Aurous Digs Itself a Deeper Legal Hole
If you thought Aurous was in big trouble before, crank up the Bachman Turner Overdrive, because you ain’t seen nothing yet.
The fledging music “service,” which appeared a little more than two weeks ago, has already been sued for copyright infringement and launched possibly the most ludicrous PR campaign since Kim Dotcom’s attempt to position himself as an innovation-fueled entrepreneur.
Now, perhaps trying to win the award for shortest-lived piracy site in history, co-founder Andrew Sampson appears to have breached a court order prohibiting Aurous to go any further before it answers the legal challenge. Rather than complying with this basic order, over the weekend Aurous Group accounts made clear that the site’s underlying software had been made available on Github, a popular site for software developers to share and build on existing code.
If the allegation is upheld, as it surely would be given the brazen nature of the Github availability announcement across the Aurous social media profiles, Aurous will be held in contempt of court, digging the group behind it even deeper into the legal mire.
It’s hard to know where to start with the ludicrous claims that Aurous makes about its reason to exist at all. It basically apes existing legal services but fails to license the music it serves up, which is why it took no time at all for rightsholders and authorities to require Aurous to cease operations. One crystal clear example of this comes when we juxtapose the following statement from the organization’s legal counsel, with the content of the Aurous home page:
“Aurous in no way encourages, the downloading or playing of copyrighted music.” –Aurous Group
If it has no desire to encourage listening to unlicensed content, why does the service’s home page (pictured right) use the debut album from Chvrches as its prime example of the Aurous player in action?
The band is signed to Virgin Records, a subsidiary of Universal Music Group and one of the parties suing Aurous in the first place, so it seems unlikely that this particular title is a legitimate use.
From clarifying that Aurous is a piracy site, pure and simple, let’s move on to its founders’ motivations for providing unlicensed music…
If the varied trials of Tidal and, more recently, Apple Music have taught us anything, it’s that the average music listener doesn’t need complexity, just convenience. Features like curated radio programs, integrated social networks, or the kind of customizable interface touted by Aurous, are merely distractions for mainstream listeners.
Most people want to fire up an app in a few seconds, find the song they want, have it available on any device, and start listening. All of the paid subscription services out there achieve that for between $4.99 and $9.99 per month, so what is the real issue that Aurous is trying to solve?
As with most piracy-based models, it comes down to building a business off the hard work of others.
Strip away all the ridiculous claims to @standwithartists (by paying them nothing?) or developing the next generation of music service (by building a knock-off Spotify?) and Aurous is nothing but a desperate developer trying to get away with offering unlicensed content.
The principal difference for Andrew Sampson is that unlike rogue coders in far-flung corners of the world, he operates right here in the USA. Now with a major lawsuit and the legal requirement to answer for his actions, it’s fair to say that Sampson won’t have nearly as much time to pursue his dream of ripping off artists