Stream Capture: Returning Control of Digital Music to the Users

By Anderson, Jay | Harvard Journal of Law & Technology, Fall 2011 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Stream Capture: Returning Control of Digital Music to the Users


Anderson, Jay, Harvard Journal of Law & Technology


TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION
II. EXPERIENCING MUSIC
    A. The Service-Product Spectrum
    B. Music As a Service: Manual Notation and Performance
       1. Notation and Composition
       2. Mechanical Musical Instruments
    C. Music As a Product: Mechanical Recording and Playback
       1. Analog Sound Recordings
       2. Digital Sound Recordings
    D. Products As a Service: Digital Streaming Music
       1. Digital Music Streams
       2. Streams As Instruments
III. STREAM CAPTURE: STREAMS AS PRODUCTS
    A. Streaming Technology and Capture Techniques
       1. Streaming and Progressive Downloading
       2. Stream Capture Services and Products
    B. Of Public and Private Goods
    C. Legality
    D. Industry Ramifications
       1. Disrupting a DRM-Enforced Business Model
       2. Statutory Licensing
       3. Ease of Use and Pervasiveness
IV. AN ALTERNATIVE COMPENSATION SYSTEM
V. CONCLUSION

I. INTRODUCTION

   I wanna say a special welcome to everyone that's, uh,
   climbed into the Internet tonight and, uh, has got into the
   M-bone. And I hope it doesn't all collapse.

   --Mick Jagger (1)

A number of streaming Internet music services have popped up recently, both in the U.S. and abroad. These services come in many shapes: some function akin to radio stations, (2) some deliver on-demand streams a la jukeboxes, (3) and some even stream your own music back to you from the "cloud." (4) The multitude of companies attempting to cash in on streaming Internet music can in part be attributed to the excellent monetization properties of streams. Streaming services--whatever the overarching arrangement may be--essentially provide single use products (streams) that perish as they are consumed. In short, Internet music streams have the commercially desirable properties of private goods: rivalry and excludability. In addition, certain classes of streaming services may take advantage of a statutory licensing scheme, giving service providers a vast library of perishable goods to deliver to consumers at low expense. (5) However, companies attempting to monetize streaming Internet music might soon have to confront a technological development similar to one that previously threatened over-the-air video and cable: the ability to capture streaming content. For television, the threat was video stream recording devices, such as the VCR and TiVo. For Internet music streams, it comes from services like Dar.fm (6) and software like PandoraJam. (7) These tools can permanently capture transient music streams without any loss in quality, (8) allowing users to save media for playback whenever desired--in effect, transforming Internet music streams to locally stored MP3 files (9) and giving them the properties of public goods. Users can then access, duplicate, and share these copies outside the control of the originating streaming service, thus depriving the service provider of ad revenue and the content owners of royalties.

This Note discusses the nature of Internet streaming, the businesses rushing to embrace it, and the inevitably disruptive technologies seeking to displace it. Although of uncertain legality, stream capture tools threaten to undercut the economic incentives behind the burgeoning streaming music industry. In Part II, this Note introduces what I refer to as the "service-product spectrum," and explores the evolution of music through this analytical lens. I conclude that streams--through the imposition of a service layer--have just as much in common with mechanical musical instruments, such as player pianos, as they do with sound recordings. Part III discusses the emerging technologies that allow one to "capture" streaming media. I examine stream capture from a technological perspective and explain why streaming music is an artificial technological deviation from traditional digital music as a product, and thus can be considered a form of Digital Rights Management ("DRM").

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Stream Capture: Returning Control of Digital Music to the Users
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?