. Do a quick seach on /. for Napster and you can see how the attitudes about napster have changed as it becomes less the pioneer (for the mainstream) and more just another way for someone to make $$ off of what people are doing anyway.

Re:What? (2)

Enoch Root (57473) | more than 13 years ago | (#276348)

It's to get past the search filter the MPAA has requested put on Slashdot.

Re:Relatable (1)

dj_flux (66385) | more than 13 years ago | (#276349)

If the software analyses the actual acoustic qualities of the music, then suggests music with similar acoustic qualities, genres never enter into the equation. That's what makes this sort of technology so cool - you avoid human subjectivity. One man's punk is another man's third wave ska.

Re:When is everyone going to realize... (1)

Nerftoe (74385) | more than 13 years ago | (#276355)

TheShadow presents a simple statement, but the staement is so true.

I remember finding people to trade MP3s with on IRC way before the Napster craze started. I would rip an entire album they would want, and the person I was trading with would do the same for me. We would do this at night so we could leave our computers on all night downloading with our measily modems. Presto! By morning, you would have a fresh directory of 9-13 tunes, and the RIAA was none the wiser!

When is everyone going to realize... (2)

TheShadow (76709) | more than 13 years ago | (#276357)

that Napster sucks? I remember when pirating copyrighted material was done in secrecy... I can't believe everyone expects to be able to do it in the open. Dumbasses.


Fingerprinting... BAD! (1)

Controlio (78666) | more than 13 years ago | (#276358)

This whole acoustic fingerprinting is amazing from the technological side... but looking at how it could be used, frightens me to no end.

Imagine a computer (Big Brother) hooked up to a major television head-end (let's use DirecTV for an example). 24 hours a day, this computer listens to the audio and SAP from every television show passing through the head-end. It logs exactly what music it heard at what time, samples some audio, and takes video stills of questionable events. Then, later that day, an ASCAP henchman looks through the Big Brother logfiles, and finds a list of offenses a mile long. ASCAP then immediately files lawsuits with the long list of offending companies, some of which include Jim Bob's Deli for the use of Simply The Best in a localized ad without an appropriate licensing agreement, Channel 7 News in Detroit for broadcasting a segment where through the background noise of a rave party "That Zipper Track" by DJ Dan was audible, and the Detroit Red Wings who, during their last playoff game, played a techno song to rile the crowd in the arena which made it onto Fox's effect microphones that violated the terms of DRW's exclusive playlist agreement.

Sure, I made these scenarios up. But how long until we're seeing this story on the news? This technology can already do a tremendously good job of identifying songs through all sorts of audio compression and noise... I'd imagine we could see a machine capable of doing this in under 2 years.

Re:what about... (2)

AugstWest (79042) | more than 13 years ago | (#276359)

actually, several million people have talked about that.

just like the several million people who thought it would boost live performance attendance.

or the several million people who only download mp3s at the office of cds they have at home

or the several million people who said it brings more exposure

or the millions and millions of people who, despite knowing the horse is dead, continue to flog it beyond recognition.

if i ever get 3 wishes, one of them will be the ability to get into all of the news editors' brains around the globe and erase the part that says NAPSTER = NEWS. thank you, /., for keeping the flame burning just one more day.

Re:Oh Yeah? (2)

Ledge Kindred (82988) | more than 13 years ago | (#276360)

"Better yet let's encrypt a whole file sharing site."

It's called freenet [] and you would be very welcome in becoming a node on the Freenet. :)


Alternate technology (3)

Ledge Kindred (82988) | more than 13 years ago | (#276361)

Audio fingerprinting is actually kind of cool, so if you're interested in it, there's a free (as in GPL) technology from the eTantrum people here: []


Re:Gimme a break... (2)

mikej (84735) | more than 13 years ago | (#276362)

For what it's worth, I know far more people that have used napster as a music preview service (like the radio without having the playlist dictated by the record companies) than I've known that use it as a CD replacement service. I think that most people are at worst balanced, and more often than not more the former than the latter.

Re:Gimme a break... (2)

mikej (84735) | more than 13 years ago | (#276363)

since most mp3s sound like shit to me, i consider napster to be the equivalent of a radio station - and i fail to see why they aren't allowed to be licensed by BMI, ASCAP, etc., in a similar fashion.

I suspect that they refuse to license it as such because they have no playlist to not only exert control over. Radio isn't there as a public service, it's advertising for a very specific minority of published music. Napster has none of the features that record companies like about radio, with the added liability that it's a non-analog medium.

Re:Gimme a break... (2)

mikej (84735) | more than 13 years ago | (#276364)

Think about it this way: The fixed cost of producing a major label CD is $300,000 (just a random figure that I assume is a decent average). The record company can produce 100 albums like this, each of which sells 100 thousand copies. Their profits will not be anywhere near what it will be if they produce 10 albums that each sell 1,000,000 copies. They have _no incentive at all_ to produce more and varied music. Their financial incentive is to create superhigh sales for a few specific albums. They make their money through CD sales, and every sale over a target minimum is pure profit. That's why the radio plays the same 15 songs over and over and over instead of 150 songs in a rotation.

Re:Opennap? (2)

passion (84900) | more than 13 years ago | (#276365)

next thing you know they're going to have guards at music stores and require you to give proof you didn't download any mp3's off an album

Or, the bouncers at concerts will have those British facial-recognition spy cameras posted in the parking lots, so that they can cross-reference your face with your IP address. Then their gargoyles will shoot your ears with a precise laser blast so that you can't ever listen to songs with the embedded fingerprint for their band.

Beat by... (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 13 years ago | (#276366)

Cranking the MP3 file through xor 0xff...


DCMA (1)

SuperguyA1 (90398) | more than 13 years ago | (#276367)

What about scrambling your mp3's with something simple and then the DCMA would protect you against
reverse engineering?

Re:Oh Yeah? (1)

s.a.m (92412) | more than 13 years ago | (#276371)

Nice try to cicumvent the law but you'll lose. If you CAREFULLY read the DMCA, you'll notice it says you can't use these techniques to protect something that is illegal. Therefore the RIAA has all rights to decrypt the information you encrypted. Why? Because it's their "intelectual property".

Don't get me wrong, Napster's great, and the idea is great, but people need to start understanding that what they are doing is STEALING. Until you are willing to admit to it, then don't complain about the measures that RIAA are taking. I use Napster for one reason, to get songs from places that the RIAA has no rights to the music. The music I get is impossible to get due to it's location in the world. I would buy the damn cd's if I could buy them.

We in the open source community would cry foul if someone took open source code and did the EXACT same thing. So don't be a hypocryte

Sure-fire cash cow (1)

BierGuzzl (92635) | more than 13 years ago | (#276372)

I'm gonna copyright the sound of a computer booting up, then license it to everyone. bwahahaha I'm gonna be rich!

Re:So what? (2)

emmons (94632) | more than 13 years ago | (#276373)

Who's going to decrypt the filename? Napster would have to do it since their servers are the ones that perform the searches.


So what? (1)

Kreeblah (95092) | more than 13 years ago | (#276374)

So people can encrypt the MP3s with a decryption key of, say, their usernames. I doubt that encrypted binaries would be blocked by the filters. Could they really fingerprint *every* possible encryption of an MP3? I doubt it.

Re:So what? (1)

Kreeblah (95092) | more than 13 years ago | (#276375)

Well, since the DMCA doesn't even require encryption (just "scrambling"), you could just swap every two letters for the filename.

Or, if you want to go with the encrypted filenames, modify an open-source Napster client to have an option to encrypt the filename search submission according to those guidelines before it's sent (maybe with a possible user-defined encryption scheme). Then the Napster servers could just use the existing search code.

Re:Napster is dead. Hurah! Now get over it. (2)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 13 years ago | (#276376)

Yup... napster is on deaths door now. Its Alienating its userbase.

Now people will switch to the next big thing. Life will march. We will start to have to see stories about the RIAA fighting Flapster, the new music sharing service that claims to not be making the mistakes napeter made...and the whole damned comedy will begin all over again.

What fun, what joy. Whatever.

Hows about people just start setting up freenet nodes and be done with it. At least freenet has a real purpose - making censorship of any type, for any reason, impossible. Whats even better, its decentralised and it will lead to lower network loads between networks as the number of distributed servers grows.

Win situation for everyone. Well... ok not everyone, but everyone who wants such a system to exist :)


Re:What of remixes? (2)

OmegaDan (101255) | more than 13 years ago | (#276380)

[I hate DJ's] IIRC, you have no legal right to make a derivative work from works [you don't own/that aren't licesnced to you ]. Thus your "work" would be infringing ...

Oh Yeah? (2)

jgerman (106518) | more than 13 years ago | (#276386)

Alexandria, Va.-based Relatable's technology identifies music based on the recordings themselves and analyzes the acoustical properties of a recording's waveform to identify it precisely, regardless of its audio format, bit rate or minor signal distortion, the companies said.

Does it recognize mp3's that are backwards? How about zipped? There are dozens of ways around this. Ok so now people won't have to scramble file names, they'll scramble the file itself. Better yet let's encrypt a whole file sharing site. Maybe we can rope the RIAA into violating the DMCA either by breaking our encryption, or violating our terms of use:

TOS: Article 5: You may not use this service in anyway if you are a member, or in the employ of the RIAA. You may not speak of the specifics of this site in any manner outside this site...

Well you get the point.

We prefer the term "shared" (2)

mmmmbeer (107215) | more than 13 years ago | (#276391)

When you use the terms "pirated" or "piracy" or any variation thereof, you are perpetuating a false image created by the record companies. They want music sharing to be given a negative connotation, and they do this by evoking images of evil computer users with forked beards, eye patches, peg legs, and the occasional parrot. I personally have no peg leg, keep my beard short, and only wear an eye patch on special occasions. (I have not yet saved up enough for the parrot.) As you can see, this use of the term "pirated" is really inappropriate. Please resist the temptation to let the music industry control your thoughts. Thank you.



Re:Uh, how will Napster fingerprint? (1)

destine (109885) | more than 13 years ago | (#276392)

They will get the fingerprints from the files on your harddrive. You know that annoying that comes up right before it lets you do anything that reads all the files that your sharing and then sends the list to napster? They will just hook it into there and send the fingerprint along with it. Just use a different service. Or find a way to defeat the fingerprinting. There will be ways available I'm sure.

Re:Gimme a break... (1)

JamesIIGS (123752) | more than 13 years ago | (#276395)

I suspect that people trying to get free songs are a lot like shoplifters. For each measure a store makes to protect it's property, shoplifters try to figure a way around it. They want to try out the CDs at home before deciding to send in the payment. :)

- James - [IMAGE]

Re:Heehee (1)

StoryMan (130421) | more than 13 years ago | (#276401)

Wait, didn't Puff Daddy change his name to 'Diddy P?'

Global Protection Money and Kitty the Cat (2)

StoryMan (130421) | more than 13 years ago | (#276402)

Napster's dead. If you pay their 'subscription fee' you're essentially paying 'protection money.'

You're paying Napster so that that wacko-fucked british IFPI -- or whatever it's called the phonographic protection corporation or whatever -- won't come calling on your ISP and come spamming your mailbox with letters threatening you breaking global laws.

And the protection money you're paying probably won't protect you. Napster will still cancel your account, you'll still get your internet access yanked, and the IFPI will have their way and besmirch your livelihood with accusations, allegations, and criminal charges.

Then it'll be hell to *cancel* your account with Napster. They'll probably include some fucked-up clause that states if you have copyrighted material, traffic in said material, and get caught -- you'll be fined $10,000 -- and -- guess what? -- we've got your credit card!

Hell, IFPI will start demanding credit card numbers from Napster so that they -- the fucking IFPI or whatever it's called -- can save you time and effort by circumventing the legal process (a process which, the IFPI will remind you, doesn't span global borders) and simply charging you whatever they think your infringements are worth.

They'll still cancel your internet account and, if they're having a particularly bad day, might just send federal agents to your door so that when you get out of the shower a couple of junior g-men will be standing there with all of your CDs, your computer equipment, and your pet cat -- all of which, they'll remind you, is proof that not only have you broken the law but you've broken it so horribly that the scope of your crime perhaps surpasses that of the rapists and murderers currently incarcerated across the world.

If you have any balls, you'll tell them to fuck the fuck off and drop your cat -- or else.

They agree. Sure, they say and drop the cat -- but not your computer equipment. All you need to do, fuckface, is sign this form.

And they'll give you a form to sign authorizing them -- Jeff the junior g-man and his frat-boy buddy, Tyler -- to charge your credit card 10,000 dollars.

Then you'll be left with a bunch of yanked power cords, a broken down swivel chair that you've used to compute on for six years, and a frazzled pet cat.

Re:Heehee (2)

StoryMan (130421) | more than 13 years ago | (#276403)

Seriously: is Puff Daddy aware of how fucking stupid a name like 'Puff Diddy' is?

I mean, really.

Am i missing something here? Is there anything *not* stupid about the word -- or, worse yet, the *name* -- "Diddy?"

Sure, we've all sung diddies, but I defy anyone to deny that they've not cringed whenever they've actually admitted that they've sung a "diddy". It's something you admitted to your grandmother when you were in the third grade and asked you what you did in school for music. "Do you sing diddies?" your grandma asks. "Yes," you say. "We sing diddies." But you're in the third grade, for chrissake! And you're talking to an old person who doesn't see anything wrong with the word.

(She's the same person that asks you, one night at the dinner table, if you're a gay and happy boy, and you admit -- to her only -- that, yeah, you're gay. But it's "gay" in the happy way -- "I'm so happy! I'm so gay!" -- not gay in the way that gets you beat up on the playground. But this is all for the benefit of your grandmother -- slow-moving, slightly crocked, but lovable -- and has nothing to do with the hard, cruel, real world outside of the domain of your grandma.)

Yes. I know. This is off-topic. See my post about the cat and g-men above. That's on topic. Napster. Acoustic fingerprinting. Napster is fucked. Is this a surprise?

Re:Name that tune (1)

thrillbert (146343) | more than 13 years ago | (#276409)

"What's the song that goes mmm-mmm-m-mmm?".

That's the Cambell Soup commercial you dummy! ;)

Re:Gimme a break... (1)

rarancib (153938) | more than 13 years ago | (#276413)

So I've been breaking the law whenever I recorded songs off the radio on tape? What if I then copy from the tape to the computer, for my own person use? I want to hear the songs that I like, not all the crap that the industry, or the radio stations tell me to listen to. I hate hearing the same 15-20 songs again and again all day long. Besides, if you look at their business model, they really make the money, not on the CD's, tapes, or *cough* LP's, but rather from the concerts and other paraphanelia (?) that is sold surrounding the song.

Mp3z (1)

Twiddle (160467) | more than 13 years ago | (#276415)

Yeah its a dirty job but some @hole has to do it.

This makes more sense (1)

Slashdolt (166321) | more than 13 years ago | (#276417)

I'll probably get flamed by some of you dolts out there, but this actually makes more sense than filtering by title. The problem with filtering by titles is that things which should allowed may not be. For instance, I was one of the people potentially being sued by Metallica, because I had songs that I was sharing with titles that sounded like the songs would have violated copyright protection. But how did they know that I didn't have mp3s of flatulating dogs or something (which could be considered a parody)?

They didn't, because no one ever tried downloading any of those songs from me. Had someone actually downloaded from me, they would have noticed, but no one ever did.

But above and beyond that, it sounds like Napster would have been just as well off if it had allowed users to actually upload songs to their servers. From their penalties, etc., it seems to have made no difference.

Re:Oh Yeah? (1)

Fat Rat Bastard (170520) | more than 13 years ago | (#276419)

I have always wondered about this provision. Legally, can it come back to bite someone in the butt. For example, say I have an encrypted file that the MPAA suspects is an RIAA member's copyrighted music. If they decrypt and find out it is, they have broken no law. If they decrypt and find its a recording that I made (and have own the copyright on) do I then have the right to sue for unlawful circumvention of my copy protection?

If you don't have anything nice to say, say it often.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but ... (1)

John Jorsett (171560) | more than 13 years ago | (#276420)

Doesn't this imply that the Napster client on the local machine is going to have to process your MP3s before listing them? Otherwise, the MP3s would have to be uploaded to the Napster server to get blessed, which would be quite a departure from the present model and require beaucoup additional bandwidth and processing power at the server. So, if it's client-based, it seems likely that somebody will just hack a Napster client to always tell the server, "yeah, this file's ok". Since the server's never going to see the file for itself, it'll never know whether it's being told the truth or not.

Whats the big deal? (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 13 years ago | (#276421)

People still use napster?
When did this happen?

Napster free for 6 months. Hooked on gnutella now.

I have a shotgun, a shovel and 30 acres behind the barn.

Re:What? (1)

isomeme (177414) | more than 13 years ago | (#276427)

What is this "Naptser" thing you talk about?

It's a technique similar to the Pig Latin defense [] against Naptser sharing control. By spelling it that way, we prevent Naptser and the RAII from finding stories about this issue, and probably suing everyone involved for some DCMA violation to be worked out later.


Use their technology against them (2)

Anal Surprise (178723) | more than 13 years ago | (#276429)

Remember all the talk of audio watermarking and the other (debatably) "unaudable" copy-identification techniques? Well, it's time to use those on your own music to screw this thing up. In its pure form, audio ID'ing is cool. It's like CDDB for mp3s. Download something, and you can be sure it's not some wanker who named all his stuff "Orbital - Peel Sessions", or whatever you're looking for.

But if you need to get around this? Bam. A tool that adds 0.5 seconds of silence will totally screw Relatable's algorithm, last I checked. Past that, it's the same old story -- a war between the modifiers and the filterers. Napster's gone from being somewhat useful to totally useless. Long live Gnutella and Freenet.

Changing Audio Signatures? (3)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 13 years ago | (#276431)

You realize, of course, that the RIAA is not interested in keeping Napster legal. They are interested in Driving Napster out of existance so that *they* have absolute control. The fact of somebody else having power drivers them crazy. It is probably borderline psychotic. (certainly nuerotic)

That said, I wonder how much of a audio signature is retained when you play with or edit the file.

For example, in classical music you sometimes have performances that are excellent, but which are basically at the wrong tempo as far as you are concerned. One instance of this is the first section of the Eroica Symphony (by Beethoven) which is marked to be at a speed that is stunningly fast. You can tweak the speed easily enough in a midi file, and find something close enough that it sounds convincing. But live performances are not usually done at that speed, they are usually somewhat slower. With appropriate audio software, you can take a very high fidelity copy wav file of the music, and change the speed of the music without screwing up the pitch.

[just for the info, the average speed of perfomance is this exact piece is usually 100 to 130 beats per minute, when the spec is 180. 170 or so sounds best to me.]

You now have a performance by an orchestra that never actually took place. Would the audio signature be different? Would it even be a different copyright, especially if you invested alot of work fine tuning the tempi of the individual sections?

Check out the Vinny the Vampire [] comic strip

I overheard... (1)

fonetik (181656) | more than 13 years ago | (#276432)

...while waiting in line at a Henry Rollins show in LA last week, a guy talking to some friends, who were also in line behind me. He told them that they got a new account, and it was a big secret in the office, and that he found out that the company was Napster.
I didn't get the name of the company, but overheard that they were going to be the POS when Napster goes to a pay service.

Oh well... It was fun while it lasted.

Napster is Dead (1)

Caraig (186934) | more than 13 years ago | (#276433)

I think it's safe to say that Napster is on it's way to being an ex-Napster, and not just pining for the fjords. The hardcore music traders -- the question as to wether it's piracy or not is not the point here -- are getting what they can from Napster before it becomes too restrictive, then they'll find other venues, if they haven't already.

"Acoustic Fingerprinting" sounds like it'll be a 90% shot; there's a chance it'll stop the transfer of a file, but it won't catch all fo them, and it'll accidentally block others. (Some of them might be perfectly legal to exchange freely.) Also, the quality of the recording will have a significant effect on fingerprinting.

I wonder if this "fingerprinting" thing will read OGG files?

I think it's kind of sad; ICQ and other instant messengers have had peer-to-peer file sharing from the beginning.

Chief Technician, Helpdesk at the End of the World

don't use it ;) (1)

jjlaw (191292) | more than 13 years ago | (#276435)

err ... then don't use napster ;p

what about... (1)

mesach (191869) | more than 13 years ago | (#276436)

no one talked about all the people who trade or download the stuff they already OWN...

I used to go on there and download stuff because I was to lazy to rip the mp3's myself...

if someone comes after me for downloading an mp3 that I already own the cd to im gonna be very unhappy

Re:What? (1)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#276443)

Fcuked []

Sounds good to me (2)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#276444)

If this means Napster can offer a subscription service, and compensate artists based on what's shared, and thereby continue to exist and offer MP3s and not some Windows Media shite, I would be thrilled. Where do I sign up?

Re:Napster is Dead (2)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#276445)

"Acoustic Fingerprinting" sounds like it'll be a 90% shot; there's a chance it'll stop the transfer of a file, but it won't catch all fo them, and it'll accidentally block others.

What if they're using it to pay the artists based on the share of music downloaded? I would think it would make lots of sense in that case.

Re:Napster is Dead (2)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#276446)

"Acoustic Fingerprinting" sounds like it'll be a 90% shot; there's a chance it'll stop the transfer of a file, but it won't catch all fo them, and it'll accidentally block others.

What if they're using it to pay the artists based on the share of music downloaded? I would think it would make lots of sense in that case.

Awww crap! (1)

donutz (195717) | more than 13 years ago | (#276447)

Wait, I've got a way around it....we set up a 10 second single tone sound, add that to the beginning of every mp3 file, then that'll give it a new acoustic signature, then we can just hack the tone off when we download the file...

Or then again, maybe it's time to stop using napster now. It was fun while it lasted. Except for all those ppl sucking up @ Home's bandwidth in my neighborhood.

. . .

Faster downloads? duh....i dont think so (1)

donutz (195717) | more than 13 years ago | (#276448)

I seem to remember hearing somewhere that MP3s are already pretty highly compressed...correct me if i'm wrong. :-p

. . .

Re:Simple solution. (1)

donutz (195717) | more than 13 years ago | (#276449) would have to be client side, wouldnt it? So this leaves open for them to either 1) break all existing clients (their own and open source ones), or 2) show some more stupid "filtering" to the judge the next time the RIAA pulls them into court and says they're doing a half-assed job of filtering songs.

. . .

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong, but ... (1)

donutz (195717) | more than 13 years ago | (#276450)

yeah...i dont like the idea of my computer being turned into an RIAA anti-piracy device anyway.

And I still think i should be able to get those mp3s for cds/cassettes i own from somewhere, in the event that my cd gets scratched, or if my tape...well, i dont even have a tape deck anymore.

. . .

News Flash! (1)

MacGabhain (198888) | more than 13 years ago | (#276453)

Joe Blow writes in with this article from The Podunk Reporter. Apparantly Target Corporation has decided to implement two new pieces of technology - the "lock" and the "cashier" - at all Target, Dayton's, Hudson's, Marshal Field's and Mervyn's stores nationwide. What's next? Government appointed people driving around with guns and restraint devices stopping people for breaking the "locks" and walking past the "cashiers"? What about my 7.5th amendment rights to all the damned free stuff I can load up on????

Beating the system: Digital fingerprinting w/ gzip (1)

eweaver (211016) | more than 13 years ago | (#276457)

This isn't so spectacular.

All anyone has to do is compress the file, say, "David Mead - Robert Bradley's Postcard.mp3" with something like PKZip and rename it to "David Mead - Robert Bradley's" This will confuse the "fingerprinting" system, and similar versions of a song will have very different fingerprints because of the compression, so they would have to implement a system to unzip or untarball or unbz2 etc. to read them all. It wouldn't be difficult at all to code a mp3 player that would be able to decompress automatically. Think, downloads would be quicker, too!

Of course, there still is the name blocking issue.

This *could* work, if Napster makes it a feature! (2)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 13 years ago | (#276460)

I would *love* if they did this!

Imagine, me downloading Delerium's Silence, and then asking the server for other songs with similar fingerprints?

Now I can search across the spectrum!

Or I can encode my own songs for Napster, say my fav CDs, and then get other hits for similar music!

I'd love to find music that sounds like Chrono Cross "Time of the Dreamwatch". Yet I don't know how. Or songs that sound like Ah! My Goddess, melancholy and sentimental.

I dunno, if they use it to actually characterize songs, for filtering purposes, they can also use it for searching and indexing purposes too!

Geek dating! []

What about bootlegs, etc? (1)

napdot (215378) | more than 13 years ago | (#276465)

Audio fingerprinting may be an interesting technology and may even be useful (to some extent) for IDing recorded music that hasn't been mucked with, but... What about trying to identify bootlegs and such? How accurate can an algorithm like this possibly be?

Why license technology. It's not hard (2)

westfirst (222247) | more than 13 years ago | (#276466)

Here's the basic solution. Put the music through a narrow bandpass filter. That is, remove all frequencies except those in a narrow band, say 800Hz to 1000Hz. It probably makes more sense to locate this band in the lower octaves. Then, go through the song looking for the presence or absence of a signal. Turn this into a string of 1's and 0's where a 1 means that there's some noise with a frequency in the range and 0 if there's only a neglible amount. Then do string matching. You might need to slide this back and forth a bit to find the best match, but that's not too complicated.

Re:So what? (1)

HiNote (238314) | more than 13 years ago | (#276469)

Except that would defeat the whole "search" thingy that made napster so popular.

The King is Dead, Long Live the King. (1)

Baddas (243852) | more than 13 years ago | (#276471)

I'd just switch to Audiogalaxy [] personally.

10+ gigs on AG and running...

It's better than Napster is, was, or ever could be.


Accuracy (1)

TimeTrip (254631) | more than 13 years ago | (#276480)

I wonder how accurate it is. The product is called relatable in that it was designed to recommend music similar to songs that you listen to. So it seems that they could mistake one song for another quite easily. Also, what about the processing overhead for doing this to every file that a user wants to share? And finally... what if the user has a legit "free" song that parodies another? The filter would probably not allow that song through if it sounds too similar (think weird al... if he allow his music to be freely distributable).

What of remixes? (1)

epiphani (254981) | more than 13 years ago | (#276481)

Lets say i get bored one day and mix together a wide variety of different songs into a rediculously long track that happens to have a few bars in it that match one of these banned sections? How is this fair to aspiring producers, DJs, and the bored people of society? If this is the case, it seems it is virging on infringing on my rights.

Re:Relatable (1)

kbeast (255013) | more than 13 years ago | (#276482)

There's software like that for Winamp, I can't remember the name, but, that technology never has really worked correctly anyway, because I would think the Genre's are unsorted correctly. For explain, Pink Floyd could be listed under Rock, Pop, etc, etc...same goes for the other million groups out there...

Take a look at cdnow [] , they have that setup based on what you buy, and it displays music I wouldn't even think about listening to.


They're going away. (1)

Fat Casper (260409) | more than 13 years ago | (#276486)

Okay, Napster made downloading music mainstream. I haven't gotten any in a few months, mainly because Napster isn't as convenient as it used to be. Cable modems are coming to my area soon, and once I have some bandwidth to play with, I'll start looking for what I can use in its place.

Two questions- What is the problem with Gnutella (someone told me it couldn't scale to replace Napster), and before they thought of the subscriptions, what the hell was their business model? How did they get their money?

Re:They're going away. (1)

Fat Casper (260409) | more than 13 years ago | (#276487)

1) Thanks- I'll go look at it.

2) That's what I mean. How can you talk anyone this side of a compulsive gambler into funding this? Scratch tickets are a smarter investment. At least when you don't get any money from them you can use them to heat your house.

Re:stupid business model... (4)

TGK (262438) | more than 13 years ago | (#276490)

do_ramble(Mp3 Napster)
Anyone who's watching poster names will find this a bit redundant coming from me, but what the hell

It has become appauling clear that Napster execs did very poorly in their highschool history classes.

Before the mp3 craze (I am still cautious about the word revolution) music was obtainable illegaly only with great difficulty. Ok, not great difficulty, but it was a hassle. Then came the MP3. The grip of the record industry on copy right loosened. The customers were freeer to pick and choose among thousands of artists. With the RIAA crackdown on Napster and the MP3 community, these freedoms evaporated.

Now why am I using the word freedom? These things I'm talking about are not freedoms in any technical respect. But, and this is the important part, they seemed that way to the users of the product, especialy those who are not familiar with copyright law.

Now history teaches us that when you take freedoms away from people bad things happen. This model is paralell to the Soviet Union's problems. (Before I launch into this, I am not equating the RIAA to Joseph Stalin nor am I saying that the two experiances are even remotely similar. Mearly that they work on the same model). Stalin's opression of the Soviet people sets the stage, just as the origional difficulty in copying and sampleing music does in the current model. After Stalin the pressure slowly came off the people of the USSR as their freedoms returned (slowly). Sililarly, as Mp3 caught on, more and more people began to use encoders etc, and the utilities became readily available. Gorbachev's attempted crackdown however, demonstrated that, once the pressure is off it must stay off. Revolts erupted, and the government was overthrown. In our paralell model we are coming on to this last stage. The RIAA is cracking down and these privilages that so many "netizens" are used to are evaporating. Open Nap is one responce, but I expect to see something more revolutionary than that.

Many have said that the tens of millions of people on the net who download and love their MP3s could form a powerfull lobby. I wonder if that will even come to fruition.
return 0;

This has been another useless post from....

So how will this stop me? (1)

Husaria (262766) | more than 13 years ago | (#276491)

Tell me, what will this fingerprinting do, besides make me use freenet more and WinMX. Face it, you're screwed RIAA. Fanning made file-sharing user-friendly before you did and you failed to stop it! If only Napster wasn't open source, eh?

Re:Beat by... (2)

dachshund (300733) | more than 13 years ago | (#276496)

Cranking the MP3 file through xor 0xff...

The only problem is that Napster now controls the format on the receiving end of the download (ie, it's not going to be a straight MP3, it'll be something protected.) It's a little harder to descramble when the file is encrypted and you don't control the player.

Most likely this will be cracked as well, but until then, scrambling the files isn't not quite as easy as it seems.

Time to make Napster part of the "Remember when... (1)

BigDogKelly (304379) | more than 13 years ago | (#276497)

Now before anyone jumps on my case about Napster being the first to do p2p or at least being its "killer app", remember that I loved it too, pre-RIAA.

Now I believe is the time to add Napster to the "Remember when..." quote series. Other favorities in this series are the "Remember when your Commodore 64 was the fastest machine out there." or "Remember when you first learned THE CODE for Contra on the 8-bit NES." My personal favorite is still the "Remember when you first beat Zelda."

Napster is a great program. It opened the worlds eyes to P2P and helped alot of smaller artists(read not RIAA affiliated) spread their music. It is sad to see that it has come to the courts and lawyers saying what the system can and can not do. Each new step is further and further away from the idea that drove Napster to its own succes and thus demise. It will always be with us, sadly our children will only know it from our fond memories. "I remember when Napster still had all the music you could want. Including Metalica!"

So how's this gonna work? (1)

Cranston Snord (314056) | more than 13 years ago | (#276500)

Current napster filtering relies on filenames...this works, because napster's servers receive the search query...This audio fingerprinting, however, appears to require the binary song, which dosn't actually go through Napster's servers (b/c of the peer-to-peer architecture). So how will this work? Unless this software is integrated into current clients, where will this "fingerprinting" take place?

4/20 = Pink Slip (with a shade of FU) (1)

BIGJIMSLATE (314762) | more than 13 years ago | (#276501)

All my rights are belong to Napster? I guess Slashdot decided to give all the editors the axe on this 4/20...somebody must have set up us the bomb...

Relatable is flawed (1)

tuxlove (316502) | more than 13 years ago | (#276502)

Relatable is flawed. It doesn't scale, meaning you start getting duplicate identifiers for totally different musical tracks as you have more and more tracks in your database. If you have enough tracks, identification of the music becomes very ambiguous. I wonder how Napster plans to deal with this.

This probably bodes well for Napster users, as it may throw a monkey wrench in their ability to block stuff.

How about a hard question? (1)

Spamalamadingdong (323207) | more than 13 years ago | (#276512)

So how will this work? Unless this software is integrated into current clients, where will this "fingerprinting" take place?
It will be integrated into the clients, where the acoustic fingerprinting will take place. (Duh!)

This just sets the stage for another step in the arms race, where people screw with the files to make them yield different fingerprints or with the fingerprinting code to produce "non-infringing" fingerprints from files which aren't supposed to be shared. The only solution is to have an OS where the owner of the machine has no control over the code it is running (see Microsoft).
spam spam spam spam spam spam
No one expects the Spammish Repetition!

What else? (1)

Jupiter9 (366355) | more than 13 years ago | (#276514)

So what other kind of MP3 traiding softwares/sites are out there?

Record Industry offering no value (1)

Computer! (412422) | more than 13 years ago | (#276517)

This is a classic example of people's reaction to a product with less intrinsic value than its purchase price. Instead of the Industry spending all its money on making sure Napster doesn't trade any of its works, why doesn't it add value to those works above and beyond the music data, in order to bring consumers back to paying for them? I still buy vinyl, even though I've got about every song I could ever want on mp3. Why? Because there's no comparison between the feeling of holding a shiny black (or red or clear) LP, with all of the elaborate liner notes, distro catalogs, etc. that you get when you buy a real record. Plus, I can get a 7" (aka 45) for two bucks from Insound [] , with free shipping a lot of the time. Maybe the Industry needs to lower the price of CDs until they make sense to buy because it's easier than stealing them, instead of making them harder to steal, so that the consumer grudgingly buys them. A consumer that buys your product and doesn't like it will eventually figure out a way to get it without paying. The RIAA's problem isn't Napster, it's that they've finally gotten busted for selling a product for about double what it's worth, and offering no more value than stealing it.

Maybe they could allow you to register the CD on the artist or label's site, and get access to better concert seats, discounted merch, "club-only" early ticket sales, etc.

Attention: RIAA- Put the value back in your products, or we'll keep stealing them!

Name that tune (5)

Hilary Rosen (415151) | more than 13 years ago | (#276521)

Hey, this could help with the problem "What's the song that goes mmm-mmm-m-mmm?". Simply hum a few bars, take the acoustic fingerprint and query Napster's db for the artist, songwriter and song title.

It should also put an upper limit on creativity. If there are only 128 bits in the fingerprint then there are only 2^128 possible songs.

RIAA: stop most people (1)

redcup (441955) | more than 13 years ago | (#276522)

The RIAA isn't out to stop you or me from swapping songs. _Some_ trading doesn't dent their sales. Napster was around for quite a while before the lawsuit. The RIAA took notice when Napster became *the* way to get music. Other services haven't acquired the popularity and simpliciy to be worth sueing (yet).

The bottom line: The technologically savvy will always be able to get the music (or whatever) we want. I'll leave it to AOL users to buy the CD's. Besides, I'd rather listen to myself pee in a bucket (pitter patter pitter patter) before I pay 17 bucks for the 2 songs I like off a album. I better start drinking more beer just in case...

Heehee (2)

sllort (442574) | more than 13 years ago | (#276523)

The good news:

People posting bruce springsteen songs labelled as metallica will get filtered out.

The better news:

People coughing into the microphone as a prelude to pirated music will get filtered in.

You gotta love it. Let me digitally fingerprint your analog data.
Now, if they're doing true, really good pattern/voice recognition, then they may actually cause the Napster crowd some problems.

I wonder if they'll filter out Puff Daddy songs because they contain samples from Sting?
(REJECTED: Song Recognized: The Police, "Every Breath You Take")


Re:So what? (1)

Aktalmukanandros (443833) | more than 13 years ago | (#276526)

When you preformed a search, the client would encrypt the search string and then submit that encrypted string to the Napster server. It would search for that encrypted string in the normal way, and then your client would decrypt the search results. It would have to be very simple encryption (like rot13) so similarly named files would not be overlooked, but it would not need to be complex to qualify under the DMCA.

The names of the MP3's could then have the specific key for that MP3 appended, which would be used to decrypt it client-side. Total strain on the servers would be unchanged.

Re:So what? (1)

Aktalmukanandros (443833) | more than 13 years ago | (#276527)

When you preformed a search, the client would encrypt the search string and then submit that encrypted string to the Napster server. It would search for that encrypted string in the normal way, and then your client would decrypt the search results. It would have to be very simple encryption (like rot13) so similarly named files would not be overlooked, but it would not need to be complex to qualify under the DMCA.

The names of the MP3's could then have the specific key for that MP3 appended, which would be used to decrypt it client-side. Total strain on the servers would be unchanged.
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