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Amazon released a letter to record labels on Monday saying that the Cloud Drive is legal, but is willing to meet with record labels today to discuss licensing rights

After much debate and disapproval regarding Amazon's Cloud Drive, the online retailer is finally meeting with record labels today to discuss licensing rights.

Amazon's Cloud Drive is an internet-based storage application that offers 5 GB of storage free of charge. Users can store music, pictures and documents in the cloud and pull them up on different devices. The Cloud Drive also features a Cloud Player, which is a music streaming application. 

When Amazon first launched the Cloud Player in March of this year, record labels were angered at the fact that Amazon hadn't paid for licensing rights to stream music to its users. According to those in the music industry, Amazon only had licensing rights to sell digital downloads, which may make the new Cloud Drive illegal.

Amazon released a letter to record labels on Monday saying that the Cloud Drive is legal, and even compared it to Microsoft's SkyDrive or Google Docs. The letter also noted that Amazon's Cloud Player is similar to Microsoft's Windows Media Player, and that it had increased sales of digital songs in Amazon's MP3 store. 

Despite Amazon's disagreement with record labels over the legality of the Cloud Drive, the online retail giant is willing to meet with record labels today to discuss licensing rights. 

"We don't publicly discuss our meetings with partners, and we have not announced any changes to Amazon Cloud Drive or Amazon Cloud Player since the launch," said Cat Griffin, an Amazon spokeswoman.  

Record labels are likely eager to meet with Amazon as well since the risk of other companies following in Amazon's footsteps is too great to chance. Other companies could create services like the Cloud Drive, where the music industry is not included in regards to licensing rights. 

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I Don't Get It
By NaughtyGeek on 4/14/2011 12:07:05 PM , Rating: 4
I cannot for the life of me figure out what gripe the music industry can have with this. Do they license every media player in existence today? Amazon has a media player that allows a consumer to play their bought and paid for music from a network drive. What's the issue? Am I supposed to be paying some sort of fee because my music lives on a network drive and I'm "streaming" it to my PC?

RE: I Don't Get It
By Dr of crap on 4/14/2011 12:41:01 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. What's there beef? They are getting paid when the song is bought.

If I would then have to pay everytime I listened to that song, it's a NO for me to even go with this program.

RE: I Don't Get It
By michael2k on 4/14/11, Rating: 0
RE: I Don't Get It
By bodar on 4/15/2011 7:46:55 AM , Rating: 2
What is the difference if I download my DRM-free track from Amazon and stream it from my PC to my laptop using a network share, or if Amazon stores the track for me on their server and I stream it to that same laptop? You can already do something similar to this with other cloud storage services.

They could be suing Acronis or Symantec for backing up people's music to an external drive. Or Apple for letting people rip CDs & copy music from their computer to an iPod. This isn't Pandora or I paid for the track already. Let me listen to it in a reasonable way, as long as I'm the one using it. CMIIW, but in order to effectively share your Cloud Drive you'd have to give someone else your credentials. They aren't facilitating file-sharing in any way.

They need to stop constantly trying to screw their customers. I'm waiting for them to announce the "pay-per-listen" model with embedded ads mid-song. We can have chips embedded in our heads, so if we pass by someone's stereo or start humming a song we can be charged "appropriately". God help you if you get a song stuck in your head. Slippery slope? Hell yes, but you know this is a record exec's wet dream.

RE: I Don't Get It
By michael2k on 4/15/2011 7:29:10 PM , Rating: 2
The difference?

Amazon signed a contract saying they would pay for every track downloaded from Amazon MP3 servers. Amazon UK doesn't have Cloud Drive, so you can clearly see their FAQ:

Can I download another copy of my MP3 files after the initial purchase?

Your Amazon MP3 purchases can only be downloaded once... We are currently unable to replace any purchased files that you delete or lose due to a system or disk error.

How exactly can it be legal for Cloud Drive to allow you to download multiple copies when the exact same infrastructure in Amazon MP3 can't?

See, if Amazon stores it for you and allows you to download it multiple times, they are committing copyright infringement in the strictest interpretation regardless of how common sense it is.

Let me flip the question on you. What is the difference if I download my DRM-free track from Amazon MP3 after I accidentally delete it from my hard drive, or if Amazon stores the track for me on Cloud Drive and I download it to that same laptop? Why bother with Cloud Drive in the first place?

RE: I Don't Get It
By bodar on 4/15/2011 8:03:45 PM , Rating: 2
That makes sense, but I didn't see anything that said it's specifically a contractual obligation. It's heavily implied though, because they already know what I've bought from them in the past, so in theory it shouldn't be a problem to send me a new download link. The only thing I can think of is that they didn't want to code some kind of track recovery system, but that seems really easy to do.

Still, it's ridiculous that it's licensed like that, but hey, if Amazon agreed to that, then unfortunately I think they're gonna lose. More importantly, the customers lose. Score another one for the record mafia if this is the case.

Re: the Cloud drive's purpose -- the cool thing is that you can upload tracks from your own MP3 collection, so it's not like you are limited to just your Amazon MP3s or are in any way locked in to Amazon MP3, like the old iTunes DRM.

RE: I Don't Get It
By Uncle on 4/14/2011 1:17:34 PM , Rating: 2
They might not have the right but they would like everyone to think they do. If not it gets tied up in court for years while no one moves forward with fresh ideas and technology.

RE: I Don't Get It
By gorehound on 4/14/2011 4:49:28 PM , Rating: 3
just do yourself and all of us a favor and boycott RIAA Labels and any artists who sign with them.
There you go problem solved.
no indie label would be doing this BS nor would any indie bands i know of.

RE: I Don't Get It
By michael2k on 4/14/11, Rating: 0
Pivotal moment
By OoklaTheMok on 4/14/2011 12:17:14 PM , Rating: 2
What happens between Amazon and the music industry could have a profound effect on consumer adoption of cloud services. Because if a consumer has usage restrictions/stipulations placed upon them, for their own personal owned property (e.g. music), then that will have a chilling effect for the future of consumer focused cloud based services.

I only hope that Amazon stands firm and does not relent to the music industry, and does not enter into any form of "licensing agreement".

RE: Pivotal moment
By GulWestfale on 4/14/11, Rating: 0
RE: Pivotal moment
By KentState on 4/14/2011 1:08:04 PM , Rating: 2
The point of the "cloud" is to be device independent. Yes, you can load the same song manually onto your phone, iPod, computer, friends computer, and so on, but that's a lot of manual intervention. The cloud drive allows the music to be stored on one source and accessed from anywhere. If don't want to use your data connection, the cloud app allows you to download the files locally.

RE: Pivotal moment
By bobny1 on 4/14/2011 6:15:14 PM , Rating: 1
you can buy and eat the steak. but pay for every bite you take. Including the fat!

Record Labels Are Greedy Bastards
By rwpritchett on 4/14/2011 1:30:28 PM , Rating: 3
Record labels see digital music not as selling customers a product, but rather as licensing the use of a product to customers. If record labels had their way, they would charge us every time a song is played. Greed.

By Smartless on 4/14/2011 3:10:52 PM , Rating: 2
The record label's primary defense is that for every 1 hit artist there are 9 failures. Though with internet music becoming a less risky way of getting your music out there, it makes them nearly irrelevant. They are still useful for putting talented musicians together, studio time and concerts but as for discover talent, the risks they took are much smaller now.

RIAA is so out of touch
By Uncle on 4/14/2011 1:13:37 PM , Rating: 2
"Record labels are likely eager to meet with Amazon as well since the risk of other companies following in Amazon's footsteps is too great to chance. Other companies could create services like the Cloud Drive, where the music industry is not included in regards to licensing rights."
Another perfect example how the RIAA is so out of touch with reality by blowing to much of the white stuff when they were younger. A perfect example where they could take the lead instead of holding everyone back and paying for political hacks to pass laws protecting their old business model. The RIAA need to fire their brain dead executives and reinvent themselves by hiring the younger personnel with fresh ideas.

By kenny24000 on 4/20/2011 6:12:17 AM , Rating: 2
If you had a website and wanted to allow a person to press play and listen to a song you didnt own a copyright to, you would need a license. The license fee is alot of money. Then you would have to pay so much every time some 1 played it. If you look at youtube, they host and stream your content but not if its copy written. Back up storage sites are exactly that. They are to back up your files, not to stream it. Amazon cloud explicitly streams copy written material. Really it is not theirs to stream. If you bought an mp3 from me and I said I will host it for you and stream it to you whenever you like I would get more business effectively making more profit off streaming something I dont own. If I wanted to stream music to help bolster my offering I would have to get the license. Yea they are way to high and out of control but basically amazon cloud is offering streamed copy written content, something that every other music streamer has to pay a license for plus per play fees plus purchase the track to begin with. They are gonna have to pay something. I think entertainers may be overpaid especially actors and athletes but alot of musicians struggle for the couple that make it big and there getting there goods stolen left and right. I Think the amazon cloud service is an awesome one but the music industry is pretty sensitive and may deserve something under the current distribution laws.

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