Bertelsmann puts the copyright into p2p
By Kelly Ellis
Posted on 24 Oct 2005 at 14:27
Media group Bertelsmann AG is set to launch a music download service which uses peer-to-peer (p2p) technology while honouring copyright law.
The service named GNAB, or 'bang' if you read it backwards, was announced on Friday and will use a combination of a centralised Internet download platform, for managing copyright issues, with a decentralised network for distribution.
This means that partners of the company, like its own BMG subsidiary, will be now be able to sell downloads direct to customers, including large files like movies and games, without overworking the centralised server, reports the Seattle Post Intelligencer.
Bertelsmann's media services division, avarto AG, has agreements with a number of music labels, including BMG of which Bertelsmann has a 50 per cent share, giving it access to around 1 million songs.
Criticism from major record companies over the legitimacy of sharing music through a p2p network has been countered by features added to GNAB that ensure copyrighted material is flagged by the system. The user will then be asked to make a payment before the file is downloaded.
Avarto says that this approach to download services will bring back the community element that has been missed since the demise of Napster's p2p network.
The system is designed to allow companies to offer a customised p2p service while maintaining the controlled security offered by a centralised platform, as all original content will be hosted on the centralised server.
'We can offer our customers and all users of the platform a maximum of quality and security thanks to out Secure File Sharing technology,' said Hartmut Ostrowski, Chairman and CEO of AG.
The launch of GNAB will heighten competition further in the downloads arena, particularly as the system allows companies the chance to offer video downloads. The announcement represents a salvo against Apple, which recently announced a music video and TV show download service.
GNAB will be available in Germany by the end of the year before it is rolled out across other countries through 2006.
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