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Business - Written by on Monday, March 17, 2008 11:40 - 2 Comments

Derek Pokora
SeeqPod playable search – Find. Discover. Watch. Listen. Share. And get sued.

I must give credit to Thusenth for this post, as he was the person who originally told me about SeeqPod.

SeeqPod is a fantastic music flash-based site that works as a search engine. Users can search to find mp3 files that are hosted on other people’s sites. It links to content as Google would, although it does allow users to play the content from their site, but ultimately they never host any of the content. Although I’m not always the biggest proponent of Flash due to its proprietary nature, it is instances such as this that demonstrate the situational applicability of the software. But I digress.

The nature of this site, however, hasn’t stopped Warner Music from suing the “playable search” company. You can view a PDF of Warner’s complaint against SeeqPod here. SeeqPod claims its music search technology is legal because it doesn’t actually host any files. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act has a provision that protects search engines from charges of infringement when they return potentially infringing results.

Once again, the music companies have it all wrong. Why is it wrong for people to sample music before buying it? If anything, sites like this can help the music industry by allowing people to check out new bands or DJ’s. Besides, if people really want to steal music, they’re going to. It must be of one’s own volition. Due to the software used to create the site, SeeqPod doesn’t actually enable people to steal music.

Just yesterday at SXSW, SeeqPod announced the introduction of its HollaWalla music wall widget. The new widget allows fans, bloggers, events producers, bands, and labels anywhere to search for audio results, build a playlist and share it with friends or fans via email, a social network profile, any blog or website. Developed in-house, the widget enables people to make comments on each “Holla” (search result) on the “Walla” (playlist), adding a dimension of personalization throught interactive, real-time conversation within the HollaWalla application. Another great move by SeeqPod.

You can even check out their API here.


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Thusenth Dhavaloganathan
Mar 17, 2008 20:16

Over the years, its been interesting to see the lawsuits go from content hosts (Napster) to those who aggregate the connections(PirateBay), and now those who index the web (seeqPod now, Google later?).

There are so many legitimate uses for seeqpod, and I’m glad that they’re heading in that direction.

Oct 12, 2008 6:41

One thing to remember: Seeqpod isn’t just sticking it to the labels, it hurts lots of mp3 bloggers by stealing their bandwidth. Each time a song streams, it’s directly from the source. The blog posts are not linked to, like Hypemachine does. Decent MP3 bloggers at least try to stay ethical by providing info on the band, reviewing songs and linking to where to buy the music. Engines like Seeqpod take advantage of their good work.

There’s something I find dodgy about them, looking at their FAQ on where the music comes from. They not only don’t answer directly, but try to wow readers with an answer about how wonderfully vast the internet is for finding music. Very used-care salesman or evasive politician to me. They also don’t honour requests to remove files you host from their search engine if you don’t want them there.

People seem to be continually, mistakenly aligning Seeqpod and co with the broader movement for fairer copyright laws and obliterating the monopolies of music labels. But I see no marker that this is a site that really cares about breaking down the problematic paradigm of greedy record labels monopolising music. If so, they would not treat bloggers so badly by stealing their bandwidth and not letting them opt out.

They would also work to make sure most of their sources were legitimate. And certainly, like other sites, not fail to inform users that while a search engine may not be illegal, it may be illegal for a user to play or post a stream. Most sites like Seeqpod mislead by only saying that using the engine is legal, sometimes emphasising it in a way that leaves the user with an unreasonable sense of certainty everything they find through the site is legal (e.g. “It’s 100% Legal”).

There are some very basic efforts they could do to minimise copyright infringement and they don’t. So even though I don’t support litigious labels either, I think Warner has a point with its case that Seeqpod knowingly relies on copyright-infringing files, and their main aim seems to be to turn a profit.

I say support Hypemachine if you want to search for blogged music, and use Imeem and Last.fm for playlists, where the artists get paid.

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