Voluntary Pay Music Site Hopes to Sidestep Napster's Legal Troubles

Voluntary Pay Music Site Hopes to Sidestep Napster's Legal Troubles
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Two dot-coms have cooked up a product they say will allow users to download music from the Internet, but also ensures artists get their fair share of the deal.
Fairtunes.com, a Winnipeg, Canada Internet start-up dedicated to the voluntary payment to artists whose songs have been downloaded through its site, has a partnership with Topical Networks, an Internet software company.
Topical Networks' Web site (www.napsterfreedom.com) will offer a Napster-like program that will allow digital music to be traded but will also allow users to pay artists with one click as they download their songs.
Matt Miszewski, co-founder of Topical Networks which hosts napsterfreedom.com, said that the site's "tipping" system should allow users to avoid the current legal troubles that Napster.com faces in the recording industry's lawsuit against the company.
"Our partnership with Fairtunes.com will result in a system that will be able to switch from a voluntary system to a more complex system which mandates payment to artists, record companies or performing rights societies such as ASCAP depending on the outcome of the lawsuit," said Miszewski.
Miszewski said that if the Supreme Court decides that his company must mandate payment, "We will grudgingly do so," said Miszewski. Until then, he said, the system is voluntary and tips will go wherever the user directs them. The service is expected to be launched by the end of September.
Laura Dely

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