Napster's music licensing frustration

UK distribution rights challenge

Different content licensing regimes in different European countries is hampering Napster's attempts to set up over here, the company's parent confirmed today.

Describing the European licensing process as "very challenging" and "a bit frustrating", Roxio CEO Chris Gorog said Napster still intends to launch "before the end of summer".

Speaking to Reuters, Gorog admitted that Napster has yet to license all the content it wants to offer when it launches in the UK. And he has no idea when the service will be extend to the rest of Europe. Licensing negotiations are still in what Gorog described as at a "preliminary stage".

Gorog's comments come just days after Apple Europe chief Pascal Cagni grumbled about similar hurdles his company is facing in its attempt to launch its iTunes Music Store in Europe.

Yesterday, the European Commission offered a series of proposals intended to encourage the emergence of a unified pan-European licensing structure. Such a framework would maker it easier for Napster, Apple and other content distributors to license content. Licensing organisations would be dealt with on a one-off basis rather than from a country-by-country standpoint. ®

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