While many people are rightly watching MySpace’s plan to to sell music from unsigned artists directly to consumers, they may be overlooking another challenge to the major labels: G2P
What? Never heard of G2P? You will. It is a form of "Google Hacking" used to locate MP3s on various systems left open to the internet. The initial site is G2P.org (http://g2p.org/), which launched early this Summer.
The coding isn’t terribly complex, and we should expect other sites could follow. How hard would it be to set up the same hack for video: Windows Meida Player (.WMP) or Quicktime (.MOV)?
The G2P hack’s author describes is as follows:
"Think of P2P file sharing, except Google is one of those people. Using some very special searches, we are able to search for specific files (and file types) using Google. We have covered most of the searches this in the previous article Google Hacking. What G2P is currently tuned to find is MP3s, eBooks, and gives the ability to use Google as a Proxy. These searches alone are nothing secret, but G2P puts them easy to use (and remember) interface."
So far, knowledge of G2P has been limited to only a few geek enthusiast sites: iHacked, Digg, P2P webblog, Binary Revolution. Given that colleges are now back in session, I susupect that we will see a rise in G2P activity over the next few months.
What about the legality of this? Any IT professional will tell you how much "private" data, files, passwords, and information people accidentally leave exposed to the world. "Always on" broadband has many people not realizing how much they are incidentally revealing to the world.
G2P takes advantage of that, as well as the Google-bot spidering of servers. According to the Peer-to-Peer Weblog, the G2P hack "uses a default behavior of the Apache webserver to identify pages that have been indexed in Google containing the standard Apache boilerplate that is generated when a published directory has no index file."
Its hard to see how anything left in a public space where it could be easily found and copied is illegal. And, since G2P is not limited to searching only copyrighted media, it has "substantial non-infringing uses." That’s the key legal test from the Sony VCR decsion, to the more recent Grokster case.
Given all the music on the net legally placed their by artists who are looking for exposure and buzz — the entire success of MySpace is essentially one giant non-infringing use – its apparent this will pass the test that Grokster failed.
Even if it turns out that there is some technical crime committed — something I highly doubt at this moment — good luck prosecuting it. Google does a few gazillion searches a week, and if Justice Department Porn freaks couldn’t demand to see their logs, I doubt any broad fishing expedition from the RIAA will be tolerated. "Um, can you give us all the searches done with the phrase "MP3" in it, right away? Thanks."
There are two morals to this: First, the major label business model of selling polycarbonate discs — as opposed to marketing Music — remains dubious at best. As Jeff Howe noted in Wired earlier this month:
"The music industry is suffering. The major record labels – which rely on CDs for most of their revenue – are in decline. CD sales in the US have dropped more than 20 percent from a peak of $13.4 billion in 2000.
But don’t be fooled: The market for music is thriving. With the rise of peer-to-peer networks, the iPod, and other digital technologies – plus a 100 percent jump in concert ticket sales since 1999 – the world is awash in music. The industry now has more sources of revenue – ringtones, concert tickets, license agreements with TV shows and videogames – than ever before."
The 2nd moral is even simpler: Don’t leave your personal diary on the luncheonette counter when you leave . . .
MySpace to sell music from nearly 3 million bands
Sun Sep 3, 12:20 PM ET
G2P : Finding Mp3s Using Google
Posted Jun 19th 2006 11:09AM by Grant Robertson
MySpace butts into iTunes’ turf
USA TODAY, 9/6/2006 1:24 AM ET
No Suit Required
Wired, Issue 14.09 – September 2006
The Infinite Album
Issue 14.09 – September 2006