Feeds

Grokster touts 'legal, licensed' p2p music share system

Licenses Mercora 'person-to-person' radio software

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top three mobile application threats

Grokster has partnered with 'P2P radio' company Mercora to offer what it claims is "the Internet's largest, legal and licensed peer-to-peer music search and discovery service".

Given Grokster's own insistence - backed, it has to be said, by US District Court and appeal court rulings - that its own P2P network is legal, we're not sure why it needs to stress the legality of its own-branded version of Mercora's music broadcasting software.

Grokster's Windows-only distribution will be called Grokster Radio. It's "legal and licensed" because Mercora has a number of non-interactive webcasting licences, as provisioned by the notorious Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Non-interactive webcasting essentially means not telling anyone in advance what you're going to broadcast, and not letting them choose to listen to specific songs.

Mercora's "licence pertains to the digital performance rights of sound recordings and the associated reporting and royalty payments to SoundExchange", it says. "We have also obtained all US (and in some cases international) musical composition performance rights through our licenses with ASCAP, BMI and SESAC."

Sub-licensing provisions allow Mercora to worry about its users' licensing, reporting and royalty obligations without them having to. Ditto Grokster users and the company itself, which said it would be broadcasting seven channels in addition to those of its users'.

Unlike regular radio, you don't have to put up with DJs waffling over the start and end of songs, but without knowing what's coming up, it's harder for listeners to record the songs they want in order to avoid having to pay for them. That's why the licensing provisions are rather more relaxed than they are for music retail, for instance.

In essence, P2P radio provides a way of sharing songs with a much-reduced opportunity for copyright infringement. Music fans get to play stuff they like to other music fans, and the music industry gets an opportunity to gauge what's hot and what's not - without the risk of losing too much income. Artists get paid a royalty - albeit a very small one. It's what P2P was always about - music discovery, access to better selections of songs that station playlists provide, etc. - without the risks.

That said, since it's easy enough to hijack audio streams, tech-savvy listeners will be able to grab songs in any case, though it won't be as smooth a process as pulling them off Grokster's regular P2P client, we suspect.

And it may well provide Grokster - and others of its ilk - with a future should the Supreme Court or a change to the law come place the burden of responsibility for P2P-based copyright infringement on the P2P companies themselves. ®

Related stories

McAfee founder returns with 'legal p2p radio'
Grokster, Sony BMG to do legit P2P service?
MPAA asks Supreme Court to crush P2Pers
Court tells RIAA and Congress to let P2P software thrive
UK group preps public digital music 'ATMs'
Stealing movies: Why the MPAA can afford to relax
Movie biz to sue P2P film-sharers
Spanish MP3 site owner to pay RIAA $10m

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.