In the wake of the Megaupload closure there has been a flurry of activity ands concerns over legitimately held data in the cloud. The latest battle is between Capitol Records which is taking on an American digital marketplace vendor called Redigi over what it alleges is copyright infringement.

What differentiates this from other legal crap fights is that Google has waded into the fray wielding a very large cudgel and is asking the court to allow it to participate in key conversations. Don’t think that Google is standing up for the little man, it is protecting its own interests in a marketplace worth an estimated $41billion.

Legally Owned Digital Files

What Google is trying to establish and protect is:

  • The ability to allow people, at their own discretion, to move or copy their legally owned digital files.
  • That the service provider cannot be held liable for a users action with regards to #1
  • The fair use doctrine where users can copy their legally owned, digital files to other devices or cloud services controlled by the user.
  • That ReDigi is infringing on Capitol’s exclusive right to “distribute copies or phonorecords,” despite Capitol’s admission that no material objects are distributed. And that Google, “urges the Court to reject an internally inconsistent argument that would weaken the statutory restrictions on the distribution right.”

Google warns: “The Court can and should deny the motion for preliminary injunction without reaching the complex and profound legal issues outlined above because any decision should be informed.”

Piracy Is The New Radio – Neil Young

The whole digital copyright argument is sailing through choppy waters. Neil Young, a long time musical hero and someone who can always be guaranteed to lob a timely grenade into a debate was reported at a press conference as saying that piracy is the new radio.

“It doesn’t affect me because I look at the internet as the new radio. I look at the radio as gone. Piracy is the new radio. That’s how music gets around.That’s the radio. If you really want to hear it, let’s make it available, let them hear it, let them hear the 95 percent of it,” said Neil.

I don’t think it is that clear cut but what is apparent is that the Internet has totally undermined and is challenging the way music is sold and at the core of this is consumer ownership. Take a look at your bookshelf. How many books have you lent out to friends and how many sitting there have been passed on to you.

If I buy a music CD, listen to it a couple of times, decide it’s rubbish why should I not re-sell or pass it on to someone who may appreciate it? eBay is full of second hand CDs being sold on. Are the record companies saying this is illegal or they want a cut of the resale price?

Regardless of the outcome of the Capitol Redigi fight, there are massive changes happening in digital media and the old guard cannot fight them on previously established grounds, the parameters have changed too dramatically for that.