real on 22 Jan 2001 13:38:11 -0000


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[Nettime-bold] IBM targets post-Napster music biz


IBM targets post-Napster music biz
By: Tony Smith
Posted: 22/01/2001 at 12:02 GMT

IBM hopes to leverage Napster-induced paranoia to sell its EMMS
digital music distribution system to the world's biggest recording
companies. 

According to Big Blue, it has tailored its software to support
Napster's file sharing model. The idea is that MP3s are packaged to
allow the copyright holders to specify rules that govern how many
times the file can be sent to another user. 

There's nothing new here - it's how other rights management system,
such as Intertrust, have been working for some time. 

Of course, what IBM doesn't point out is that such an approach
effectively negates the whole point of Napster. After all, why grab
files that only let you listen to the first 30 seconds of the tracks
they
contain? 

In short, the scheme is designed to make Napster so useless,
everyone goes back to the digital download model, and both the
technology and music industries can work as if Napster had never
happened. In other words, a return to a world where copyright is a
packageable commodity. 

As Scott Burnett, IBM's Global Media and Entertainment division's
business development executive, told CNET: "If you assume that
Napster will disappear in its current state, what's going to replace it?
That's what we're talking about here." 

The trouble is, like the atomic bomb, you can't un-invent technologies
you don't like. Even if Napster does "disappear", the model it
pioneered won't, and it's going to be very difficult to prevent music
being copied and distributed without the controls IBM wants to let
record companies add to their tracks. 

Better then to develop systems that allow content owners to profit
from the 'free' distribution of their material, through subscriptions or
ancillary services. If it can work for Red Hat, it can work for EMI and
co. 


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