Print 38 comment(s) - last by jimbojimbo.. on Apr 1 at 11:06 PM

Record labels are upset over Amazon's Cloud Drive announcement when the online retailer failed to address license-related negotiations

Just yesterday, Amazon announced its new cloud-based storage service called Cloud Drive, which is quite a feat considering the online retailer jumped ahead of huge tech companies like Apple and Google in the race for music streaming services. But now, the music industry is stepping in, and could possibly slow Amazon's progress.  

Cloud-based music storage has become a popular option for those who use multiple devices. For companies like Amazon, this method of music streaming is a great alternative to relying on CD sales. While other companies continue working on their versions of cloud-based services, such as Apple's MobileMe music component called a "locker," and Google's music service that was rumored to be released with the new Honeycomb launch (but reports are now saying that Google execs are still in the midst of chatting with record labels), Amazon leaped ahead of the game with Cloud Drive, which offers 5 GB of online storage for free and saves album or MP3 purchases to the cloud automatically.

Customers can upgrade to 20 GB of space by purchasing an MP3 album. Also, the Cloud Player allows users to play their music through a PC, Mac or Android-based phones. However, those with an Apple iPhone cannot partake in Amazon's new service.

But now, Amazon may be running into some trouble with record labels, like Sony Music, who was angered by Amazon's new service launch "without new licenses for music streaming." 

"We hope that they'll reach a new license deal," said Liz Young, a spokeswoman for Sony. "But we're keeping all of our legal options open."

Record labels were informed of the new Amazon service last week, and Amazon had not yet addressed license-related negotiations at that point. An executive close to the Amazon discussions, who preferred to remain anonymous due to the confidentiality of the discussions, noted that Amazon's new service might be considered illegal to those in the music industry.  

"I've never seen a company of their size make an announcement, launch a service and simultaneously say they're trying to get licenses," said the executive. 

While users are allowed to store music files on their own computers, it is "unclear whether they have that right when they use remote storage services offered by cloud computing." 

A similar situation occurred in 2007 when EMI sued MP3tunes because they offered a service similar to Amazon's.  

"The labels have engaged in a legal terror campaign over the last 10 years using litigation to try and slow technology progress," said Michael Robertson, MP3tunes founder, regarding the Amazon situation.

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RE: Gotta love it
By bighairycamel on 3/30/2011 11:22:42 AM , Rating: 2
From what I understand you can also download that music to any PC as long as you can access your Amazon account. This is probably where the mafRIAA will have a bitch-fit.

Also, why the hell would Amazon have to pay license fees to stream music already purchased and "owned" by a user and not streaming to the general public. That would be double dipping.

RE: Gotta love it
By zmatt on 3/30/2011 11:43:31 AM , Rating: 5
because as the RIAA has said in court cases before, they don't sell you the music, they sell you a license to listen to it on the medium you purchased it. i remember a year or two ago they tried to get ripping cd's and putting the mp3s on your mp3 player illegal, because they didn't "license" you to transfer the music form a cd to a digital device. Obviously they are nuts and this flies in the face of the concept of ownership.

RE: Gotta love it
By HrilL on 3/30/2011 2:09:29 PM , Rating: 2
Normal Audio CDs don't have DRM and thus you have the legal right to rip them under the DMCA because we always had this right in copyright law. It is called fair use. In the case of buying MP3 files directly and storing them online this should be considered perfectly legal as well.

A similar case was with The Comcast remote DVR. This proved in court that it doesn't matter where the media is stored as long as the user has a legal right to the content. While TV show and movies are slightly different. Time shifting is legal and it was ruled that it doesn't matter if the device is in your house or at a services providers location.

Amazon should be in the clear here and thus needs no licensing agreements. Where it could possibly get tricky would be if each account doesn't actually store its own music files. For example a lot of people will have songs purchased from Amazon and thus they'd only really need to store one copy of it and let all the users that own it have access but even trying a case of that would be a stretch since each user does in fact own the file in question and the courts would have to be filled with morons if they think the same bits are any different because they are owned by someone else.

RE: Gotta love it
By Solandri on 3/30/2011 2:12:46 PM , Rating: 5
because as the RIAA has said in court cases before, they don't sell you the music, they sell you a license to listen to it

This is the part most people have no problem with.
on the medium you purchased it

This is the part that makes absolutely no sense. They're selling me a license to read data off the media? WTH? I don't care about the media. I just want the data.

Their continual efforts to try to tie the data (music, movies, books) to the media are what's killing their business. By actively ignoring media-less distribution, they allowed iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon/Barnes & Noble to grab the lead in online sales and distribution. If you ignore market demand, your business deserves to die.

RE: Gotta love it
By nafhan on 3/30/2011 11:51:06 AM , Rating: 3
Yep, from a file point of view, it's just another place to have your stuff stored. Everything that Amazon is doing here, you could have done with any MP3 even before they rolled out these services. Amazon's just making it easy.

Requiring a streaming license seems ridiculous. You're just playing back your own files, it shouldn't matter if there's a network transit in between you and your file.

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