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Legal Distribution of Music Through the Internet

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With communication costs falling (e.g. for ISDN or the Internet), storage capacity rising and more efficient compression algorithms such as MPEG Layer-3 (also known as MP3) and MPEG-2 Advanced Audio Coding AAC, Audio-on-Demand systems are about to become increasingly popular. This development is expected to become a very prosperous market in the near future. But besides offering new business opportunities, this development raises serious questions concerning the handling of content related intellectual property rights. Because of these concerns, the Recording Industry Associations of America and Japan (RIAA and RIAJ) and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industries (IFPI) announced their Secure Digital: Music Initiative (SDMI) in late 1998. Many different companies, such as consumer electronic manufacturers, technology providers, service providers and creative industries, have joined this initiative in order to develop techniques for enabling on-line and off-line music distribution: systems with adequate handling of intellectual property rights. This paper discusses both general and technical issues of establishing an open standard for future music delivery systems for on-line and off-line music delivery.

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