Wednesday, October 25, 2006

When friends fall out

There's never been anything like it (except when BMG bought Napster and so found itself being sued by its RIAA partners): Universal is suing (Sony-owned) Grouper. Grouper would have been the poor man's YouTube, had it not been purchased by Sony; it's being targetted by Universal alongside similar service Bolt.

We're not quite sure what happens should this get to court: if Sony wins, surely that would present some sort of a weakness when it's attempting to pursue people using broadly similar file-sharing services with its material? After all, if it believes it's defensible to share a music video owned by Universal on Grouper, how can it object to someone sharing a song owned by Sony on, say, Bittorrent? And if Universal wins, wouldn't Sony-BMG have to quit the RIAA?

Yes, actually, according to the RIAA's rules:

Eligibility is not extended to companies that are currently engaged in, have within five years of application been engaged in, or are controlled by any person, firm or corporation which has within 5 years of application been engaged in the unauthorized creation, duplication, sale, importation, or other use of sound recordings in violation of state or federal law.

In fact, shouldn't Sony-BMG have been kicked out for that Napster connection anyway?


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