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."

Filed Under: copyright, licenses, music, streaming
Companies: amazon


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  1. identicon
    Richard Cranium, 4 Apr 2011 @ 7:47pm

    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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