New victim of patent madness: Spotify

Spotify, a music streaming service from the UK, spent just two weeks in the US when it got hit with a patent infringement suit.

By , Guest blogger

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    Spotify founders Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon are pictured in this September 2008 photo. Two weeks after its US launch, Spotify was named in a patent lawsuit.
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Only two weeks after the free streaming music service Spotify was launched in the United States, it is sued for patent infringement. The service, which has been immensely popular all over Europe since its inception in 2006, offers millions of songs and for a small monthly fee the whole music library is made available on mobile devices and at high(er) quality. Some predict Spotify may be the “iTunes killer.”

That is, if it survives the IP madness.

It lasted only two weeks after working for several years trying to get around laws and regulations to enter the US market. Now the online company will have to appear in court to defend their business from allegations by Packet Video, a company that claims to own a patent for online streaming. The “beauty” of this story is that Packet Video did not create anything to award them the patent. They gained it through acquiring another company in 2007 – a company that was awarded the patent already in 1995.

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One has to wonder what kind of streaming technology was invented (and needed government protection) back in 1995, while most people were not even on the web – and the pioneers were just being introduced to the Netscape Navigator browser. This was the same year the Mises Institute created the first version of mises.org. Of course, anything “streaming” was far from attainable at the time.

If Packet Video “wins” in court, commentators believe this would be a serious blow to all streaming services online both today and in the future. Oh the glory of government privilege…

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The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on blog.mises.org.

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