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Music Your Rights Online

Amazon's Cloud Player: We Don't Need a License 539

halfEvilTech writes "Amazon has launched Cloud Drive and Cloud Player without securing streaming licenses from the music industry. But does it need to? Amazon says 'No.' The music industry? 'Yes.'" Do I need a license to stream MP3s from system RAM to the MP3 player? From my hard drive to RAM? From my file server to my machine?
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Amazon's Cloud Player: We Don't Need a License

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  • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @10:09AM (#35666914)
    I would hope so. Streaming one's own uploaded music is nothing more than a specialized form of data retrieval. It's asinine to claim that Amazon cannot allow this.
  • Evolving case law (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dachannien (617929) on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @10:10AM (#35666926)

    Amazon now has the benefit of CNN et al. v. CSC Holdings, aka the Cablevision Remote DVR Lawsuit, where the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Cablevision's favor and specified that, in part, the specific actions of the remote user instructing the remote DVR to record and play back the copyrighted material served to exclude Cablevision from liability. SCOTUS refused to hear an appeal on this, so other circuits might be inclined to agree with the 2nd Circuit.

    There are probably some differences here (not knowing about the specific functionality of Cloud Player, I won't speculate), so it'll be interesting to see how far Amazon can push the envelope.

  • by Homburg (213427) on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @10:20AM (#35667048) Homepage

    It's a whole different ballgame when a for-profit company takes music it doesn't own, stores it, and streams it out, even if you are the one who is asking them to do so.

    I don't think it is. Generally, if it's legal for you to do something, it's legal for you to employ someone to do it on your behalf. I would be surprised if it would be illegal for me to, say, pay someone to come round to my house and rip my CDs for me. Amazon's system seems to be broadly analogous.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @10:31AM (#35667200) Homepage

    The music industry's official distribution channels have come down to Target, Walmart, Apple and Amazon for most of their sales. I suppose there's "FYE," but I can't remember the last time I was in one.

    Of those four, Amazon is probably the least evil in terms of what it does to suppliers. Walmart in particular is legendary for cackling like the wicked witch as it tightens the vice around its suppliers' nuts just for shits and giggles. Apple is not as bad, but is run by a man who wouldn't hesitate to make an example of a record label that screwed with it in a way that they deemed "unacceptable."

    Really, Amazon is a big stick with which they can beat both Apple and Walmart if they play their cards right. Which is about as likely as the RIAA's executive suing Congress over the DMCA calling DRM an unconstitutional and "socialistic" restraint of trade.

  • by cforciea (1926392) on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @10:33AM (#35667228)
    You would store 100,000 different copies because storage is cheap, and you might not be able to get away with feeding me back Bubba's tiny bitrate rip of the song's chorus played over and over when I ask for the version I uploaded. Excepting, of course, copies that match checksum, file size, and meta data with the version sold by Amazon, maybe (even that sounds like a lot of work when storage is so cheap).
  • by zsazsa (141679) on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @10:45AM (#35667386) Homepage

    In 2009, Amazon's corporate revenues were $26.53B. For the same year, the entire RIAA's revenues were only $6.3B.

    Amazon should be able to swat them down like a fly.

  • by delinear (991444) on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @10:51AM (#35667440)
    But it's only illegal in that one case because there is a specific law in place that overrides your legal right. That means there would need to be an existing law that says Amazon can't act as paid storage for your own legally purchased content - I'd be surprised if such a law existed.
  • by david.given (6740) <dg.cowlark@com> on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @10:58AM (#35667538) Homepage Journal

    "Asinine" is the record labels' established business plan AND profit model, you understand.

    In fact, "Asinine" might actually be a record label.

    It is. http://www.emusic.com/label/Asinine-Records-CD-Baby-MP3-Download/402721.html [emusic.com]

    (Admittedly, it's more of a 'label' than a label, having released one album and apparently being a self-publishing pseudonym, but still...)

"There are things that are so serious that you can only joke about them" - Heisenberg