"LanShield" filter prevents MP3 file exchange

A German company has developed a system that analyses background binary data potentially providing ISPs with a tool to block MP3 distribution lists

A new system aimed at preventing the distribution of copyright-protected MP3 files over the Internet is being promoted at CeBIT by the German company, Webdefender AG. "LanShield Enterprise.mp3" is designed to outsmart current filtering systems that only look at file names.

Instead of looking at file names, LanShield analyses data on a binary level thus detecting compressed MP3 tunes, claims Webdefender AG. "LanShield searches within the tune to find information about the record company and song-writer", explains Jörg Wigger, founder and chief executive of Webdefender. The "world?s first Content Based Firewall" would be an effective solution to the problem by which even Napster-alternatives such as the Gnutella could continue to operate.

According to various sources, the company has been in contact with the German record industry. At CeBIT the first conversations between representatives of the federal record industry board are said to have taken place.

"Intensive discussions" have led to a solution, which Internet Service Providers will have to commit to: with the help of LanShield, preventing the distribution of illegal MP3 files before they even reach the users. According to the manufacturer, the system is able to detect binary data revealing background information on MP3 tunes. All data lacking references is then blocked-out.

The German record industry accuses the increase of private copies of MP3 files for the drop in CD sales. Thomas Stein, director of the Federal Record Industry board, spoke to the "Süddeutschen Zeitung" (south-German newspaper) of losses of up to two percent in early February. Profit earnings for the year 2000 were of about 4.8 billion Marks (£1.5bn). Thanks to ZDNet Germany for this report and to Sophie Handrick for the translation.

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The music dinosaurs think they have beaten Napster and next the movie moguls will battle the DVD pirates. But Arif Mohamed thinks they are wasting their time. Go to AnchorDesk UK for the news comment.

Take me to ZDNet Germany's CeBIT 2001 special report home page

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