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COPYRIGHT MAKES MIGHT ON NET

BMI, GEMA, SACEM, SGAE and SIAE Form Alphabet Soup To Deal With Digitalia
Everyone wants their piece of the digital pie.

Five composer and songwriter organizations--BMI (U.S.), GEMA (Germany), SACEM (France), SGAE (Spain) and SIAE (Italy) have formed an alliance to develop a technology infrastructure to track music use across international borders.

Just last April, ASCAP, BMI's counterpart, formed the International Music Joint Venture (IMJV) with Dutch and English licensing for the same purpose. The org formed a central database with one single standard of data entry.

The BMI alliance, which hopes to speed international compensation for composers, is based on acces to each others' databases, and not a single, clean database managed by a third-party, which is what IMJV has proposed, according to ASCAP Sr. VP Marketing Phil Crosland.

Both organizations are building their infrastructures around the Common Information System (CIS), a collection of linked databases using international data exchange standards to monitor how works are used and to better protect their authors. The system was developed by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC).

BMI's three "fast track" systems are expected to be finished before the end of the year, before IMJV's database is set to launch.

Said BMI Sr. VP Corporate Relations Robin Ahrold just before downloading the new Britney Spears-Eminem collaboration off Napster: "We've agreed to combine our technical potential to jointly develop systems for each of our member groups that are compatible among all of us. Now we can use the Internet as the primary route of exchange and make sure that all of our systems seamlessly interact with the others."

When completed, the fast track database will be accessible to any member of the new alliance and will aid in the global documentation of the use of works, though ASCAP says the lack of a central database will make streamlining administrative work difficult.

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