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539 comments

As I and many others pointed out yesterday (5, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#35666802)

My.MP3.com [wikipedia.org] tried out a similar argument years ago, and it cost them a $53 million lawsuit (which bankrupted them). And in many ways this is even worse. MP3.com at least required you to prove you actually owned a disc before you could stream it. Amazon will let you upload ANYTHING (pirated, ripped, bought--makes no difference) and stream it.

Now Amazon certainly has a better cadre of lawyers at its disposal than mp3.com did. And it has a lot more muscle with the industry (since it's once of the leading music retailers). But, even with that, this is still a stunningly ballsy move on their part. Hell, Sony sues people for even looking funny at their IP.

And, yes, I hope Amazon wins out on this. If nothing else, it would set a nice precedent for Google and Apple to open up their upcoming music cloud services in a similar fashion.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35666860)

My.MP3.com [wikipedia.org] tried out a similar argument years ago, and it cost them a $53 million lawsuit (which bankrupted them). And in many ways this is even worse. MP3.com at least required you to prove you actually owned a disc before you could stream it. Amazon will let you upload ANYTHING (pirated, ripped, bought--makes no difference) and stream it.

That is exactly why the Amazon service looks like it might stand up legally. The user has to upload the content rather than it originating from a central source. This may seem like a subtle distinction but it changes the legal standpoint massively.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#35666898)

Something tells me that Sony and friends won't see it that way.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (5, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 3 years ago | (#35666952)

How they see it in non-important in the end though. They've already made their position clear on the matter. What matters is whether or not they can convince a court that they are being illegally harmed. That's often a whole different reality than how a party wants to "see" an issue.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (5, Interesting)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35667016)

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.

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

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

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about 3 years ago | (#35666958)

I'm of two minds on this one. When you purchase a CD, you do get license to play that CD, fair use, etc. In this case, Amazon is acting as an intermediary for the end user, and providing the infrastructure for that functionality, but Amazon themselves do not have license for these.

I somehow think Amazon is going to pull back a bloody stump on this one. There are differences between taking your bought and paid for music collection and putting on a file server you own, and streaming your own music to your devices. 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.

Seems to me (IANAL), that this is very shaky ground, especially if they are not validating that the licenses for these are valid to begin with (verifying the end users bought the music themselves).

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (5, Insightful)

chaboud (231590) | about 3 years ago | (#35667018)

You need to read up on the DMCA Safe Harbor provisions. ISPs and hosting providers are *not* responsible for the content pushed to them by users. Besides, it's a private, per-user setup.

What about the content that you put on Sky Drive? In GMail? in regular email? On your ftp server at your hosting provider?

It is not the responsibility of ISPs to audit and police every bit that passes over their equipment. Simple common sense and the law both agree with me (a rare gem in itself).

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (3, Interesting)

Homburg (213427) | about 3 years ago | (#35667048)

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.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (4, Insightful)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 3 years ago | (#35667146)

It is legal for me to "beat my meat".
I do not think it is legal in most places around me to hire someone to do it for me. :)

Just having fun is all.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

afidel (530433) | about 3 years ago | (#35667282)

No, it doesn't. Amazon's just offering a more convenient interface to their cloud storage service. The fact that they are making place shifting easier doesn't make it any less legal.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#35667064)

There is no difference here, ultimately the end users would be responsible for any infringement, but in this case there would be no infringement involved as there is no distribution. As long as Amazon has something in place to prevent these accounts being used for distribution they should be legally in the clear.

The RIAA of course doesn't agree with that, but those are the same people that make money by selling people several copies of the same work because their DRM prevents people from making full use of their fair use rights.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

badran (973386) | about 3 years ago | (#35667082)

They are basically providing you with a VPS home file server which is stored on their end.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 3 years ago | (#35667100)

There are differences between taking your bought and paid for music collection and putting on a file server you own, and streaming your own music to your devices

Where does the difference start?

  1. I rip my CDs and play them, is this legal?
  2. I stream the ripped music from my laptop to my hifi, is this legal?
  3. I store it on a file server on my local network and stream it to whichever computer / device I want to use, is this legal?
  4. I move the file server into a colo and stream it from there, is this legal?
  5. I replace the dedicated server with a VM on someone else's system, is this legal?
  6. I replace the dedicated VM with an account on someone else's system, is this legal?

None of these steps look like they would be illegal in any jurisdiction where format shifting is allowed.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35667144)

Notice every one of your sentences starts with 'I' except for all the bits where Amazon is involved which you seemed to have excluded. I doubt the courts will be so willing to ignore that Amazon IS in the picture.

There are two parties involved.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | about 3 years ago | (#35667242)

The music cartel would prefer that you have to buy a separate license for each kind of use.

Actually they prefer a metered pay per play model, but they haven't gotten that one, yet.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (4, Insightful)

FictionPimp (712802) | about 3 years ago | (#35667162)

Are they going to go after dropbox, jungledisk, or any other generic cloud storage people have been using to do this well before amazon thought about it?

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (5, Informative)

mclearn (86140) | about 3 years ago | (#35666970)

Actually, TFA states that if you purchase an MP3 from Amazon, it is automatically synced to their service. But other content will have to be uploaded, yes.

New Napster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35667030)

Basically Amazon re-invented Napster.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (3, Insightful)

halfEvilTech (1171369) | about 3 years ago | (#35666884)

If I remember correctly, My.MP3.com also allowed users to share their collection as well which is was certain to doom it from that aspect in itself. Now as long as this is locked to your account only I would see no problem with this.

I am rooting for Amazon obviously in this case and hopefully finally end the RIAA ability to double, triple dip their excessive licenses.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

One Louder (595430) | about 3 years ago | (#35666936)

I don't think MyMP3.com allowed sharing, however, MP3Tunes (also created by Michael Robertson) does, and they're being sued by EMI over it.

Apparently the distinction doesn't matter to the record companies - they sued in both scenarios.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

Fibe-Piper (1879824) | about 3 years ago | (#35666886)

Gotta agree with the parent post here. The "what's yours is yours, unless it is more mine", as an argument determined by corporate executives and armies of lawyers has got to go. Amazon should have no problem fighting off piss ant record companies at this point.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35666908)

No. my.mp3.com would not let you upload anything. I'm am so fed up with every idiot with a keyboard thinking they know everything, and every billion $$$ company should follow their advice, as if they didn't have people smarter than them working full time on problems they've given hardly more than a passing glance.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#35666950)

Amazon may well have a very well-thought-out plan here (I never claimed otherwise). I guess we'll see.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | about 3 years ago | (#35667028)

If you've ever worked on a large project for a billion $$$ company your opinion of their competence wouldn't be so high. Things may be meticulously handled because the boss said so and allocated appropriate resources, they may appear to be meticulously handled because the boss said so but the employee thinks they can get away with slacking and it's not important anyway, or they may be done they way they are because the boss is in a pique and decreed it, and even though everybody involved thinks it's fucking crazy, nobody wants to argue with Jeff Bezos when he's in that kind of a mood, and according to CEO-think changing your mind is showing weakness.

Note: Jeff Bezos is just an example, I don't actually know if he's one of those CEOs (most are though).

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (5, Informative)

Cheviot (248921) | about 3 years ago | (#35666928)

This is a different situation than my.mp3.com. In that case the website stored one copy of each piece of music, required the user to verify they owned it, then allowed you access to their stored copy. This was found to be actionable as they were allowing multiple people to download one master copy of a MP3, essentially repeatedly pirating that MP3.

Amazon is establishing a separate cloud drive for each user. If you buy a MP3 they copy it to your personal drive for you. They also allow you to upload your music to that drive. There is a separate copy of each song stored on the cloud drive for each user, and the only MP3s Amazon copies to the drive are legally purchased. As the user can only download what they have uploaded or purchased, no piracy occurs, at least on Amazon's part. Users may be storing pirated music on their personal cloud drives, but these are private file storage areas and do not allow MP3s to be exchanged among users, thus the cloud drive does not facilitate piracy.

Why that case should have failed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35666996)

Why that case should have failed: that digital copy was necessary to use the product. A copy required in the normal use of a copyrighted work is not covered by copyright.

PS in both cases, you've "bought a license", therefore that license either exists or doesn't. Since the digital recording is not the thing you bought, neither case has something that you lose money over.

Re:Why that case should have failed. (5, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#35667112)

You didn't buy a license you bought a copy. CDs do not come with EULAs or ToS that dictate otherwise and I've never opened a jewel case and found such an agreement. Admittedly, it's been years since I bought anything from a major studio, but I doubt that much has changed.

Consequently, if that's how they view it and expect it to be treated, they'd be liable for all sorts of false advertising and fraud suits.

Re:Why that case should have failed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35667142)

"A copy required in the normal use of a copyrighted work is not covered by copyright."

It's not technically that broad, unfortunately. There is a specific exception for computer programs - for the fleeting copies required to run them - but songs are not programs. Perhaps there is case law on format shifting? If so, that would be more to the point. But it's not just sitting there in the text of the Act.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35667070)

which is all very well, but if I were Amazon, would I **actually** store 100,000 separate copies of The Lion Sleeps Tonight.mp3 on various points throughout a cloud drive network, or would I just use symlinks?

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (2)

bryansj (89051) | about 3 years ago | (#35667224)

Probably symlinks for the Amazon purchased music only. If 100,000 users uploaded a file with the same name then it would be 100,000 individual copies of the same file.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (2, Interesting)

cforciea (1926392) | about 3 years ago | (#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).

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (2, Insightful)

doconnor (134648) | about 3 years ago | (#35667134)

I suspect that, behind the scenes, if a two users upload identical files Amazon will only store one copy.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 3 years ago | (#35667212)

Why? Disk storage is cheaper than the processing power it would take to compare each new upload to the several billion files already uploaded. Something as simple as changing the ID3 tags from "Nobuo Uematsu" to "Uematsu Nobuo" would make the files different enough to require two copies. Multiply that by the millions of songs people will upload. Add in the fact that two people ripping the same audio CD (even with the same encoder and same settings) may not end up with identical files...

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35667230)

Right, but they won't make this part of Cloud Drive explicitly, to avoid legal issues. Instead way down at some internal storage layer beneath the service, they'll implement this as file-level or block-level storage de-duplication.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

Cheviot (248921) | about 3 years ago | (#35667234)

I would too, if not for the earlier my.mp3.com case. Since that happened they'd be crazy to do as you suggest. Surely their lawyers would have pointed this out to Amazon.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

dr2chase (653338) | about 3 years ago | (#35667250)

If it gets to the point that the RIAA lawyers are arguing against the use of de-duplicating storage systems, I think they've probably lost.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

hippo (107522) | about 3 years ago | (#35667192)

Lets hope the RIAA lawyers don't realize that Amazon will be de-duping this data.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (5, Insightful)

caseih (160668) | about 3 years ago | (#35667218)

So... it's legal until Amazon starts running a dedup algorithm on their disks. Crazy.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#35667226)

which is insane. If it's the same data, why should we need to make many copies? It's very wasteful.

Think how cheap it would be if they just had 1 copy of all music and then gave access to people after they prove they bought the track? I mean, what would that be? 10 TB of data, maybe? now it's 5Gigs per person, min.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35666942)

If this were decided by what was just, or even by what was the law, I don't see how Amazon could lose.

Unfortunately, more important than being in the right these days is having good lawyers. The MAFIAA lawyers have practically managed to convince the courts that any use of something they hold the copyright to that doesn't follow their own arbitrary rules is a copyright violation, even if they don't have the right to set those rules in the first place.

Amazon is screwed.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35666962)

The salient difference is that mp3.com was the *source* of the music files. You proved that you owned the disc, but they didn't maintain a separate copy for each user. With the Amazon cloud the user is the source of the music files. The user is simply space-shifting their existing media. Conceptually, Amazon has a separate copy of each file. I'm sure the implementation de-duplicates for storage efficiency, but the interface is that you have a music folder in the cloud.

The Amazon cloud here is much less like mp3.com was, and much more like Dropbox is. In fact, it is little more than a tiny script wrapper around S3. Unless of course the recording industry would like to challenge our right to back up our files to the cloud (and I'm sure they would).

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35667004)

Now if they would let me stream videos so I can have streaming porn on my Android phone, I'll be happy.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

somersault (912633) | about 3 years ago | (#35667264)

What about RedTube, PornTube and all that kind of thing? Android has Flash, so I'm sure they'd work.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

Tx (96709) | about 3 years ago | (#35667024)

I don't think it's that ballsy, as Amazon definitely has a case, but it's definitely an argument that needs to be had, so props to them for taking it on. As the summary points out, Amazon aren't providing the music, they're providing you with the means to stream your music to yourself. You can already do that in countless ways, and while I'm sure the music industry would like to charge you for a license for each and every one of those means, that doesn't mean they legally can. I don't know the My.MP3 history, but it sounds from the wikipedia link you posted like that was about streaming to everybody, not just to yourself, so doesn't sound directly comparable.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (2)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 3 years ago | (#35667054)

The issue at stake here may be whether or not Amazon has the license to stream audio that has been purchased from their store. The article is really light on details, but, if Amazon's the digital distributor of that music, depending on Amazon's licensing terms with the various studios which may strictly prohibit streaming of MP3 content by Amazon.

I'm surprised their lawyer team didn't work things out with the various studios, the RIAA, and the mole people before going live with this thing.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 3 years ago | (#35667088)

This.

Yes, Amazon has far better legal power than mp3.com did, but the record labels have been at this stuff for years and have bought themselves sympathetic ears (and a goodly number of laws) worldwide.

For a car analogy, it would be like a semi rig going against a train at a railroad crossing, as opposed to mp3.com's PT Cruiser. Either way, the fate will be the same in the end.

Time will tell; I hope Amazon succeeds in this effort because Amazon is just doing active storage for one person, just like box.net. The only difference is that it is for music.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

bedroll (806612) | about 3 years ago | (#35667096)

I think a key difference is that my.mp3.com required that you prove ownership of the CD, but they did not use your file for streaming.

Also important is the ruling allowing for remote storage of DVR content in the CNN v CSC Holdings case. So there's precedent both ways here.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | about 3 years ago | (#35667136)

I wrote a scholarly article on this topic (copyright issues with audio cloud storage) a couple years ago, and My.MP3.com was something I discussed. My.MP3.com had one copy of a music file that it stored on its servers, and that copy was shared between all users who "proved" they owned the CD. In my paper, I concluded that this was the real damning thing about their service: The users did not rip their music; My.MP3.com ripped its music and then shared it with people who allegedly owned the CD already. While ethically equivalent in my opinion, this is legally distinct from what Amazon is offering (with Amazon, you're basically using a giant iPod that uses the Internet instead of wired earbuds).

There are other issues I addressed in my paper about this service (ultimately I concluded that cloud-based audio streaming could be legal if the service was structured a certain way), but that is beyond the scope of a response to your post.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

rbollinger (1922546) | about 3 years ago | (#35667196)

The decision for this case was written in 2000, and I believe that the concept of digital media has significantly changed since then. One of the primary points made by the Judge was that making digital copies of music purchased on CD was not covered by fair use, and that the Record Company maintains the right to licence digital copies of their work. Fast-forwarding to 2011, most users of the service would be uploading digital copies of their music instead of 'copying' from CD. As long as the user has rights to a digital copy that can be transfered to several devices (e.g. DRM free digital copies), then I think the service should be legitimate. Amazon could probably protect itself with some terms of service language making that a condition of use.

The Legal Decision:
http://www.law.uh.edu/faculty/cjoyce/copyright/release10/UGM.html [uh.edu]

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 3 years ago | (#35667198)

On these issues, there are no right and wrongs, there are just two teams of lawyers and lobbyists trying to disrupt each other's reality distortion bubble.

As the summary mentions, music transfers occur all the time. If the music industry want to tax or license transfers, let's define precisely in technical term what constitutes a transfer, and let's work around that.

Re:As I and many others pointed out yesterday (1)

unjedai (966274) | about 3 years ago | (#35667208)

Amazon will let you upload ANYTHING (pirated, ripped, bought--makes no difference) and stream it.

So they'll let me upload ANYTHING and then later download it? How dare they!!!

Found (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35666818)

Found:
1 Yoda doll; covered in what appears to be grease or crisco and bears the inscription "Property of Cmdr. T.". If this is yours please respond.

Ssssshhhhh! (4, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 years ago | (#35666852)

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?

Don't give them any ideas!

Re:Ssssshhhhh! (4, Informative)

rufty_tufty (888596) | about 3 years ago | (#35666888)

Considering I remember a time when big music was trying to make MP3s illegal because they could be played indefinitely and not wear out as any other media would, then yes they tried to do that one already.
Fortunately they lost on that occasion.

Re:Ssssshhhhh! (1)

Ritchie70 (860516) | about 3 years ago | (#35666956)

Well, yes, you do need a license.

Fortunately, you got it when you bought the music in the first place.

Re:Ssssshhhhh! (1)

Homburg (213427) | about 3 years ago | (#35667118)

People keep saying this, and it keeps not being true. You do not need a license to make copies of works subject to copyright in the course of non-infringing use. Copying an MP3 from a hard drive to RAM is not something the copyright holder can forbid, thus not something you need a license for.

Re:Ssssshhhhh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35667010)

None of that is music - it's not until the data is converted into an audio stream that they have any hold over it.
Until then, it's just *your* data being piped, filtered, moved, streamed, whatever. Data isn't music, until it's converted into analog sound waves.

Re:Ssssshhhhh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35667042)

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?

Congress had to pass a law in the early 1980s to exempt from copyright law enforcement the copying of works from disk to ram. Copying from your file server is probably not covered by that exemption, but the riaa will have a hard time discovering infringements.

MAFIAA's answers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35666854)

Do I need a license to stream MP3s from system RAM to the MP3 player?

YES

From my Hard Drive to RAM?

YES

From my File Server to my machine?

YES


All rights are reserved to the MAFIAA. Any usage not anticipated is therefore a crime !

Re:MAFIAA's answers (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#35666902)

Anonymous Coward wrote in jest:

All rights are reserved to the MAFIAA.

Then what rights do I need to obtain before writing my own songs?

Re:MAFIAA's answers (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 years ago | (#35666948)

Then what rights do I need to obtain before writing my own songs?

Didn't they ban that already? Writing your own songs reduces RIAA profits and hence must be illegal.

Re:MAFIAA's answers (1)

SeNtM (965176) | about 3 years ago | (#35667206)

Didn't they ban that already? Writing your own songs reduces RIAA profits and hence must be illegal.

No, they banned recording the songs you may have written. Artists aren't allowed to profit off of the recorded works they create...only the companies that record the works are allowed to profit.

Please make a stink of this one RIAA..... (1)

Immostlyharmless (1311531) | about 3 years ago | (#35666872)

Amazons lawyers will find a friendly, more bribable judge and eat you alive, setting a precedent you don't want set. So please please PLEASE follow up on this one :)

Re:Please make a stink of this one RIAA..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35666946)

I know we're talking about America here, but is there really no way to get the best outcome for the common people without having to resort to bribery!?

Re:Please make a stink of this one RIAA..... (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | about 3 years ago | (#35667014)

Not when the other side (the music industry) is the one making the laws.

Re:Please make a stink of this one RIAA..... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#35667202)

The average U.S. Congressional campaign today runs several million dollars. In the early 90's, it was less than $500,000. That means that Congressmen today spend almost all their time, election year or not, soliciting campaign contributions and courting donors. They're whores, plain and simple--all of them, Democrat and Republican. If you've got a lot of money, they're yours to buy. If you don't have money--they couldn't care less what you have to say. And a recent Supreme Court ruling (that essentially opened the doors for corporations to give as much money as they want) is just going to make it even worse.

So yes, in America today it does come down to who has the bribe money. Buy the best lawyers and the judge will give you anything. Don't like the judge? Then you can buy him or the politician who appoints him. Don't like the law? Buy some Congressmen to change it for you.

Deep Pockets buy Justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35666878)

I think that Amazone is big enough to take on the MAFIAA using a large lawyer army.

I wish them well, and since I bought my girlfriend a Kindle for Christmas I feel like in a small I helped fund this fight.

Amazon just bought itself alot of customer loyalty. I think I'll cash in some coins for an amazon gift card after work...

Future (1)

sugarmotor (621907) | about 3 years ago | (#35666892)

Amazon may be right with respect to music files people presently own.

But in the future, music files may be sold with clauses addressing "cloud players".

Re:Future (1)

thetartanavenger (1052920) | about 3 years ago | (#35667008)

But in the future, music files may be sold with clauses addressing "cloud players".

In that case the music is not being sold. It is not yours to do with how you please so you do not actually own the music. You likely have a drm laden music file that's more hassle than it's worth, and their business model will fail, as it has done time and time again..

Re:Future (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | about 3 years ago | (#35667124)

The music isn't being sold regardless. There are ALWAYS licenses, and adding to that license is not going to put DRM on the file. Furthermore, having DRM does not guarantee failure. Last time I checked, Netflix required DRM and they're doing just fine. Tons of commercially successful software incorporates DRM and sells just fine. Overly intrusive or cumbersome DRM can kill a business model. DRM itself does not. Stop looking at what you wish would be and start looking at reality.

As for Amazon, should they need an additional license to do this? No. Will they? Most likely.

Re:Future (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 3 years ago | (#35667220)

Netflix's business model is renting, not selling. I don't really care if there's DRM on rented media since it's watch once then delete it. Netflix's service is also available on a lot of platforms, that helps a lot. In fact, I think they're the most compatible video service on the market today.

Good question (2)

Old97 (1341297) | about 3 years ago | (#35666912)

The TV content providers are objecting to cable companies streaming their shows to iPads and other "non TV" devices in the home, even though they are being paid for that content. I don't understand their argument, but their logic is unmistakable; they want more money, more money, more money. I hope Amazon wins this thing on very broad grounds. I don't mind paying for content, but once and only once and for any device I own.

Evolving case law (5, Interesting)

Dachannien (617929) | about 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Evolving case law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35667034)

Wrong circuit :(

Amazon is 9ths Circuit, and 2nd Circuit decisions would not be considered 'persuasive'.

I think ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about 3 years ago | (#35666930)

... Amazon is whistling past the graveyard on this one. I hope its not a copyrighted tune.

Re:I think ... (5, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#35667148)

I hear that if you say RIAA three times in a row in front of a mirror that the MPAA sues you for copyright infringement.

What a stupid article (2)

chaboud (231590) | about 3 years ago | (#35666968)

The linked article definitely gives the sense that merely being sued by the record companies is deterrent enough, and that "doesn't sound particularly good for Amazon."

We need to get past the fear-mongering and extorsion of the RIAA and MPAA and remember that we have fair use rights. You are *not* entitled to the success of the business model of your choosing. If your business model is illegal, too bad.

I'm pleased to no end that we finally have someone as big as Amazon, a company with a proven track record of leveraging a legal advantage (remember one-click?), taking on this fight. It's your music, on your private space, not shared with anyone else. The record companies would have you pay a fee to hum a tune to yourself in your car.

You need a license to sing in the shower! (4, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | about 3 years ago | (#35666990)

If you ask the RIAA what you need a license for, the short answer is "everything" according to them. They exist because they seek to claim rights to everything possible and expect people not to take the issue to court when they need an exception.

The RIAA and similar activities are criminal in my opinion as they are extortionists who routinely claim to have rights over materials they do not have rights to. If the RIAA is to persist, the government needs to hand down an exclusive list of what they can claim and the requirements on how to make claims... requirements such as proof the material being litigated over is actually covered by their "watch." Further, I think in order to assert copyright protection, the copyrighted materials should be registered with the library of congress formally and in an unprotected digital format. (They should at least pretend to honor the social bargain of copyright and eventual public domain.)

Google and Apple should join (1)

slb (72208) | about 3 years ago | (#35667040)

Please Google and Apple, join Amazon and explain to the 4 greedy bastards and the MAFIAA that a music file does not need a specific license to be streamed once it has been bought.

Re:Google and Apple should join (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 3 years ago | (#35667286)

Please Google and Apple, join Amazon and explain to the 4 greedy bastards and the MAFIAA that a music file does not need a specific license to be streamed once it has been bought.

Seriously. Amazon on its own has much larger revenue and profits than the entire music industry, but if you add Google and Apple (and let's get MS in there, too) you can field a million-lawyer army to ensure success. This is one case where the American "if you're richer, you'll probably win" court system may work to the benefit of normal people.

Fallacy (2)

rebot777 (765163) | about 3 years ago | (#35667044)

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?

From one party to another? They might have legal footing but not based on that logic.

myplay.com did this in 1999 with no legal issues (2)

szyzyg (7313) | about 3 years ago | (#35667046)

Yes, before mp3.com launched their my.mp3.com service which was declared illegal.

Myplay tried to get the record industry interested in downloads, but they couldn't get any interest from the majors, the best they could do was their online storage service and DMCA compliant user tailored radio streams. No flash in those days either, you needed to configure winamp or some other external player to actually stream the content.

myplay never had any legal issues, they simply didn't have enough money to maintain such a service back when terabytes of disk space were only available in refrigerator sized racks of disks, and when most people were still on modem connections.

But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35667052)

There's no reason for it to be "known" at all what you're streaming, or who to, if you're the one who put it up there. It should be an encrypted stream of data that cannot be accessed by Amazon or coerced out by any third-party.

Where does playback start and other questions... (1)

acedotcom (998378) | about 3 years ago | (#35667058)

So, i guess these are the questions... 1. If you are streaming your music to a device that belongs to you does that count as broadcasting?
2. Does your "personal" license to music allow to remotely broadcast music to a device even if you are the only one that can access it?
3. If you are considered to be broadcasting, shouldnt this effect other devices such as sling box? (im pretty sure rebroadcasting sport events is pretty much frowned upon)
4. Does this mean that uploading any music to a personal server makes you a "broadcaster", even if you are the only one that can access the stream? Am i a broadcaster if i email a song to myself for easy access?
5. Where does playback start? Does it start when i select the songs from my server that i want to hear or does in start inside of my device?

of course, i take all this with a grain of salt. i have been streaming music from one computer to another for years. as far as i am concerned, this is no different then having a radio in one room and speaker in another. the fact that anyone feel that they deserve "their fair share" when they arent having to invest in the innovation is offensive to me.

Re:Where does playback start and other questions.. (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 3 years ago | (#35667258)

I don't think it would be "broadcasting". Maybe "narrowcasting" is a better term - it's going to a small, determinable amount of endpoints, not to anything that happens to be listening in.

IANAL, but (1)

Mr.Intel (165870) | about 3 years ago | (#35667068)

If I was one and I worked in Amazon's legal department, I would say something like the following:

If you do this, you will be sued, regardless of the legality of your actions.

Where's the lawsuit? (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 3 years ago | (#35667080)

The limewire guys are pinned for $75,000,000,000,000.00 -- so I'm eager to see the RIAA attempt a, say, $150,000,000,000,000.00 lawsuit against Amazon.

Do I need a license to stream MP3s? (1)

itsdapead (734413) | about 3 years ago | (#35667086)

Do I need a license to stream MP3s from system RAM to the MP3 player?

Outside the US, that depends on your country's provisions for fair use (one area in which the US seems relatively enlightened). In the UK, if you ripped a CD then you've infringed even before you get round to streaming (although that's never enforced - but if you bring a third party into the process, who knows?)

However, the question is, if you let Amazon stream your files, is it still personal use (bear in mind, Amazon are not ar charity, so they'll have a cunning plan to make some money out of it somehow)? For instance, this snippit from the Amazon Cloud T&C [amazon.com] recently turned up on Groklaw:

5.2 Our Right to Access Your Files. You give us the right to access, retain, use and disclose your account information and Your Files...

Do you think you have the right to sub-license your Lady Gaga collection to Amazon?

Disclaimer - I'm not saying that it should be stopped. Who knows, maybe Amazon will force copyright laws to be updated to sensibly cover technologies invented since the player piano?

Ammendment - full Amazon quote (1)

itsdapead (734413) | about 3 years ago | (#35667270)

Sorry, I just re-read the post and decided that the way I "snipped" the Amazon quote (unintentionally) put a bit of a slant on it. The full quote is

5.2 Our Right to Access Your Files. You give us the right to access, retain, use and disclose your account information and Your Files: to provide you with technical support and address technical issues; to investigate compliance with the terms of this Agreement, enforce the terms of this Agreement and protect the Service and its users from fraud or security threats; or as we determine is necessary to provide the Service or comply with applicable law.

I don't think that alters my point that they are asking you to grant them rights to IP that you don't own, but Amazon clearly aren't proposing to party down to "your" music!

Duck and cover Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35667122)

And the big four haven't said a thing about this, the calm before the record industry sh*tstorm.

it's different (3, Insightful)

sribe (304414) | about 3 years ago | (#35667132)

And in many ways this is even worse. MP3.com at least required you to prove you actually owned a disc before you could stream it.

Ah, but MP3.com ripped the disks and provided the copy to you, which is actually a pretty clear contradiction of copyright law (though perfectly ethical). Amazon is just storing and transmitting data that you provide. I don't know of anything in the law that would restrict this.

Some restrictions apply ... (4, Informative)

davide marney (231845) | about 3 years ago | (#35667176)

From the Amazon MP3 Uploader App Help page:

Files not supported by the Uploader

  • DRM (Digital Rights Managed) files: DRM protects the number and types of locations that songs can be played from. Because of these restrictions the Amazon MP3 Uploader and Amazon Cloud Player do not support these file types.
  • Non-MP3 and non-AAC formats: The Amazon MP3 Uploader and Amazon Cloud Player only support a select number of file formats. See below for a complete list of formats we support and a list of some of the files formats that we do not. To find out how to convert music into a file format we support, use your preferred media player.
  • Over 100 MB: Uploading files that are over 100 MB in size is currently not supported. If you have music files of this size that you would like to add to Cloud Player we recommend you re-encode them at a lower bit rate to reduce the file size. To find out how to convert music into a file format we support, use your preferred media player.
  • Miscellaneous audio types: Ringtones, podcasts, audio books, and other non-music audio files are not supported by the Amazon MP3 Uploader.
  • Playlist without eligible music: Playlists that contain only files with any of the above problems or that contain no music are not eligible for Upload.
    The following is a list of supported file formats and some of the unsupported file formats. Unsupported files will not show up in the Uploader as they are not available for upload.

Supported file formats

  • .mp3 -- Standard non-DRM file format (Includes Amazon MP3 Store purchased files)
  • .m4a -- AAC files (Includes iTunes store purchased files)

Unsupported file formats

  • .wma -- Windows Media Audio files
  • .m4p -- DRM AAC files
  • .wav -- Uncompressed music files
  • .ac3 -- Dolby Digital audio files
  • .ogg -- Ogg Vorbis audio files
  • .ape -- Lossless Monkey audio files
  • .flac -- Free Lossless Audio Codec files

It will be interesting to see how well Amazon stands up to the inevitable court challenges. For music purchased from AmazonMP3, they are certainly on very solid ground, since they can prove that the Cloud Drive user is the purchaser; if Amazon has the legal right to download you the MP3 you just bought, they certainly have the right to download it for you again. The music industry has already taken their (very generous) cut in that case. You paid for it, you get to use it.

Playing back non-AmazonMP3 files is where I think it gets a little sticky.

If they were smart, they'd work with Amazon (3, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | about 3 years ago | (#35667200)

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.

Dropbox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35667262)

This is no different than me paying a monthly fee to have an online external drive.

I can upload whatever I want, and they are just offering a nice flash media player that streams the music I uploaded.

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