Audible Magic and Music Rights Protection

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    Art Munson

    I have been thinking about this for the last few months.

    There have been numerous reports of composers’ music being stolen and showing up on royalty free sites for sale, or composers being notified that their music has been flagged for copyright infringement on YouTube, Soundcloud, etc. Until now, there hasn’t been a way to combat this effectively. But maybe, by registering your content with Audible Magic, there is a way.

    Audible Magic currently has over 25 million assets fingerprinted for some of the biggest media companies in the world, so they may well become the de-facto standard for keeping track of how and where our music is being used. Best of all, it’s free to register your music!

    How does it work? From Audible Magic’s website:

    “Once activated, your content is being protected via our Content ID services that is accessed by Audible Magic customers. When content is uploaded to our customer sites or transmitted over P2P networks, a fingerprint is created of the unknown upload. That fingerprint is then compared to our registry of known media. If a match is found, that information is transmitted to our customer with its related metadata and business rules. For example, if a match is found and a block rule is specified, our customer in most cases will block that content from being made publicly available.”

    The last line would seemingly make this not a viable route, but if you dig deeper you will find that you can define the rules on what to do when a match is found. “These are rules rights owners specify and include such rules as Block, Allow, Track, Monetize as well as custom rules.”

    This would seem to satisfy the music library clients in that, if you set the rule to “allow”, it would not interfere with the library’s clients.

    Once you have registered and uploaded your files, you would find out if anyone else is claiming any particular piece of your music. You can then take appropriate action.

    BTW, I don’t have any affiliation with Audible Magic but the problem of protecting the rights to our music in the “wild west” of the Internet should be a concern to us all. Maybe this is an answer.

    So, what do you think? Should be an interesting topic!

    Art Munson



    Sound interesting Art. I’d like to know what some of the library owners think about doing this.


    One of the biggest concerns I have is how do you prevent multiple parties from fingerprinting the exact same audio files? What if multiple parties decide “I own the rights to the content”. I see a potentially huge problem looming here where “blocking” or “Takedowns” can occur when the “blocking party” really does not have the authority to block a composers content. How will a fraudulent or unauthorized block or takedown get undone? We all know that ADREV is a rather simple process where one can show proof of a license purchased and get the video whitelisted, but this is a n entire new can of worms as millions of tracks multiply across the internet between non exclusive music licensing sites and buyers.from their page:

    • Together between music, motion picture, TV program and TV advertising content, we add on average over 250,000 new titles to our identification databases each month.

    • The anti-piracy operations of the RIAA and IFPI use Audible Magic identification services.

    • Our customers are the major players among websites, social networks, network operators, and digital services. We do not pay nor are we paid by the content owners. Many of the companies in the industry derive significant revenue by crawling our customers sites on behalf of the content owners and issuing take down notices. We believe it is difficult to serve two masters.

    • We pride ourselves in the fact that every one of our customers is a reference. We work hard to ensure that. We would be pleased to provide contacts for your due diligence.


    @Art Munson:
    Have you uploaded your music to Audible Magic in the meantime? If yes, what are your experiences?

    Art Munson

    Have you uploaded your music to Audible Magic in the meantime?

    No, I have not.


    Do they charge you for uploading/tracking? Anybody know how much?

    Matthew Vaughan

    Audible Magic do not charge copyright owners to upload the works. Their paying customers are the publishing platforms (such as music streaming DSPs or social media sites) who are wanting to be in compliance with copyright law and not get sued by publishers and labels.

    Their comment about “Many of the companies in the industry derive significant revenue by crawling our customers sites on behalf of the content owners and issuing take down notices” is, as far as I can tell, a pejorative reference to competitors. (It confused me the first time I read it too, thinking they were talking about something they themselves did. I believe they are saying something along the lines of “that’s not a good alternative. We work with the sites directly, providing them a content recognition service, so nobody has to crawl sites and file take-down notices.”)

    On the other hand, they are incredibly vague about the difference between musical compositions and sound recordings, and I have heard plenty of horror stories of livestreams of original performances of public domain works by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, etc. being blocked based on their matching (that is, inappropriately matching other recordings of other performances of the same works). On the other hand they say they consider false positives to be a bug and aggressively try to correct them. How true that is in the case of public domain compositions, and how much they’ve improved over the years, I have no idea.

    I am trying to find out all I can about them before I decide whether to send releases to them or not, but so far everything I find is vague, and I am not yet convinced that any classical recording, for instance, should ever be uploaded to Audible Magic to create a fingerprint, unless the musical composition is still under copyright and owned by the same person or company as is uploading the sound the recording. If, on the other hand, they were very specific about the difference between hundreds of different recordings of the same compositions, and had few if any false positives of cross-matches between them, then it would seem on balance to be a good service to upload to.

    But make sure that if you don’t want other uses to be blocked, that the business rule on the upload is set appropriately (to “allow”, for instance). I am still not clear on what other business rules might exist. (Notify? Monetize? Allow and Block are the only two I know of for sure.)


    Then there’s SourceAudio’s watermarking technology from Digimarc, which absolutely ties a media file to a particular set of metadata.

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