RealTime IT News

MySpace to Stop The Music

MySpace is taking measures to beat back the looming specter of litigation swirling over the downloading of copyrighted material.

The social networking powerhouse and Fox Interactive Media unit said it has licensed security technology from GraceNote that will help it block unauthorized copyrighted music audio recordings from being posted on the MySpace.com Web site.

This is a crucial measure at a time when sites are allowing consumers to post information, audio and video with very few restrictions.

For example, high-tech entrepreneurs such as Mark Cuban said buying YouTube would be "crazy" because the copyrighted video posted to its Web site could incur significant legal liability.

Yet Google boldly bit, agreeing to purchase YouTube for $1.65 billion.

Google's counterclaim is that frequent exposure and viral marketing will actually push consumers to buy copyrighted material they come across on YouTube.

Protection via viral marketing or not, MySpace is taking precautions under the watchful eye of Fox.

MySpace is licensing GraceNote's MusicID audio fingerprinting software and Global Media Database to review all music audio recordings uploaded by MySpace.com members to their profiles.

The software will help MySpace pick out copyrighted music audio recordings in the Global Media Database for designated rights holders; MySpace can then block any uploading of such works.

In GraceNote, MySpace selected something of a go-to company for digital security. GraceNote's software is embedded in media players such as Apple iTunes, Yahoo Music Engine, RealNetworks Rhapsody, Napster and AOL Winamp.

"MySpace is staunchly committed to protecting artists' rights –- whether those artists are on major labels or are independent acts," said MySpace CEO and co-founder Chris DeWolfe in a statement. "This is another important step we're taking to ensure artists control the content they create."

MySpace also reinforced its attitude about protecting copyrighted material in the statement, noting that "individuals who repeatedly attempt to upload unauthorized music will have their accounts permanently deleted."

With backing by a megamedia company like Fox, the concern and caution over posting copyrighted material is obvious. Strong laws protect copyrighted material in the U.S., so no one wants to get caught peddling protected content.

Just ask Grokster.

The P2P file-sharing concern closed shop last year because the Supreme Court decided it was running an illegal business.

Since Fox picked up MySpace through its buy of rival Intermix Media last year, MySpace has been involved in a number of deals to accelerate the business' growth.

Perhaps the biggest was a $900 million advertising deal between News Corp. and Google in August.

Under that deal, the search giant provides search and advertising through MySpace.com, IGN and other Fox Interactive Media Web sites.