Thanks to an anonymous reader who sent in a link to an article in the latest Wired Magazine about how the music industry - while claiming loudly to everyone who will listen that there simply are no non-infringing reasons for using file sharing networks - are actually using those same file sharing networks to research what's hot, and are even using that data to convince record stations to push certain bands. This is no surprise, but the article talks about the company BigChampagne that monitors the various file sharing services, and how it has clients that include quite a few major labels. Some music labels won't admit that they use such data, but the ones in the story seem to think it's the greatest thing around. This at the same time they're suing the very same people who are giving them all this "valuable" information. The article quotes Fred von Lohmann from the EFF saying: "We would definitely consider gleaning marketing wisdom from these networks a non-infringing use." You can almost see the gleam in his eyes, reading that quote. Ah, the irony of having the best "non-infringing" use example be the one that the music labels themselves are doing.
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