posted Oct 16, 2000

New radio software: the legal Napster?
Music & MP3
10/16/2000; 9:21:10 AM

'Some new fancy software from SongCatcher.com may mean you'll never have to pay for your favourite songs again. And the good thing is that it's perfectly legal....

'Tracks are recognised by referring to a station's playlist and using some digital sound recognition software. From that point you'll have a list of artists' tracks and song titles which can be jiggled around as you fancy. Save or delete them or put a ban on artists you want nothing to do with. Logan is also working on a find feature - only trouble is you'll have to wait until that song is broadcast before you can get it.'

There are a large number of radio stations on the net. This will eventually allow you to obtain most anything if the system gets going well enough.

Isn't this absurd? If two people own the exact same music file, one recording/downloading from an online radio station and the other getting a copy of the file from Napster (which the first person was sharing), it's legal for the first but not for the second? How can you tell? Source has factored in to whether a copy is legal or not before, but it's become impossible to tell whether something is "original" or something is "copied".

Compare this to another Register article today, 'This music will self destruct in 5 plays: RIAA looks to the future', particularly this quote:

'We should however note that the legal toleration of home taping for personal use is a major obstacle for the recording industry's efforts to police copyright. If copying was just plain illegal, as with other software, their lives would be a lot simpler. So go figure.'

Expect the RIAA to fight this. If this is labelled "legal", then they'll have to worry about a service that listens for you, allows you to request a song, records it (in high quality from participating stations!), and allows you to pick it up later. An awful lot like Napster, except that music quality will be high, minus some annoying DJ time...

Quickly, I've got to patent this! (Probably too late anyhow...)

 

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