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US armed forces get legal digital music service

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US troops fed up of taking too many pot shots from Iraqi guerrillas will soon be able to escape the tedium of another patrol by plugging into digital music heaven courtesy of Napster, which has just agreed to offer cut-price songs to the US military.

The deal, announced today, will link Napster's online service to the Army and Air Force Exchange Service's CentricMall.com web store, which provides serving and retired service personnel with discounted products.

Quite how much Napster is knocking off the prices of standalone downloads and its 'all you can eat for $10' monthly subscriptions, the online service didn't say.

Napster did say it will offer the full selection of over 750,000 songs that are currently available through its service, but we'd note that iTunes buyers now have more than 250,000 songs on top of that total to choose from.

Soldiers are become kitted out with IP-based communications systems, primarily for voice but increasingly for data services too. Both Australian and British forces already use the 802.11-based Voice-over-IP (VoIP) Personal Role Radio system - which is being enhanced with data links too - and we'd imagine US troops have something similar. Why should grunts crouching in foxholes be prevented from downloading the latest Marilyn Manson or Fur-Q waxing? Heck, they might even do it through Napster. ®

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