Warner Music Sues Seeqpod: How Dare It Help People Find Stuff Warner Wishes Didn't Exist

from the suing-a-search-engine dept

A few months ago, Edgar Bronfman Jr., boss of Warner Music, made a bunch of headlines for supposedly "admitting" that the recording industry had taken the wrong strategy and had "inadvertently gone to war" with customers. That was a pretty big lie. That's because it wasn't inadvertent at all. Bronfman Jr., himself, had announced that he was going to send an army of lawyers after file sharing services and users way back in 2000, kicking off the war, while he was the head of Universal.

As if to highlight the fact that his "conversion" was nothing more than a PR tactic, Warner Music has continued where it left off: suing companies that aren't actually doing anything wrong. The latest is a lawsuit against Seeqpod, the rather popular music search engine/playlist maker. Seeqpod doesn't host any infringing materials. It's really just a search engine that finds music that's available elsewhere, and creates a playlist out of it. Warner is claiming that it's a violation of the DMCA. As the EFF notes, this seems like exactly the sort of situation that the DMCA's safe harbors were supposed to cover -- but it's become clear that the recording industry no longer believes those safe harbors should exist. If this case moves forward, it will be an important one, but given how expensive it would be, don't be surprised if Seeqpod gives in and decides to settle.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 8:00am

    It's a sad state of affairs when it costs lots of money to identify something like this as "legal" or not. This should be decided quickly and at no cost to the defendant.

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

  2. identicon
    Vincent Clement, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 8:23am

    The recording industry is hitting an all time low. How can they not see the benefit in making it easier to find songs?

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

  3. identicon
    Overcast, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 8:38am

    Anymore - I'd simply rather not even listen to music if it means dealing with this constant deluge of bullshit.

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

  4. icon
    chris (profile), Jan 25th, 2008 @ 8:41am


    The recording industry is hitting an all time low. How can they not see the benefit in making it easier to find songs?

    because the recording industry only wants you to find songs on the radio and buy them on CD at an approved retailer. that's the way it's worked since the 50's and that's the way they want it to work forever.

    the lawsuits will continue until you kids give up this internet nonsense and go back to paying full retail price for whole albums.

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

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 8:42am

    Their strategy is awesome...

    Sue everyone and anyone even if your wrong and hope they run out of money before you do and have to settle. Beautiful tactic and it seems to be working.

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

  6. identicon
    Erv Server, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 8:56am

    Never heard of it

    Never heard of Seeqpod, Warner must be running out of people to sue, scrapping the bottom of the barrel now.

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

  7. identicon
    shmengie, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 10:30am

    this kind of shit is exactly why i donate to the eff.

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

  8. identicon
    anonymous, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 11:08am

    well i am glad they're suing them because i would have never heard about this otherwise! ;)

    what a GREAT site, this is what the record companies SHOULD BE doing for themselves.... heres an idea mr executives, why not help this service help you.. ffs they even have tour info if available.. thanks.

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

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 11:46am

    It plays files through the site

    SeeqPod is at least briefly hosting clicked files because it plays them through its own media player, so the safe harbor may not help. Am I wrong?

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

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 12:04pm

    Another profound comment

    The sooner artists bypass the dinosaur "record" companies the better.

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

  11. identicon
    nerobossa, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 10:07pm

    Re: It plays files through the site

    No... you do not need to host media (especially music) on your own server to play it via Flash/Flex (which is what they are playing via) client side (in the viewer's browser).

    So basically, much as you could provide a direct link to the MP3 file that a user could click and start to download/play with whatever app they have designated to do so... you can also make a Flash player app that your website hosts that is able to reference the media and play it from a remote location (without a cache or proxy of the remote content on your own server).

    The ONLY limitation here is a Flash security sandbox policy that, for whatever reason, prevents you from computing the spectrum of audio not coming from your own domain (your web site itself) or from a 'permissive' domain (another web site with a 'security policy file' that essentially permits access). So, they are basically prevented from making little 'spectrum meters' or other audio visualizations of the content unless they cache it and deliver it from their own servers. Too bad, I'd love to make a playlist of random web noise and let my computer run screensaver graphics to it.

    I wonder if Warner even bothered to attempt to go through the process of notifying them of specific infringing content, or if they just jumped to sue.

    Hey warner: (A) you could use this site to identify sources of 'piracy' and send those sources a notice to comply to remove materials like you are supposed to according to the law (B) you could use this as a promotional opportunity. I searched for Herbie Hancock. I got a few obvious tracks and one I hadn't heard. If that one was linked to the album it comes from on iTunes or Amazon, I'd buy the album. Sale lost. (C) did you happen to notice the on tour linkage? hey, free promotion! (D) whether you want them to or not, this is how consumers are finding and sharing and discovering music. If you shut this site down, 10 more will pop up in its place, and there are a zillion blogs out there that link music along with scores of aggregators. These are your fans and your customer base. Stop prosecuting them and find a way to turn all this activity into financial activity.

    If this keeps up the music industry will be deader than it already is in a decade.

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

  12. icon
    PaulT (profile), Jan 26th, 2008 @ 12:47am

    Not surprising

    This is sad but not surprising. The biggest problem with the major label business model is that it depends on them selling you their product and stopping you from hearing everyone else's product. This is why payola was such a big issue - they wanted you to only hear major label content so that was all you would buy. Services like this and Pandora (which they've successfully shut down outside the US) let you hear other, better, music, which is why they're attacking it.

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

  13. identicon
    Disillusioned One, Jan 27th, 2008 @ 6:57pm

    Re: Never heard of it

    Yep, and soon enough they'll start sending lawyers to do "One on One" with specificly targetd demographics.

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

  14. identicon
    Lisa Creech Bledsoe, Jan 28th, 2008 @ 6:19am

    Not quite time

    I can't imagine that Seeqpod would have the resources to stand up to big daddy Warner. It's not quiiiiiite time for the old model to give way to the new just yet. Do you suppose it's a matter of waiting until they are just so far in the red that it's change or die?

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

  15. identicon
    lucky blue, Jun 7th, 2008 @ 11:30am

    new model

    losing millions to millions to piracy(as labels call it)every month.Legal p2p site qtrax is willing to pat warner exactly what i tunes pays them per track although universal and emi are on board old dinasaur warner is deadset against the thought of p2p they would rather go out and sue than actually try and lure users away from illegal sites,with a legal business model Remember dinasaurs couldnt adapt and became extinct...

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

  16. identicon
    greed, May 7th, 2009 @ 9:42pm

    Warner's Greed

    These companies (Warner) already are making enough money. Some things are free in life, I for one used Seeqpod which was a excellent service while I also supported (bought) CD's and the like. Warner is screwing themselves, I for one will not support that company again in any way. I'll support other entities now that offer music rather than always screwing people any way they can. As long as the internet existist, Warner & others will eventually loose a battle that can't be won, while loosing customers along the way.

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

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