Pandora stops streaming outside the US

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Will Head writes…

As a result of pressure from rights holders, it looks like the Pandora “bit of stuff you know, bit of stuff you don’t” music service is going to be out of reach to non-US visitors.

In some respects it’s a bit of a wonder that it managed to operate for so long without being forced to to put such restrictions in place. It’s another case of current rules and regulations not being able to keep up in internet land (“what do you mean, there are other countries out there?”).

The problem is down to music licensing. Pandora is currently allowed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to play music to US residents. If you didn’t live in the US, though, you could just say that you did and that was good enough for them. You could even register with the no doubt massively over used 90210 zip code and everything would work okay.

But, no more. As there’s no worldwide equivalent legislation in place then Pandora will have to go to every country involved a strike up an agreement – can you imagine how long that would take?

It looks like an agreement for the UK could be in place sooner, rather than later – and bigger countries will no doubt follow, but it doesn’t bode well for smaller populations.

Copyright in itself isn’t a bad thing – but when it stops projects like this operating on a global scale then there’s something wrong. As Pandora states: “Delivery of Pandora is based on proper licensing from the content rights holders – we have always believed strongly in honoring the guidelines as determined by the artists, labels and publishers.”

If songs can travel around the world in a few seconds, then the legislation that accompanies them needs to keep up. If not, then the next big thing might never get off the ground.

Will Head