Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

posted by Fnord666 on Saturday October 12 2019, @03:25PM   Printer-friendly
from the trying-to-be-clever dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1337

Get the popcorn.

New blockchain-based music streaming service Audius is a copyright nightmare

New startup Audius says its blockchain-based music streaming service is the solution that finally pays attention to indie artists' needs. It's also full of pirated material.

Audius' website says "music platforms were at their best when they listened to what artists and fans wanted - not corporations or major labels" and that uploaded tracks can "never be censored or removed." TechCrunch called Audius' blockchain move its "secret sauce," while Yahoo finance said it is "adequately addressing the most pressing needs within the industry." But one of the most pressing problems in music right now is copyright. Audius contains infringing material — such as an unlicensed version of Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea's "Problem" — that, if its promotional materials are right, the company cannot remove.

[...] "They say 'We don't have the ability to deplatform you or censor you.' What I hear when I read that is, 'It's going to be real difficult for us to take down anything that you put up,'" says Kevin Casini, a professor of entertainment law at the Quinnipiac School of Law in Connecticut. "They're trying to speak as if they're talking to people who are afraid of this bogeyman intermediary. And they're also saying, 'Hey, this is a new spot where you can, at least for a brief amount of time, upload something, and we're not going to look at it and see what it is.' It seems that they know this is something that is going to happen quickly for them, and they're signaling and advertising to the people that actually know what they're saying, which is: 'You can come here and do it.'"

[...] But the problem is, all of the things Audius says it's solving with the blockchain — a more direct line between fans and artists, discovery, self-monetizing — can be done without the blockchain. In fact, this is being done without the blockchain on Bandcamp and Patreon, among others.

[...] "On the surface, a lot of people think, 'blockchain is perfect for this,'" says Jack Spallone, senior product manager at ConsenSys. "Not quite. If [the music industry] could use Excel really well, it might not even be an issue."

Audius is trying to avoid SoundCloud's copyright issues by not hosting the user-uploaded content itself. Its open-source protocol, built on blockchain, means that the responsibility of hosting and making uploaded content available is spread out among people who register as node operators. They say this method should protect them from liability and the claws of major labels. This is actually an open question. Copying and distribution initiated by the user but carried out by a system has insulated some companies in the past, but it has not been a sufficient argument for others.

[...] Whether this business model holds up in court or not, lawsuits from major publishers or labels could easily wipe out Audius' capital. And if you're buried with lawsuits, you have no money for anything else. It remains to be seen how labels and other rights holders will react to Audius, which has, in a short time, become saturated with infringing material.

[...] Even if Audius isn't directly liable for infringement, it can still be held secondarily liable if a court finds it promotes "its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement."

Experts are skeptical about whether being on the blockchain is enough to protect Audius from washing their hands of bad actors. Historically, services like Grokster used similar arguments. After all, Grokster didn't host any material; it only allowed the means for people to share files with each other. But it lost that fight in the Supreme Court, and it shut down in 2005. "That's what all the early peer to peer services said too and it didn't super work out for them," says John Bergmayer, legal director at Public Knowledge.

Original Submission

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by RamiK on Saturday October 12 2019, @06:00PM (2 children)

    by RamiK (1813) on Saturday October 12 2019, @06:00PM (#906397)

    It's not just buzz. Just recently the guy running [] forgot to renew [] their domain subscription or something but since the whole thing was on IPFS, it's still reachable via cloudflare's direct copy [] and those of us that pinned it via a cron job ( "ipfs pin add /ipns/12D3KooWB3GY1u6zMLqnf3MJ8zhX3SS1oBj7VXk3xp6sJJiFGZXp" ) can find it under http://localhost:8080/ipns/12D3KooWB3GY1u6zMLqnf3MJ8zhX3SS1oBj7VXk3xp6sJJiFGZXp/ [localhost] and it gets shared around as is until the guy with the key decides to update it.

    To take it down, you'd need to take the whole network down - despite having many legitimate users - or start to whac-a-mole each IP with a takedown notice like with the bittorrent magnets it provides.

    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   +2  
       Interesting=2, Total=2
    Extra 'Interesting' Modifier   0  
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   4  
  • (Score: 2) by arslan on Monday October 14 2019, @12:41AM (1 child)

    by arslan (3462) on Monday October 14 2019, @12:41AM (#906793)

    ipfs is awesome, but it is not blockchain... the term blockchain is truly a buzzword nowadays. Either the folks using it don't know what they're talking or does but shoe-horn it into a blockchain solution regardless just so they can ride the buzz.

    A lot of the solution you see with blockchains can be solved by the various tech that it comprises of. A DHT have been used in BTs for a while now, but you don't see folks market it as BT because of the stigma, they just call it blockchain. Some folks starts with blockchain then go about turning off, or worse bastardize, the bits you don't need like proof-of-work or even the conceptual bits like a self incentivizing market place and call the end turd a blockchain.

    • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Tuesday October 15 2019, @03:50PM

      by RamiK (1813) on Tuesday October 15 2019, @03:50PM (#907413)

      ipfs is awesome, but it is not blockchain.

      Well, sure there's no proof of work, but in this case where the whole agenda is to look for torrents... Right?