Sunday, August 23, 2020

Data, Oil and Eight Mile Style vs. Spotify | MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

When you look at the ask on damages in the lawsuits against services like Spotify, it’s typical to see certain types of damages listed. One I have never seen is what we’ve long discussed on MTP: non-display uses of recordings, lyrics and artist names.


After all, as The Economist tells us “The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data.”  When services like Spotify post recordings by artists like Eminem, they are no doubt scraping data in the background from the fans that the artist drives to their service.  The same is true of service that include lyrics–or as they are also known, “adwords”.  You don’t really see these uses of recordings, songs or artist names but they are going on constantly.  (Facebook no doubt sells artist names for audience definitions every minute of every day.)

Plus, these non-display uses are intentional, not incidental.  So it’s not an accident.

Google, for example, ties UGC videos to song lyrics with every search.  They also use the video as click bait to keep users on so that Google can keep scraping the user’s data.  It shouldn’t take too much to prove that Google sells “Eminem” as an adword, which I would bet they do.

The same is true of Google Translate, a non-display use of Google Books and its massive scanning project that makes the Google Books decision even more risible than it already was.  Boy, did the court miss the whole point with that one.  Industrial strength fair use.

Something to think about.





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