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Do Your Rights To Listen To Legally Licensed Music Stop At The Border?


from the rights-holders-f*ck-up-everything dept

Two rather successful venture capitalists, Brad Feld and Fred Wilson, have been at the forefront of bucking the ridiculous claim that VCs only invest in companies that have patents, as both have spoken out about how patents tend to stifle innovation, and how their portfolio companies are often held back by patents, rather than helped by them. It looks like both of them are also quite aware of how copyright gets in the way of basic innovation as well. Brad Feld has a post up about how he created a Pandora station based on Fred’s blog post detailing his top albums of the decade. Pretty cool, right?

Well, the problem is that Brad sent Fred an invite to this “station,” and Fred is traveling for the holidays in Argentina with his family. So, because of ridiculous demands from copyright holders that make it so Pandora is only available in the US, Brad gets informed that Fred cannot access the station that Brad created for Fred solely due to ridiculous copyright holder demands. Yes, even though Fred almost always accesses Pandora from the US, but just happens to be in Argentina this week, Pandora says he can’t listen to the station that Brad created for him. Brad makes a good
point, that any human can understand why this situation is silly, but computers still can’t quite figure it out, noting: “The level of interaction of human and machine is high, although the level of sophistication is pretty low.” As for Fred’s summation of the situation? “Rights holders f*ck everything up.” Indeed.


Here is what Fred saw:

Dear Pandora Visitor,

We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for listeners located outside of the U.S. We will continue to work diligently to realize the vision of a truly global Pandora, but for the time being we are required to restrict its use. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative.

We believe that you are in Argentina (your IP address appears to be 201.234.146.243). If you believe we have made a mistake, we apologize and ask that you please contact us atpandora-support@pandora.com

If you are a paid subscriber, please contact us at pandora-support@pandora.com and we will issue a pro-rated refund to the credit card you used to sign up. If you have been using Pandora, we will keep a record of your existing stations and bookmarked artists and songs, so that when we are able to launch in your country, they will be waiting for you.

We will be notifying listeners as licensing agreements are established in individual countries. If you would like to be notified by email when Pandora is available in your country, please enter your email address below. The pace of global licensing is hard to predict, but we have the ultimate goal of being able to offer our service everywhere.

We share your disappointment and greatly appreciate your understanding.