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About this weblog
Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.

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In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

Copyfight

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April 15, 2004

AT&T Wireless to ID radio songs

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Posted by Jason Schultz

Engagdet notes:
This has been around for awhile now in Britain, but AT&T Wireless is the first carrier in the US to offer Shazam’s song identification service. If you hear a song you like (or don’t like, as the case may be) but don’t know who it’s by, you can just dial #ID (or #43) on your cellphone, hold the phone near the speaker for at least 15 seconds, and then moments later you’ll get a text message with the name of the song and recording artist. They say they’ve got a million songs in the database, and that for right now you can try it out for free, though later it’ll cost 99 cents a pop.

I'd be curious to know if/how AT&T is handling the copyright issues for this service. Are they are instructing their customers to make digital retransmissions of copyrighted sound recordings? What about the "million songs" they have copied into their database? Is this infringement? Will the RIAA sue? Inquiring minds want to know...

Comments (3) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Use


COMMENTS

1. Seth Finkelstein on April 15, 2004 2:25 PM writes...

I'd assume the database is licensed, and the retransmission is argued to be fair-use or authorized.

Permalink to Comment

2. Matt Brubeck on April 15, 2004 6:00 PM writes...

I've done some work with a company that developed music-identification software. If Shazam's database is similar, it only contains a (probably non-copyrightable) "fingerprint" of the song's identifying characteristics.

Also, many music identification companies have studios, and rights organizations like ASCAP or BMI, as their biggest customers. These groups use the software to monitor file-sharing networks for copyright violations, or to audit radio stations to ensure their royalty payments are accurate. The studios and rights organizations are happy to supply the music ID companies with their entire music libraries to be catalogued.

Permalink to Comment

3. Jason Schultz on April 15, 2004 6:27 PM writes...

That's a good point. I suppose ASCAP and BMI can use data from AT&T to help calculate radio station fees and divide up payments to artists as well. Still, since the transmission of the song from the radio to the database is a digital reproduction, that would have to be authorized as well or a fair use.

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