There is a common image of anti-piracy measures that brings to mind a sledgehammer connecting with a nut – but new service Muso is suggesting a more touchy-feel approach will work better. With a UK government grant behind it, the company wants to target online pirates, if “caught in the act”, with messages that encourage them to go to legal sites to listen to or buy that music. Messages include lines like, “If you steal this record, maybe the artist won’t get a chance to maker a second record…” – effectively looking to guilt trip pirates into changing their ways rather than strong-arming them. Founder Andy Chatterley (clearly a lover, not a fighter) tells The Guardian, “I’ve always hated the approach of sending legal letters to kids […] In my opinion, it’s stupid. The thought that a law firm that has no relation to the creator sends out a letter saying that you’ve downloaded something and have to pay £500 is horrendous.” Most interestingly, he says his company has no interest in using audio fingerprinting in its activities (which can cost clients from £12 a month) as he doesn’t believe the technology is robust enough. “Instead, its algorithm looks at a variety of things, including the artist’s name, what kind of website it’s on and the file name.” It’s certainly a different approach but, as with all anti-piracy measures to date, how effective it will be is dependent on a huge number of ever-shifting factors.

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