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IBM Steps in to Offer Enhanced Digital Music Protection

The Wall Street Journal reported today that International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) plans to begin offering digital music protection to shield record company music files from would be Web pirates.

The Journal reported that Big Blue plans to enhance its electronic media management system, and intends to offer it to record companies and other customers later this quarter. The announcement is not tied to any relationship with California-based Napster, which is working with Bertelsmann to develop a paid music service along with its free service.

IBM's management system is designed to allow users to listen to music as long as they accept certain usage controls.

The concept is quite practical -- for instance, a user can play a song several times before a pay for content control is flagged requiring payment be sent to the record label. Until payment is received a "lock" is put on the file. This format allows a user to wet his or her appetite with the music, savor the satisfaction of receiving free content -- which they are used to -- and keeps record companies happy.

Phone calls placed to IBM this morning were not returned by press time.