Amazon debuts Cloud Drive, music industry whines: The screen that will end up in court

Summary:Amazon's Cloud Drive beat Apple and Google to the punch and now the music industry is whining about lawsuits. Amazon is defiant. And the potential spat boils down to this: Are Amazon's Cloud Drive and Player about storage or streaming music?

Amazon's Cloud Drive and Cloud Player beat Apple and Google to the punch and now the music industry is whining about lawsuits. Amazon is defiant. And the potential spat boils down to this: Are Amazon's Cloud Drive and Player about storage or streaming music?

As I played with Cloud Drive---I still don't quite get why storing content I bought requires a permission slip from the music industry to use Cloud Player---one screen stuck out repeatedly. It's this one:

It's obvious that you can upload documents, music, pictures and video. If I stream pictures do I need the recording industry's permission for that too?

That screen boils down Amazon's defense in a nutshell: Cloud Drive and Cloud Player are storage tools. People happen to own music. They happen to listen to that music.

The recording industry will argue that Amazon launched an unlicensed streaming music service. The problem with the recording industry is that Amazon isn't some college kid that can be sued to oblivion. Amazon has fancy lawyers too.

You're going to hear posturing from both sides and Amazon has hedged its bets well. Notice the CYA involved here in Jeff Bezos' letter to customers:

Dear Customers,

Managing a digital music collection is a bit of a mess. it's possible to buy music from your phone, but then it might get stuck there. It's possible to buy music from your work computer, but then you have to remember to transfer it to your home computer. Most people just wait until they get home and do their purchasing from there. What's more, if you're not regularly backing up your music collection, you lose it in a disk drive crash.

Clearly, Amazon's cloud Drive and Player are a streaming music issue. Busted!

Then the hedge comes:

We're solving those problems with two important new offerings: Amazon Cloud Drive and Amazon Cloud Player. Cloud Drive is your personal disk drive in the cloud. Anything you put in Cloud Drive is robustly stored in Amazon's datacenters. You can upload your music collection to Cloud Drive, as well as any other digital documents.

It's that "other digital documents" part that potentially expands the Cloud Drive and Player beyond the music industry's reach. Cloud Player only needs a Web browser---another key point. You can argue that the Cloud Player is just a vehicle to access your stuff.

Ultimately a judge somewhere will decide, but unless there's some injunction---a tough case to make for a "locker"---Amazon's Cloud Drive and Player aren't going anywhere.

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Topics: Amazon, Hardware, Mobility

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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