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Trade body develops ‘MP3 Compatible’ logo

The logo will help identify legal download sites

MP3 Compatible logo

MP3 Compatible logo

Seven of Britain’s largest music download sites are promoting a new MP3 Compatible logo to help customers recognise legitimate music downloading sites.

The logo also highlights the versatility of the open MP3 music format by showing consumers that the file can be played on any digital player.

HMV, Digitalstores, Play.com, 7digital, Tescodigital, Tunetribe and Woolworths are all promoting the logo that has been devised by the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA).

The ERA is also hoping that manufacturers of MP3 playing devices will also get behind the scheme, and use the logo on their products.

Illegal music downloads

MP3 files are easy to share, and peer-to-peer file sharing, the sharing of files between users through a computer network, is continuing to grow. This has caused problems for the music industry, as the files are often shared illegally without a license, depriving the industry of due royalties.

Lizzy Payne, Which? senior researcher, said: ‘The MP3 compatible logo will make it easy for consumers to recognise legitimate sites from illegal MP3 download sites, as a license to use the logo will only be awarded to legally operating companies. And if manufacturers begin to use the logo on electronics products, such as mobile phones and digital radios, it will highlight the versatility of the MP3 format.’

MP3 music format

The British record industry’s trade association, the BPI, is also in favour of this new logo scheme. Geoff Taylor, the BPI chief executive, said: ‘This logo will not only help give consumers confidence that the music files they are buying will play on a wide range of devices, but will also help them know that they are legal and that artists are getting paid.’

Play.com, one of the seven companies working to promote the new logo, won the 2008 Which? award for best online retailer.

The Which? MP3 player report has full test results of more than 200 MP3 players, including Apple iPods and models from Bang & Olufsen, Creative, iRiver and Samsung.

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