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"This agreement with the NMPA and Harry Fox is a giant step for all consumers who want to simply be able to listen to music they already own."
—MP3.com President and chief negotiator Robin Richards

MP3.COM, MUSIC PUBLISHERS STRIKE TENTATIVE DEALS

Deals With NMPA, Peer Int'l, MPL
Not Official Until They Pinky-Swear
Litigiously handicapped music site MP3.com has agreed to pay music publishers for the rights to more than one million songs.

The online music company announced Wednesday (10/17) it would pay up to $30 million in a preliminary pact with the trade group National Music Publishers' Association and its licensing subsidiary, the Harry Fox Agency.

The three-year agreement covers MP3.com's payments to publishers for past uses of their music on the My.MP3.com service, as well as advance royalty payments. The pact's royalty provision states that MP3.com will pay a quarter of a cent each time a song is accessed on the service and a one-time fee each time a user stores a song on the service.

To take effect, the agreement must be ratified by the member publishing companies and approved by the U.S. District Court, which ruled in April that MP3.com violated copyright law in creating its database of more than 80,000 albums. Since then, the service has settled with four of the five major record labels. MP3.com has yet to reach an agreement with Universal Music Group. Following a September ruling on damages by the same court, MP3.com could face up to $250 million in damages. MP3.com said it would appeal the decision.

MP3.com has also struck a deal with independent music publishers Peer International Corp. and MPL Communications, which is controlled by former Beatle Paul McCartney. The final settlement of the case, which is pending in U.S. District Court in New York, is conditioned upon the finalization of the licensing arrangement.

Said MP3.com President and chief negotiator Robin Richards: "The Internet has certainly posed many difficult music publishing issues and this agreement with the NMPA and Harry Fox is a giant step for all consumers who want to simply be able to listen to music they already own. We believe the digital music space, through this agreement, has been thrust forward by the music publishers. All concerned should be tipping their hat to the Harry Fox Agency for stimulating and unlocking enormous value for artists, consumers, songwriters and publishers. Today the American public won."

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