Morpheus seeks new role in music biz

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StreamCast Networks, the creator of the popular Morpheus file-trading software, is set to unveil a plan Thursday that it hopes will help it become a more legitimate means of music distribution.

The company is adding new digital rights management, or anti-copying technology, to its set of software and services. It's calling for independent artists to distribute their work through the Morpheus file-trading network, using this technology to help solicit payment for their work and guard against piracy.

"I think we are a distribution network and a way to create a level playing field" for independent artists, StreamCast CEO Steve Griffin said.

With its new technology, the company is moving down a path well worn by Napster. As that file-trading service came under fire by the recording industry for allowing illegal trades of copyrighted works, it too mounted a campaign to solicit support from independent artists who used it to distribute their work.

Several musicians gave Napster permission to let their work be traded, as well their endorsements, and the start-up paid some artists and labels for use of their work. The company pointed to this as proof that the file-trading technology had "substantial non-infringing uses," which could have been one legal shield in court. But it wasn't enough to keep a federal judge from ordering restrictions on the company severe enough to shut down its service last July.

News source: Yahoo! News - Morpheus seeks new role in music biz

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