(see earlier coverage: LAMP Shut Down, MIT Chases Wrong Problem — looks like the crackdown on LoudEye is not going unremarked) Music-Sharing Service at M.I.T. Is Shut Down [pdf]
The music service had its official start one week ago but within hours, music companies, including the Universal Music Group, complained that they had not granted – or been paid for – the required legal permission to make the copies of their songs used by the system.
The creators of the new service, M.I.T. students Keith Winstein and Josh Mandel, were dumbfounded by the industry move, since they had paid Loudeye, a company in Seattle, to fill a hard drive with licensed songs. Mr. Winstein and Mr. Mandel said that they thought the contract with the company guaranteed that the copyright issues had been resolved.
“So far as I know, we bought this music fair and square,” Mr. Winstein said.
[…] For its part, Loudeye seems to be claiming that M.I.T. had misunderstood its contract. The company did not return calls seeking comment, but a spokesman told The Los Angeles Times, which first reported the conflict, “We provided content to M.I.T.,” but “we did not provide licenses for them to issue that content.”
That would appear to contradict what the company had said in a news release the day that the program started, which referred to “approximately 48,000 licensed digital music tracks.” In the same Loudeye news release, the company quoted Mr. Winstein as saying, “As far as we know, Loudeye is the only company in the country with all the rights and permissions in place to provide this service.” That news release has since been removed from Loudeye’s Web site.
Plus, we get Jonathan Zittrain channelling Jessica Litman:
To Jonathan Zittrain, who teaches Internet law at Harvard and is a director of the university’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, that incident shows that the world of copyright has grown so arcane that even the major players do not even understand it. “It doesn’t seem that M.I.T. was trying to steal anything, but rather to simply hew to the letter of the law in an incredibly byzantine area,” he said. “Good faith and technical genius alone doesn’t make it work.”