from the slipped-that-one-right-by-the-goalie dept
To be honest, I don't think it's a big deal, beyond the simple note of surprise that the major labels actually allowed this to happen. Beyond that, all the buzz about "legitimizing piracy" is a bunch of hot air. The simple fact of the matter is that once people had these songs on their hard drive, they were effectively legitimized. The only lawsuits were really over distribution. And while there may have been some efforts (such as in the Jammie Thomas case and the Joel Tenenbaum case) to establish where certain files came from, those were minor points and wouldn't be impacted by Music Match. Basically, this whole focus on "legitimizing" those works is a red herring. No one was getting in trouble for those works on their hard drives, and just because they move into the iTunes cloud doesn't mean that anything changes. At all.
What may be a much bigger copyright issue is the one raised by James Grimmelmann, who points out the much-less-press-generating announcement of AirDrop, and how it creates local, encrypted, peer-to-peer networks over WiFi. As Grimmelmann notes:
This is going to be yet another darknet vector. Imagine walking into a cafe, browsing someone elseís iTunes library, asking them for one of their albums, and getting it via AirDrop--all without knowing whose computer yours is interacting with. Sonyís rule on dual use technologies almost certainly absolves Apple of liability from any resulting infringement. Instead, this is yet another example of how technological changes are increasing the velocity with which media circulate, regardless of what copyright law may have to say about it.Kind of makes you wonder if the labels knew about that as part of their agreement over Music Match...