Cloudy Copyright

You wouldn’t steal a car. You wouldn’t steal a handbag. You wouldn’t…”

Blah, blah, blah. We get it.

You know how it goes. Copyright, piracy, free. They’re all words we’re familiar with, and frankly sick of.

Are you a pirate?

[Image: courtesy Broken TV]

Yet, the recent announcements of various ‘cloud’ music services raise some interesting new points in the copyright debate.

Google recently announced their “Music Beta service“, following in the footsteps of Amazon a few months ago. Apple is expected to follow suit in June.

Both Google and Amazon, however, have released their cloud music services without backing from the four major record labels (EMI, Sony, Warner and Universal). Both companies have refused to impose any copyright conditions on their services. They’re working off the principle that you don’t, and shouldn’t, need permission to store something you already own  somewhere else. All obtained legally, of course.

Fair enough. After all, a ‘cloud’ is just a like a big hard drive, except online. (What is a cloud, you ask? Watch this. Or look outside.)

Yet, Google have also said that it will take action against pirated content. Just what kind of action this will be remains to be seen. (I’m assuming something similar to how it treats pirated YouTube content.) But it’s a precarious balance. Will Google dob in pirates? Will people be too scared to use the Google service at all? And what will Apple do?

The copyright fat cats are used to getting what they want, but then again so is Google. It’s an interesting time for the online-music-technology-copyright world in general. I’m excited.

**UPDATE: Apple have just announced their own iCloud service. With the backing of (soon to be all 4) major record labels.

As expected, Apple is running a very slick operation, both technologically and practically. It looks great, plus iPhones, iPods and iTunes libraries are all ready to be sent to the cloud in a click. The record deals also make things much quicker and easier (online copy matching means no time wasting library uploads) . Plus, it’s legal. (Yay, no jail!) The catch, you have to pay an annual fee to store non-iTunes bought music. (Read: pirated music.)

(For more details check my latest post)

What this will mean for the popularity of Google and Amazon will be interesting to see. One things for sure, copyright’s not dead just yet.**

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