Controversial Puretunes Music Service Utilises Mozilla
Saturday May 31st, 2003
Tony Tovar wrote in to tell us that Puretunes, the controversial new Spanish music download service, uses Mozilla technology in its download application. The license agreement for the Puretunes MP3 Downloader (currently only available for Windows, though Linux and Mac versions are promised) states that the program "uses an unmodified copy of Mozilla internally" and quotes the entire text of the Mozilla Public License 1.1. The software, which also makes use of the Qt application framework, appears to contain an embedded version of Mozilla 1.2.1, with the version we downloaded having a user-agent string of "PureTunes 1.0 [Mon May 26 17:25:46 2003] - Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.2.1) Gecko/20021130". It has a browser-style interface and supports Mozilla features such as Find As You Type.
Puretunes, which launched last week, is a subscription-based digital music service that offers unlimited downloads of songs by major artists. An eight hour subscription costs $3.99 with longer periods of time and a 25 song free trial also available. All music files are in the DRM-free MP3 format and there are no restrictions on playing, copying or burning to CD. The service is controversial because it does not have the authorisation of the major record labels; Puretunes claims that its deals with the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (Spanish Association of Authors and Editors) and the Asociacion de Artistas, Interpretes y Ejecutantes (Association of Artists, Performers and Players) are sufficient under Spanish law. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry disagrees. Reuters has an article about the controversy.
"Oherwise you might end up on the hitlist for those jacka**es at the RIAA."
What have the RIAA got to do with it? In case you didn't realise, the last "A" there stands for America, and Spain's equivalent of the RIAA are the organisation quoted in the Reuters article as allowing this.
Of course if you're an American downloading files from the Spanish service, then I suppose the RIAA might have some ground to have at look at your dealings, but only in the same way as they wouldn't like you buying import CDs over the internet. Again import CDs are perfectly legal in the country they're initially sold in but you'll find that the deals and distribution licenses that most music companies use to carve up the globe between their different divisions means that they don't like you importing CDs from another country.
Of course your final protection is our European data protection laws, which offer far more protection to the consumer's privacy than anything similar in America. This mean that without a legal warrant that is enforcable within the EU it would be illegal for Puretunes to export any list of IP addresses, host names, user identies, songs bought etc to the US at all.