Simplify Media, how is this legal?

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by Eric Isaacson, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. Eric Isaacson macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2008
    Title says it all, how is Simplify Media legal when it allows others to share your music and you share others music.

    Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the program and I'm sharing music with others, but I don't know enough about the legalities of these things to know the difference between this and other things like Napster, etc

    I read on one of the Blogs that it was legal because of the sharing is by invite only and limited to 30 individuals. I also suspect it has something to do with the fact that the music is never downloaded to your devices, only streamed. But as I said I am ignorant about much of this so if someone that knows could explain it I'd appreciate it.

    I'd also appreciate if any of the Simplify Media Reps that post here could also answer.

    Thanks in advance for your help

  2. CommanderData macrumors regular

    Dec 1, 2007
    [Preface - IANAL]... I'd say it's a pretty grey area, and could get them in trouble. All the music from your collection has to pass through their servers while streaming to you or your invited friends on the go. While unlikely, they could get forced into the same internet streaming royalty system that is threatening to shut down Pandora- approximately 2.9 cents per hour, per subscriber (by 2010). With the initial 200,000 downloads this would be $5800 per HOUR, or $139,200 every day if everyone streamed at the same time. Both server and wallet crippling ;)
  3. fishkorp macrumors 68020


    Apr 10, 2006
    Ellicott City, MD
    The streaming licensing fees are for public broadcast I think. Since you're not opening up your music collection to everyone, I don't think that applies. I could be wrong, but that's how I read it. And the figure you put out is for "concurrent listening" subscribers. All 200,000 people will never be all listening at the same time. If only 3 people are using the site/app at a given time, they only need to pay the fees for those 3, not all 199,997 that aren't tuned in. Although I'm sure the music industry would love to get paid for all of them all the time ;)

    However, Simplify Media isn't much different from Muxtape if you think about it, and the RIAA shut them down. If Simplify gets enough press over their app, I'm guessing the RIAA will go knocking at their door. I can then put Simplify Media on my virtual iPhone app shelf with Net Share as collectors items ;)
  4. XheartcoreboyX macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2007
    .....and how does this matter?

    just enjoy the app...
  5. CommanderData macrumors regular

    Dec 1, 2007
    I did specify in my post it would be true only if they all listened at the same time. Think about this though- fast forward 18 months to 2010, and consider the number of users when there are approximately 50 million iPhone and iPod Touch owners. Simplify Media could have 5 million users, and you can sure bet that a few hundred thousand of them will be streaming at any one time. :D

    We can safely assume that 90% or more of the music streamed from private collections will be stuff the RIAA has an interest in. The unclear part here is whether the storage location matters. Pandora holds all of the music on their servers and streams it. Simplify Media streams from individual user PCs. One storage location versus many, but the streaming servers in each case still supply the conduit for music to flow to listeners. I'd be surprised if they are not approached by the RIAA before the end of the year. Enjoy it while it lasts :)
  6. Eric Isaacson thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2008
    Thanks for the responses, I appreciate your input on this subject. It appears that the number of visitors able to stream your music must be the key because here is what it says on their website
    "Is this legal?

    Yes. Music is streamed friend-to-friend, and only within small, private groups. There are limits to how many friends can be on your Media List and how many listeners can concurrently stream music from your computer. Friends cannot burn remote songs to CDs, transfer them to an iPod or MP3 player, or access them when you are logged off."

    How they come up with 30 would be another question.

  7. DreamPod macrumors 65816


    Mar 15, 2008
    Here's an additional interesting point: iTunes itself lets you do exactly the same thing over a local network. At my company, there are something like 30 people with shared playlists. So if iTunes can do it, why not Simplify Media?
  8. lunarmac macrumors member

    Apr 17, 2003
    From what was posted in another thread by the simplify media guy no music goes through their servers. Simplify media just hands off the connection.

  9. ay98182 macrumors member

    Oct 8, 2007
    here's a question -

    what if Simplify Media DID run into legal trouble with the music industry (unlikely, for all the reasons stated above, but certainly possible) - couldn't they just cancel the 'friend' option and only allow you to stream your own music collection? Since that's mainly what I do anyway, it would still be a very useful application for me - surely, surely then the music industry could have no issue with it?!
  10. prospereagle92 macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2008
    it doesn't stream protected music so therefor it isn't illegal
  11. prospereagle92 macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2008
    it doesn't stream protected music so therefore it isn't illegal
  12. The General macrumors 601

    Jul 7, 2006
    Oh okay, so I'm NOT committing copyright infringement with all those torrents I leech and seed because they don't contain protected music. GOT IT.
  13. jTreu macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2006
    i dont know but i love the app, i can finally get podcasts on the iphone over the air
  14. The Phazer macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2007
    London, UK
    Simple answer - it isn't legal (at least not in the US or UK).

    However, it's like a knife. They're legal, just doing certain things with it is illegal.

    As the music never touches Simplify's servers they don't break the law. But if you use the software to stream music to anyone outside of your own domestic household of you yourself personally, then you're infringing copyright and open to lawsuits.

  15. LostLogik macrumors 6502a

    Jul 9, 2008
    how about, because you can only stream to friends (explicitly invited/accepted), there is a limited number of friends you can have and there is a limit to the number who can stream at the same time (about two?) and more inpotantly, you can't burn copies of the music files. (well you can but it envolves another program like mp3soundstream and that would mean a copy of streamed audio at lower quality, so prob not worth the effort)

    And yes, I've just read this off their website ;)

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