Apple Wins Key Digital Music Ruling

Apple ( AAPL ), won a key ruling from the Copyright Royalty Board Thursday afternoon, ensuring the future of the company's iTunes store.

The Washington, D.C.-based Copyright Royalty Board rejected a request from the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA), which would have increased the royalties paid on digital downloads from 9.1 cents to 15 cents, a scenario the technology giant was desperate to avoid.

Apple, unwilling to budge from its 99 cent download charge or swallow the royalty increase itself, had threatened to close iTunes if the 15 cent payment was approved.

In after-hours trading, news of the ruling lifted Apple shares slightly to $100.91. In regular trading Thursday, the stock fell 8.2% to $100.10.

"We're pleased with the CRB's decision to keep royalty rates stable," Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr replied in an email to TheStreet.com.

Concerns over royalty payments and the future of iTunes were not the only things weighing heavily on Apple shares today.

Calyon Securities cut its price target on Apple to $130 from $190, and lowered its full-year earnings estimates to $5.99 a share from $6.10 a share. The firm pointed out that the company's notebook sales growth has slowed as a result of a weak economy.

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