Aurous is a brand new service which is getting a lot of attention these days. What makes it so special is the fact that it allows users to “enjoy music how you want to for free“. Think of it as Apple Music or Spotify, and Rdio but the huge difference is that everything is totally free and there aren’t any ads whatsoever.
While Aurous hasn’t detailed too much how it manages to achieve this, the explanation is that it’s pulling music from a variety of third-party sources instead of negotiating with record labels and artists. I’ve downloaded the app on my Windows laptop, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to play any music, because of an annoying bug.
Aurous is developed by Andrew Sampson and it uses more than 120 public APIs to collect tracks from such services as SoundCloud, YouTube, and Spotify. While this doesn’t sound as illegal as directly torrenting the music, this is still a questionably legal way to stream music. Aurous also uses the peer-to-peer networking technology in order to collate links directly to streaming music instead of actually downloading them via torrents.
The free service has already been compared to Popcorn Time, but the founder Aurous said that’s not accurate, saying that they are “pulling content from sources that are licensed. From a legal standpoint, what we’re doing is okay. All files are streamed from legitimate sources — we don’t host anything.”
Aurous lets you enjoy your already existing collection of FLAC, MP3, WAV, OGG, OPUS, even WebA but obviously what makes it very dangerous is its ability to use Aurous to search for any song you want and listen to it whenever you want. And, unfortunately, the inevitable has already happened.
Major music labels are already suing filesharing application Aurous for “willful and egregious copyright infringement” just days after its earliest alpha version launched. RIAA, (Recording Industry Association of America), the trade organization that represents the recording industry in the United States, has filed a lawsuit on behalf of labels including Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music seeking an injunction against the software as well as damages.
What’s curious is that RIAA claims Aurous uses piracy sites as sources whereas Sampson made it pretty clear that he wants the service to become an aggregator for music from licensed streaming services. The founder of Aurous said that “If someone asked us to shut down our service over one song, we wouldn’t,” but he conceded that “if someone were to approach us about a pre-release album being available, we would be obliged to help them remove that.” And it seems that the moment has already come, as RIAA was pretty incisive in their affirmation:
“This service is a flagrant example of a business model powered by copyright theft on a massive scale. 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 RIAA lawsuit claims that the “Aurous Network” that is the default source within the app is pulling files from Russian piracy website Pleer. Sampson has already responded on Twitter with a couple of tweets, saying the following:
“Apparently not everyone is a fan of our service, the @RIAA doesn’t seem to like new technology and is suing us. Don’t worry, we’re not going anywhere, empty lawsuits aren’t going to stop the innovation of the next best media player. For anyone curious the @RIAA principle complaint is that we’re “profiting”, anyone see any ads? We sure don’t.”
Aurous has already received the backing of digital civil-liberties body the Electronic Frontier Foundation, but since we’re talking about a sole developer here, does he have enough power to fight the giant music labels? Unfortunately, looking at past similar projects, almost all if not all of them have failed. Will Aurous manage to win?