A US federal court judge has ruled that the cloud-based MP3tunes music streaming service does not violate copyright laws in a ruling with ramifications for other online ‘music locker’ businesses.
The court case involved the practice of storing just a single copy of a song no matter how many users uploaded it, thus reducing the storage burden for the online music service. The court found that this did not violate copyright so long as only exact digital copies were held.
This gives music locker services the capability to scan a user’s music collection and only require them to upload a song if it doesn’t match any other song. However even the slightest bit difference, resulting from a different encoder or a CD ripping glitch will require the user to upload the song.
In such a way it could be argued it’s actually more likely that songs would be exact digital copies if they were downloaded from the same source, either from legitimate services but also from illegal sources such as peer to peer networks.
The court ruling is something of a mixed blessing in that it legitimizes music locker services but places a strict requirement on the music ‘finger printing’, at least without some sort of licensing from the major record labels which is the route Apple has taken.