While it’s good news that the global music industry is increasingly capable of enforcing digital rights, digital content platforms and services providers have found themselves more exposed to risks of secondary infringement, or indirect infringement, which occurs when these channels facilitate their content contributors or users in infringing on a copyright.
We have seen in recent years considerable increases in legal cases brought against digital content platforms or services providers who enable their users to share music and copyright claims from rights holders that have frustrated many creators on content sharing platforms. In December 2019, Cox Communications, the U.S.-based cable and internet services giant, was held liable for indirect infringement of a little over 10,000 music copyrights and was ordered to pay major music labels a combined US$1 billion in damages, which the company believes is the largest damage award against a secondary infringer in history. Recent legislative developments such as the new EU Copyright Directive are expected to create further limitations for what music content can be uploaded onto third-party platforms.
Only a few major content sharing platforms have developed content monitoring and copyright compliance mechanisms. While smaller players may be well aware of the legal risks, many of them are unable to develop sophisticated technology systems for content monitoring and copyright compliance or justify the development costs. Fortunately, ever-advancing and relatively low-cost third-party technology tools are becoming available to help these platforms monitor music usage and implement compliance measures.
Sua Musica, the leading music platform for independent artists in Brazil, has adopted the automatic content identification technology developed by ACRCloud to prevent copyrighted material owned by music labels and other rights holders from being uploaded onto its platform.
Sua Musica reckons the technology provided by ACRCloud is the best tool available thanks to the combination of its music identification capability and its vast music library.
Identification of copyright-protected music content is the biggest challenge for a big content sharing platform like Sua Musica. Enabling independent artists to share their own music works, Sua Musica’s platform has onboarded more than 15,000 artists, including top musicians in Brazil. The total number of monthly music downloads and streams on the platform have surpassed 500 million and monthly unique users exceeded 10 million. Its mobile app has had more than 25 million downloads.
ACRCloud’s automatic content recognition technology is highly efficient for Sua Musica to filter out copyrighted material. ACRCloud’s music identification engine automatically scans all music works submitted by artists, matches them against a cloud-based music library, and returns identifications of copyright-protected content. Sua Musica won’t let the copyrighted material owned by music labels or other rights holders go live on its platform.
ACRCloud specializes in audio fingerprinting technology with industry-leading accuracy and speed in audio and audio-visual content identification. The technology is ideal for monitoring music uses, as it is able to accurately identify audio or audio-visual files by comparing the “fingerprints” of uploaded material against those stored in a database.
Since it doesn’t have direct deals with major music labels that enable it to access and identify the copyrighted works with them, Sua Musica also depends on ACRCloud’s vast database, which has stored more than 72 million music tracks.
ACRCloud’s database expands whenever it signs up a new customer that has its own music library. Many content services, either for the purpose of copyright protection or providing music recognition and search capabilities to their users, use ACRCloud’s technology to compare uploaded files against their own music libraries, which have been merged into the database of ACRCloud.
Apart from platforms for indie artists like Sua Musica, technology solutions like ACRCloud’s can benefit a range of content platforms or services providers in terms of copyright compliance, such as user-generated content platforms, social sharing services, and even physical entertainment venues who don’t have monitoring capabilities or access to copyrighted music databases. ACRCloud has also begun to help music rights holders communicate business rules in addition to monitoring music uses.