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EMI Suing More Music Sites For Offering 'Playable Search'

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Seeqpod’s founders must feel like Mike Robertson about now. Just as EMI is suing the founder for his Sideload site, the label and its Capitol imprint have now filed suit against Seeqpod for copyright infringement, VentureBeat writes. Warner already sued Seeqpod, which doesn’t host tracks but provides a search index and player for them, in January 2008. Unlike Warner’s, EMI’s case is personal – just as it targeted Robertson personally, the label has named founder and Seeqpod CEO Kazian Franks and investors Raf Podowski as Shekhar Lodha defendants. Not only that. EMI also filed against Ryan Sit, a San Diego developer whose Favtape music search site – which plays music by mashing up services offered by the APIS of Seeqpod, and Pandora. Favtape is currently down.

As you’d imagine, Robertson is hopping mad and used his blog to restate his feelings toward EMI. At issue is the same question at the heart of most digital copyright issues – is a service at fault if it doesn’t host but merely facilitates access to a song? Seeqpod says it offers “playable search”. Robertson told me last month the labels’ action “effectively says all search engines are guilty of copyright infringement“. No-one’s suing Google (NSDQ: GOOG) just yet – but the music biz have sued equivalent Chinese search sites, including Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) China, for returning links to tracks in search results.

Robertson’s blog: “Rather than get more enlightened and more open-minded to working with technology companies, record labels seem to be moving in the opposite direction. They’ve moved from a 12-gauge to an eight-gauge shotgun spraying bullets in an ever wider path to take out even more victims in a desparate attempt to slow the advance of technology.” Other reasons EMI sued Robertson – as well as returning search results, his Sideload can copy tracks to his firm’s MP3Tunes digital locker.

2 Responses to “EMI Suing More Music Sites For Offering 'Playable Search'”

  1. Edmonton Recording Engineer

    This has nothing to do with musicians getting paid. I am a professional musician (read:not wedding musician) and love Seeqpod. Ever wanted to find out that random song you heard somewhere, but don't actually like it or want to purchase it? Ever feel like playing that old song that you used to like back in the day at some party, but would be mortified to actually posses it? It was a godsend when I was teaching guitar lessons. Seeqpod is handy. And unarguably has helped artists gain new listeners and exposure, not to mention just to let people hear more than the first 10 seconds of some random tune to see if they like it.

    The issue here is hosting vs. search capabilities linked to copywritten material.
    I personally believe that search engines should not be restricted in any way. I'm trying to look for something – not be given an "approved" list of "safe" search results. It's the internet for godsake's not a kindergarten playground. If it's out there (including copywritten material) I should have some way of searching/finding it. Plus, Seeqpod never actually gave you the song. Not only did they not host it, but they did not allow you to download it or actually own a digital copy (which in my eyes is where the actual copywrite gets broken, not just playing it with no actual hard or soft copy)

    It sickens me to find the record industry clearly floundering in the face of new technological opportunities. Big labels seem content to make some big money grab now- at the hands of their own fans, customers and would-be potential business partners- instead of having the forethought to evolve and adapt to a new market and new technology. Did any of these labels approach Seeqpod about a potentially profitable mutual business agreement? No, they'd rather just grab their money on the way to the bottom.