What is it with random companies springing up claiming
to have legal
download offerings that don't pass the laugh test. Remember a year ago, we talked about a company called Bluebeat.com that claimed
to be the only site where you could legally buy Beatles MP3s, based on a bit of absolutely ridiculous logic, that it was using "psycho-acoustic simulation" to recreate
the tracks, thereby giving it a brand new copyright. That company also got a registration for these "new" works by the Copyright Office, hoping that most people wouldn't notice that the Copyright Office registration process is a pure rubber stamp effort, and conveys no actual legitimacy to a bogus copyright.
Well, it looks like we've got another similar situation, as some mysterious company called ZapTunes is claiming to offer unlimited MP3 downloads for $25/month
-- with an initial "free" period, though you have to hand over your credit card details. The whole thing sounds highly questionable, however. The store claims to have licensed the work from all the major labels, including being able to offer Beatles MP3s and AC/DC MP3s -- which have not been offered in MP3 format anywhere.
In the comments on that Hypebot article, some point out that the company appears to just be scraping Last.fm data, as it found a track that one guy had created himself, which only lived on his computer (but which had been "scrobbled" and the info was sent to Last.fm). The company also claims to have raised "about $5 million in funding from various Venture Capitalists," but doesn't seem to name any of them.
Despite the claims from the company that they've secured the necessary licenses for this, it appears not everyone agrees. EMI is apparently already starting the legal process
. The whole thing really makes me wonder if these sites honestly think that people will buy their claims when there seems to be little evidence to support them. There are plenty of sites out there that offer up such content in a clearly unauthorized manner -- but at least they're honest about what they do. It seems pretty silly and destined to fail massively to falsely claim the legal rights to music you almost certainly did not license.