“Bertelsmann AG said Friday it will launch a new service that uses the technology made popular by file-swapping businesses for legal downloads of music and movies,” The Associated Press reports. “The service, dubbed GNAB, or ‘bang’ in reverse, is set to be used in Germany by the end of this year, with an eventual rollout to other countries through 2006 and beyond, the company said. Unlike Bertelsmann’s previous foray with the original Napster – which led to a bevy of lawsuits over violations of copyright law – GNAB uses a decentralized peer-to-peer network to offer downloads whose original content is hosted on centralized servers.”
“The service comes amid heightened competition by other companies, notably Apple Computer’s ubiquitous ITunes, which is popular in the United States and has local versions operating throughout Europe,” AP reports. “Just this month, ITunes began offering downloads of music videos, short films from Pixar and television shows like Desperate Housewives and Lost. The episodes are available for download the morning after they are on ABC television in the United States.”
“File-sharing networks that use peer-to-peer sharing have drawn fire from major record companies because they claim that users are sharing the music illegally, depriving them of income. In a bid to stem such losses, several have cut their own deals with companies to offer the products for sale via download themselves. According to Arvato’s [the media services unit of Guentersloh-based Bertelsmann] website, GNAB adds features that ensure copyrighted material that is downloaded is flagged so that payment for the file, such as a song, can be made,” AP reports.
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