reaches preliminary agreement with NMPA is a service that allows users to download MP3-based music files of songs that they either already own or buy from's retail partners.

The deal has yet to be formally approved by the member companies of the Harry Fox Agency (HFA) -- the NMPA's licensing subsidiary -- but concurrent with the announcement it was revealed that member companies MPL Communications and Peer International have settled their copyright infringement litigation against The settlement, which is pending before the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, is conditional upon the finalisation of the new licensing arrangement.

Under the terms of the three-year licensing deal, will pay up to $US30 million to HFA in two equal funds. The first of these will be used to pay publishers for past use of music on, while the other will cover future payments. will pay a one-time fee for each music track added to its service, as well as a one-quarter of a US cent fee each time a track is downloaded.

"The Internet has certainly posed many difficult music publishing issues and this agreement with the NMPA and Harry Fox is a giant step for all consumers who want to simply be able to listen to music they already own legally," Robin Richards, president and chief negotiator for, was quoted as saying in a statement.

"We believe that our negotiations with have yielded a landmark proposal that NMPA can refer to the music publishing and songwriting community with confidence and enthusiasm," stated Edward P. Murphy, president and CEO of NMPA, was also quoted as saying.

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