Bertelsmann set to launch new legal file-sharing platform ‘GNAB’ for music and movies

“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.

Full article here.

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10 Comments

  1. >We all know what is legal in German is sometimes not legal elsewhere<

    And visa-versa, sometimes. Nazis are far more unwelcome in Germany than they are in the USA, it would appear.

  2. Actually, theloniousMac, I think it’s “zugelassen.” Not “not legal elsewhere.” I’m here to help. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”cheese” style=”border:0;” />

  3. Maybe I’m missing something, because I don’t get this.

    The p2p system seems important for free and/or pirated material because (1) the providers and users typically don’t have the resources to provide the servers and bandwidth for distribution, and (2) hosting illegal files is frowned upon by hosting services. Having files distributed from multiple users divvies up the resources (i.e. the cost). There’s a measure of egalitarianism.

    If I’m paying someone for a file, I’m going to expect them to provide the bandwidth and distribution. Why would I pay to buy something that I’m going to be expected to share over my bandwidth that I’m also paying for? The transaction has already occurred as money-for-goods. Bertelsmann is just trying to pass their costs on to the consumer. Are the songs going to be cheaper?

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