Briefs: MP3 Signs Deal with Music Label Inc., which was recently found liable for having violated copyright law, claimed a small victory last week in its battle for legitimacy.

The San Diego-based company announced that it had reached a licensing agreement with New York-based music distributor Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI). The agreement will let offer a library of as many as 45 million BMI songs from its site.

The license doesn't cover the copyright for a specific recording of a song that is owned by a record label, according to an official who asked not to be named. It does cover versions of the songs recorded by the artist but never specifically sold to a label or another party, however.

E-Commerce Set To Explode in U.K.

Online retailing in the United Kingdom should experience sustained growth during the next five years, with shoppers forecast to spend £20 billion ($30.5 billion) on purchases made over the Internet in 2005, Fletcher Research announced at its Retail Online forum last week.

The report, "U.K. Online Retail: From Minority to Mainstream," forecasts that by the end of this year, £1.7 billion will be spent by consumers in the U.K. on "e-shopping." The online leisure travel market will account for £490 million of the projected revenue total for 2000, with the computer product market hitting sales of £410 million this year, said Shobhit Kakkar, an analyst at Fletcher.

Gates: Firms Should Use Smart Cards

In a trade show keynote speech last week, Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates touted smart cards as tools that can improve security, especially on Windows machines. Microsoft announced last week that five manufacturers will build Windows smart cards for network authentication, securing corporate transactions and other uses. Gates also referred to the "ILoveYou" worm filling up his e-mail: "It's like an IQ test - am I going to open it or not?"

Sony Shifts Leaders

Sony Corp. last week announced top-level executive changes designed to help the Tokyo-based company perform better in the New Economy. Executive Vice President Kunitake Ando was promoted to the position of president and chief operating officer. Current President and CEO Nobuyuki Idei will retain the CEO position and become the company's chairman.

Jitong Opens Network

Jitong Communications Ltd., operator of one of China's major data networks, plans to offer access to U.S. companies for services such as virtual private networking, frame-relay service, and voice over IP. The World Tone service, to be launched next month, will let companies use Jitong's Golden Bridge network.

The firm said the network links 12 cities in China with high-capacity connections.

Directech/eMerge Names New VP

Peter Sutters has been named vice president of account services at Directech/eMerge Inc., a Lexington, Massachusetts-based direct and online marketing agency. Sutters has more than 20 years of direct marketing experience. He most recently worked at Amergent in Peabody, Massachusetts, where he started as director of business development and then was vice president of commercial marketing.

Keynote Systems to Purchase Velogic

Internet performance-monitoring vendor Keynote Systems Inc. in San Mateo, California, last week announced that it's buying load-testing service provider Velogic Inc. in Sunnyvale, California, for $50 million. The Velogic service lets Web site developers load-test hardware and software to determine application performance before deployment on the Web. Keynote's service measures Internet performance, with prices beginning at $295 per month for monitoring one Web site address.

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More about AmergentBroadcast MusicDirectech/eMergeFletcher ResearchJitong CommunicationsKeynote SystemsMicrosoftMP3.comSonyVelogic

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