File-swap 'killer' grabs attention

A new political battle is brewing over Net music swapping, focusing on a company that claims to be able to automatically identify copyrighted songs on networks like Kazaa and to block illegal downloads.

Los Gatos, Calif.-based Audible Magic has been making the rounds of Washington, D.C., legislative and regulatory offices for the last month, showing off technology it says can sit inside peer-to-peer software and automatically stop swaps of copyrighted music from artists such as Britney Spears or Outkast. The company's technology is still being tested and could yet prove unworkable. But limited demonstrations have already turned some heads in legislative offices.

"It is definitely something that is interesting to people on (Capitol) Hill," said one senior congressional staffer who had seen the demonstration and requested anonymity. "We are open to all kinds of different solutions at this point. Having the technological ability to do this certainly opens up some opportunities." Audible Magic has predictably become a protege of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which has helped the company gain entree to official Washington circles. The group says Audible Magic's technology, or something like it, should be adopted by file-swapping companies if they are serious about not supporting widespread copyright infringement.

News source: C|Net

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