Napster has announced the launch of its new MP3 download store. The company claims to offer the largest MP3 catalogue available, at 6 million tracks. All of their tracks are in MP3 format, compatible with iPods and other portable music devices, and are completely DRM-free allowing users to make copies and transfer tracks to other devices at will.
The new service is direct competition for Apple's iTunes store. Music purchased from iTunes is usually sold in the less versatile (but possibly higher quality) ACC or m4a format and comes with proprietary digital locks that limit which devices the track can be loaded on to.
Napster, the company that started the MP3 download revolution, has most recently opperated as a streaming subscription service. That service will continue.
The Napster MP3 store isn't available in Canada. I could only access it through a web proxy to www.napster.com/store. No word on when the Canadian store will be launched. It took iTunes a year and half after the US store was lauched to get the Canadian store going. It took eMusic about 5 years to get their .ca happening.
It's a little joke among my colleagues in the MARIA office that I get a little too excited about copyright. But who could have guessed that 2007 would end with so much buzz about copyright, and already in 2008 copyright stories are back in the media. Here's a couple:
iPod Levy - On Thursday, the Canadian court of appeal struck down a Copyright Board of Canada decision to move ahead with a private copying levy on iPods and other digital music storage devices. This levy is akin to the levy that is paid on blank CDs and cassettes and is designed to compensate copyright owners for the copies that consumers make of songs for their own private use. CRIA opposed the new levy, even though it would provide a whole new bundle of cash for its members (record labels) because it felt that the levy was an acknowledgement that people were using these digital devices to make illegal copies of music. CRIA chose to stand on its ideological position, and continue to pursue copyright reform that would allow them to sue music users who make illegal copies of music, rather than be compensated for private copying.
Michael Giest writes about the levy decision, and its demise. Other recent...