Music Copyright Holders Offered Songbird, The First International, Publicly Available Napster Search Tool

IFPI Press Release, May 9, 2001

London – May 9, 2001

Music copyright holders across the world were today offered the first-ever publicly-available internet search tool that can track uses of their work on internet peer-to-peer operations such as Napster.

The software, named Songbird, helps artists, musicians, publishers and record companies pinpoint thousands of their songs on Napster in a matter of minutes, and – if they want to – to take steps to get them removed.

In its present form, the software only searches files on Napster, but with further development, it could be extended to work with other peer-to-peer services.

Songbird is the brainchild of 20-year-old musician and internet entrepreneur Travis Hill, whose Utah-based technology company Media Enforcer LLC developed the software together with other internet tracking technologies. Travis turned his attention to online music technologies after ten years training as a classical pianist. He now also works part-time on music projects, writing and producing pop music.

The tool will be especially useful for artists and independent record companies who are not part of the Napster litigation in the United States, enabling them to identify the existence of unauthorised files on a larger scale then they can now.

The tool, which is being made availab]e on a public website today (, is endorsed by the international recording industry’s trade organisation IFPI and has attracted support from several organisations representing artists and musicians at international level and in the UK.

They include: AURA, BIEM, CISAC, FIM, ICMP-CIEM, MMF, MU, PAMRA and PPL (full titles of organisations are listed below). Supporting quotes from many of these groups are posted on the Songbird website.

The software, once downloaded from its website, can be installed quickly and easily. The user can then type in the name of a song and/or artist to search on and see, in a matter of minutes, details of up to thousands of music files available on the network. Songbird searches all of the available Napster servers and, unlike Napster’s own software, it is not limited in the number of tracks it can find. Songbird can also find spelling variations (eg Pig Latin) of artists.

Travis Hill, President of Media Enforcer LLC, said: “Everyone from the hobbyist to the professional has the right to choose how their music is distributed. That right is vital to ensuring the creation of new music for all of us to enjoy. Unfortunately, there are some systems that do not ask the owner’s permission before allowing their material to be distributed. We wrote this software to protect our own work, and to help others do the same.”

Jay Berman, Chairman and CEO of IFPI said: “Songbird gives music copyright holders a completely new insight into how Napster is using their music – and, if they want, to take steps to get it removed. The tool is state-of-the art, totally free of charge and gives thousands of artists and producers, especially those outside the US legal process, the chance to exercise that fundamental right – the right of the copyright holders to choose how their music is distributed.

“Songbird complements the efforts by US right owners to enforce their rights, and it fits with IFPI’s global anti-piracy strategy. It is just one of the anti-piracy technologies we are now looking at that will help develop the right conditions for a legitimate online music business”.


* Media Enforcer LLC is a leading provider of end-user and server software platforms to track the distribution of media content across the Internet in all its facets, including server-based and peer-to-peer systems. Media Enforcer technology has been implemented by both media content and service providers to help ensure the future of media online.

* IFPI is the organisation representing the recording industry worldwide. IFPl’s members comprise more than 1400 record companies in over 70 countries.

For further information contact Adrian Strain or Fiona Harley, IFPI Tel. 44 207 878 7900

Background Notes

AURA: Association of United Recording Artists. AURA is an international organisation representing the interests of featured performers in the collection of equitable remuneration for public performance and broadcast of sound recordings.

BIEM: Bureau International des Societes Gerant les Droits d’enregistrement et de Reproduction Mecanique is an international organisation which represents societies that administer or have the capacity to administer mechanical reproduction rights. BIEM has currently 41 societies, across 38 countries.

* CISAC: The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers represents more than two million authors and composers worldwide through its 195 member societies in 100 countries. CISAC works towards increased recognition and protection for creators’ rights and manages the technical standards and tools used by its members.

* FIM: The International Federation of Musicians. FIM is the international organization for musicians and is now counting 50 unions throughout the world. FIM’s main objective is to protect and further the economic, social and artistic interests of music in member countries.

ICMP-CIEM: The International Confederation of Music Publishers represents music publishers worldwide, including multinationals and independents.

IFPI: International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. IFPI represents the recording industry worldwide and has more than 1400 members in over 70 countries.

MMF: Music Managers Forum. The MMF is an organisation that represents the interests of Artist Managers. It has affiliated organisations worldwide. It is guided by a council of 20 senior managers.

MU: Musicians’ Union. The UK’s MU comprehensively organises and represents musicians in all areas of the music profession. 31,000 Union members nationwide benefit from belonging to a democratic organisation, run for musicians by musicians.

PAMRA: The Performing Artists’ Media Rights Association is the UK performers’ collecting society with 14,200 featured and non-featured performers working in all musical genres. A non-profit making organisation run by performers for performers, PAMRA’s sole purpose is to administer the recorded performance remuneration right.

PPL: Phonographic Performance Limited. Collection society licensing broadcast and public performance of sound recordings in the UK on behalf of the record companies and performers.

For further information contact:
Adrian Strain, IFPI, tel. +44 207 878 7939
Fiona Harley, IFPI, tel. +44 207 878 7969

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