Database comissioned to track music rights online

The IMJV, based in the Netherlands, combines three music rights organisations; the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the UK MCPS-PRS alliance of the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) and the Performing Right Society (PRS), and Dutch Buma/Stemra. Other music rights organisations are free to join in.

"This won't counteract the illegal copying of music on the Internet," Robert de Boer, spokesman for Atos Origin said Tuesday. "It will be possible to monitor what songs are swapped with software like Napster, or downloaded from Web sites like MP3.com."

De Boer noted that the actual monitoring will be done with separate software. The data can, however, be automatically entered into the music rights database.

"With current systems it is not possible to match the database with online illegal activities, this system will measure and register. To measure is to know," said De Boer.

The database, based on Oracle's software, will contain details on about 3.5 million works of music. The IMJV will use it to collect money from users of the music, broadcasters for example, and to calculate payments to artists and other rights holders.

"Building the database is very complex," said De Boer. "Some music pieces have hundreds of parties concerned and the three existing individual databases vary in setup."

The order is worth 8.1 million euros (around $13.1 million), said De Boer. The IMJV will take delivery of the database in April 2002. An estimated 1.6 billion euros ($2.6 million) in rights collections and payments will be handled by the system, De Boer said.