24 February 2009

RIAA and the underhanded fight

U2 - No line on the horizon
I've been reading with bemusement in the press this week that the RIAA "forced" Last.fm to hand over details of people who have scrobbled listens of the new U2 album. Nice underhanded way to try and figure out who's pirating ... on the surface.

If I was a highschooler and wanted to one-up my fellow classmates, the easiest way would be to rename a bunch of MP3s to the song titles of the new U2 album and just play them, then do a "na na na" in their faces the next day... along with a "oh, I couldn't possibly let you listen before it comes out and ruin the experience". In this scenario, it was more than likely that big burly RIAA bouncer would be walking down the high school halls intent on taking down the little scheming braggart.

Thankfully, Last.fm have come out and said that a) the RIAA never asked for this info and b) if they had they wouldn't have received it.

This made me think that the tech press was obviously tipped off from a competitor of last.fm. Great way to sully the name of a great product - make up rumours that could jeopardise your freedom and watch the rats flock to delete their Last.fm accounts before the incriminating evidence can be used against them.

There is an easy way you can see who's listened to tracked named after the songs on the new U2 album. Just go to Last.fm and do a search on all 11 songs. The RIAA can easily do this, but to leap from seeing someone listened to a song with the same name to that person being a pirate and having downloaded the track is a leap of faith that no judge would see as an obvious logical step.