mSpot Just Launched Its Cloud App Without Any Label Licenses. Is That Such a Good Idea?

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Apple is slogging through major label discussions to complete its cloud-enabled launch.

And Google is reportedly preparing to deliver a ransom to the majors for the cloud-based privilege.  In fact, they’ve hired a major music attorney to help them sort through the process. So why did tiny mSpot just launch its cloud-enabled iPhone app without any major label licenses at all?

This will be an interesting one to watch, because mSpot may have a reasonable legal defense – that is, if the labels choose to chase this down.  Essentially, the mSpot iPhone app – launched this week – allows anyone to port their PC-based music collections into the sky.  And, enjoy that collection from an iPhone app (and a previously-launched Android app as well).

But different copies of the same file are being created to deliver this anywhere experience, a serious sticking point for rights holders in the past.  Just recently, an mSpot executive told Digital Music News that cloud access is simply fair use, plain-and-simple.  “The point is that mSpot is offering a fair use service,” executive Kathryn Shantz emailed.  “People are literally making their own copy and storing it in the cloud themselves.  Does Drop Box need a license?”

Actually, the Android version has been floating for a few months, and already has a million downloads.  At the time of that launch, we asked mSpot CEO Daren Tsui whether this was all kosher.  “We cannot predict what the labels will do but we believe that we have put the appropriate safeguards in to discourage piracy and limit the sharing of music,” Tsui said.