Congrats, Recording Industry: You May Now Have Killed Seeqpod Too

from the shut-'em-down dept

The record labels’ animosity towards Seeqpod has never made much sense. Seeqpod is a basic search engine that seeks out music files online. Some of these files are, undoubtedly, unauthorized copies, but Seeqpod has always been focused on streaming the music rather than letting you download the tracks. Seeqpod, itself, has no way of knowing whether the tracks are illegal or not, just as a search on Google using “filetype:mp3” doesn’t distinguish between illegal and legal files. Yet, of course, the major record labels have decided that there can be no innovation without the record labels owning a piece of it, and so both Warner Music and EMI (two labels, by the way that have been the loudest in insisting that they’ve changed and are no longer anti-innovation) sued Seeqpod for daring to run a search engine.

And, now, thanks to mounting legal bills, the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and is cutting off some developers who were using its API. It seems like yet another example of the major record labels stamping out innovation through lawsuits. Of course, others will rise in their place (most likely in foreign countries where it’s harder for the labels to sue). But, it’s pretty sad that the labels have been so successful in using questionable lawsuits to make sure that no one can innovate without their stamp of approval.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: emi, seeqpod, warner music

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Congrats, Recording Industry: You May Now Have Killed Seeqpod Too”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
RD says:

Once again...

I hope they win. Yes thats right, I hope the music industry wins a case like this. Because then, they will have to take on Google. And Google will MURDER them. You CAN NOT selectively sue just the little guys when you KNOW infringing activity is taking place elsewhere. So, they win a case like this, it sets a precedent: search engines that do not host the material are STILL responsible if they LINK to the infringing material. And that is EVERY SEARCH ENGINE IN THE WORLD. And that includes Google. And Google will stuff the lawsuit back up their asses, twist it sideways, and we’ll get a proper precedent set, likely after a Supreme Court review. Unless they buy off the judges, but thats a different argument.

The infamous Joe says:

Re: Once again...

I really wish I could believe that, but unfortunately, there is, to my knowledge (IANAL), no *requirement* for them to sue the big guys just because they sued the little guys.

Even worse, supposing they did sue Google, Google’s recent track record is to cut a deal, even if they don’t have to from a legal standpoint, instead of fighting. This just hurts everyone without the leveraging power of google, as the people who sued can now say that they have an agreement with Google, so everyone else should have the same agreement.

Ryan says:

Re: Re: Re: Once again...

You must never have heard of Google cache. Or Google Image, which shows all the images right there on the Google page.

Heck Mike, I would think you would go nutty on this one because it takes away the direct ability for “FREE!” music people to upsell the customer to scarce goods.

And…I still think you lack even a basic comprehension of the economic models being discussed here. The free music doesn’t have to actually physically accompany the concert tickets, or the band t-shirt, or whatever in the same space. Listening to it builds fans and interest–what is keeping these listeners from seeking out the music’s artists after they’ve heard it somewhere else and discovered they liked it, without which they may never have known about the music?

Weird Harold (user link) says:

It isn’t hard to see where Seeqpod went wrong.

A quick visit to their site, search for “enter sandman” (sticking it to Lars for you guys, keeping it real!). I am presented with a list of files. Click one, and the player plays the music right in the same browser window.

As a user, I have no way to tell that the music is or is not hosted by Seeqpod, and no matter what, the music is being presented “out of context”. There is no web page, no sell, no nothing. Heck Mike, I would think you would go nutty on this one because it takes away the direct ability for “FREE!” music people to upsell the customer to scarce goods.

In the end, search engines shoudl search, list, and point you at things. They shouldn’t present them inside their own site. It’s just dumb, a total rip off of other people’s content.

mike42 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

And now, complete lies out of WH.

The lawsuit is about Seeqpod giving users access to illegal and unauthorized access to copyrighted music, not about how the music is presented. As a user, you have a link where you can go to directly download the file or imbed it directly into your social networking page. This is in the complaint filed by Warner.

Jeez, WH, is it so bad that you have to resort to making up some goofball story about content presentation? Why didn’t you just shut up? Now you have completely lost all credibility. Not far to fall, though…

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s not a goofball story. Think past the end of your nose!

“unauthorized access to copyrighted music” If they were just linking to it, they at most might have had to face DMCA notices to remove infringing links (similar to what Google does). But by putting the infringing music right into a player right on their pages, well, they are well beyond being a search engine.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: Re: Re:

I would normally disagree with WH but he makes a good point and you’re missing it.

He’s pointing out that on the surface they don’t appear as a search engine. It’s hard to make the claim that you’re a merely a search engine that just happens to have accidentally turned up illegal/unauthorized content if you don’t act like all the other search engines.

For example, TPB provides torrents and links to torrents but not the files in the torrents. Google provides links to web pages but not the actual page(yes, I know about google cache but that’s another matter entirely, we’re talking about the main functionality of a search engine, not the extra services they might provide). And none of them provides the resulting page *on their own search results page*.

I know, we’re gonna argue that they’re being innovative or what-have-you but in doing so they may have crossed the line from claiming to be a search engine to being a content provider that profits directly from the content of others. I don’t like it but that is the picture they are presenting.

Again, I don’t normally agree with WH(actually this is probably the first semi-logical thing I’ve heard him state) but he does make a good point in this instance.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: Re:

Oddly, I have to agree with you a bit there. If Seeqpod is utilizing their own player then it does make the “we’re just a search engine” argument a bit contrived. If they linked to a site that then played the music through their own player, that would be different.

I haven’t checked out the site so I’m not 100% sure it is as you say, WH, but assuming it is, you have finally written something with insight. Don’t get cocky though.

mike42 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Sooo… Microsoft is liable because it searches your hard drive for media, but DOESN’T check to see if the music/movies are legal or not? Or are you trying to say that because they have an internet-enabled player, they magically become more liable than a player that doesn’t live on the local machine?

And yes, the SeeqPod player DOES run on your machine. It runs on a flash player which executes locally. So, if SeeqPod is infringing, so is every media player that is internet-enabled, and probably every player that can possibly play media without checking copyright status.

Sorry, but WH is a delusional corporate apologist, and your argument doesn’t hold water.

robin (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

And yes, the SeeqPod player DOES run on your machine. It runs on a flash player which executes locally.

excellent point imho. it’s not however going to stop harald the troll. his point here is not discussion but interference.

note as well, the upcoming html5 is going to have an audio tag. streaming, embedding and sharing is only going to get easier. as it should.

mike42 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

What does search engine/not search engine have to do with copyright infringement? They are rightly claiming that they do not host the infringing material, they are just providing a link to it. Repackaging it the same way that Google does, and including a link to the original source.

I guess your point is that the site also includes a part that automatically runs a media player on your machine, and links to that media file? None of the offending material ever resides on their system or servers. Do you comprehend that?

ehrichweiss says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Seeqpod is claiming to be a search engine and hence their claim that is where their revenue comes from and that’s also their claim to innocence(“we’re just a search engine so we don’t directly profit from the content of our search results and we’re not responsible for the content we do turn up”) except they don’t appear to be like any search engine I’ve ever used and they are making revenue by providing other people’s content directly on their page.

That in and of itself is enough to remove any defense that a safe harbor might provide.

The infamous Joe says:

Re: Re:

I’m not sure you know how the digital world works.

If you link something online (like a file) there is no expressed agreement that the user must look at the site to be allowed to download the file. (see: wget) If these people didn’t want the general internet populace to have access to said files, they would simply put up a paywall.

You really need to stop thinking of digital content in a non-digital way. It doesn’t translate smoothly, and seems to only add to your (quite apparent) confusion.

The bottom line:

If the music is unauthorized, it is well in the content creator’s right to hunt the people who uploaded the content to whatever server down without mercy and give them a good spanking for being so evil. Or, ya know, issue a DCMA takedown and get it taken down. You know the drill. No where is the search engine (and it makes no difference if it’s geared towards music [Seeqpod] or images [Google Images]) at fault.

If the music is authorized, then complaining that a search engine found it is more than silly. If the content creator doesn’t want people to have access to it, then don’t put it freely on the internet. There are no ifs ands or butts.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: Re: Re:

(again, disclaimer, this is the first time I’ve seen WH say something with some logic so try to pay attention here)

Seeqpod aren’t exactly acting like your common search engine and it has absolutely nothing to do with the content(or caching, etc.) so we can drop that argument right now. They are providing a link that opens their player on their own results page. That’d be like google presenting your site’s full content on their results page as though it were their own. It would, in a court of law, show they were directly profiting from others’ content. If they had provided the resulting page(and the player on that page if it existed) then it would be much easier to make their case. As it is, it looks like Seeqpod are directly providing and profiting from the content and that’s just not good for their case.

mike42 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You are saying that, if you havea copyrighted picture on the web, I cannot link to that picture and display it on my page without infringing on your copyright. I’m not talking about trademark here, pure copyright.

Notice at no time have I copied the file to my site, just created a link which displays when a user loads my page.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Google Image Search originally did this, and they got slapped for it. Now image search returns thumbnail size images, and when you click on the image, it shows the full page in context (insider a good topper frame) and also a link directly to the picture – but that picture is not shown in a google frame, and is subject to whatever hotlinking / direct linking rules are on the server.

Google does not put the images in full size on their pages, they put thumbnails, which is similar to listing the title and an extracted text from a webpage.

mike42 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Lying troll again. I am getting sick of refuting your stupid claims for the benefit of the innocent. The main page always showed thumbnails because it is convenient. Then it links to the original page, AND adds a link to JUST THE IMAGE which shows IN IT’S OWN PAGE (no context).

Get outa here, Ol’ Weird Harold!

ehrichweiss says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Again, I hate to admit it(I wish this were an April Fool’s joke on my part) but he’s right. When you do an image search you get a thumbnail(that’s been declared perfectly legit in the courts) and when you click on that image you get 2 things:

1) A frame that shows a link directly to the image on the site in question
2) The page that contains the image in question.

That link directly to the image IS to the original site, not Google, so Google isn’t remotely claiming ownership of the image.

Seeqpod has a link that pulls up their own player that plays the music in question without once transferring the user to the site the result came from so it appears as though Seeqpod is the owner of the content. That’s just asking for trouble. They’re also not giving a “thumbnail”(preview) but the whole song. That again makes it appear as though they’re not a search engine at the heart of it all.

I would love to stick up for them but if I were on a jury, I’d have to vote against them at this point from those few facts alone. Just because they’re P2P doesn’t mean they’re necessarily doing something we should support. I don’t blindly follow someone because of their name and neither should anyone else.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

The Perfect 10s case has specifically to do with the thumbnailing and presenting in frame of pages that images that were in violation of Perfect10’s copyright (their claims were often a little overzealous, but that is for another day). Basically, it was an issue of third party infringement.

It’s a much longer story than that, and I am more aware of this case than some of the others that come up here. Let’s just say that at the end of the day, google has pages of thumbnails and links to images, and website owners and server operators have the choice to block or redirect traffic that requests images directly.

It isn’t the same at all as Seeqpod playing music files from within their own webpage interface. A very different story altogether.

mike42 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Harold, do you understand what, “COPY” means?

I guess not, and furthermore, I wasn’t addressing you.

You are truly nothing more than the latest green-haired troll on this site.

PS I went to your site. You seem to have more unauthorized images than any site I’ve ever seen!

Stupid, lying, hypocritical troll is no way to go through life, son.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I’m not even talking about copyright. The main part of the matter has nothing to do with copyright but let’s analyze your assertion here in the context of what was going on with Seeqpod:

If I have a group of images covered by copyright and you’re displaying them as if they are in your gallery through hotlinking and you are directly making revenue from that display AND you’re claiming to be a search engine then you’re going to find it difficult to prove your innocence due to the fact that you’re displaying the image as if it were a part of your own site. The search engine assertion fails because you’re not displaying thumbnails, previews, etc. but the image itself.

Google images(cause I know this is gonna come up) shows thumbnails, clicking on that provides two things: the context that they found the image(the page on the original site within a frame) and a link directly to the image. Seeqpod didn’t do anything of the sort. If it were an image it is the equivalent of the above paragraph, they would have displayed it as if it were their own product. That’s just not gonna look good.

mike42 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I’m not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure that when a party brings suit for copyright infringement, it’s about copyright infringement. I linked this before, but I’ll do it again: Google only got in trouble FOR THE THUMBNAILS, because that part was actually ON THEIR SERVERS. And if you have actually used Google Images, you will find a link TO THE IMAGE ITSELF.

The defense of the search engine is that it doesn’t host the material. What don’t you understand about that? It has nothing to do with repackaging.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I understand all about the Perfect 10 thumbnail trial and you’re missing the point: these aren’t previews(aka thumbnails) of the songs that Seeqpod’s presenting but the songs themselves. Also the Perfect 10 trial had a lot to do with how Google presented and used those thumbnails that the EFF document you are quoting isn’t presenting. Try looking into that for more details as to why they didn’t side fully for Google.

mike42 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I think I am typing to a brick wall. HELLO? The THUMBNAILS, the PREVIEWS, were what was INFRINGING. I have no idea what you two loonies are bs’ing about, because you don’t reference it anywhere. Try a link! Or read mine! Or actually read the complaint against SeeqPod! Or just shut up and quit trying to mislead people!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:,_Inc.

I quote:

“P10’s claims of direct infringement were twofold. First, it argued that Google’s framing of infringing websites constituted direct infringement by Google itself, and requested that Google be enjoined from so framing websites infringing its content”

So it was NOT in fact just about the thumbnails. Now would you care to blabber at me some more, idiot?

jg says:

Re: Re:

reply to comment :””As a user, I have no way to tell that the music is or is not hosted by Seeqpod, and no matter what, the music is being presented “out of context”. There is no web page,””

That is incorrect .. for the sake of argument i searched the same title “enter sandman”. like you said you are presented with a list of files. You see the file name and directly below the name ( have to be blind to miss it) you will find the URL for the file.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Holy fucking shit. You’re worse than a troll because ALL you seem able to say is “troll, troll, troll, troll”. Can you say it a few thousand more times so I’ll think of you in the same way? Seriously, you can say it once or twice and be done with it OR just stop fucking replying to him in the first goddamn place. You’ll be batshit fucking crazy by the time you turn 23 if you keep acting like that all the time.

Curious Jorge says:

vs Youtube

by Weird Harold – Apr 1st, 2009 @ 9:26am
“A quick visit to their site, search for “enter sandman” (sticking it to Lars for you guys, keeping it real!). I am presented with a list of files. Click one, and the player plays the music right in the same browser window.”

How is that different than the exact same search on Youtube. When I search for ‘enter sandman’ on youtube, I get 11,500 hits. If I select one of those hits, I am presented with the song, played right in the browser window.

Andrew R. says:


I am not certain that I agree with the notion that because this particular search engine doesn’t look like other search engines, or does not force you to view the search results in its original context, it is infringing. Google Reader (and many other RSS feed management and consumption tools) can be considered search tools, and they display all sorts of information outside of the context of the originating publication. Indeed, you can listen to inline audio datastreams provided by those feeds without leaving the Google Reader’s site.

This search engine seems to simply distill its parameters for data retrieval further than most other similar tools, and presents the resultant, freely linkable (if not legally acceptable, I don’t presume to know) data in a useful format.

If the legal issue is simply one of citation, then that should be easy enough to address with minor interface changes.

I have no legal experience, but as far as I know there is no legal reason that a piece of software has to consume a data feed and present the resultant information as the creator of the feed intended. If this were the case, then we would not have multiple web browsers, display inconsistencies, legal ad blocking software, css injection systems, and many other tools that allow our individual display of information freely available on the internet to diverge. Advertisers routinely modify content on the fly to inject their experiences into peoples daily web browsing experience.

It might, however, be polite to do so.

Andrew R. says:

Re: Re: Odd

Thank you for the feedback. Not having any formal legal background does not preclude me from having observations that might be useful.

I see precedent for my position concerning the specific argument that “the way a search engine looks and how it returns results” is at the very least an unstable argument with the wide variety of tools that are (apparently) legal (or at least have not yet had the legal hammer used against them) and modify the users experience/view of the resultant data sets. These tools are used by end users, search providers, advertisers, and other interested parties.

If this is the case, then the issue has to be with the actual dataset returned, not its display. If not, then ANYBODY creating a “search engine” will be limited in their ability to make useful and potentially innovative tools or face similar legal action.

If it is a dataset problem, then search engines attempting to be completely lawful will always fail (until all unlawful content is removed from the internet). If it is a data display problem there is some hope that tools we take for granted will be considered legal, but this too provides many problems for other established tools built by so many people on both sides of the argument that it seems like I must be missing something. Yet it seems unlikely (to me) that this can be a data display problem without setting precedents (or perhaps they are already set, anyone care to comment?) that will widely effect the shape of the internet and the tools legally allowed to be built upon it (for better or worse).

The implication to me as a layman is that if Seeqpod is illegal (for any of the reason(s) above), then many of the current search and experience modification tools users across the US take for granted could also be considered illegal. They may not be under fire for business reasons, but (pure opinion) we have a much more broken legal system than I believed if the scenario I describe is even close to reality.

I would appreciate any constructive criticism anyone would care to offer on these interpretations.

DMNTD says:


WOW…as fun as all this copy horseshit is to discuss cause its a JOKE(copyright=dead innovation), just ADMIT that it was innovative in the term of how a search engine handles a specific format.

Honestly, if you are dumb enough to hear something exactly specified and think it belongs to said search engine…why do I want you as a fan of MY art, and how in any way could I make a profit of of said DUMB consumer?

Money bores everything.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...