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Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

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February 4, 2008

Two Big Digital Music Service Moves

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

I tend to avoid most digital music stories not because they're not Copyfight-able but because I find them boring. After eight-going-on-nine years of the Copyright Wars there's very little new in the trench warfare. So excuse me if I gloss over a lot.

First up, Yahoo has announced that Rhapsody America (Real + Viacom) will now handle its digital music subscription service. The current customers will probably end up paying a few bucks a month more for more or less the same thing. Yahoo dumps a dragging business and one hopes focuses more energy on revitalizing itself. If that fails and it gets bought by Microsoft then customers will probably have to choose between switching outright to Rhapsody and whatever Zune service Microsoft is pushing at the time.

By the way, I keep hearing persistent rumors that Microsoft is having to fork over $1 of every track sold on Zune to the Cartel. Truth? Anyone have a good source?

Also, yesterday I heard about a new online music service, Qtrax. Yawn, another service, right? Well, hold on, this one is "free." That's 'free' as in 'ad-supported', but they're claiming to have over 25 million tracks available (for PC at the moment - Mac version coming in March).

How is this possible? Ad revenue goes to the Cartel, natch. And you download their player, which means you lock into their DRM scheme though they make a big point of claiming no adware, spyware, or spoofing. Because, you know, the Cartel would NEVER put stuff like that on your PC, nope nope.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to get an activated account to check it out - anyone had first-hand experience with it?

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