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MP3tunes ruling seen as victory for cloud-based music services

post #1 of 17
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A partial victory by defendant MP3tunes in a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by major record companies may set a precedent for the legal validity of cloud-based digital music "lockers" from other companies, including Apple, Google and Amazon.

EMI and 14 other record companies sued MP3tunes LLC, alleging that the company's website allowed users to illegally copy their songs. A ruling from U.S. District Judge Wiliam Pauley in Manhattan let the company off the hook for a feature that kept one copy of a music file on MP3tunes' servers and made it available online to users who had an identical version on their hard drives, Reuters reported on Monday.

Pauley also ruled that users were responsible for infringements, although the defendants were liable for "contributory" copyright infringement in cases where rights holders notified them of infringement. MP3tunes CEO Michael Robertson was found liable for unauthorized songs that he transferred to his own personal music locker.

"While a reasonable person might conclude after some investigation that the websites used by MP3tunes executives were not authorized to distribute EMI's copyrighted works, the DMCA does not place the burden of investigation on the Internet service provider," the judge wrote.

The defendants' lawyers hailed the ruling as a "huge victory." Greg Gulia, a partner at Duane Morris who represents MP3tunes and Robertson. noted that "users can still download songs from publicly available websites, and store them without a separate license fee, so long as MP3tunes complies with takedown notices. The main takeaway is that MP3tunes' fundamental business model has been upheld."

Google and Amazon could stand to gain from the ruling, as both companies launched their digital music locker services this spring reportedly without renegotiating licenses. Amazon announced its Cloud Player and Cloud Drive service in March. But, music companies were apparently surprised by and displeased with the move.



Sony Music spokeswoman Liz Young responded to Amazon's launch by saying her company "was upset by Amazon's decision to launch the service without new licenses for music streaming."

"We hope that they'll reach a new license deal, but we're keeping all of our legal options open," Young said in an oblique threat of a potential lawsuit against the online reseller.

In May, Google unveiled its own music service, called Music Beta, but disappointed customers by not negotiating licenses to sell music.

The search giant had planned a "more robust version" of the service, but talks with the labels broke down. Unfortunately, a couple of the major labels were less focused on the innovative vision that we put forward, and more interested in an unreasonable and unsustainable set of business terms," said Google executive Jamie Rosenberg.

Though Apple's upcoming iTunes Match feature resembles the MP3tunes' strategy of maintaining one centralized copy of a song, the iPod maker renegotiated licenses with the major music labels before announcing the service. The company will also presumably share its profits from iTunes Match with rights holders, though it's not clear exactly what kind of revenue split was agreed upon.



Apple boasts that the feature will take just "minutes" to scan and make a user's music library available in the cloud, compared to "weeks" of uploading to competing services from Amazon and Google.

iTunes Match has been described by some as a way for the record labels to earn back some profits from pirated music. Privacy activists, on the other hand, have expressed concerns that Apple could report users suspected of violating copyrights in iCloud to rights holders, exposing them to lawsuits. But, given the recent MP3tunes ruling, Apple may not be legally obligated to search for copyright infringement in iCloud, though it will still be required to comply with takedown requests.

Meanwhile, Research in Motion is also rumored to be creating its own music service, which is expected to cost $5 a month for 50 songs.
post #2 of 17
I think my main concern with Apple searching my computer's music library is that with just a tweak it could search my entire computer for anything the company wanted to know about. How would I even know that such a search was done? Already there are programs on the web like Webex that search for specific programs to run their streaming service on people's computers. I don't trust them either. Who knows what data they are retrieving when connecting to my computer?
post #3 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

I think my main concern with Apple searching my computer's music library is that with just a tweak it could search my entire computer for anything the company wanted to know about. How would I even know that such a search was done? Already there are programs on the web like Webex that search for specific programs to run their streaming service on people's computers. I don't trust them either. Who knows what data they are retrieving when connecting to my computer?

I shouldn't worry about Apple too much, they are the least of your worries. Google on the other hand... Little Snitch nearly blew up when I installed Chrome.
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

I shouldn't worry about Apple too much, they are the least of your worries. Google on the other hand... Little Snitch nearly blew up when I installed Chrome.

Chrome os the biggest spyware.malware on the web today.

Which of us is the fisherman and which the trout?

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Which of us is the fisherman and which the trout?

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post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

I shouldn't worry about Apple too much, they are the least of your worries. Google on the other hand... Little Snitch nearly blew up when I installed Chrome.

I sometimes think Apple should build Little Snitch right into the OS but I guess it is too complicated for the masses.
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
post #6 of 17
Quite a burn for Apple, wasting money on licenses where none are needed. I wouldn't be surprised if they submit amicus briefs in the appeal, supporting the music labels, in an attempt to screw Amazon and Google. Or maybe they will just breach their contracts with the labels, thumbing their noses at their agreements?

At any rate, my guess is that heads will roll at Apple. They don't like to cooperate when fighting makes them more money, and ISTM that giving money away for stuff they should get for free is anathema to them.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleLover2 View Post

Quite a burn for Apple, wasting money on licenses where none are needed. I wouldn't be surprised if they submit amicus briefs in the appeal, supporting the music labels, in an attempt to screw Amazon and Google. Or maybe they will just breach their contracts with the labels, thumbing their noses at their agreements?

At any rate, my guess is that heads will roll at Apple. They don't like to cooperate when fighting makes them more money, and ISTM that giving money away for stuff they should get for free is anathema to them.

The take on this is quite different at Ars Technica: link here http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/n...ement-case.ars

By the way was your post intended as humor?
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

The take on this is quite different at Ars Technical link here http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/n...ement-case.ars

I'm not sure why you say that. Aside from being much more complete, how does the Ars article give a different take?
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

The take on this is quite different at Ars Technica: link here http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/n...ement-case.ars

By the way was your post intended as humor?

Really not so different in the wrap-up. Assuming the ruling stands, ArsTechnica agrees that Google and Amazon will be on solid legal ground with their music locker services. No need for additional negotiations with the record labels. And that's what both had already asserted, apparently correctly.
melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleLover2 View Post

Quite a burn for Apple, wasting money on licenses where none are needed. I wouldn't be surprised if they submit amicus briefs in the appeal, supporting the music labels, in an attempt to screw Amazon and Google. Or maybe they will just breach their contracts with the labels, thumbing their noses at their agreements?

At any rate, my guess is that heads will roll at Apple. They don't like to cooperate when fighting makes them more money, and ISTM that giving money away for stuff they should get for free is anathema to them.

I don't know why you would think that. Beside, what Apple's doing is different from what Google, Amazon, and MP3Tunes are doing. Instead of uploading you entire music library, iTunes Match only uploads what is not available on iTunes and for the rest it uses a "master copy".
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

I don't know why you would think that. Beside, what Apple's doing is different from what Google, Amazon, and MP3Tunes are doing. Instead of uploading you entire music library, iTunes Match only uploads what is not available on iTunes and for the rest it uses a "master copy".

Indeed - Apple probably sees such a service as more efficiency for storage in the long run. But more importantly, they know that the licenses required is a much safer approach that will limit the chances of lawsuits.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

I shouldn't worry about Apple too much, they are the least of your worries. Google on the other hand... Little Snitch nearly blew up when I installed Chrome.


I have to agree, any google program is phoning home all the time. If you go to websites that fully integrate google programs, servicesand adware you will see little snitch go crazy asking to access all sorts of google services on various ports and such. I pretty much have block google service except the the search site itself. Hell many time when I when I use google I use an anonymous proxy service so google can not track it specifically back to me. I love the ad that come up now specially when I use a foreign proxy, hello google as not idea what country I am from.
post #13 of 17
I just like how the music industry is trying to say we have to have a license to store our content that we bought on a server some place. This is just another attempt on their part to say the end user who bough the song does not really own what they bought. I glad the courts did not agree with them yet again that the consumer owns the music they bought and therefore can copy and store it how ever they like. If the music industry never want people to make a copy they should have never allowed music to be put on anything but vinyl records.

The music industry knows that can not stop the user from making copies and storing any place they like so they go after this company and say they are not license to have music stored on their servers.
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

I don't know why you would think that. Beside, what Apple's doing is different from what Google, Amazon, and MP3Tunes are doing. Instead of uploading you entire music library, iTunes Match only uploads what is not available on iTunes and for the rest it uses a "master copy".

Wrong.

MP3Tunes was the same as iTunes Match.

From the article "...let the company off the hook for a feature that kept one copy of a music file on MP3tunes' servers and made it available online to users who had an identical version on their hard drives"

This isn't unique functionality. Both Live Mesh and DropBox (and probably a lot of other sync services) hash a file to check if a copy already exists on the server before uploading it.

Amazon and Google aren't doing it at the moment but I would expect that to change after this ruling.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

Wrong.

MP3Tunes was the same as iTunes Match.

From the article "...let the company off the hook for a feature that kept one copy of a music file on MP3tunes' servers and made it available online to users who had an identical version on their hard drives"

This isn't unique functionality. Both Live Mesh and DropBox (and probably a lot of other sync services) hash a file to check if a copy already exists on the server before uploading it.

Amazon and Google aren't doing it at the moment but I would expect that to change after this ruling.

It is not the same as iTunes Match. With MP3tunes and Dropbox someone needed to upload that one copy. This is different from having a "master copy" exiting on the server even before anyone uploaded the file. This is why the judge let MP3tunes off the hook. Here is the judges said:

Quote:
The ruling contains even more good news for music locker sites and fans of sensible copyright laws. As we reported last month, a key 2008 decision had suggested that locker sites would be more vulnerable to copyright infringement claims if they used deduplication technology to save hard drive space. That ruling was based on the theory that keeping a single "master copy" of a work and sending it to multiple users would constitute an infringing public performance.

Judge Pauley soundly rejected that line of reasoning, writing that "MP3tunes does not use a 'master copy' to store or play back songs stored in its lockers. Instead, MP3tunes uses a standard data compression algorithm that eliminates redundant digital data."
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

It is not the same as iTunes Match. With MP3tunes and Dropbox someone needed to upload that one copy. This is different from having a "master copy" exiting on the server even before anyone uploaded the file. This is why the judge let MP3tunes off the hook. Here is the judges said:

You're 110% correct.

After detecting a track iTunes Match gives you access to an AAC version regardless of the quality of the original track.

I'll be interested to see how Apple implement this (e.g. Is it just file name detection or are they also using hashes)
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

I think my main concern with Apple searching my computer's music library is that with just a tweak it could search my entire computer for anything the company wanted to know about.

Hate to break it to ya, but they could do that already if they wanted to. Just need to put a hidden program into the OS that runs on a regular basis and gives them everything they want to know.


Quote:
Originally Posted by diddy View Post

Indeed - Apple probably sees such a service as more efficiency for storage in the long run. But more importantly, they know that the licenses required is a much safer approach that will limit the chances of lawsuits.

Going to the labels first and setting up a profit share license also gains Apple points when they want to do something else that most definitely requires the labels agreement. They can come back and say "hey ya know, legally we didn't have to do X, but we did you that favor. Now it's our turn to get something"

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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