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Apple iCloud UK launch delayed until 2012

Publisher's digital rights are the issue

The music storage part of Apple's iCloud may be launching in the US in the autumn, but UK customers won't be able to store their iTunes in the cloud until early 2012.

The reason for the delay is the time it takes to deal with the thorny issue of music publishers' right. According to the Performing Right Society (PRS), negotiations with Apple are at a "very early stage".

In principle, iTunes music files brought from the iTunes store are available to all your PCs, smartphones and tablets - but not music ripped from CDs. You can match these to songs in the iTunes store, however, in a process called iTunes Match that Apple claims takes minutes, and offers the same 'rights' to those music files as songs purchased from iTunes. iTunes Match will cost $25 a year in the States.

This extension of music-buyers' rights is likely to be the cause of hold up in the negotiations between publishers and Apple. Speaking to the Telegraph, a PRS spokesman said: "The licensing team at the PRS have started talks with Apple, but are a long way off from any deals being signed…

"It is very much the early stages of the negotiations and is similar to the launch of iTunes – which began in the US and took a while to roll out to other countries."

See also: Why Apple's iCloud could mean your next phone is an iPhone

In the same story, an unamed music executive is quoted as saying: "Tentative talks have begun between the major labels and Apple in the UK. However, all talks are at the really early stages and no one expects to see the cloud music service live on this side of the pond until 2012."

Apple is understood to have reached agreement with all major US labels about using iCloud, but isn't commenting on the possible delay to the UK launch.

Apple iCloud stores your music, video, contacts and other data in the cloud and wirelessly pushes it to all your devices.  

In principle, iTunes music files brought from the iTunes store are available to all your PCs, smartphones and tablets - but not music ripped from CDs. You can match these to songs in the iTunes store, however, in a process called iTunes Match that Apple claims takes minutes, and offers the same 'rights' to those music files as songs purchased from iTunes. iTunes Match will cost $25 a year in the States.

This extension of music-buyers' rights is likely to be the cause of hold up in the negotiations between publishers and Apple.


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