Less than three weeks after Napster began touting its all-you-can-rent music
subscription service, the company finds itself refuting Internet claims that its
copy-protection measures are flawed.
The company posted a message this week, saying the service's digital music tracks are
no more susceptible to unauthorized copying than any other licensed music service.
The statement comes after word surfaced on the Internet about how subscribers of
Napster To Go, which lets users play an unlimited number of tracks on their computer
or on certain portable devices for about $15 a month, could make permanent copies of
The method involves downloading a free audio player that is able to record audio directly
from a computer's sound card, bypassing copy-protection technology designed to
Such a method could potentially harm the prospects for the company's new service.
In its statement, the company compared the process described on the Internet to
copying songs from the radio onto cassette tapes.
"This program does not break the encryption of the files, which can only be recorded
one at a time making the process quite laborious," the company said. "It would take 10
hours to convert 10 hours of music in this manner."
Despite efforts to use copy-protection technology on CDs and within digital tracks,
most, if not all, fail to block recording of analog audio signals.
"As long as you can listen to the music, there's going to be a way to capture it like
this," said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Jupiter Research.