Playlouder’s legal file sharing service signs up SonyBMG

September 2005

Record Labels, Internet

The UK’s first legal online file swapping service has signed up SonyBMG. has licensed tracks from the major which has a 21.5% market share. The service, which already had agreements with a number of independent labels, offers a legal version of the ever popular but illegal file swapping offered by software such as Grokster and Kazaa. Subscribers will be charged £26 ($48 approx) for a high speed broadband connection with the added attraction of a large music catalogue available for downloading or swapping with others on the service. This allows Playlouder to monetize peer-2-peer file swapping. Because of the nature of the licence authorised users will then be entitled to make copies of the recordings for their own use in other digital players, for example burning by CDs for their car stereo or loading tracks onto their own iPod. In the United Kingdom making ANY copy without the permission of the owner of the copyright is an infringement of copy. The only exception under the Copyright Designs & Patents Act 1988 is making video copies of television programmes for later viewing (so called ‘time shifting). Playlouder will digitally fingerprint all tracks used and swapped so record labels are remunerated for the use of their copyrights. Paul Hitchman, CEO of Playlouder, estimates that is the model was adopted by all of the recorded music industry it would create additional revenues of £300 million ($540 million approx) in the United Kingdom alone.

The Guardian 22 August 2005


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