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Music industry sues so-called Popcorn Time for music, Aurous, days after launch

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It took no time at all for music streamer Aurous to earn its nickname as the “Popcorn Time for music,” and it’s taken no time at all for the upstart to get sued. Launched publicly last Saturday, Aurous is having to answer a law suit from The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), on behalf of the three major record labels, for “willful and egregious copyright infringement” according to the lawsuit (via the Guardian). While the desktop and mobile music app bears a likeness to Spotify and competitors, there’s one big difference: it allegedly sources some of its music from piracy sites like Pleer, VK, and MP3Skull.

“This service is a flagrant example of a business model powered by copyright theft on a massive scale,” said an RIAA rep to the Guardian. “Like Grokster, Limewire or Grooveshark, it is neither licensed nor legal. We will not allow such a service to willfully trample the rights of music creators.”

The app’s developer Andrew Sampson told Billboard this week that the content on the site is, in fact, licensed. “We’re pulling content from sources that are licensed. From a legal standpoint, what we’re doing is okay,” he said to the publication. “All files are streamed from legitimate sources — we don’t host anything. We only share cached results over peer-to-peer.”

Sampson also mentioned that his app uses 120 “licensed content APIs”  and that someone could upload unauthorized content to these sites. But he stressed that the music content on the app largely comes sourced from legitimate sources like YouTube and Soundcloud.

In response to the RIAA lawsuit, Aurous took to Twitter to say that the app isn’t “going anywhere” and that, contrary to the association’s accusations, the company isn’t profiting from the platform.

The fight between the RIAA and Aurous has begun, and it looks like the streamer — albeit small enough to try crowdsourcing $25,000 (before deciding it was a bad idea)  — isn’t going to go down without a fight.

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Chris Leo Palermino
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Chris Leo Palermino is a music, tech, business, and culture journalist based between New York and Boston. He also contributes…
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