You Might Want To Get Record Labels' Permission Before Selling 'Legal' DRM-Free Downloads Of Their Content

from the especially-if-you're-this-guy dept

Michael Robertson’s back in the news again, with his latest business idea that thumbs its nose at record labels. Robertson’s got quite the track record in this space. First, with MP3.com, he built a service that digitized thousands of CDs people could listen to over the web. The company made it “legal” by only allowing people to listen to songs for which they showed they had a physical CD by putting the CD into their computer and registering it with the service. Unsurprisingly, the labels disagreed, and won a copyright-infringement case against the company. A few years later in 2005, he set up MP3Tunes.com, a site to sell unprotected MP3s. Unsurprisingly, none of the labels wanted anything to do with the venture, so it launched without any compelling content for sale. He then revamped the music-locker idea, hired DVD Jon to drum up some publicity, and launched it as part of MP3Tunes. Robertson had been quiet for a little while, but popped up again this week with the launch of AnywhereCD, a site selling full-length albums as unprotected MP3s. The site didn’t look particularly promising because it had a pretty narrow selection, but it looks like it could be getting even narrower, as apparently Robertson didn’t have permission from Warner Music to sell its content without copy protection, and the label wants it pulled from the site. Given Robertson’s history, you’d think he’d be pretty mindful of this sort of thing, but then again, he’s never been averse to the publicity-via-lawsuit PR technique. Perhaps what’s a little more disappointing is that he’s offered up new business models to the music industry, and gets met with lawsuits, rather than any interest. If users can still rip their own CDs to MP3s, why force them to buy the physical copy to get the digital version they really want?


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Comments on “You Might Want To Get Record Labels' Permission Before Selling 'Legal' DRM-Free Downloads Of Their Content”

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10 Comments
John (user link) says:

Go Michael!!!!!!!!

I was an intern back at MP3.com, worked right next to his sister who was really nice too. He’s just exploring the boundaries between what you can and can’t do (and experimenting with both technology and law!). It’s unfortunate that the online jukebox he did back then got yanked offline, that was an awesome app! My company’s GigaTribe will be able to do that soon (right now it “only” lets you download huge files directly from shared folders on your friends’ PCs: http://www.gigatribe.com ).
Warner is screwing up here, their competitors will have a competitive advantage over them. Last good move Warner made was signing Van Halen back in the late 70’s!!!

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