The world we live in — at least the for-profit piece of it – uses software and high-level math to help figure out what makes our hearts sing and shout. If sellers know our likes and loves, they can refine and target their pitches and sell more stuff.
Algorithms, you know.
Today the Second Circuit gave its blessing to an Internet radio service, LAUNCHcast, that used info about each user's musical leanings to pick and play songs it predicted he'd enjoy. Something along the lines of: If a Tiffany liked Rock Lobster, she'd likely also get a good vibe from Love Shack. (And, probably, The Hunting of the Snark.)
The fact that LAUNCHcast didn't let users choose songs mattered because an "interactive" service — one that does permit choice — must pay full copyright royalties. Passive ones remit a lot less. The court held that LAUNCHcast qualified for the lower rates. Arista Records, LLC v. Launch Media, Inc., No. 07-2576-cv (2d Cir. Aug. 21, 2009).