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The Digital Music Rights Battle

Boot Camp feature for Friday, April 12, 2002

The battle over digital music rights. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. If you go out and buy a music CD, should you be allowed to copy it using your computer's CD burner? What about saving it on your computer's hard drive or on a portable MP3 player. The recording industry has been selectively starting to add copy protection to music CDs... .and a bill is pending in Congress that could outlaw digital copying. Gateway Computer has conducted a survey on the issues and launched a campaign to support what it calls the consumers' right to enjoy digital music...

"You know there's been a lot of recrimination and finger pointing and sort of closed door debate about digital music and what's right and what's not."

Gateway Senior VP Brad Shaw. A nationwide survey commissioned by Gateway found 44 percent of PC owners have a CD burner. 73 percent of those who have downloaded music say they now spend the same amount of money or more on music purchases. The recording industry might look at that figure and point to the more than 25 percent who say they are buying less. As for Gateway's role, Shaw acknowledges that banning the copying of digital music could hurt technology sales...

"Obviously we have an interest in making sure that consumers are well educated on this and know how their rights could be changed and how technology could change and how innovation could be stifled as a result. So, clearly it would have an impact on us."

What Gateway says it is encouraging is the legal digital copying of music... and a debate on copyright protection that it says should not involve new legislation.