SOFTWARE COLOSSUS Microsoft is likely to release copy protection software that will enable the online music industry to rent out titles legally.
Codenamed Janus, the software adds a clock function to portable music players using Microsoft's Windows Media Audio (WMA).
This lets downloaded tracks to be programmed to expire, meaning that online music companies can "rent" unfettered subscription-based access to large music libraries rather than selling it on a per-song basis.
The Redmond Giant has not officially confirmed details of Janus, which is expected to launch this summer. But the technology is in beta, and Samsung is already advertising Janus compatibility.
However analysts say that while Janus would enable online music companies to sell a subscription service, it is unlikely that the music industry would buy into the idea.
It prefers to be paid by the title rather than giving users to access a large library of music which is too close to providing free music.
It will only allow it to take place if punters are not allowed to put the music onto portable devices, which has borked the market a lot.
But by time stamping music, Janus will mean that the music industry is more likely to accept file sharing and allow its music to be put on MP3 players. The Inquirer