Is it possible for user-submitted media sites to take a draconian approach to copyrighted material while also remaining cool? Trying to balance these two objectives has led to the death of services like Napster, and it's now being faced by the likes of YouTube and MySpace. To this end, MySpace has licensed technology from Gracenote that supposedly can identify uploaded songs to see whether they're copyrighted. Users often upload their favorite songs to their page that automatically start playing when a visitor goes there. It happens to be one of MySpace's most popular and irritating features. Part of the reason the company wants to crack down on this is because it's planning on offering its own music store, which will sell these same songs from major bands. Supposing the technology even worked effectively, which it never has in the past, it's hard to see what the company is thinking. Eliminating one of its core social features just so it can support its music store is really short sighted. Why does it want to turn itself into yet another underdog iTunes competitor? Already, the site is battling to retain its ever-fickle youth demographic; making the site less cool will only hasten the move to freer pastures, where harmless activities like posting songs to a website will be tolerated.
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