Saturday, November 19, 2005

Magnatunes: Pick Your Battles

I couldn't believe what I was reading today on NewsForge. A pathetic rant against Magnatune entitled, Magnatune: We're not as evil as we could be by Matthew Davidson.

He's bent out of shape because the MP3 encoded songs that you can freely download & freely redistribute from Magnatune (under a CC License) have a synthesized voice message tacked on the end of them with track/artist information and the notice 'from Magnatune.com.' The unmitigated gall of this ungracious article is truly unbelievable!

My response in full:
You are *totally* blowing this issue out of proportion and mischaracterizing what is 'free' on Magnatune and what's not.

First, you better check again because you certainly ARE free to redistribute the music you purchase from Maganatune under the specified CC license. There is NO separate license for the WAV, OGG, or FLAC files as opposed to the MP3/streaming license. It's one and the same.

The only difference beside bitrate quality between the streamed MP3 files & a purchased set is simply that the 'nagware' message is gone after the purchase.
But as you stated, even with the MP3s (that ARE freely & immediately downloadable) you ARE free to strip out the track/artist/title message, use them (non-commercially) & redistribute them according to the terms of the license. What REALLY is the problem? You should have taken this time and space to write about something TRULY threatening like software patents...

As to the 'nagware' in the streamed/freely downloadable MP3s, so what? It provides us complete track information: the artist, the album & what track we are listening to. Unless something has changed in the message since the last time I listened to a stream there is NOTHING in there to suggest that you are stealing or a freeloader.

In fact, I actually bought an album BECAUSE of the information in the 'nagware'. I was listening to a compilation set of various artists in a genre and heard an interesting song. Without the 'nagware' message I would not have known who it was that was performing. With the information provided, I listened to more from the particular artist that intrigued me, and I ended up buying one of his albums!

Gee, instead of being evil perhaps this is actually beneficial to all: artist, consumer, and distributor...

Pick your battles. This article amounts to little more then a poorly conceived rant about a total non-issue.

Updated 22 November 2005, 12:39am: It appears from lengthy discussions regarding this article on NewsForge that it is highly likely that WAV, FLAC, OGG, etc. files that you purchase from Magnatune are not sold to you under the same by-nc-sa 1.0 Creative Commons License that cover the freely downloadable MP3 files. My apologies to Matthew Davidson for the statements above that I have rendered with strike-thru. If you follow this thread you will find the basis for my original position on the issue, and why I now believe I was mistaken. Contact Magnatune for further clarification if needed. I am not a lawyer and aside from being a repeat customer, I am not affiliated in any way with Magnatune.

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1 comment:

Magnatune said...

The great thing about this article is the wellspring of support it brough out for Magnatune, and for that I'm truly grateful!

-john