The BIG patent over downloadable music

This little patent was enough to bring me back from the dead. In 1992, SightSound was granted a nifty little patent over the crazy idea called “electronic sales and distribution of digital audio or video signals” – basically, the business which is selling downloadable music and video files. The company then sued or negotiated with varied startups over the terms of the license. In 1998, SightSound sued CDNow over the patent license and the issue has been in the courts ever since.  Now a judge in Pennsylvania has passed a summary judgement against the Bertlesmann divisions, permitting the case to move forward in the courts.
Cnet’s Stephanie Olsen has it right; “If a jury decides that SightSound has a right to enforce the patents, it could affect almost any business that sells downloadable music or video online, including the major record labels and music studios.” Interestingly however, the process of subscription-based distribution may be safe from this patent.


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