Users able to bypass Napster's filter

The filter was put in place at approximately 10pm PST (pacific standard time) on Sunday, a Napster representative said. Napster attorney David Boies announced the plan to implement filtering software during a hearing in a San Francisco District Court on Friday. The filtering software lies between the end user's computer and Napster's servers, so that although a user may have one of the blocked songs on his or her hard drive, other users searching for the title would not be able to see it. However, as Napster has warned, one of the flaws of the system is that it can filter out only exact file names; songs with file names that have been misspelled or made up by users won't be blocked.

Given that Napster's search engine can track down song titles even where a name is slightly misspelled or altered, this left users able to access some songs that were supposed to have been blocked. The Napster representative provided the names of three songs that are on the filtering list. Two of those three songs could still be accessed by users Monday afternoon..

Metallica's "Enter Sandman," for example, was easily attainable without needing to modify the search query. Over 100 users were offering the song on just one of Napster's servers under titles including "Inner Sandman," "Enter the Sandman" and simply "Sandman."

Another song on the filter list, Billy Joel's "Piano Man," was available on the same server, listed under "Joel, Billy" followed by the title "Piano Man" or "PianoMan." The song had apparently not been blocked because Billy Joel's name appears in reverse in the file name.

The third song, Metallica's "The Unforgiven" from the same 1991 album as "Enter Sandman," could not be found even after several attempts on different servers.

"The filtering engine has to be limited by definition, or else it would block out more songs than intended," said Malcolm Maclachlan, an electronic media analyst with IDC. "I think everybody knew that there would be a cat and mouse game between the users and the filtering service."

A larger question is whether users actually need Napster any more, given the growing level of awareness around alternative file-swapping services such as Gnutella, OpenNap and Freenet.

"I don't think (the filtering software) is really that relevant," Maclachlan said. "Thanks to the media coverage, every Napster user knows the name of a half dozen other sites they could try," he added.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Douglas F. Gray

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?