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VR2LMUSIC.NET OFFERS SECURE MUSIC ONLINE VR2Lmusic.net Inc. is a new company that offers a secure format for access to music on the Internet through its
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VR2LMUSIC.NET OFFERS SECURE MUSIC ONLINEVR2Lmusic.net Inc. is a new company that offers a secure format for access to music on the Internet through its parent company, VR2Ltrade.net. Sean O'Brien, CEO of trade.net, and Stephen Cox, president of music.net, developed MediaPlayer as a by-product of a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense. Designed to offer greater protection against piracy for copyrighted music distributed on the Internet, it can be downloaded in the beginning of October, and music will become available at the end of October. According to O'Brien, "It was a desire to get secure computer platforms so that the data could not be copied."

To avoid the usual pitfalls of downloading music off of the Internet, the MediaPlayer does not have a file format, per se. According to John Pokorny, CEO of music.net, the technology delivers raw data, which reduces the number of holes to which hackers and viruses can attach.

The MediaPlayer is free to download; users must either pay for the music (CD $16.99) or watch s. O'Brien said the company is also talking to long-distance phone carriers so that users may be able to purchase CDs by adding the cost to their phone bills. Cox said that users who do not pay for the music will have to answer a simple, one-button, permission-based marketing question that is personalized to demographics. Users will then see the MediaPlayer morph into different s.

"The user gets a higher-quality CD that they can buy or listen to for free," O'Brien says. "The artist's work is virus-protected, and they still get paid because either the consumer or the advertising agency pays for it. This also adds revenue streams for the artists and the recording labels. The advertising agency gains tracking information about what is being sold on the market."

The way MediaPlayer works, music is downloaded to the computer's memory - not onto the desktop - and can then be transferred to any portable device. "It is a one-way process," Cox says. "It goes from the memory of your computer to the memory of the portable device. It's not copying it; it's transferring it."

The available music is offered through the providers' record label, Popdrop Publishing. "We've begun negotiations with various recording companies and content providers," Cox says. "Our real focus is to become a back-end company."

The company is also expanding into different media outlets - video, film, games, 3-D - with different versions of MediaPlayer by the end of the year. "We can produce the same results with video in a 3-D environment," Pokorny says. "We want to revolutionize e-commerce."

WELCOME TO AESThe 109th AES convention, dubbed "Surrounded by Sound," takes place September 22-25 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Featured workshops include "Audio Watermarking for Packaged and Network Media," "Digital Libraries, Preservation and Metadata," "Mastering for the Internet" and "Perceptual Audio Coders - What to Listen For," among others. According to Van Webster, workshops co-chair, the "workshops identify emerging trends and present the latest information on the full spectrum of audio technologies." Products to be debuted at the convention are previewed in this issue's "2000 AES New Products Directory," beginning on page 185. A review of the show will appear in next month's Mix.

SOUND EFFECTS SEARCH ENGINELooking for an elephant trumpet or a cough? FindSounds.com is a recently launched search engine for sound effects and samples. By typing in a general search command, the user can find links to other sites that offer the particular sound effect.

According to Steve Rice, president and CEO of Comparisonics Corp., the new search engine operates in the same fashion as other Web-based search engines like AltaVista, Excite and Snap. "A spidering mechanism locates content on the Web, and links to that content are stored in an index," Rice says.

Similar to other search engines, FindSounds.com does not make copies of, save or host the content found at other Web sites; it merely points the user to that content using standard HTML-based links. Additionally, once a user finds a sound he or she likes, the site offers a link to find similar sounds.

"FindSounds.com is a state-of-the-art audio retrieval system providing unprecedented access to sounds on the Web," Rice says. "It is a valuable resource for videographers, filmmakers, musicians, Web site developers, hobbyists and students."

RIAA, ARTISTS REACH AGREEMENTThe Recording Industry Association of America and representatives of the Artists Coalition, AFM, AFTRA, AmSong, the Music Managers Forum and NARAS announced that an agreement was reached on a legislative recommendation to resolve the "work made for hire" copyright issue.

Last November, Congress reformed the Copyright Act to add sound recordings to the roster of copyrighted works that can be considered as "works made for hire." However, concerns were raised about its effects soon after.

"We said from the beginning we did not intend to change the law and have worked diligently to assure that the issue of work for hire is resolved without prejudice to anyone's position," says Hilary Rosen, president and CEO of the RIAA.

"The book needs to be closed on this so we can get back to a united industry on so many important challenges of the day. The resolution is a good one."

According to AFM president Steve Young, "The AFM and AFTRA were committed to reversing this change in the law when we discovered it had passed."

The recording industry and the coalition of artists plan to request that Congress pass this legislative recommendation before the end of this congressional session.