Will Google Remove your Pirated Music from the Cloud?

Published Wednesday, May 11, 2011 1:39 PM


At the Questions and Answer section following the Google IO keynote yesterday a Google executive had in interesting answer to a question about digital rights. He said  "We will respond to requests by rights holders who feel their rights have been violated." This is not shocking, it's almost a given that Google would say something like that. The real question is what are the implications of that answer.

Google has already said that they plan on listening to the songs in order to create smart playlists. Does this mean that Google plans on listening to songs to figure out if your music is pirated or not? This is all too familiar since YouTube has implementing a system similar to that to discover copyrighted videos. Go ahead and try and put a popular song as the background music of a video on YouTube. See if it last very long? It might take a little while, but sooner or later they will get around to removing it.

Of course Google is going to protect the rights of digital property holders, or the music studios wouldn't let Google get away with something like this. The thing that would make the Google cloud music service a waste of time would be if the music detection was really good.

I think everyone nowadays has some music in their collection that they didn't pay for. Even if you paid for all your music and ripped it onto your computer that too could be considered pirated music, since every rip of a CD renders songs that are not exactly the same as the masters?

My prediction is that there will be some removal of song Google has identified as breaking digital rights, but for the most part I think people are going to be okay. I think songs that are obviously pirated or recorded will be removed but other than that I think Google will leave you music collection alone. I really don't think the technology is good enough to be able to tell the difference between a bad rip and a downloaded track. If they were to remove any track that was not quite the same as the masters I think a lot of my music collection would removed.

All in all I don't think there is anything to be worried about, but I think we should keep an eye on it in the future. It will be interesting to see these cloud music services from Amazon, Google, and soon to be Apple and how they deal with the digital rights of the music.  

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