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“A 16-year Gold Coast kid is promoting the theft of music with his new site Vye Music,” says Undercover.com in Australia.But, “With the help of close friends and family, 16-year-old Charles Allatt, has launched Vye Music, an online meta search app for music files around the Net,” says DigitalBeat.“The site pulls search results from other music sites … sites which in turn index hundreds of thousands of sites, blogs and artist pages.”Says Charles on VyeMusic.com, “Vye Music lets you stream full length tracks, share them with your friends and family over social networks, or with a direct link, discover new artists through its similar artists feature, create personal libraries of your favourite tracks, and play them as a list, and even download entire DRM-free music tracks.”Letting users share and download music for free “is what got Napster in trouble for copyright violations back in 2001 and led to the end of that free service,” says DigitalBeat, continuing »»»But Allatt claims that the distinction between his website and Napster is that his site is legal, despite the download availability. (An inability to download music has been the legal distinction that other sites in the music-sharing space have used to stay out of court. Streaming is considered a broadcast — as in radio — whereas downloading is a product, something that was well-defined during the Napster trials.)Allatt says that as a search engine, “Vye Music permits users to download the content, operating under the premise that exterior copyright controls (ie. the copyright compliance of our APIs and content hosters) as well as users’ own judgment will let users stay well within the law.”In other words, Vye doesn’t actually have any direct control over the content that appears on the site. The control is with the ultimate host of the music being streamed or downloaded. Vye merely links to those hosts through a search index. Allatt does say he plans to comply with copyright law: “DMCA takedown notices are forwarded to the relevant API providers, and the direct hosts of content wherever possible.”Will Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony Music look upon Charles’ foray into the world of online music with kindly eyes, praising him for helping people to find their music online?Says Undercover.com, “It seems bizarre that in the footsteps of Napster, the Kazaa that another company, let alone an Australian company, would even consider waving this so blatantly in the face of the music industry.“No doubt the music industry won’t sit by for long and let Vye grow. It looks on the surface to be a very well run operation using the face of a 16-year to project some sense of innocence. That may just be a matter for the court to decide.”