Thursday, April 13, 2006

YAHOO FINDS ITSELF IN WEBJAY TROUBLE

Yahoo's purchase of Webjay back in January may have been a bit hasty - the service, which lets people share playlists of online music and video appears to have lost control of its bar on copyright material.

Yahoo executives declined to comment, but Charlene Fitzgibbon, a Yahoo spokeswoman, said: "Yahoo is currently transitioning some of the features of webjay.org into Yahoo Music's products and services. Yahoo aims to respect intellectual property rights and will remove any content when notified of material that infringes copyrights."

The RIAA seems reluctant to start an open war with Yahoo, so the loudest complaints are coming from music industry executives who are reluctant to be named:

"When you look at services like that, functionally they are no different than the old
Napster," said a veteran digital music attorney who asked not to be identified. "It makes you wonder why anyone would bother to do a legitimate music service -- to go get licenses -- when they have to compete with this kind of thing."


Interestingly, Yahoo actually has a legitimate download service, which if this anonymous opinion was accurate would mean they were conspiring to put themselves out of business. Of course, that Webjay has managed to co-exist peacefully with over a billion paid-for downloads through iTunes alone would suggest that the existence of gray areas hasn't actually hobbled legal services at all.

What we do find ourselves wondering, though, is why industry figures are happy to put their name to press releases calling for the persecution of twelve year old kids and old ladies, but don't feel quite so bold when it's a large media company they're objecting to.


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