Webjay Creates New Copyright Woes for Yahoo

Yahoo has just had a bad time of it lately. Now it seems that Webjay may prove to be a headache for Yahoo, sort of like Flickr. Well, for different reasons this time…

Yahoo acquired playlist-sharing site webjay.com in January. But it seems it may have bought itself a problem. Webjay.org makes downloading the Beatles’ music or Kanye West’s full-length video as easy as a keyword search and a click of a mouse.

Webjay enables users to build their own playlists of audio and video that is available elsewhere — anywhere — on the Internet. The site hosts the playlists, which have links that automatically stream or download most files for free.

Webjay founder Lucas Gonze, who began working for Yahoo in California after the acquisition, reportedly developed the site as a way to enable users to create the Internet equivalent of mix tapes from free music in cyberspace. Users can then share their playlists with others, include them on their Web sites, browse other users’ playlists and play the files.

An April 2004 Wired article, written when about 100 people had contributed playlists to the site, quotes Gonze as saying, “What you can’t point to is hit songs. There’s no Eminem, there’s no Britney (Spears).” The article noted that “the site does not support links to pirated or unauthorized music. Links to such songs will be taken down.”

If that was true then, it is no longer the case. Webjay now appears to host tens of thousands of playlists, including hundreds with links to such A-list stars as Spears and Eminem. While some links to hit music were disabled, many were not… Source: Reuters

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