ALL OVER FOR AUDIOGALAXY?

The MP3 file-sharing application is forced to cease swapping copyrighted songs...

AUDIOGALAXY has become the latest MP3 file-sharing application to face a bleak future after being forced to cease swapping copyrighted songs on its network.

As part of a settlement with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and National Music Publishers’ Association, the network has agreed to pay unspecified damages and step up its anti-piracy measures. Audiogalaxy has already started filtering music available to members.

The RIAA sued Audiogalaxy in May, alleging it was encouraging piracy by not preventing members from uploading copyrighted tunes.

“We are pleased to settle this case quickly,” RIAA boss Hilary Rosen said in a statement. “This is a victory for everyone who cares about protecting the value of music. This should serve as a wake-up call to the other networks that facilitate unauthorised copying.”

The agreement reached between Audiogalaxy and the RIAA is similar to that reached after Napster was sued by the Association in 2000. However, the filtering system Napster implemented did not work properly and the company voluntarily pulled down the shutters in order to fix it, rather than be forced by a court to do so.

Napster have not been operable since, and last month, as their founder Shawn Fanning resigned, they filed for bankruptcy protection.

The RIAA and the power players of the US record industry are closing the net on other Internet file swapping applications. MTV reports that Morpheus, Kazaa, Grokster and MP3Board all have lawsuits pending.