Loose Ends

Bits and pieces from last week, mostly:

US mobile content rating system in the works: The trade group of US mobile operators wants to define a standardized content rating and filtering system, not only to make it that much more difficult for kids to see porn, but to also pave the way for them to sell ringtunes with explicit lyrics intact, a move supported by record labels.

Dutch group proposes surcharge on MP3 players (thanks, DMEurope): A Dutch group that already collects a surcharge on the sales on blank CDs and DVDs to compensate copyright holders for “lost” revenue — since, after all, the only thing anybody ever does with blank media is share music and movies — wants to being collecting a similar fee on MP3 players to the tune of 3.28 euros per GB, a move that could not only hurt the country’s electronics companies, but forestall the sales of digital music players — including mobile phones.

OMA distances itself from DRM licensing mess: The Open Mobile Alliance issued a statement reiterating it’s got nothing to do with MPEG LA or the controversial terms at which that company is licensing the OMA DRM standard. It’s a strange announcement, with OMA highlighting the need for mobile services based on open standards — which begs the question of why it adopted a DRM standard requiring users to license so many patents.

DRM frustrates digital music buyers: A UK magazine says people are growing increasingly dissatisfied with the restrictions on music they buy from download services, such as the inability to play songs on multiple devices, and pricing levels.

Xingtone to let artists sell ringtones directly to consumers: While Xingtone’s consumer software lets users make ringtones out of music they already own, the company is happy to play the other side, too, letting artists set up online stores to sell their own tones.

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