HITS Daily Double
Napster hopes that the changes will encourage other universities to lift the ban, as IU has done.


Upstart Netco And Indiana University
Working Together To Modify Software
Having flunked its first semester at Indiana University, popular Internet music search site Napster has been readmitted for a second try.

Napster is taking the bull by the horns in an effort to secure a place in the changing digital landscape.

The site has changed the inner working of its software after it was banned by "hundreds" of universities for clogging up campus networks due to its overwhelming popularity, The Wall Street Journal Interactive reported, citing Mark Bruhn, director of technical policy at IU.

After collaboration between Napster and Indiana, technicians developed a way of downloading files using the public network only as a last resort and preventing network overload.

Napster hopes that the changes will encourage other universities to lift the ban, as IU has done, the WSJ said, citing Eddie Kessler, VP Engineering, Napster.

In related news, Napster is introducing a new version of its file-sharing program, tentatively scheduled for release during the second week of April. The new Napster will allow users to trade secure Windows Media Audio files in addition to unprotected MP3 files.

Protected files transferred through the new Napster program would retain their security features. Some protected music files can only be played for a certain number of days; others won’t play unless the user has purchased them, which puts a security key on the user’s computer. (That security feature can be removed with a hack program currently in circulation, however.)

This week, Napster is talking with ASCAP and BMI as to whether Napster needs public performance licenses.

Following in the Napster tradition, a new program has been posted on the Internet that transforms a popular music-trading network into a full-blown online swap meet capable of trading videos and software. The program, dubbed Wrapster, has been available for downloading since Wednesday. According to its developer, Wrapster allows any kind of file to be listed and traded over the Napster network, which was designed to recognize only MP3 music files.

Wrapster joins a growing list of programs allowing the quick, free and wide distribution of illegally copied files. The trend is bad news for record companies, movie studios and software companies that have fought hard to keep their wares from being pirated online.

Programs such as Wrapster and Nullsoft’s Gnutella, which mimic and expand on Napster, are quickly speeding the erosion of copyright protections online, leaving copyright holders scrambling to keep up.

TAGS: yes