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EMI to Use Audible Magic to Track Web Piracy

October 30, 2002|Jon Healey | Times Staff Writer

Looking for more help battling Internet piracy, EMI Recorded Music announced plans Tuesday to work with a Bay Area company that tracks unauthorized copying of music online.

The label, home to such artists as the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Garth Brooks, expects to launch an anti-piracy project with Audible Magic Corp. of Los Gatos this year, the companies announced.

"We're going to use [the technology] to look at different ways of keeping track of what's going on with our content, whether it's uses that we've authorized or uses that are stealing from our artists," said Jay Samit, senior vice president of new media at EMI.

Audible Magic identifies music files as they're passing through the Internet, comparing a small sample of each file against the company's database of audio "fingerprints," or unique sonic characteristics. Chief Executive Vance Ikezoye said the Recording Industry Assn. of America has been using his company's technology to gather evidence of copyright infringement for its lawsuits against online file-sharing networks.

The technology can't stop people from making unauthorized copies of music, Ikezoye said, but it could be an effective deterrent when combined with some of the other anti-piracy tools the labels have been exploring. "We can be used as a tool to understand both where the opportunities to affect [piracy] are and maybe how effective those techniques are," he said.

The monitoring services also could help EMI give its artists a clearer picture of what's happening to their music online. Several of the company's biggest acts, including the Beatles, have refused to make their music available through legitimate online music services despite pressure from the label to support alternatives to the unauthorized outlets.

Audio fingerprinting technology also has been used to combat piracy by CD-pressing firms. In the latest development, the RIAA announced Tuesday that Cinram International Inc. of Toronto, a major CD replicator, has agreed to pay $10 million to settle piracy claims.

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