Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Some folks on #joiito turned me onto "streamripping". This is software that stores songs played on Internet radio stations as mp3's with meta data and everything. RadioLover is streamripping software for the Mac that lets you record multiple radio stations in parallel. You can drag and drop the songs into iTunes and sync to the iPod. The quality seems fine. I can listen to my favorite radio stations from all over the world when I'm walking in the park with my iPod. Is this illegal? It is SOOO useful it MUST be illegal. ;-p

UPDATE: For the record, I've just bought several albums on Apple's Music Store and Amazon that I didn't know about until I started messing around with RadioLover.


this sounds like classic home taping to me. Home taping is perfectly legal in the US. My understanding is that it isn't legal in most European countries.

What's wrong with time-shifting something? Seems like fair use to me. You can tape a TV show or radio station so why not an Internet broadcast?

Only thing that might be different would be if it somehow violated the DMCA.

If the streamripper just saved the "stream" to disk as one file, I would agree that it's "time-shifting". However, these "rippers" take each song from the stream and save them as seperate mp3's with all the ID2/3 tags embeded in them as if they were ripped from a CD.

Does it violate the DMCA? Of course it does.

Is it fair use? Only if you own the music.

Is it illegal? I would have to say yes. More so if the mp3's make their way to a P2P network.

I'm not saying you are doing this, however, others probably are.

Now, do I care if it's illegal? Me personally? No. It sounds like one of the many excuses people give, but if I am expected to buy music, I need to be able to hear all the songs on an album. Music is just too expensive to just go and buy without knowing if you are going to like the music.

I was using P2P to see if there was something I might want to go out and buy. I would listen to the tracks a couple of times the way I would if I had bought the music. If I liked it, I would buy it. This just isn't possible anymore thanks to the RIAA filling the P2P networks with tracks that have some kind of garbage in them.

However, I digress... :)

3 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Is streamripping illegal?.

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Joi Ito wonders Is streamripping legal? There are now several software products available which record music streams from online radio, making them available for Tivo-like later listening. The sound quality is not CD, but apparently it isn't bad,... Read More

Joi asks: Is streamripping illegal? Read More