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Tuesday, 3 July, 2001, 12:37 GMT 13:37 UK
Napster forced to shut down
Napster BBC
Napster is testing "fingerprinting technology"
Song-swapping service Napster was forced to shut down its website temporarily on Monday as it struggles to convert to a paid service.

Napster is working to install software that prevents users downloading copyrighted songs, as ordered by a federal judge last year.

The company was sued by the world's largest record companies last year, who said their copyright was being infringed by the service, which facilitates the trade of songs online.

"The filtering software wasn't working correctly, so we had to bring the whole site down," said a Napster spokesman.

Forge alliances

Last week, a federal appeals court in the US turned down Napster's request to review a lower court's ruling that the company enables copyright infringement.

The service has been working to forge alliances with other companies in an effort to legitimise its operations.

Napster founder AP
Napster founder Shawn Fanning is re-defining the company
Napster and music giant Bertelsmann have agreed to launch a paid music-distribution service later this summer.

Last month, UK and European independent record labels signed a worldwide licensing deal with Napster.

The agreement covers music from more than 150 record companies, including artists such as Stereophonics, Moby, Ash, Paul Oakenfold, Underworld and Tom Jones.

The independent artists join those from major labels BMG, EMI and AOL Time Warner, to be carried on a new version of Napster.

Napster is testing "fingerprinting technology" for the company's planned commercial service, said Matt Bailey, an analyst with Webnoize, an internet research firm.

As the company struggles to re-define itself, it is losing users who are using other services to obtain free music.

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See also:

26 Jun 01 | Business
Napster signs deal with indie labels
03 Jul 01 | New Media
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