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Summary:

Warner Music sued media-sharing site IMEEM Tuesday for infringing the copyright of its artists, building a base of 16 million users by capitalizing on the “illegal use of ‘free music,’” according to Reuters. The label is asking for up to $150,000 in damages for each instance […]

Warner Music sued media-sharing site IMEEM Tuesday for infringing the copyright of its artists, building a base of 16 million users by capitalizing on the “illegal use of ‘free music,'” according to Reuters. The label is asking for up to $150,000 in damages for each instance of infringement, the maximum allowed under copyright law.

IMEEM allows members to upload their MP3 collections and stream them to other users. Other companies such as Streampad, Project Playlist, and MediaMaster have followed on this model, apparently hoping it was a loophole in the law.

We were holding this story after getting tipped off to it this afternoon, waiting for replies from IMEEM or its investors at Morganthaler Ventures. Now that it has broken we update this piece if any of them get back to us.

  1. Media Democracy Tuesday, May 15, 2007

    What’s at stake here is the digital millenium copyright act (DMCA) and a battle to change it. Observe Yahoo, Google et al current stance and defense (think linking/caching). If imeem has a DMCA it will protect them. If the DMCA fails, all of ‘search’ will fail – this cannot happen. Information includes media, and this must remain democratized, searchable, findable, playable. Comments?

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  2. Project Playlist doesn’t work under the same model though — it uses MP3s that have been archived by search engines (i.e. Google) that are privately hosted. I think that they’re running the safest operation of the services that you’ve mentioned. The music companies would have to individually sue each private webhost that has publicly searchable MP3s. And shutting down Project Playlist wouldn’t be too much different than trying to shutdown Google… Another service that does the same thing is http://www.g2p.org/ and then there is always http://radioblogclub.com/ (but I think that they’re hosted overseas in Europe…). The argument could be made that these companies are making money off of it even if they aren’t hosting them. But then again, so is Google, right? All of these sites have Google AdSense plastered all over them. Could be interesting.

    Honestly though — the IMEEM thing isn’t too much different from Pandora. If they had done some type of licensing, they would have been saved maybe?

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  3. Media Democracy Tuesday, May 15, 2007

    Yes, sites that crawl, index and link to playable search results will set a new precedent and establish new game/sea changing rules. Let the consumer decide how to consume – any that oppose this will find themselves in a new dark age. History is simply repeating itself as those that oppose advances in technology, and its effects, will find themselves dominated by it, quickly becoming relics of the past aka dust. The Link rules.

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  4. Isn’t this just a new way to get a deal done with the labels?

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  5. When will the Majors understand that they should embrace the new media, and ride the waves unstead of trying to close the sea.

    They also tryed to close the free radio. Power to free movie and music clips.

    It is not because people listen to free music on the web that they won’t buy, just make things easy for the people and bee creative
    David Norden http://www.filmclips.be

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