Napster, whose filtering efforts to date were recently labelled "disgraceful" by a US judge, has licensed new 'acoustic finger printing' technology from US-based company Relatable.
Called TRM (This Recognises Music), it identifies audio recordings based on the acoustical properties of a recording's waveform, regardless of its audio format, bit rate or minor signal distortion.
However, Napster has yet to say when it will be introduced. It will only reveal that engineering teams from the two companies are working together to refine and optimise TRM so that it can be incorporated both into Napster's current file screening system and into its forthcoming membership service in July.
If the technology works, it will mean the end of users being easily able to bypass Napster's text-based filtering system, which the firm's chief opponent, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) claimed was worse than the website's search technology.
Hank Barry, chief executive at Napster, said: "Digital fingerprinting technologies are developing rapidly, and Relatable's new acoustic fingerprinting technology shows great promise.
"We are now working closely with Relatable's engineers to co-ordinate their technology with our file filtering systems. We hope they will be a substantial part of our overall filtering solution."
Pat Breslin, chief executive at Relatable, said "TRM will help ensure that the millions of music files transferred through the new Napster system will be accurately monitored. It will enable the appropriate allocation of royalties to artists, music publishers and record companies."
A spokeswoman for the RIAA called the new technology "a step in the right direction".
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