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MP3.com settles with Paul McCartney, NMPA

Agrees to pay $30 million for rights to over one million songs

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MP3.com has reached a potential out-of-court settlement with the US National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) to license the industry organisation's members' songs.

The deal - which has yet to be ratified the NMPA's members - follows legal action launched against MP3.com by the organisation, in conjunction with former Beatle Paul McCartney's MPL Communications, on 14 March for copyright violation.

That suit paralleled the action taken by the recording industry against MP3.com for the same reason. Both objected to MP3.com's use of over 80,000 CDs for its MyMP3.com 'virtual Walkman' service, which allowed CD owners to hear their discs from any PC, anywhere.

Today's deal will see MP3.com cough up $30 million for the rights to use over one million songs administered by the NMPA's licensing operation, the Harry Fox Agency, which acts for over 25,000 music publishers, 700 of whom are NMPA members.

The arrangement will run for three years, during which time MP3.com must pay a quarter of a cent every time a MyMP3.com user listens to a song along with a one-off fee for each individual track (in other words, a fee that's paid the first time, say, Sympathy for the Devil is played, and that's it).

The deal follows MP3.com's various settlements with all but one of the world's five big recording companies. The 'one', Universal, refused to settle and is awaiting a payment of $250 million in damages for MP3.com's violation of its copyrights. MP3.com has said it will appeal against that size of those damages. ®

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