Wait, Do Copyright Holders Love Or Hate iTunes Music Match?
from the it's-wonderful!-it's-terrible! dept
We’ve already discussed the pointlessness of arguing over whether or not iTunes new Music Match service “legalizes” infringement. It does not. No one cared about the files on anyone’s hard drive, so this doesn’t make one whit of difference. Besides, my hard drive has tons of music that wasn’t purchased on iTunes, but was ripped (legally) from CDs I own. How can anyone tell the difference? On top of that, if for some reason, someone actually did care about the files on a hard drive, the fact that there were copies from the “iCloud” wouldn’t “legitimize” the files at all.
And yet… it’s kinda funny to see the varying reactions to all of this, especially from the copyright holders themselves. On the one hand, we have a Forbes story highlighting how the IFPI loves the new service:
IFPI?s chief executive, Frances Moore, told me via email that iTunes Match was ?good news for music consumers and for the legitimate digital music business. It is the latest example of music companies embracing new technology, licensing new services that respect copyright and responding to the new ways consumers want to access and enjoy music.?
Yet, apparently not all copyright holders are so thrilled. aguywhoneedstenbucks points us to a different article, where the guy who holds the rights to Jimi Hendrix’s music in Australia appears to be pretty upset about the whole thing:
Brisbane-based intellectual property lawyer Ken Philp said iTunes Match provided a means for people to “launder” pirated music, as it would substitute a pirated track on a person’s hard drive for a legitimate version accessed from the cloud.
Mr Philip, who is retained to defend the intellectual property rights of Jimi Hendrix’s collections in Australia, said iTunes Match had the potential to legitimise pirated collections and encourage more piracy.
That makes little sense. As we’ve already pointed out there’s no real legal benefit to moving your songs to the iCloud. Of course, it’s not too hard to figure out the real backstory here. Apple paid out about $150 million upfront to the major labels — the companies represented by the IFPI. So of course the IFPI is happy about it. Folks like Mr. Philp, however, didn’t get any cash, so of course he’s upset. But, it’s not like he was going to get random cash from some new source anyway, so it’s not clear what he’s complaining about.
As an interesting contrast, that Forbes article above quotes former Pirate Bay spokesperson Peter Sunde pointing out how silly Music Match is:
Peter Sunde, co-founder of file-sharing site The Pirate Bay says iTunes Match marks a big step towards consumers losing control of their media. The problem isn?t the $25, it?s that it doesn?t make sense to pay Apple, with its closed-source system, to gain access to music you?ve downloaded. More crucial than that, he says, is what that could mean for the future of sharing music.
Sunde cites Spotify as an example. The music-streaming service does let you share music links with your friends, but they must have a Spotify account to hear them. People who use Spotify have already stopped sharing and keeping their songs, he says. ?In the end if people are dependent enough on the services, there will be no more copies [on local drives].?
Sunde later warns that relying on Apple may backfire for people, if it suddenly decides to “remove” tracks it believes don’t belong there.
On the whole, I tend to agree with Sunde on this. First of all, I don’t see how this legitimizes “piracy” at all — as explained above. I also don’t see it as being all that compelling. Almost all of the features Apple offers I already have set up through alternative means. And I’m not clear why I should pay Apple $25/year to gain access to the music I already paid for.