Trying To Paint Yahoo With The Napster Brush

from the one-size-fits-all dept

Billboard’s got its controversy wand out and is waving it over Webjay, the playlist-sharing site, saying it’s creating copyright problems for Yahoo, which bought the one-man operation back in January. Webjay is a “playlist community”, which lets users upload playlists of songs stored elsewhere on the internet so that other users can listen to them. Billboard’s trying to raise a stink over the fact that people can point to unauthorized songs (despite warnings from Webjay not to do so), and Webjay makes it pretty easy to download them, just like any song a user puts in their playlist. But Webjay doesn’t host the files itself, it acts like a search engine and essentially just links to results. Still, given how trigger-happy the music industry is on these matters — and Yahoo’s involvement — it’s surprising that the little “download” links on playlist pages have stuck around. In any case, it seems like Billboard is trying to make a big fuss out of nothing.

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Comments on “Trying To Paint Yahoo With The Napster Brush”

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Anonymous Coward says:

it has a disclaimer and doesnt actually host files

so I dont see much of a case against it

the biggest thing it has going for it is it has a disclaimer telling people not to illegally download songs – if they ignore that, its their problem (should be that way, anyway)

the second part is, if it only searches things on other, 3rd party servers, it cant control whats on those 3rd party servers – is Google or Yahoo responsible for porn comming up in search results when the porn-site spams the hell outa keywords – the search engine in question cant control that…

OptimizeDotNet (user link) says:

Billboard is right...

When I started using WebJay, I became curious about where the music was coming from. Didn’t take me long to see that a lot of people just went to “file bucket” sites and uploaded their Mp3 there, and linked it into a playlist.

I thought to myself… “Wow, anyone could easily download any song here, or create a Firefox extension to automatically play and download any song you run across on the website.” –Then I thought… “eh” if Yahoo’s behind this, I’m sure they know something I don’t know, as to why the music industry wouldn’t complain. Well… GUESS NOT.

4040 says: “if you actually use this service, you will see that you can download COMPLETELY free all of the mp3s. Yes gang, yahoo now owns a free p2p service without any DRM included.”

EXACTLY. A while back, Yahoo made a statement at the Music 2.0 conference, that labels should sell music without DRM. Somewhere in there… merit or no, considering the way WebJay operates, it would appear that Yahoo has a vested interest in eventually covering its own ass.

File it under: “What were they thinking?”



An April 2004 Wired article, written when about 100 people had contributed playlists to the site, quotes Gonze as saying, “What you can’t point to is hit songs. There’s no Eminem, there’s no Britney (Spears).” The article noted that “the site does not support links to pirated or unauthorized music. Links to such songs will be taken down.” If that was true then, it is no longer the case.

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