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A New Tool To Prohibit Illegal Content On Networks

Audible Magic has a copyright-sensing appliance that lets IT block peer-to-peer files that match registered content in its database.

A newly available appliance may provide companies with a powerful weapon in their fight to keep illegally obtained movies and music off their networks. Audible Magic Corp. will introduce Tuesday a copyright-sensing appliance that lets IT departments block peer-to-peer files that match registered content in its large database of copyrighted material.

As the entertainment industry steps up its efforts to stop the illegal sharing of copyrighted content, companies outside the industry are trying to get a handle on infringements occurring in the workplace. Audible Magic's CopySense Network Appliance will let IT departments monitor and log file-sharing usage and control it in a variety of ways, such as blocking transfers of copyrighted material or all file-swapping activity, limiting file-sharing traffic based on bandwidth needs, and establishing rules for file-sharing downloads and uploads. Audible Magic's RepliCheck database contains digital signatures for 3.7 million copyrighted songs, including the major labels' catalogs and those of more than 500 independent labels.

The CopySense appliance could prove useful to people like Russ Brudos, a network operations manager at Auto Glass Specialists, an automotive glass retailer that operates 80 stores in seven Midwestern states. The company recently found itself running low on network capacity and was considering acquiring more storage and server resources. But when Brudos checked the inventory of data on the network, he found 10,000 MP3 files and more than 200 full-length movies, most that appeared to have been downloaded from file-sharing sites. Brudos says he deleted all of the music and movie files and configured the servers to run a weekly search-and-destroy process. The company granted amnesty to employees who participated in entertainment file sharing, while alerting them that such activity would no longer be tolerated. Auto Glass's bandwidth usage has since dropped by 50%, Brudos says.

Audible Magic's CopySense appliance is available in three models, depending on a network's configuration. Pricing ranges from $3,990 to $19,990, including one year of regular content updates. Subsequent one-year update subscriptions run $200 to $1,000.

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