Business News Digital

Record industry’s next big piracy challenge could be a P2P-fed streaming service

By | Published on Friday 18 September 2015


So, expect much chatter in the coming weeks about Aurous, which has already been dubbed as both the “new Grooveshark” and the “Popcorn Time of music”, and is perhaps most interesting in that it’s raising money on Indiegogo to fund the build of Android and iOS app versions of the service.

The new music platform is set to go live on Mac, Windows and Linux – albeit in alpha – from next month. It’s basically a streaming service that pulls content off P2P networks, making the file-sharing experience more akin to streaming than downloading. It’s not the first service to do this – the Grooveshark clone that popped up after proper Grooveshark was forced offline by the record industry was thought to work in a similar way – though it looks like Aurous will very closely mimic the Spotify experience, except with only banner ads, so no audio commercials interrupting the music.

The developer behind the service seems keen to call it a sophisticated “search engine”, presumably in a bid to avoid liability for copyright infringement. Some have already speculated that because Aurous, unlike Grooveshark, won’t actually host any music, perhaps it won’t have the same copyright woes. But it will. Given the “but we don’t host the music” line has been unsuccessfully used in countless file-sharing copyright cases.

And while – if it provides a takedown system for rights owners – Aurous might be able to cry “safe harbours!”, in reality the service looks more like an evolution of the LimeWire file-sharing client and Pirate Bay search engine, both of which most courts agree are liable for contributory or authorising copyright infringement.

Which poses an interesting question: Given rights owners have, in the past, gone after the financial backers of copyright infringing services, what, if any, might be the liabilities of people who throw in a few pounds for the app build on Indiegogo?