Amazon Launches Digital Music Locker, Even As Legality Is Still In Question

from the did-they-obtain-licenses? dept

Well, this could get interesting. While there are already a few digital music lockers on the market — including services like MP3Tunes and MeCanto — there’s been plenty of talk over the past few months about the “big players” entering the market. Most of the focus has been on both Apple (which bought and shut down the music locker service Lala) and Google, but Amazon beat both companies to the starting line and launched its service a few hours ago.


The question that’s most interesting to me is whether or not it’s paying for licenses, and at this point, it’s unclear. We’ve seen, for example, that the record labels are not happy about these services, with EMI in a legal fight with MP3Tunes. On top of that record labels are demanding additional fees and licenses, even though these lockers only allow people to store and stream music they already have. Whether or not Amazon paid any licenses is unclear. The News.com article linked above says “as of last week the online retailer giant had not obtained all the necessary licenses, but that Amazon might announce the service before all the negotiations were complete.”

But here’s my question: what necessary licenses? Why should anyone else have to pay a license to let me store and stream my own music? Update: Hypebot has more, saying that Amazon doesn’t believe it needs licenses, and some of the labels (but not all) are upset. Specifically, Warner Music is pissed and is contemplating legal action, but other labels aren’t quite as upset.

As for Amazon’s actual service, I have no idea if it’s compelling, but I will say it’s rather silly and pointless that they’re making me reupload music. I already have an Amazon S3 account which (among other things) I use to backup all of my (yes, legal and authorized) music. What would be great is if I could just point this new Amazon Cloud Player at my existing music that is already stored on Amazon’s servers, and then stream it from there. But that does not appear to be an option. Instead, I would need to reload all of it (and since I have a lot more than 5 gigs of music, I’d have to pay multiple times for it. And, with anyone else launching a similar service, I’d probably have to upload it again and again.

Let’s be honest here: that’s not really a cloud service. A true cloud service would let me store my music wherever I wanted, and then point whatever streaming player I wanted at it… But, of course, I’m sure the record labels would want another bunch of licenses paid up in full before anything like that is ever allowed.

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Companies: amazon, apple, google, mp3tunes

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Comments on “Amazon Launches Digital Music Locker, Even As Legality Is Still In Question”

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49 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Quote:

But here’s my question: what necessary licenses? Why should anyone else have to pay a license to let me store and stream my own music?

Good question.

But I have another one, what do they offer that I can’t do it myself?

I sure can put up a server in my home and stream whatever I want to any equipment I want, why would I pay to have less functionality?

Another question, why I can share music with a friend in my house but I cannot share that online with him? that doesn’t seem right does it?

This seems like the kind of arbitrary rule that is just asking to be ignored by the masses.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Another question, why I can share music with a friend in my house but I cannot share that online with him?”

I think the rationale of copyright supporters is that it’s ok to “share”, as long as there is a loser, meaning, it’s ok that you lend (and, therefore, lose access to your copy) your CDs or books to friends and family, but it is not ok if you make copies for them. If you want new copies, you must pay someone (the rights holder) to make you a copy.

Basically, in a nutshell, this system requires that you always pay someone (that holds the magical copyright) to make you a copy. My opinion is that there are a few wasted steps here, but I better pipe down or someone will blast with a barrage of insults me for “supporting piracy”.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I think the rationale of copyright supporters is that it’s ok to “share”, as long as there is a loser, meaning, it’s ok that you lend (and, therefore, lose access to your copy) your CDs or books to friends and family, but it is not ok if you make copies for them.

No offense, but if this is their rationale, it’s a completely laughable one.

Long before the creation of the Internet, fans of music were making “mix tapes” for each other. This was not a situation where the original consumer loses access to their copy.

And, of course, it was attacked by the record industry as vehemently as possible. But when all the dust had settled, the music industry eventually realized that making mixtapes helped music sales.

Who knows if they will decide that this time around (or even have the chance to before they fold). But strictly speaking, your opinion doesn’t hold water.

Obviously, you’re a freetard that supports piracy. LOL!

(not pictured: sarc marks)

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Here's another issue...

In addition to what Mike pointed out about purchased music at Amazon not being already available in the cloud, here’s what gets me about cloud-based services: upload speed.

I’m not sure about other cable companies, but I pay for a mid-tier package whose upload speed is capped around 256K/sec. Even if it hits that, how much time would it take to upload several gigs of music? I’ve had issues with timeouts just uploading single tracks to my blog, much less several hundred files at a time. So some of my hesistancy to use this (along with various cloud-based backup services) is simply logistics.

(Aside: will this post get trolled despite the fact it deals with legally purchased music? It seems it might, simply because someone’s always looking out for additional licensing fees. Speaking of which, if you stream your music over at a friend’s house, are you now liable for public performance fees?)

CharlieM (profile) says:

Seriouslly Mike? The $?

Mike, while I agree that uploading +5 gigs of music, to an otherwise unproven service (although I wouldn’t say Amazon is a fly-by-night operation) is a pain, and all your music should be “grandfathered” in… but how can you complain about the price? First 5 gigs free and another 20 gigs added if you buy a single album?

Maybe the prices are a bit high (I’m not to familiar with cloud computing/space costs), but they seem very reasonable.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Seriouslly Mike? The $?

Mike, while I agree that uploading +5 gigs of music, to an otherwise unproven service (although I wouldn’t say Amazon is a fly-by-night operation) is a pain, and all your music should be “grandfathered” in… but how can you complain about the price? First 5 gigs free and another 20 gigs added if you buy a single album?

I don’t believe I complained about the price anywhere. My only complaint was in the idea that I might need to pay twice. I’m already paying for my S3 storage.

Anonymous Coward says:

Amazon's cloud isn't secure anyway

We (people who run networks and look at the traffic coming from other networks) know this, because we see non-stop abuse coming from it. As everyone of sufficient expertise knows, that’s a surface indicator of serious underlying security issues. Now…just WHAT those issues are, I can’t say, because I’m not inside their cloud — but in one sense it doesn’t matter: they’re clearly systemic and sustained. And that’s bad. Very bad.

So Amazon, rather than launching another service on its platform, should be focused on fixing the glaringly obvious problems with their infrastructure.

Anonymous Coward says:

Didn't lala.com do this?

Before Apple bought it, lala.com did something very similar. They would let you buy songs for .10, but only for streaming via the web from the site. However, they also had a tool that you could point to your local library and make all songs you have available for streaming from their website (provided the song was also available for sale). No uploading required, all you had to do was show it a local copy of the music file and if it recognized the song, you could stream it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Only criminals use Ampache to stream music to anywhere, anytime.

Quote:

Ampache’s goal is to allow access to a person’s music from anywhere in the world. It is written specifically for private / small group implementations, but does allow an admin to enable public registration. Ampache’s primary objective is to maintain a simple, secure and fast web front end that will run on almost any hardware and any platform that supports PHP. It is also written to accommodate music collections in excess of 2 Terabytes. The largest known Ampache instance was in excess of 3 Terabytes of music.

Yep only criminals.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

What if you actually do have someone who paid for terabytes of music? Should they be labelled a criminal?
I was just reminded of a youtube video I saw one day a while ago, of a guy who built a literal home cinema in his well…home. Cost him thousands, and he also had a separate room for his collection of about 2,000 DVDs and Blu-rays. However, what pissed him off was that even though he had paid for the movies, he wasn’t allowed to rip them onto a hard drive on a computer in one room and wirelessly stream them to the projector. His “licences” didn’t allow that, and he had legally purchased all these movies.

Anonymous Coward says:

Amazon had a “digital locker” already.

Amazon S3 and Amazon streaming service already exist, cost next to nothing to use, and give you password timed locking HTTPS URLs so only you can get your music.

Now the’re making the service user friendly. (Kinda a shocker really)

Amazon S3 Devs have even said they cant look inside your locker and see your files. As such you can put anything you want from streaming FLV’s to MP3’s to direct download WMV’s.

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t see encryption or privacy being concerns to them.
What happens if someone decides to drag you into a police station and ask you for all the receipts for the music they find there would anybody be able to produce them?

Store other data in there?
Only if I’m able to encrypt it all into some form of encrypted filesystem first like a mix of GMailFS and StegFS but for that, but it doesn’t encrypt the connection to it and it also does not say what the backup policies are, I’m thinking major catastrophe here, if an earthquake hits their servers would my data be safe?

Anonymous Coward says:

Mike, the service you wish you had (streaming to multiple devices, anywhere anytime) is something that is likely only to happen when some sort of rights management system is in play. There has to be a simple way for the material to be marked for your use, and to be transmitted to a location for use on a device that you own or control.

What you want is technically easy, but with so much potential for abuse (it could pretty much become the easiest way to pirate) that right holders aren’t running to get there.

What you are more likely to see is the “microsoft cloud” that appears on their ads (but isn’t all that real) which would allow you to remotely get to your music, but at the cost of bandwidth. Third party storage solutions are nice, but active third party processing may be going past whatever “fair use” rights you might have.

I am thinking in this case that Amazon may be rushing to get into the business only to close it, agreeing with the labels and setting a standard that heads off other attempts to go to “single copy” locker solutions.

Zangetsu (profile) says:

Amazon is asking to be sued

If the digital music locker was as legal as Amazon would like people to believe, why is it only available in the U.S.? While I personally see no issue with it (after all, isn’t my music mine?) I see this as Amazon baiting the RIAA and asking to be sued. I have no doubt that Amazon lawyers have already prepared their arguments as to why this is legal.
Does this mean that music purchased through Amazon will become more expensive as the recording industry “penalizes” Amazon for introducing a business model from which they are not getting their “fair share”?

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