News Corp.'s MySpace.com said Monday that it had licensed a technology to stop users from posting unauthorized copyrighted music on the social networking website and oust frequent violators of its policy.
The move comes amid pressure from major studios and record labels against popular online sites such as MySpace and YouTube, which they accuse of infringing the copyrights of their artists' music and videos.
Santa Monica-based MySpace, one of the most popular sites on the Internet, licensed technology from privately held Gracenote Inc. enabling it to review music recordings uploaded by community members to their profiles.
The technology compares those filed with Gracenote's database of copyrighted material and can block uploads without proper rights. Terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.
Popular sites such as MySpace and YouTube are littered with copyrighted music and video posted by legions of users, who hope to share them with friends and strangers alike.
Both sites say they remove unauthorized copyrighted material when notified.
But MySpace, increasingly seen as a destination to see and hear music and video, will soon begin selling songs from nearly 3 million unsigned bands. It aims to eventually offer copyright-protected songs from major record companies.
Once Emeryville, Calif.-based Gracenote's technology is integrated into its service, users who repeatedly try to upload unauthorized music will have their accounts deleted, MySpace said.
YouTube, which recently agreed to be acquired by Google Inc., has similar aspirations to cash in on Web video use and protect itself from legal challenges.
EMI Group, Vivendi's Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony BMG Music Entertainment own about 75% of mainstream popular music. Most of this music is available on MySpace only for live streaming as a promotional tool.
MySpace was acquired by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. for $580 million less than a year ago. It boasts more than 90 million active users.