Push to legalise MP3 services
Rick Boucher, US Congressman, is pushing to legalise online MP3 services through the introduction of the Music Owners' Listening Rights Act to the US House of Representatives. The bill calls for an amendment of US copyright law so that consumers can store music libraries on remote computers and listen to music over the Internet, provided the user proves they legally own the music they want to hear.
The amendment seems aimed specifically at legalising My.MP3.com, the remote listening service offered by MP3.com, which has been the source of persistent legal troubles for the company.
Boucher said that such a law was necessary to address "the growing chasm between new technology and old laws", however the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), who represents the five major record labels, insists it would "deprive artists and songwriters of royalties". The RIAA led a law suit against MP3.com for breach of copyright which resulted in $80 million settlement allowing MP3.com to relaunch without the inclusion of Universal labels.
US starts digital certificate smart card rolloutThe US Defense Department has appointed Gemplus SA, Oberthur Card Systems and Schlumberger as the vendors of choice to roll out digital certificate smart cards to more than three million Defense Force staff. The primary purpose of the cards is to ensure that electronic transactions are coming from a trusted source when contracting services. The first smart cards issued will contain 32KB of memory - 13KB will be set aside for the digital certificates and another 7KB will be allotted for personalised applications such as secure network sign-on and mess hall privileges.
Musical bodies issue global Net licencesFive copyright societies have signed agreements in an attempt to simplify the licensing issues surrounding the public performance of music used online. US-based Broadcast Music, Holland's BUMA, Germany's GEMA, the UK's Performing Right Society and France's SACEM have signed a contract allowing them to issue licences for online music use around the globe.
The online licences issued by the music organisations will include Web casting, streaming content, online music on-demand and music that comes in the form of online video. The group will deliver a mechanism for the distribution of licensing fees to authors, composers and music publishers on a worldwide range.