RIAA sues Project Playlist

RIAA sues Project Playlist

Summary: Is Project Playlist legal? The site allows users to build playlists of music found on other websites (whether they got there legally or not the site claims disinterest) and then streams them to listeners.

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Is Project Playlist legal? The site allows users to build playlists of music found on other websites (whether they got there legally or not the site claims disinterest) and then streams them to listeners. They pay the relevant performance royalties. A WikiAnswer claims, "It is 100% legal, and free from from prosecution" but the record industry doesn't seem to agree.

The RIAA sued Project Playlist Monday alleging "massive infringement." News.com's Greg Sandoval quotes the complaint:

"Project Playlist performs and reproduces plaintiffs' valuable works (and induces and enables others to do so) without any authorization whatsoever," the RIAA said in its complaint, "without paying any compensation whatsoever." "Defendant is well aware that the overwhelming majority of the sound recordings in its index are infringing," the RIAA continued. "The overwhelming majority of the third-party Web sites that host these recordings do so illegally."
For Project Playlist's perspective, check out their copyright notice:
Our search engine is based upon our growing index of links to music files legally posted on the Internet for promotional or other legal purposes. Our music player allows performance of music files through streaming technology and “in-line linking” of series of hyperlinks. In that way, we make it easy for our users to create a playlist that points to a series of music files hosted on third party websites. We do not control those third party websites. We do not host music files. We do not allow uploading or downloading of music files to projectplaylist.com. We are not a “file sharing” site, peer to peer or otherwise; and we do not support or endorse illegal copying of music. Project Playlist, Inc. pays performance royalties to ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, the three performance rights organizations (“PSO”) based in the Untied States. These three PSOs have reciprocal agreements with PSOs throughout the world. The creators and publishers of the songs you hear through projectplaylist.com or our embedded music player, are being paid a royalty for their work if they are members of ASCAP, BMI or SESAC or any one of over 125 other PSOs that represent songwriters and music publishers around the world. The more a song is included on our users’ playlists, the more royalties the writer and publisher of that song are paid by Project Playlist, Inc.

I haven't found the complaint online so I can't really talk about the legal theories. It does seem that facilitating infringement would create liability, though.

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7 comments
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  • There are serious gaps with understanding it

    When you record a work there are two copyrights that may
    apply:

    (c) - represents the work (e.g. song, lyrics, written music
    owner)
    (p) - represents the production (e.g. master recorded
    medium owner)

    Takes me back to my degree in Music Industry where I was
    taught, whole and in part, this in my Business Law, Legal
    Aspects of the Music Industry, Marketing, Economics,
    Audio Engineering in Media, VAX Programming, and BASIC
    courses. I'm not an attorney.
    dascha1
  • Project Playlist is not reproducing...

    any copyrighted material. They are not storing any copyrighted material. And if none of the material passes through their web site or severs, what laws are they breaking. Aiding and abetting, maybe.
    bjbrock
    • Passing through the website

      The material is passing through their website in the form of streaming. As I understand it they are identifying some file on some website and streamin the file from that remote host. So they are playing it, in more or less the sense that internet radio stations do. An internet radio station involves people streaming their legitimate copies of music to listeners. They are paying the *performance* royalty that internet radio has to pay.

      This strikes me as the same thing except that: 1) people can create their own playlists. 2) There is no assurance that the source copy is legitimate.

      But unlike P2P sharing, which really does propagate piracy because subsequent users actually get a song, here users get nothing other than the ability to control their listening. Which is just Pandora.

      So the entire complaint must that the source files may be illegal, which should be no concern at all, since those "illegal" files are not being copied and redistributed.
      rkoman9
  • Are they still wiggling?

    A snake will wiggle till sundown
    after they are "killed".

    The RIAA just don't know they are
    dead yet. They're still wiggling.
    Ole Man
  • Ban Music in the US and be done with it

    stop selling music CD, downloads etc everything we do with music seems to be against thee law.

    Why sell a product where there no legal way to enjoy it? Seems everyday there another no you can't when it comes to thee RIAA.
    Randalllind
  • Let a 3rd party come out with relevant activation/usage software...

    the singers to protect their own stuff.

    No doubt they'd get a bigger profit margin themselves, what with them doing the bulk of the work...?
    HypnoToad
    • Addendum

      We all know why the label companies exist: Central points of contact. It made sense until they got greedy; most artists usually tour in order to make real money. :(
      HypnoToad