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Record albums spin past Napster filters

Research firm Webnoize reports that it has found dozens of albums on the file-swapping service, the latest sign that Napster's filters are fruitless.

Napster fans are beginning to trade entire albums as a way to get around copyright filters that have made it more difficult to find popular tracks on the file-swapping service.

At least 50 record albums so far have been found on Napster, as reported by research firm Webnoize. The albums include music from Pink Floyd, the Beatles, Louis Armstrong and a host of other popular artists.

Although Napster continues to make efforts to block songs from being traded on its service, some are still slipping through the cracks. In March, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ordered Napster to halt swaps of copyrighted music.

"Napster is making its best efforts to remove all noticed works and any variations of noticed works," said a Napster spokesman. "If you look at the volume of content that is available on there now, it has dropped dramatically ever since the injunction was filed and that is the direct result of the filtering efforts that we are doing and the fact that we are making a great effort to comply with the injunction."

The Napster spokesman added that the company is taking the injunction "very seriously" and that so far, Napster has blocked 96,820 artist and album pairs as well as 78,284 album names. The company also said that it is continuing to try to disable accounts of users who are known to be intentionally trying to work around the filters.

In addition, early this month, Napster beefed up its efforts to comply with the injunction by launching new software that reads the sonic characteristics of a given song file. Based on that identifying information, the file-swapping service can block a music file from being traded.

Webnoize, however, said that based on research findings earlier this week, recordings can be located on the file-swapping service by typing the term "entire album." Many Napster users, according to the Cambridge, Mass.-based research firm, would name a specific file path on their hard drives with that word, enabling them to swap the music on the album. In addition, misspellings also were found to slip through the Napster filters.

The findings follow a recent Webnoize study released early this month that said Napster use fell by 36 percent in April.

"The infringements are no longer a torrential downpour," said Matthew Oppenheim, senior vice president of business and legal affairs at the Recording Industry Association of America. "But it is clearly still raining."