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.
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Filed Under: dmca, music, search engines
Companies: seeqpod, warner music


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  1. identicon
    nerobossa, 25 Jan 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.

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