EMI Suing More Music Sites For Offering ‘Playable Search’

Seeqpod’s founders must feel like Mike Robertson about now. Just as EMI is suing the MP3.com founder for his Sideload site, the label and its Capitol imprint have now filed suit against Seeqpod for copyright infringement, VentureBeat writes. Warner already sued Seeqpod, which doesn’t host tracks but provides a search index and player for them, in January 2008. Unlike Warner’s, EMI’s case is personal – just as it targeted Robertson personally, the label has named founder and Seeqpod CEO Kazian Franks and investors Raf Podowski as Shekhar Lodha defendants. Not only that. EMI also filed against Ryan Sit, a San Diego developer whose Favtape music search site – which plays music by mashing up services offered by the APIS of Seeqpod, Last.fm and Pandora. Favtape is currently down.

As you’d imagine, Robertson is hopping mad and used his blog to restate his feelings toward EMI. At issue is the same question at the heart of most digital copyright issues – is a service at fault if it doesn’t host but merely facilitates access to a song? Seeqpod says it offers “playable search”. Robertson told me last month the labels’ action “effectively says all search engines are guilty of copyright infringement“. No-one’s suing Google (NSDQ: GOOG) just yet – but the music biz have sued equivalent Chinese search sites, including Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) China, for returning links to tracks in search results.

Robertson’s blog: “Rather than get more enlightened and more open-minded to working with technology companies, record labels seem to be moving in the opposite direction. They’ve moved from a 12-gauge to an eight-gauge shotgun spraying bullets in an ever wider path to take out even more victims in a desparate attempt to slow the advance of technology.” Other reasons EMI sued Robertson – as well as returning search results, his Sideload can copy tracks to his firm’s MP3Tunes digital locker.