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Liquid Audio Gets Copyright Protection Patent

Streaming media software firm Liquid Audio on Thursday announced it had secured a copyright protection patent to allow playback of multimedia while enforcing the rights of content owners.

The Redwood City, CA-based firm, which markets software that lets consumers download and purchase digital files off the Internet, said the U.S Patent Office has granted Patent No. 6,367,019 that provides a digital rights system.

Liquid Audio, which has been embroiled in patent infringement disputes with Network Commerce and the In Touch Group said the securing of the patents reflects the company's respect for copyright protection. "(We have) always strived to build technology that respects the rights of content owners. This patent reflects our pioneering efforts to provide technology solutions for device manufacturers, giving them access to protected content," said Liquid Audio VP of engineering Leon Rishniw.

The patent is considered a part of Liquid Audio's Secure Portable Player Platform (SP3), which enables consumer electronics companies and chipset manufacturers to create portable devices that playback digital audio in accordance with the rights and business rules of content owners.

The SP3 software allows for authorized playback of digital content on either internal or external memory; sharing of content between authorized playback systems; unauthorized tampering of content metadata; and relocation and renewal of security keys on a device.

The company said clients like ARM, AIWA, Cirrus Logic, Hitachi, I-O Data, Mpuls3, Palm, Sanyo, TDK and Texas Instruments have licensed the SP3 technology.

Liquid Audio, which has won favor from record companies to sell digital music through Web-based retailers, does most of its business internationally.

Last month, the company inked a deal Bertelsmann AG's BMG music division to encoding, hosting, digital rights management and clearinghouse services. The agreement would cover both full-length recordings and singles by BMG's artists.