DoJ eyes online music pricing
By Alun Williams
Posted on 3 Mar 2006 at 12:43
The world of online music pricing could come under investigation from the US Department of Justice.
The DOJ examination would follow in the footsteps of a similar investigation into music downloads by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, according to Reuters.
Quoting unnamed sources, the news agency reports that some subpoenas may have already been issued. Although Sony BMG is identified as one recipient, other labels have been warned that more subpoenas are likely (these are writs issued by US court authorities to force the attendance of witnesses at legal proceedings).
The four major labels are Warner Music Group, EMI, Vivendi Universal and Sony BMG, and they were targeted by Spitzer at the end of 2005 - Music labels probed for price fixing.
At issue is believed to be the pricing levels charged for music downloads and, specifically, whether the labels have colluded over price fixing. Related to this are the licensing renegotiations with Apple. While Steve Jobs has favoured a fixed 99 cent charge per track, the labels have been keen to pursue variable pricing, charging as little as 19 cents for some songs but more than 99 cents for new releases by major artists.
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