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.”

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Companies: amazon

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Comments on “Will Amazon Cave In And Get Licenses For Its Streaming Player?”

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Dennis S. (profile) says:

They want us to pay multiple times again, or perhaps still.

So basically it is a file storage service for music you have already purchased for your own enjoyment that allows you to access said music anywhere for your own enjoyment (yes, it’s possible some files some people upload could be pirated).

The music industry wants us, or perhaps Amazon, to pay for it again if you use this service.

It’s the same old argument that they lost before about ripping music to MP3 players.

What if I set up my own streaming server at home that did the same thing (just for me and I wouldn’t give the password out)?
By their logic I should pay for the music again.

Goodness these people are morons.

Mike C. (profile) says:

Re: They want us to pay multiple times again, or perhaps still.

Even worse…

It’s a FILE storage service that happens to have an app that will let you play music files stored there. The service doesn’t care what kind of files you have. The Cloud Player just happens to be able to stream MP3’s to whatever device you’re using to connect to the remote file storage.

To say that major media are just being greedy bastards here is a severe understatement.

Not an Electronic Rodent says:

Re: They want us to pay multiple times again, or perhaps still.

What if I set up my own streaming server at home that did the same thing (just for me and I wouldn’t give the password out)?
By their logic I should pay for the music again.

Although that does seem to be their ultimate aim – to have you pay them every time you move/store/retrieve/listen to/think about music – in this case it’s actually completely without logic…

Setup UPnP music server on home wireless for streaming to your media player – WEP protected so you’re not technically inviting people in but anyone who wants can probably get to everything you’ve got in about 5 seconds…. well that’s absolutely fine (currently!).

Store music on secure server that only you can easily get to unless you specifically give someone the password… oh well you’ll need a license for that.Totally barmy.. but hten when was the last time a claim from these people made any kind of logical sense?

Hmm sudden thought… by RIAA “logic”, if I do the UPnP/WEP thing and someone “steals” all my music I should be able to have them arrested for theft and sue them for a whole bunch of damages for having deprived me of all that music… right?

Anonymous Coward says:

i’ve been using this service from amazon since it started last week. I like it. But that doesn’t mean i won’t end my account if Amazon publicizes that they didn’t fight for this and just paid for a license. I already purchased my media and refuse to pay for it again. nor will i be a party to the losers in the RIAA getting additional money just because i have an account. even if my account only costs amazon 1 cent i will still cancel it.

Anonymous Coward says:

“… other kinds of features (such as limited music sharing for people who both have the same songs in their collections).”

Ummm, why would you share a song the other person already has? Anyhoo….

Ok… So… I’ve got a brilliant idea…

Start up a children’s bookstore. Sell the book with the understanding that they own a license to the content. Then, when they try to read it aloud to their children at bedtime, sue them and their children (and their neighbors, if they leave the window open.) You’ll be rich – so long as you send a bogus enough letter that they pay up out of fear, instead of going to court.

fogbugzd (profile) says:

Other problems Amazon must deal with

Amazon might not be the best test case for whether you need a license to let people listen to their own music. A standard part of on-line music sales licenses is that Amazon only allows people to download music it sells once. Therefore the question is whether Amazon is violating its contract with the labels when it lets users download music more than once from the locker. It sounds like there might be a couple of other pesky little contract issues, so the decision to pay up might be based more on contracts than on copyright. Of course, if Amazon pays up for any reason I am sure that the labels will cite the Amazon Cloud as setting a precedence for the need for cloud storage streaming licenses.

CommonSense (profile) says:

Re: Other problems Amazon must deal with

Amazon isn’t really letting it’s users “download music more than once from the locker”. From what I understand, it’s letting you stream it over a media player from your on-line storage account, which is basically like having an on-line iPod, or an external hard drive that you store your music on and hook up to your entertainment center to listen to (only portable).

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

It's solely a greed move if they get streaming fees

This is no different than loading up a portable hard drive or mp3 player full of tunes and plugging it into someone else’s computer. It’s more convenient, but playing music via any player is “streaming,” whether the player exists solely online or not.

“Streaming” = “playing.” The only difference is the vagueness of internet “space.”

CommonSense (profile) says:

Even bigger...

I think there’s an even bigger loss here. If Amazon were to put up a fight, they have the resources to bleed the RIAA a bit in court, no? Not likely enough to kill them, but I’d like to think maybe enough to make it harder for them to get their “right to listen to your own music if it’s stored on a different computer.”

To be honest, I believe that the RIAA needs Amazon much more than Amazon needs them. I go to Amazon for a lot of stuff, none of which is music. I know a few people that do go there for music though, and if Amazon stopped offering it for them, they wouldn’t go somewhere else to pay for it if you know what I mean.

Richard Cranium says:

The Cave-In

Amazon isn’t going to cave in because if the music labels sue Amazon, Apple and Google will side with Amazon against the labels.

Follow the Money.

While it’s true that the music labels could burn the Amazon bridge and survive, they could not burn the Amazon, Apple, Google bridge without serious permanent harm.

The reason Amazon chose to do it now is because both Apple and Google have similar systems eminent. Both Apple and Google will come running to Amazons aid in the event of a suit against Amazon.

They want to not have to pay a licensing fee. They are going to move heaven and earth to make sure they don’t.

I’m sure that SOMEONE at Google/Amazon/Apple realized that if you impose a licensing fee on music lockers, which would have to be passed on to the consumers, the consumers would vote with their pocketbooks to walk away from any such scheme, dooming it to early death.

The record companies don’t care about this. They are not in the business of expanding choices for the consumer as they have proven time and time again.

They are not in the business of protecting the artist as they have proven time and time again.

They are in the business price-fixing, price gouging, legislation fixing, law bending and law breaking all in the service of perpetuating a business system that only exists as a shadow of it’s former self.

“We made billions this way in the 70s and by god if we can shove all the tech genies back in the bottle again we will make billions once more.”

They are in the business of screwing over as many people as they can to keep their failed business model afloat.

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