Wired‘s got some good news for Amazon, Google, Dropbox and anyone else who stores music in the Cloud. The practice is legal and doesn’t infringe on record company rights. Additionally, Cloud companies need not store multiple copies of the same song, so long as each users file is the exact same copy, including MD5 hash (same bit rates, album art, etc).
In a complicated federal court decision Monday (see Threat Level’s write-up), a New York federal court judge ruled that the practice was legal — but only insofar as the single storage method is done for exactly unique copies. So for instance, all people who bought “Stairway to Heaven” as an MP3 from Amazon would have the exact same file (as determined by an MD5 Hash) and MP3tunes could just store a single copy.
However, the ruling makes clear that if MP3tunes scanned a customer’s music collection and found “Stairway to Heaven” ripped from a CD with a slightly different file size, the company could not simply substitute a master copy. Instead, that customer would have to upload the file.
The decision also said that allowing “sideloading” of songs was legal. That was the feature of MP3tunes that let users add songs they’d found on webpages, such as music blogs, directly to their online locker.
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