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Beatle juices Magex

Money can't buy you love, but it can you get a stake in the digital music biz

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Beatle with Wings Sir Paul McCartney today pumped an undisclosed sum into online payment system supplier Magex.

Macca's investment comes in the same week that major record label Universal is set to begin a trial digital music download service which uses Magex technology. Not that Sir Paul will profit directly - he's with Universal's fellow 'big fiver', EMI.

Magex is a secure online payment service spun off from the UK's National Westminster bank. Digital content bought via Magex is billed to the buyer's credit card by Magex itself, ensuring that none of the users' financial information is sent out across the Web.

Magex also handles the copyright protection side of the equation using InterTrust's encryption and access rights management technology.

Yesterday, the company announced the appointment of ex-Columbia Tristar Picture home video unit president W. Patrick Campbell as its chairman and CEO. Campbell's role will be to drive the UK company's push into the US, the territory that has the most active digital content download market.

Magex's success depends on winning the support of companies like Universal - in other words, the big names with the most digital content to offer - to become sufficiently ubiquitous for users to sign up, doubly so since they're now getting pretty much used to the idea of keying in credit card details online. ®

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