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The paper presents a novel content accounting architecture. Content accounting is becoming increasingly important since it is anticipated that in the near future more billable content will be published on the Internet. The presented architecture has a distributed functionality and an innovative view with respect to the payment system that is incorporated. The architecture enables outsourcing of the accounting functions. In particular, it is shown how Internet service providers can be involved in the billing function. The proposed payment system is applicable worldwide and allows online, instant and small payments to be made for a number of content types and units. An important characteristic of this payment system is that customers can always use the same payment mechanism regardless the expectations and requirements of the other (paid) party.