The deal comes at a time when the RIAA, a trade association for record companies, is in the midst of legal battles with Napster and MP3.com over copyright issues surrounding the distribution of its members' music over the Internet.
The agreement with Yahoo marks what appears to be a positive step for the RIAA in the realm of Internet music, although its impact appears to be limited to music that is broadcast from Yahoo sites, rather than music that is downloaded and stored by individual users.
Since October of 1998, Yahoo has given users access to online music broadcasts under terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the company said in a statement. The deal with the RIAA establishes new terms for distributing music under this license, and includes music distributed from Yahoo's numerous broadcast destinations including Yahoo Radio.
"Our agreement with Yahoo confirms that music on the Internet will thrive when parties work together," Hilary Rosen, president and chief executive officer of the RIAA, said in the statement.
On Friday, the RIAA is expected to submit a court brief related to its ongoing litigation over Napster's service.