Legal deal to put music back on the web

Napster says it's time to go straight...
Written by Joey Gardiner, Contributor

Napster says it's time to go straight...

Music publishers and record labels are close to tying-up the remaining legal loose ends preventing the launch of digital music services over the internet. According to the Wall Street Journal, publishers and record labels came to a tentative agreement Friday for a deal that could pave the way for subscription-based music services over the internet. All major record labels were represented in the deal, which will involve an advance fee of $1m being paid to music publishers for the right to distribute music on the web. The decision is important if legal, copyright-respecting services are to begin. Earlier this year file-sharing service Napster was shut down because a preliminary injunction by a judge ruled it had to stop facilitating the distribution of copyrighted music. Napster has said for some time it wishes to re-launch as a subscription-based, legal service, but so far has made no move. Now backed by media giant Bertelsmann it has said it will have a service up by the end of the year. Bertelsmann, along with AOL Time Warner and EMI, has also invested in a web-based music joint venture called MusicNet, which is also yet to launch. The two remaining major labels - Sony and Vivendi's subsidiary Universal- also have plans to launch a similar service. It is believed the deal will go a long way toward clearing up the remaining legal issues holding back these services.
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