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While record labels and publishers are locked in lawsuits and legal hair-pulling, independent artists are using Creative Commons (CC) licenses as a new publicity tool: keep your copyright, but let consumers copy or even sample your song. Your next Flash Drive might even have albums on it (or is that the other way around?): indie online label Magnatune and manufacturer Hana Micro have loaded up the TunePlug USB drive with ten albums under a CC license. The first 'volume' starts at $19.99; the $69.99 512MB model has all ten albums on it pre-loaded. More details on CDM.

Peter Kirn, editor of createdigitalmusic, checks in regularly with gear too cool for only musicians to be in the know.