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Association will promote MP3

Five technology companies join forces to push for the widespread use of a technology that allows Netizens to download and play back stereo-quality music files.

Five technology companies have joined forces to push for the widespread use of a technology that allows Netizens to download and play back stereo-quality music files.

The MP3 Association will consist of Diamond Multimedia, along with GoodNoise, MP3.com, MusicMatch, and Xing Technology.

The companies will team up to promote MP3 technology as the standard for downloadable music, and to increase both the visibility and use of the technology. In addition, the organization will pool together legal resources to strengthen its lobbying efforts, while attempting to warm up to the recording industry.

"The goal is to get with the right influences in Washington to make sure they understand alternative business models for delivering digital audio," Hassan Miah, president and chief executive of Xing Technology, said of the group's lobbying objectives. "We are trying to get legislators to understand that MP3 is a legitimate digital business model of the future."

The central reason why the recording industry has been at odds with these companies is MP3 (MPEG 1, Audio Layer 3) technology, which compresses audio into files that Netizens can quickly download and save onto their hard drives.

The relationship between MP3 companies and the music industry took a turn for the worse this month when the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) filed a lawsuit against San Jose-based Diamond Multimedia over the sale of Diamond's Rio PMP300 player.

The RIAA alleged that the Rio violated the American Home Recording Act, which forces digital recording devices to incorporate a code system that prevents serial re-recordings of copyrighted music. Pro-MP3 camps argued that the Rio was not a recording device, but a playback system.

The Rio player is a device that can play back audio files transferred from a computer hard drive. Since the Rio cannot connect to any other device besides a computer, Diamond considers it a peripheral.

On Monday, a federal court in Los Angeles denied RIAA an injunction request that would have prohibited the Rio from shipping until the completion of the trial.

Miah maintained, however, that the association was in the works weeks before the RIAA slapped Diamond with a lawsuit.