Many of you are probably aware that the major record label EMI
is suing MP3tunes.
While MP3tunes has the obligation to pay 100% of the legal bills, we
are really defending the entire Internet. This is because the actions
EMI is complaining about are also performed by hundreds if not
thousands of other Internet companies including all the giants like
Google, AOL, and Microsoft. If MP3tunes
loses our case then it sets a dangerous precedent for others because
the major labels can use our case to make identical claims against
every well known net company and a long list of smaller companies and
demand money from them or shut them down entirely.
At the core of the disagreement between EMI and MP3tunes is the fact
that MP3tunes stores MP3 files at the request of the user. EMI says
this is a copyright infringement, but MP3tunes is not the first to
offer such storage services. We may offer the best music experience,
but every major net company offers online storage of MP3 files - many
before MP3tunes even existed.
Examples of Major Net Companies
Which Offer MP3 Storage - And Allow
|Google Page Creator,
Page Creator is free service popular for MP3
Hundreds of millions of MP3 files are stored and sent to others using Gmail.
gbs of free storage with MP3s being
the most popular file type. Main page touts "Easily share" your files.
Service has feature to send email to as many people as you like giving
them full access to your files.
gbs of free storage. Stores MP3
files. Main page says "share files with the world".
Each of these net
giants along with hundreds of other smaller companies (box.net, Mediamax, etc.)
offers online storage of
music files. These sites generally store all types of files, but MP3
files are the most popular type of document they house. Some even have
a built in music player like MP3tunes offers so you can play your music
directly from a web browser. While others may offer a less elegant
solution, MP3tunes is not being sued because we have a great
player and "Smart PlayMix" (which, by the way, is a really incredible
feature). We are
being sued for storing MP3s and all the companies listed above do the
An ironic twist is that all of the services listed above
allow and often encourage MP3 file sharing which MP3tunes does not.
Microsoft says you can "share files with the world". AOL touts how easy
it is to share. Many have an e-mail component so you can send the files
or links to the files to an unlimited number of people for free
copying. This contrasts with MP3tunes
which has no Locker sharing with
others. There is no anonymous access whatsoever - everything is
protected by unique usernames and passwords. Additionally MP3tunes
incorporates other security measures that go far beyond any other
online storage facility checking to see if an account has been
After learning these facts some are puzzled and ask why
EMI is suing MP3tunes and me personally. I must admit I don't know the
answer to this. Before this suit I considered EMI the most progressive
record label. They were the first to license their music to Apple
without DRM. They were the first to sell their songs via Amazon in MP3
format. They seem to be understanding that the way you sell a lot of
to put taco stands everywhere. So this lawsuit seems out of character.
Perhaps it is because I have been a harsh critic of DRM for more than a
decade? My position was/is that going with an open format will make you
more money and I think EMI's steps with Apple, Amazon
and others prove that.
EMI's motivation aside, this is a critically
important lawsuit not just because it will dictate MP3tunes' future,
but it will change the entire Internet. Either consumers have the right
use the Internet to store their property or they do not. If companies
that assist them are declared copyright infringers they will be put out
of business by crushing monetary penalties. This is what is at stake
with our lawsuit and why I call it EMI v The Internet.
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