Most people recognize MediaDefender for their clumsy anti-piracy efforts, but there is much more to them than that. In fact, they are warming up advertisers and record labels to use LimeWire and other file-sharing software to distribute millions of legitimate, but branded, MP3s.
MediaDefender has been experimenting with P2P marketing for quite some time now. Last year, it earned the company $560,000 and they hope to increase this figure in 2008. This new revenue stream is very welcome for them, since their anti-piracy operations aren’t as profitable as they used to be.
P2P marketing is a win-win situation according to MediaDefender, both advertisers and filesharers will benefit. It gives the advertiser “access to passionate fans of any choosing” and filesharers “…get what they wantâ€¦ free content with unique and compelling offerings that fit their personal tastes.”
But wait a second, what a strange world we are living in. A few months ago, Jammie Thomas lost her court case, and was ordered to pay the RIAA hundreds and thousands of dollars because she shared a few songs, and now the same record labels use filesharing networks to distribute their branded MP3s.
Similarly, the IFPI is trying to educate kids and parents about the great dangers of filesharing, while the record companies they represent hire MediaDefender to distribute authorized content on LimeWire and other P2P networks.
So, on the one hand record labels are going after people who distribute their files online, and at the same time they spam these networks with authorized copies. Strangely enough, there is no way for the filesharer to make sure whether a file is authorized or not.
I’m not a lawyer of course, but this double standard must have some legal implications. MediaDefender is even hosting a branded copy of Kayne West’s ‘stronger’ on their own servers, and I assume they wouldn’t be infringing copyright.
Of course we asked MediaDefender to shed their light on some of these questions, but unfortunately, they did not respond to our inquiries. Probably too busy spoofing or DDoS-ing random BitTorrent trackers.