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Are Google Music and Amazon Cloud Player Legal? 226

Fudge Factor 3000 writes "Earlier this year both Google and Amazon introduced cloud music storage where users could upload their music and listen to it wherever they had an internet connection. The music industry, however, was up in arms because they believed that Google and Amazon had to pay additional licensing fees for their music storage services. Tim B. Lee at Ars has written an excellent summary of the legal issues surrounding these services. His ultimate conclusion is that Google and Amazon would probably withstand any legal assaults, but it still remains a tough call."
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Are Google Music and Amazon Cloud Player Legal?

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  • deja vous, anyone? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by v1 ( 525388 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @12:30AM (#36657622) Homepage Journal

    Didn't they already try to pull this with ipods?

    Sometimes it's called "shameless greed". Other times it's called "doing business".

  • by Compaqt ( 1758360 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @12:35AM (#36657640) Homepage

    And we'd just like to remind you that you need a separate license from us when:

    -you buy the CD
    -you rip it to your hard drive
    -you make backups of your hard drive
    -you copy it to your MP3 player
    -you copy it to your cloud storage
    -you stream it from your cloud storage
    -you copy it to your brains neural network

    N.B.: If you retain a copy in your brain's storage (also called "song in my head"), you'll need another license.

  • by Delarth799 ( 1839672 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @12:39AM (#36657664)
    You also forgot that you will need a license if you:
    -sing a song aloud
    -play a CD in your car too loud
    -play the radio too loud
    -write down some lyrics to remember that song later
    -in any other manner reproduce or recite a song
  • by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @01:44AM (#36657892) Journal

    No, it's incredible that companies' goals and our own public good might align such that companies seeking their own interest will be fighting for the public good, too.

    That's not something to be depressed over, it's something to celebrate the few times it genuinely happens.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @02:12AM (#36657974) Homepage

    The music industry is just one part of it. Pretty much all that work in the IP industry is looking at some form of "First they came for the music industry..." scenario. The RIAA. The MPAA. TV networks. The porn industry. The BSA. E-books. Put together there are a lot stronger forces at work to defend copyright, because they all realize it's not going to stop there. It would come to a showdown of who controls the creative output of all of them, they or the public. Sure, there's a little bit of infighting right now but don't pretend any of them has really changed sides, this is just corporate interests interfering.

    Apple is hardly in the "anti-IP" camp. They have a ton of software patents on their products, they subscribe to the idea "we designed it, we OWN that idea". They're just opposed to anything that gets in the way of their profit margins. That's the way with most these companies, they're playing both sides of the fence. Google almost closed one helluva book deal where they'd use copyright to give themselves exclusive rights to the scans. Amazon makes good money on shipping CDs, DVDs, BluRays, computer games and so on - is it in their best interest to stir the pot here? And Microsoft is of course a heavy copyright defender.

    So what are they going to say to the music industry? "You're being to obsessive-compulsive about control, ease up!" is the pot calling the kettle black - at least the music industry doesn't have mandatory online activation yet. Both the video and software industry is full of DRM that music doesn't have anymore. They just want to tug at this a little to make them back down, not unravel the whole rug. They certainly don't want the public to take any of this as any kind of endorsement or support for weakening corporate control, that's for sure. In the end I think that's why they reached an agreement, they have more to lose than to gain by bringing it to a showdown in court.

  • by Totenglocke ( 1291680 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @02:18AM (#36657986)
    So basically the RIAA is trying to claim that if you legally own an MP3 and legally join a service that lets you store said MP3 on a server, you are not legally allowed to play it directly from the server and must download it to your car / computer / phone / mp3 player first? Sorry, but I doubt that'll hold up in court (though with the morons we have in the "justice" system, you never know).
  • by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @02:20AM (#36657996)

    "Personally all music largely dies and most people are just vainly listening to it trying to recapture lost memories. Better to let the old greed driven crap die and let new open, creative commons music take it's place."

    I could not disagree more. There was great music made before I was born that is still great. There is music made now (though granted a small percentage) that will also stand the test of time. It's not all throwaway trash.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @03:21AM (#36658228)

    1) You then don't have to carry around tens of gigs of data with you wherever you go.

    Tens of gigs of data has taken a smaller space in my pocket than my keys for years.

  • by breser ( 16790 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @03:47AM (#36658304) Homepage

    I don't think Google and Amazon missed the boat here at all. I'd say that Apple missed the boat.

    Google and Amazon's services allow streaming. Apple's doesn't. Apple's service is just a sync. A sync that avoids the upload and requires the download.

    I can't access my music collection from my work computer without downloading it there. In fact my music collection becomes only available on iPhones/iPods and through iTunes. Amazon will end up being almost entirely platform neutral because they have no dog in the platform game. Google will likely try to support the IOS platform, assuming Apple lets them. I'll admit Google's support will probably lag behind the Android support and not be as good for IOS.

    How much you wanna bet me that Apple never puts anything out for Android or any other mobile platform?

    Apple's entire strategy here is to extend their lock in while fixing one of the annoyances of multi-device usage with iTunes. If they succeed we all lose.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @03:55AM (#36658340)

    "So basically the RIAA is trying to claim that if you legally own an MP3"

    Stop there! You never own music, unless you made it yourself. You "rent" music by licensing certain rights to play it under certain circumstances. The whole shebang hinges on the argument that we as consumers, rent the music and so therefore a third-party should not be allowed to step in and copy the music as it wishes, as the RIAA have not explicitly granted these third-parties the right to copy that music. Apple is getting the praise and Amazon and Google could end up in court arguing for the next 5 years over this point.

    I don't buy major label music anymore, I go to gigs and I buy direct from artists on their websites. Luckily I listen to miche music, death and black metal, so it's easier as a lot of it is still relatively indy and underground. When I pay I know the money, or a very large percentage, is going straight into the artists pocket and helping them make more music I like. I still don't own the music but at least I know that some greedy record exec is not eating a 5 course lunch on my money while the artist checks if he can afford a burger for lunch that day or get some new strings to play another gig that night.

Genius is ten percent inspiration and fifty percent capital gains.