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Record Labels, Telecommunications

The dispute between MP3 phone handset makers and the music industry in Korea has been settled when LG Electronics agreed to a government-mediated proposal. The Korean Ministry of Information and Communication reported that LG accepted the arrangement of allowing its customers to download and listen to free music files on the MP3 phones for three days. As a result, MP3 phone holders will be able to download any music files from their PCs and play them without charge. The files are programmed to stop working after the agreed time span. In two months, mobile carriers will be required to provide music services for their customers, although at a low-quality sound less than 70 Kbps (FM radio level) in a move to stop downloading but provide music content. Initially the local music industry voiced strong opposition to the new phone features, and refused to co-operate with MP3 handset owners, preventing them from legally listening to music files. In an effort to iron out the difference, the government stepped in and masterminded the three-day free play suggestion for the two-month grace period, which was accepted by Samsung earlier this week. LG argued that the time span should be at least five days but finally decided to compromise.

Source : The Korea Times
See: http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/tech/200404/kt2004040218541912350.htm