The Inside Agenda Blog

Do search engines promote piracy? If Seeqpod is wrong, I don't want to be right

by Mike Miner Tuesday January 29, 2008

Maybe it's just too beautiful to live. Warner Music Group is suing Seeqpod, the finest music site I've seen on the internet, because it allows people to scour the net for music, put it in a playlist and play it for free. Naturally, not all the music files it finds has dotted all its copyright i's or crossed many legal t's.

 

You can read about the lawsuit here, and see Seeqpod's response and demi-defence here.

 

Seeqpod CEO & CVO Kasian Franks says, “We are aware of the Warner Bros. lawsuit, and believe we are on the right side of this battle. We intend to vigorously defend SeeqPod from Warner’s claims.”

 

I certainly hope it works out for them, because I love the site. I spent a chore day on Saturday listening to covers of Wire I hadn't heard before. I will miss it if it goes (like, lots).

 

The whole thing raises several interesting questions, foremost in my mind being 'should search engines be held responsible if they are used to promote piracy?'

 

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Evidence of the pernicious effect of search engines?

(photo by kk+)

 

You can see this discussion starting up on the internet.

 

But it might not be all bad news, As the Wired story I linked to above says,

 

"As we used to say in the earlier days of the digital music revolution, you're nobody until somebody sues you. Could this lawsuit be a sign of big things to come for SeeqPod?"

 

Warner's complaint includes testimonials from rapturous Seeqpod users, which is kind of odd. "You ROCK!!!!" and "I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!" are not the sentiments litigious music companies usually try to convey of their prey.

 

Wired sees it this way:

 

Given that Warner is so impressed by users' reactions to SeeqPod, it's possible that the label could consider licensing the site to offer its service in return for a revenue split. They used the same "sue then drop the suit in favor of a licensing deal" strategy with imeem.

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