AudioSoft & ASCAP Partner in the 'Virtual Copyright Goldrush'?
While we can't determine who the "winners" will be (any more than they could determine that in 1849, at Sutter's Mill), the "Virtual Goldrush" appears to be in full swing. Several key players are emerging in the race to develop methods for protecting digital copyrights, as might be expected, but an 18 October, 2000 press release from ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) announced that a joint validation test with AudioSoft surpassed ASCAP's demanding standards. The test, conducted using both RealNetworks' RealSystem technology and Microsoft's Windows Media technology, was designed to validate the accuracy and compatibility of AudioSoft's tracking and reporting system with ASCAP's business and technical requirements. According to the press release, AudioSoft's system, called the "AudioSoft Tracking Master," passed with flying colors, with 100% accuracy!
Music producers & labels should view these developments with a spirit of anticipation, I believe, because as music is distributed in larger volumes over the Internet, there are daunting tasks ahead! Trying to track how many times a composition has been played, aired, or (even) purchased could require many separate pieces of software (beyond the budget of most small labels), but systems like AudioSoft's have the definite potential of easing that burden, as FX Nuttall, Chief Visionary Officer/Founder of AudioSoft declared, when he stated (in part), that "Our solution will transform what could be an overwhelming and burdensome task into a smooth automated system to fulfil the requirements to the rights holders." I'm sure the artist will wind up paying some level of fees for these services, but knowing that you are copyright protected is going to become evermore critical to being heard on the Internet waves.
The key to all this, of course, especially for those labels/producers with the vision to see "where the Goldrush really is," will be early adoption of such tracking systems in areas where their digital products are distributed via the Internet. This applies especially to those getting into the webcasting side of things. In fact, ASCAP is offering a 5% discount to webcasters to support the broad usage of this newly validated technology. Individual music producers, in particular the small studio, will find it difficult to get their material broadcast unless it meets some sort of copyright standard!
If you stop and think about it, this is, in the long run, a great benefit to that small producer, also... a way to guarantee that proper royalties flow back to the artists & performers, through automated tracking. So, get yer' wagons hitched up & ROLL on into the rush, both feet forward! It's not "coming" - it's HERE!
ASCAP - www.ascap.com
AudioSoft - www.audiosoft.com
RealNetworks - www.real.com
Microsoft - www.microsoft.com
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