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Friday, 30 January 2004


The BBC reports that Chris Gorog, the head of the US music download company Napster, has been complaining that the shenanigans of collecting societies in the various European states have delayed the launch of a European version of the legal incarnation of the Napster site. He blames the hold-up on the complex talks that have to be conducted with the collecting societies in each of the separate states. “As each day passes that Napster isn't operating in Europe, substantial amounts of money are lost to pirates because there is no legal alternative available," he said.

While the IPKat thinks that it’s nice (if ironic) of Mr Gorog to concern himself with the damage to the music industry done by illegal downloaders, he’s not entirely happy with the prospect of the Napster chief’s expectation that he should be granted a licence as of right. Such an expectation is reminiscent of a compulsory licensing scheme. However, the IPKat can see that a licence may be desirable if Napster is the only legal downloading service available and not licensing it will suppress the creation of a new product and downstream market. The IPKat is also somewhat disconcerted by Mr Gorog’s implicit assumption that he should be able to treat Europe as a single party for the purposes of negotiating copyright notices, rather than the sovereign states of which it is made up.

More licences here, here, here, here and here

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