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Last.fm giving data to the RIAA?

 
    • ukrob12 said...
    • User
    • 21 Feb 2009, 17:10
    Personally, I'm happy with the responses given. Especially this comment is very reassuring: "And you could also expect most of the Last.fm staff to walk out of the office door and never return.".

    In the end its respect for TechCrunch I've lost.

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 21 Feb 2009, 18:14
    Bet it's an advertising stunt for the new U2 album. No one's going to make me listen even if TechCrunch have just told me it's available now at my nearest bittorrent, prior to its 3 March release... !!

    What's it doing 'released' so early anyway? Who put it there?

    I thought they scrapped that practice of prosecuting downloaders? None of the cases that were intended to set an example have gone too well. (as far as I know)

    And even if there's a kernal of truth to the story, wouldn't Last.fm then be in breach of policy and wouldn't we be in a position to sue? Of course we would. For this reason alone, I'm suspicious of the TechCrunch article because it doesn't make sense for Last.fm to handover sensitive data, inadvertently or not. My impression of Last.fm is that all data is jealously guarded. Which means if data were to exchange hands, it would need permission and approval. And given there's fewer staff now than before Christmas, it's probable that everyone knows what everyone else is doing.

    I smell a dirty rat, TechCrunch! ukrob12 is right. TechCrunch has lost my respect too.

    PS: I posted a comment at TechCrunch too. I think I'm about no. 240...

  • Who cares. It's not like they can do much to everyone who at this point have downloaded it.

    • da_robe said...
    • User
    • 21 Feb 2009, 18:59

    Official Statement?

    I would like it if the Last.fm people would issue an official statement on this matter. I appreciate the comments in the forum, but I would like to see it in print please.

    I trust the low level staffers, but they might not know exactly what happened, and frankly, if this ends up being true, there is going to be MASSIVE backlash.

    • dankine said...
    • User
    • 21 Feb 2009, 19:01

    Re: Official Statement?

    da_robe said:
    I would like it if the Last.fm people would issue an official statement on this matter. I appreciate the comments in the forum, but I would like to see it in print please.

    I trust the low level staffers, but they might not know exactly what happened, and frankly, if this ends up being true, there is going to be MASSIVE backlash.


    Russ and RJ have both replied to this thread...

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities"
    "I don't want to believe, I want to know"

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    • kaimac said...
    • User
    • 21 Feb 2009, 19:15

    Surprised at the Silence from Techcrunch

    Very surprised they've not published anything further on this. Either stand by the story (and back it up), or apologize and retract.

    Just blogged my thoughts: http://tinyurl.com/ddtzlu

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 21 Feb 2009, 19:30

    Re: Official Statement?

    da_robe said:
    I trust the low level staffers, [...]


    RJ is one of the co-founders.

  • Babs_05 said:
    Bet it's an advertising stunt for the new U2 album. No one's going to make me listen even if TechCrunch have just told me it's available now at my nearest bittorrent, prior to its 3 March release... !!

    What's it doing 'released' so early anyway? Who put it there?


    it seems it was their own label (Universal)


    on a general note: I think it's very good to see the staff speak out against these practices so vehemently and openly.
    *thumbsup*

  • Russ said:
    I'd like to issue a full and categorical denial of this. We've never had any request for such data by anyone, and if we did we wouldn't consent to it.

    Of course we work with the major labels and provide them with broad statistics, as we would with any other label, but we'd never personally identify our users to a third party - that goes against everything we stand for.

    As far as I'm concerned Techcrunch have made this whole story up.


    ...thanks :)

    sic semper tyrannis
  • ukrob12 said:
    Personally, I'm happy with the responses given. Especially this comment is very reassuring: "And you could also expect most of the Last.fm staff to walk out of the office door and never return.".

    In the end its respect for TechCrunch I've lost.

    My thoughts and feelings exactly.

  • I haven't read this thread but I think it's important to say this:

    Scrobbling "unreleased" tracks does NOT mean someone downloaded a leaked album. Someone may have ripped a song off a YouTube PV or a TV show and tagged it without specifying its "version". Others may take an existing song and tag it as a new song that it isn't for e-penis purposes.

    In short, such data isn't reliable and if it ever were requested (which Last.fm says it wasn't), it shouldn't be given out since people's scrobbles are unreliable anyway.

  • For the first time in years, I've found reason to resubscribe. Here's to hoping CBS crushes that tabloid for libel.

    • fmera said...
    • User
    • 22 Feb 2009, 05:59

    Re: Surprised at the Silence from Techcrunch

    kaimac said:
    Very surprised they've not published anything further on this. Either stand by the story (and back it up), or apologize and retract.

    Just blogged my thoughts: http://tinyurl.com/ddtzlu

    oh, they did alright - scroll down to the bottom of the article, and you'll see 2 cursory footnotes to the story. the 2nd update only serves to confirm the malicious intent of their innuendoes: the writer actually dismisses Russ' post here as a "squishy" disclaimer, whatever that is.

    typical behavior when you corner a weasel.

    U.G.L.Y. - changing the face of music, one artist at a time.
    there are some things pngs can't fix. for everything else, there's pngoptimizer.
  • The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that this whole story is just an advertising stunt.
    First of all, let's not forget that the album was actually released for legal download by Universal Australia. - Whether intentionally or not, is a matter of speculation. Frankly, I am more inclined to think that it was intentional, because I don't think that that company is staffed by complete morons.
    Also, I remember how Metallica's new album was also, oops, legally on the market in France (?) a few weeks before its official release date. I think that the same thing happening to another highly anticipated album within a few months is just too much of a coincidence.
    Secondly, even if RIAA got hold of the listening stats, whether or not knowingly provided by last.fm, they'll have to prove that indeed those files were illegally obtained and not just bought via Universal Australia or, say, Napster Mobile - I read at @u2 that it was available for legal download on Feb. 8 and was only removed eight days later.
    Or, someone might have ripped it off U2's Myspace page, where the entire new album is available for free streaming.
    So, the more I think about it, the more it seems that this is just a very smart marketing move for creating a buzz around No Line on the Horizon.

    The truth is always worse when you are sober.
    Edited by xptrinity on 22 Feb 2009, 16:14
  • Why doesn't someone ask the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) if they have broken EU data protection law by 'asking / demanding / acquiring or receiving' this mythical data ?? And see what they say.

    EU law is famously strict when it comes to the protection of an individuals personal data, I do not think the RIAA would want a few billion Euros in fines dumped on them.

    It Ain't a Crime to be Good to Yourself
    • maz35 said...
    • User
    • 22 Feb 2009, 12:36
    In other news Techcrunch lure little children to their gingerbread house, I know because a friend of a friend told me so. Hey there's no evidence they don't now is there?

    That's pretty much how their article on last.fm and subsequent updates come across.

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 22 Feb 2009, 16:48
    xptrinity said:
    Or, someone might have ripped it off U2's Myspace page, where the entire new album is available for free streaming.

    You can scrobble from MySpace - http://lastfmstats.livefrombmore.com/universalscrobbler/

    • maz35 said...
    • User
    • 22 Feb 2009, 17:07
    Babs_05 said:
    xptrinity said:
    Or, someone might have ripped it off U2's Myspace page, where the entire new album is available for free streaming.

    You can scrobble from MySpace - http://lastfmstats.livefrombmore.com/universalscrobbler/

    Yep in fact using that you can scrobble anything you want manually so if your heard something from the new album anywhere you could have added it without having any mp3's if your so inclined.

  • and if they had.. what could be the consequences?

    what would the riaa be able to do with that information? what could it sue me for, provided i had an unreleased song on my hd?

    i don't want to imply that i would tolerate last.fm giving my personal data away.. our listening data (and sometimes some of our private data too!) is available on our profile anyway..

  • Fairly unequivocal denial :)

    Just some follow-up questions about the API...
    - Would it be possible for some organisations to access similar data through Last.fm's API of their own volition? I mean, just how much data can be got at through the API?
    - I'd imagine labels/orgs accessing some data could actually be quite useful ie. for market research purposes (eg. "oh shit, Artist X isn't getting many plays this week; we need to do some promo work around that"). Does Last.fm work to give labels/others data like this, whether through API or some other arrangement?

    Just thinking about the degree of information the API offers (as someone who doesn't use it directly, as a developer) ... about the *most* the album.getInfo method offers, for example, is number of listeners and plays - both of which are visible, anyway, on the album web page. track.getTopFans obviously does what it says on the tin - but how many fans does it return?

    Cheers

    • [Deleted user] said...
    • User
    • 22 Feb 2009, 18:25

    Ta-da!

    You know what the be-all-end-all of this would be?

    Get the RIAA to issue a statement denying this.

    (I don't know if thats possible, but that would really screw over TechCrunch)

    • DFA1979 said...
    • Subscriber
    • 22 Feb 2009, 18:39
    robertandrews said:
    Fairly unequivocal denial :)

    Just some follow-up questions about the API...
    - Would it be possible for some organisations to access similar data through Last.fm's API of their own volition? I mean, just how much data can be got at through the API?
    You can see the documentation for the API here. In short: you can get a (fairly small) number of top listeners of a particular track or artist, but only by username. There's nothing in there which can be used to identify anybody beyond their profile (no IP addresses or anything along those lines). Of course, if somebody chooses to put their home address and social security number in their 'about me' then they're opening themselves up, but the API doesn't link users by anything other than their username.

    - I'd imagine labels/orgs accessing some data could actually be quite useful ie. for market research purposes (eg. "oh shit, Artist X isn't getting many plays this week; we need to do some promo work around that"). Does Last.fm work to give labels/others data like this, whether through API or some other arrangement?Artists/labels get data for how many users are listening (which can be broken down week-by-week), and the same is available for number of scrobbles (rather than unique users). They can also see how many of the plays came from radios/on-demand. I think the break-down of scrobble sources is the only thing available to them which isn't shown to the public.

    Just thinking about the degree of information the API offers (as someone who doesn't use it directly, as a developer) ... about the *most* the album.getInfo method offers, for example, is number of listeners and plays - both of which are visible, anyway, on the album web page. track.getTopFans obviously does what it says on the tin - but how many fans does it return?I've just done a count on one of the track.getTopFans responses, it looks like it gives the top 50 (so nothing that's not accessible through the website directly).

    • Babs_05 said...
    • Moderator
    • 22 Feb 2009, 18:48

    Re: and if they had.. what could be the consequences?

    schneckerl said:
    what would the riaa be able to do with that information? what could it sue me for, provided i had an unreleased song on my hd?

    i don't want to imply that i would tolerate last.fm giving my personal data away.. our listening data (and sometimes some of our private data too!) is available on our profile anyway..


    The RIAA has already stated it's moving away from lawsuits and targeting ISPs instead, although it's not going to stop altogether just yet. It's a very recent decision. See this article. (PaidContent.org)

    • maz35 said...
    • User
    • 22 Feb 2009, 18:50

    Re: Ta-da!

    azharc said:
    You know what the be-all-end-all of this would be?

    Get the RIAA to issue a statement denying this.

    (I don't know if thats possible, but that would really screw over TechCrunch)


    Given their members attitudes to internet radio I doubt they'd care enough to say anything.

  • The story is so obviously rubbish, as it makes absolutely no sense. There are legitimate sources through which the album is available early and it will be difficult to distinguish these from illegal sources.
    For example, it is currently available on Spotify in the UK and Spain. Spotify scrobbles, so those plays would also be included.
    They would need access to the details of which players were used, and this information can sometimes be inaccurate.

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