You may have heard that music labels were trying to get “locker” services like Amazon Cloud and whatever Google’s doing shut down unless they paid the labels massive chunks of change, kind of like that time Universal tried to demand that they get a royalty for every iPod sold, because, like, music was totally stolen off of the Internet and listened to on iPods, so that’s Apple’s fault.
Their trial balloon for bleeding these services was MP3Tunes, a locker service that let people sideload music in addition to storing what they already had. They argued that MP3Tunes was guilty of copyright infringement every time a user uploaded a file to their locker, essentially, because either they stole it off a P2P service, or because MP3Tunes used one master track and just constantly copied it — a process called deduplication. And they wanted a billion trillion dollars.
This argument pretty much got laughed out of court; the judge ruled essentially that MP3Tunes has no way of knowing who steals music and that they didn’t make any money off it being stolen in the first place.
What does this mean? Under the entertainment industry’s own godawful law, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, music locker services are absolutely safe and the burden of finding and reporting stolen music falls specifically to the labels. MP3Tunes still has to write EMI a massive check because EMI, er, reported stolen files and MP3Tunes didn’t remove them. But now, legally, locker services are protected: you can store your music on a remote server and the labels can’t take it away.
Also, that we get to point at them and laugh. HA HA!