Puretunes joins crowded music distribution field

— 12:00 AM on May 20, 2003

C|Net News files this news report from the MP3 file swapping front.

A new all-you-can-eat music download service that claims to take advantage of a loophole in Spanish copyright law will launch on Tuesday and piggyback on a popular file-swapping network for distribution.

The new Madrid-based company, called Puretunes, is the second Spanish Web service to try offering access to a vast and otherwise unavailable catalog of music online without directly securing the record labels' permission.

In an apparent bid for publicity--and in what will certainly spark record companies' ire further--Puretunes' first affiliate distributor is Grokster, the file-swapping software company that recently won a clean legal bill of health from a Los Angeles federal judge.

Using a notorious P2P client like Grokster to distribute music digitally with the imprimatur of something official seems like a new version of the old scene, to quote an old Aerosmith song.

Puretunes claims that what it is doing is perfectly legal, but that remains to be seen. The relative success of Apple's iTunes Music Store and Roxio's recent purchase of Pressplay as a prelude to a relaunch of (gasp) Napster are sure to raise the ire of the RIAA. I don't have a strong opinion on this one, but I tend to doubt that these digital music distribution services, no matter how cleverly packaged, will stop the P2P file-swapping profligacy.

Anybody else tired of seeing those Apple music commercials on TV? They shouldn't have let those people out of karaoke bars.

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