Project Playlist, headed by former Facebook COO Owen Van Nattan, is currently defending a lawsuit filed by three of the four major record labels. The hold-out, Sony BMG, just yesterday announced it had entered into an agreement with Project Playlist. Of course, with the widget now banned from the two major social networks, Sony might not see much of the revenue it expected from the new deal.
The other three labels complain that Project Playlist distributes copyrighted tracks for free. In a lawsuit filed in April, the labels accuse Project Playlist of violating their copyrights by instructing users about how to download tracks and inducing people to upload infringing material, among other activities.
The allegations sound substantive enough to generate months and months of legal work. Yet, whatever the legal outcome of the case, it's clear that the record industry's revenue problems aren't going to be solved in a courtroom.
It's been nearly 10 years since Napster launched and the RIAA, despite a host of lawsuits against companies that allegedly enable copyright infringement, hasn't been able to control how fans listen to music online.
People have always found ways to share music, whether by creating physical mixtapes or via newer Web-based methods. Despite the steps the RIAA takes to target current technologies, it's inevitable that new technologies will emerge to make music sharing even easier.
Meanwhile, it's unclear how anyone benefits when three of the four major labels decide to shun companies like Project Playlist that have a huge fan base and that clearly want to find a way to compensate the industry.
I've been using Project Playlist for months now to share my finds with family and friends. I certainly have no problem with ads or whatever it takes to keep this going. I'd hate to lose this wonderful tool that allows anybody who wants to be their own radio program director.
Steve "Multimedia" Jones
Yet another head-shaking example of the big music conglomerates completely misunderstanding their collaborative and new-business opportunities in the digital age. This might have been comprehensible, say, a DECADE ago, but the fact that they are still making these selfish/arrogant/flat out stupid choices is absolutely flabbergasting.