I'm back from a quick trip to Vancouver, and busy browsing through thousands of headlines in my feedreader. One story that got my attentions was an interview Lifehacker did with EMI Senior Vice President Jeanne Meyer about the company's decision to sell unprotected MP3s.

There's a few aspects that I find especially interesting about this interview. First of all, Meyer makes it clear that the Apple deal is not exclusive at all:

"Apple is the first of what we plan to be many partners, they're making it available in AAC others will be able to put it whatever format, codec or bit rate they choose."

Also notable is the fact that EMI won't be using any watermarking. I think that makes sense. Watermarking has been the carrot some online music vendors use to assure labels that MP3s are safe - but the consequences of using them are in most cases unclear.

What do you do if you find a watermarked MP3 online. What if you find a few hundred, all with the same watermark? Sue the customer who bought them? After all, he might just have lost his MP3 player.

Mind you, this question is not just academic. I've heard of a German indie label who watermarked their pre-release promo CDs and then discovered some of those songs in a file sharing network. Finding out who was the cause of the leak was the easy part. Deciding what to do with that person turned out to be much harder.

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