ITunes Dubbed Music Leader

A Harvard Law School research team has deemed Apple's ITunes "the pacesetter" among digital music sites, noting that the company's approach bridges user wishes and copyright law. The green-paper report examines how copyright law affects the digital media business, using the ITunes Music Store as a case study. "In recent months, ITunes, Apple's Online Music Store, has become the pacesetter in the digital media marketplace," it says. The researchers say Apple's business model "responds to many of the current legal and technological challenges in online media distribution". The report looks at the laws affecting copyright, consumer sales contracts, and technology in different countries in an attempt to figure out how ITunes and other services are likely to succeed in the different legalistic set-ups.

The researchers, from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, identify an "international trend toward convergence on many of the basic principles in these domains." However, the researchers do not observe the trend observed by Lawrence Lessig, a law professor at Stanford University and copyright law expert. He has identified a trend in terms of U.S. foreign trading policy to encourage other nations to adopt copyright laws he describes as equivalent to U.S. laws. This leads to sometimes-inappropriate harmonization, Lessig told a Royal Society of the Arts conference looking at digital copyright in January. The Harvard report notes that digital media firms often resort to contract law (couched in terms of service or license agreements) to govern how consumers use digital content.

News source: PCWorld

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