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Labels not following rules, Napster claims

Proper format not adhered to; more lists soon to arrive

Embattled song-swap service Napster says the record industry is not playing fair.

Just days after big record labels e-mailed the company a list of 135,000 songs to be blocked from the service as part of a court-ordered injunction, Napster chief exec Hank Barry said Monday that much of the list did not comply with a court-ordered notification process.

“Most of the names were in conjunction, but 50% of Sony’s list did not have file names, and that’s a clear violation of the injunction,” Barry told reporters on a conference call.

He said that Sony Corp.’s Sony Music submitted just under 95,000 songs altogether and that 46,037 of those songs listed artist and titles but no file names. Additionally, he said that 5,600 songs on the list submitted Friday were duplicates.

Sony Music was not available for comment.

What’s in a name

Napster is using a screening process that matches file names with artist and title names. Users create new file names as they download songs on the service, which enables them to swap songs for free using the MP3 compression format, which translate music on CDs into a digital file.

Many users have already figured out new ways to spell file names, thus getting around the screening mechanism.

“It’s about a week since we had the injunction, and we’ve been complying in both the letter and the spirit of the law,” Barry said, adding that Napster would soon file a compliance report with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

“We have not seen Napster’s compliance plans. We have no reason to believe that they will not comply with the court’s order,” said Doug Curry, a spokesman for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Industry sources, however, scoffed at Napster’s latest claims and said the RIAA submitted over 2 million file names when it handed over the list on Friday. Industry sources earlier said the labels were planning on sending more lists in the next days.

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