Will Amazon Cave In And Get Licenses For Its Streaming Player?
from the probably dept
When Amazon recently launched its streaming cloud music player, which let people upload their own tracks and then stream them back, one of the big questions was how would the record labels react. That’s because Amazon didn’t secure licenses for this, and it’s somewhat in dispute whether or not it needs to. Of course, many of us think the law is pretty clear that no such licenses are needed at all. The music is already in the possession of the person who is streaming it. There is no additional fee that needs to be paid to listen to music you already have. Adding in a new license is just something the industry is making up because it wants more money. So, now the real question is whether or not the labels will sue… or will Amazon just cave in and pay for some made up licenses it doesn’t need.
It’s beginning to sound like the latter option is the most likely. Amazon doesn’t want to piss off the labels who it already works with for music sales (both downloads and CDs), and so it may find that it’s best just to pay up to avoid a lawsuit and other relationship problems. It might also pay up to enable other kinds of features (such as limited music sharing for people who both have the same songs in their collections).
While I can certainly understand the business reasons for avoiding a legal fight, it really would be too bad. It would be nice to see someone with the bank account to take on a serious fight really take this issue through the courts and have it shown that the major labels are simply making up a license right that doesn’t exist. Of course, the flip side of that argument is that if Amazon really did win such a fight, how long would it be until the RIAA ramps up its lobbying efforts to get Congress to change copyright law to explicitly add such a bogus “right to listen to your own music if it’s stored on a different computer.”