Beleaguered Napster came under fire from its former fans today after announcing it will swap the MP3 music file format for a proprietary technology that will give copyright owners total control over its service.
The archetypal music sharing company, gagged by a court order last week, has ditched the web's most popular melody format in a bid to appease music publishers and the US courts.
Instead, it will introduce a proprietary format, .nap, that utilises a digital certification system to protect the copyright of music companies.
The system, developed by PlayMedia, ties in with Napster's new subscription-based model so that users cannot swap files without paying for them.
One ex-Napster user suggested that the move would tarnish the name of the service within the web community.
"Who do they think they are kidding? The only thing they have going for them are idiotic computer users who are going to hear 'napster' and signup because that's only thing they know about MP3 (except its not going to be mp3 anymore....)," was one comment posted in an internet chat room today.
Another disgruntled one-time Napster supporter said: "They're f**ked. Has a proprietary format ever worked for anyone? No, because it is stupid. And there will always be a free way to get music on the net."
PlayMedia's system is based on its own music compression format known as the AMP codec.
MP3 files submitted to the Napster trading network will be converted to the .nap format before they can be paid for and downloaded. Essentially this will give the company total control over what is available on the network.
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