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EMI, Roxio harmonize on downloads

The software maker says it has formed ties with EMI Recorded Music in an effort to promote secure and legal music downloading for consumers.

Music-software maker Roxio on Tuesday said it has formed ties with EMI Recorded Music in an effort to promote secure and legal music downloading for consumers.

Under the pact, Roxio and EMI plan to co-develop new technology based on Roxio's software that would allow customers to burn EMI music onto CDs only when permitted to do so. Roxio will also provide distribution channels, while EMI will provide guidance and advice.

In addition, the record label made an equity investment in Roxio, which sells software that allows people to burn CDs from MP3 music files or other formats. The two companies are aiming to create products that prevent unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted material.

The agreement comes as Roxio, which recently spun off from parent company Adaptec, battles online music service Gracenote on the legal front. In earlier versions of its products, Roxio licensed software from Gracenote that allowed automatic identification of songs.

Last month, Gracenote said that Roxio, which let its licensing contract expire in April, is illegally continuing to distribute the music-recognition software and infringing on Gracenote patents by creating a parallel service in new versions of the software. Several companies license Gracenote's software, including controversial file-swapping service Napster, which is using it to help identify songs and block them at the request of record labels.

Roxio is striving to work with large players in the music industry not only to provide for the protection of their digital content, but also to allow record companies and musicians to get paid for burning, the Hollywood, Calif.-based company said in a statement. EMI is on the lookout for technology providers in an effort to promote legal music downloading and develop new revenue streams for its artists.

The music behemoth recently unveiled MusicNet, a joint venture with streaming media provider RealNetworks and major record labels at AOL Time Warner and Bertelsmann. MusicNet will let music fans search for, then legally download or stream, a broad range of music owned by the three labels.