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U.S. official: Digital music lockers could reduce online music piracy

Could digital music lockers in the cloud from the likes of Apple, Amazon and Google could be just the way to curb online music pirating? Some U.S. government officials certainly think so.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor on

Could digital music lockers in the cloud from the likes of Apple, Amazon and Google could be just the way to curb online music pirating? Some U.S. government officials certainly think so.

As reported by Reuters, Victoria Espinel, the coordinator of U.S. intellectual property enforcement, said that innovation and working with corporate partners is going to be a more successful route to cutting down on the amount of digital music piracy rather than just strict law enforcement here and there.

"If it is possible to construct it so that it cannot be compromised, it may have the effect of reducing piracy by giving value to consumers -- the ability to own forever and access almost anywhere -- that cannot be obtained with illegal copies," Espinel said.

"The flexibility of the cloud may help spur the development of compelling legal alternatives."

One of the most significant and talked-about features announced during Apple CEO Steve Jobs' keynote at WWDC 2011 on Monday as the new feature called iTunes Match. Incorporated with iTunes in the Cloud for an additional fee of $24.99 a year, users can match their music that wasn't purchased through iTunes with AAC files and everything should be alright. Of course, there is some confusion since not all music stored to one's hard drive is necessarily pirated (it could have been ripped from a purchased CD, in which case users will technically have to pay twice for the same music), but the intention behind the feature is to legitimize users' digital libraries and encourage them to buy more music in the future.

Other options include Sony's Music Unlimited, which encompasses a library of six million tracks that can be played with unlimited use, as well as Amazon and Google's new online music storage spaces that don't allow illegal files to be uploaded.

Now, of course, none of these initiatives are going to stamp out online music piracy altogether. It's also going to take awhile before we can see the results of these new music streaming and storage services. But there is something to be said about the interest they have churned up, and it is possible that these programs will have a real effect on digital music sales.

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