Disclaimer: The opinions of the columnists are their own and not necessarily those of their employer.
Kenneth F. Belva

Could distributing a gmail Username/Password = .mp3 trading?

Distributing songmashups by uploading .mp3s as individual emails and then distributing the usernames and passwords to the account may be the next big thing according to Esquire:

On June 28th, someone anonymously created an account called songmashups@gmail.com, e-mailed 31 songs to the account, then sent the password (songs07) to some friends. A week later, this no-longer-well-kept-secret found its way into my inbox.

[…] Clearly, these songs deserve their own e-mail address. But is it illegal?

Not necessarily, according to Georgia Harper, an intellectual property scholar with the University of Texas. Using Gmail to distribute music exists in that murky gray area between blatant copyright infringement and fair use, a chronic issue that courts are only now struggling to sort out. In Harper’s view, sharing a CD with her husband constitutes fair use but opening up a treasure trove of material to the general public? That’s less clear.

[…] Still, sharing MP3s through Gmail seems pretty genius. It’s protected by privacy laws, so the only way to get caught is if a reader snitches — or a Website like [Esquire] publicizes it.

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