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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 May, 2003, 05:28 GMT 06:28 UK
Music site faces legal challenge
CD going into computer
CD burners make it easy to copy music onto discs
A website which says it has found a legal way to offer music online without the consent of the major labels faces a fight with the record industry.

Puretunes says it is taking advantage of a loophole in Spanish copyright law so that it can sell songs online without the direct permission of the record companies

The Madrid-based company says it is abiding by copyright law and is promising to pay royalties to the artists.

But the music industry believes that it has no legal basis and promises to fight it as vehemently as it has other illegitimate music services.

8 hours - $3.99
48 hours - $9.99
1 month - $24.99
3 months - $59.97
6 months - $101.94
One year - $167.88
"Distributing music on the internet without authorisation from the copyright holders is illegal in Spain, as it is everywhere else," said Allen Dixon, lawyer for the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

"The legal situation in Spain is very clear, and any site offering music downloads needs to have the authorisation of record producers.

"If Puretunes is going ahead and putting music on the internet without that authorisation, then they will have to face the consequences," he added.

Consumer demand

It is the latest broadside in the ongoing bitter war between the music industry, fans and online music suppliers.

Woman listening to music via online site
It is evident by the enormous popularity of peer to peer and supporting MP3 players that the consumers are demanding their music digitally
Javier Siguenza, Puretunes

The music industry has been determined to close down popular services such as Grokster and Kazaa, which offer music swapping services for free without providing any recompense to artists.

While such free services exist, the music industry argues that people will not be prepared to pay for downloads.

Puretunes will charge rock bottom prices for downloads of a wide range of music, including artists such as Madonna and the Beatles, which have traditionally been hard to get access to online.

And Puretunes is convinced the demand is there.

"It is evident by the enormous popularity of peer-to-peer and supporting MP3 players that the consumers are demanding their music digitally," said Javier Siguenza, Puretune's lawyer.

"Puretunes has pioneered a product that allows consumers to get the music they want digitally, without restriction, while compensating the right holders for their works," he added.

Softening line?

Eight hours of unlimited downloads will cost $3.99, with a variety of other monthly tariffs. One year's worth of downloads will cost $168.

In a move sure to raise the music industry's hackles, Puretunes will be distributed via Grokster, one of the online services the industry is trying to shut down.

Recently there have been signs that the industry has softened in its attitude towards net music.

With EMI facing sliding record sales, it has decided to release 140,000 of its songs for online sale, some up to two weeks before they appear in the shops.

And Apple has experienced great success with its online music store, which saw two million downloads within the its first two weeks and seems to be proving that money can be made from music on the net.

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22 Apr 03  |  Technology
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03 Oct 02  |  Entertainment

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