MP3 Music Download Pro, currently sitting pretty at #4 in the US Android Market’s Free Apps sales list. This is a bit of a thorn on the side of the
Reichstag Recording Industry Association of America, because in the right light, taking all things into account, calling a spade a spade and generally telling it like it is… it’s a piracy app. When asked to remove it from the Market, Google refused, stating that the application could be used to download legal music as well.
The defense is often used for controversial technologies, most notably BitTorrent listings and clients. The app does a modified Google search for an artist, song or album, then downloads MP3 files it finds sitting in mostly abandoned or unpublished directories across the web. The app itself is free, but developer Yu Liu makes money off of the ads served therein. And considering that MP3 Music Download Pro has amassed over ten million downloads so far, there’s a considerable amount of profit being made on what is technically, for the most part at least, illegal activity.
Google’s position on the matter is interesting. Google tends to be in favor of users’ rights, and from a legal standpoint, MP3 Download Pro is only providing tools, not actually instigating theft. But on the other hand, Google has been steadfast in booting classic video game emulators and ROM search apps off of the Android Market – software that would seem to fall under the same legal loophole. Considering Google’s musical aspirations at the Spinal Tap event later this week, not to mention rumors of a seriously deficient music store launch, they may want to reconsider their position.