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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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RE: I Don't Get It
By michael2k on 4/14/2011 10:54:05 PM , Rating: 0
The license is for one download copy. Cloud Drive is multiple unlicensed copies.

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.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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