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FACING EVAPORATION, NAPSTER TURNS TO LIQUID

File-Sharing Netco’s CEO Announces R&D Pact With Liquid Audio For Possible "Secure" Version, Insists Copyright Holders Be Paid
Despite getting blasted at the Plug-In conference in New York by Time Warner exec richard parsons',390,400);">richard parsons',390,400);">Richard Parsons (see hitsdailydouble.com story, 7/24), Napster CEO Hank Barry kept to the high ground in his remarks at the confab, announcing new measures designed to placate the embattled company's opponents.

First and foremost was the revelation of a research and development deal with "secure" digital deliverer Liquid Audio, which will take a fat check from the MP3-swapping-technology company to explore possibilities for making a copyright-friendly version of the service.

A representative for a hackers' group complained that Liquid Audio security could take as long as 14 seconds to circumvent. "Who has that kind of time?" he asked.

Napster also recently announced a deal with Chris Blackwell's Palm Pictures label to promote the band Elwood.

Barry additionally reiterated his conviction that Napster is good for the music business, serving as an "amplifier" to promote tracks and motivate CD purchases. A recent study by Plug-In sponsor Jupiter Research would appear to confirm this assertion, though Napster's implacable foes at the RIAA have their own studies that claim just the opposite.

Of course, all this could become moot tomorrow if Judge Marilyn Patel agrees to the injunction requested by the RIAA-represented plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Napster, in which case the revolutionary netco will be shuttered.

No matter what happens, the final installment of hitsdailydouble.com's interview with Barry will be posted tomorrow.

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