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Legal Music Downloads Doomed?

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Date: Sep 10, 2008 - 10:33 AM
Over at the Register, a great article on why the music industry is torpedoing legal music downloads:

The internet companies I talk to don't mind giving some direct benefit to music companies. What torpedoes that possibility is the big financial requests from labels for "past infringement", plus a hefty fee for future usage. Any company agreeing to these demands is signing their own financial death sentence.

The root cause is not the labels - chances are if you were running a label you would make the same demands, since the law permits it. The lack of clarity in the law is the real culprit - and it's the huge potential penalties that create an incentive for the big record labels' law firms to file lawsuits. Without clear laws and rulings from the court about what is permissible, every action touching a copyrighted work is a possible infringement, with a large financial windfall if the copyright owner can persuade a Judge to agree.

Fortunately, there seems to be light at the end of the legal tunnel. Two recent US court rulings have added some clarity to several key copyright issues and both rulings were clear victories for the digital company wishing to interact with copyrighted works.
It'll be interesting to see how this progresses. The big music cartels want total control - but the users want to be able to buy once, and use it on their various devices, without the hassles DRM imposes.

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