You Might Want To Get Record Labels' Permission Before Selling 'Legal' DRM-Free Downloads Of Their Content

from the especially-if-you're-this-guy dept

Michael Robertson's back in the news again, with his latest business idea that thumbs its nose at record labels. Robertson's got quite the track record in this space. First, with, he built a service that digitized thousands of CDs people could listen to over the web. The company made it "legal" by only allowing people to listen to songs for which they showed they had a physical CD by putting the CD into their computer and registering it with the service. Unsurprisingly, the labels disagreed, and won a copyright-infringement case against the company. A few years later in 2005, he set up, a site to sell unprotected MP3s. Unsurprisingly, none of the labels wanted anything to do with the venture, so it launched without any compelling content for sale. He then revamped the music-locker idea, hired DVD Jon to drum up some publicity, and launched it as part of MP3Tunes. Robertson had been quiet for a little while, but popped up again this week with the launch of AnywhereCD, a site selling full-length albums as unprotected MP3s. The site didn't look particularly promising because it had a pretty narrow selection, but it looks like it could be getting even narrower, as apparently Robertson didn't have permission from Warner Music to sell its content without copy protection, and the label wants it pulled from the site. Given Robertson's history, you'd think he'd be pretty mindful of this sort of thing, but then again, he's never been averse to the publicity-via-lawsuit PR technique. Perhaps what's a little more disappointing is that he's offered up new business models to the music industry, and gets met with lawsuits, rather than any interest. If users can still rip their own CDs to MP3s, why force them to buy the physical copy to get the digital version they really want?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Poster, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 10:22am

    Wow. Someone who's actually dumber than the RIAA -- who would've thought?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 10:58am


    dumb? have you seen this guys salary?

    I only wish I were so dumb...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    RandomThoughts, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 11:24am

    Dumb? Are you kidding me? The guy knows how to make money.

    Was Jeff Citron dumb for getting fined $22 million while he walked away with $500 to $800 million dollars? Sounds pretty smart to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Me, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 11:28am

    "dumb? have you seen this guys salary?"

    intelligence doesn't always relate to salary...ummmm...Congress :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 11:58am


    That's true,

    But in this case it would seem Michael Robertson's is indeed a shrewd business man.

    So calling him dumb for using publicity stunts to make lots of money is actually pretty dumb itself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    GoblinJuice, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 12:15pm


    Dude's got balls! ;-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Erv, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 1:21pm


    This dude thinks mp3 24/7

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 2:18pm

    Robertson stumbled onto, made bank, and has screwed the pooch on everything he has touched since.

    Even a broken clock is right twice a day...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    William, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 6:33pm

    Oh I just don't understand this

    Why is it such a big deal? I can buy DRM protected music and it takes just a couple minutes to get the protection off. I mean DVD are mad easy to break however they take a couple hours to format for my Ipod. I just can’t understand why its such a big deal

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    John, Apr 16th, 2007 @ 7:57am

    Go Michael!!!!!!!!

    I was an intern back at, worked right next to his sister who was really nice too. He's just exploring the boundaries between what you can and can't do (and experimenting with both technology and law!). It's unfortunate that the online jukebox he did back then got yanked offline, that was an awesome app! My company's GigaTribe will be able to do that soon (right now it "only" lets you download huge files directly from shared folders on your friends' PCs: ). Warner is screwing up here, their competitors will have a competitive advantage over them. Last good move Warner made was signing Van Halen back in the late 70's!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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