Bye Roon, why I am not renewing my subscription

There are no copyright issues when you cite the source of material that is freely available on a web page. When it comes to tracks/performance data there is none whatsoever. The music is copyrighted, not the cataloging information!

None of the information that Roon publishes is proprietary. It is all available freely. The Rovi service is paying, but the content it provides is absolutely free.

Here is a good example of what can be put together based on available sources - with some effort of course :slight_smile:

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That may be true in some places but certainly isn’t in the U.S. (depending on what you meant by “freely available”).

You can read the terms of service on the AllMusic website. As long as you are using the material for your personal non-commercial use, there is no copyright issue. Period.

Unless i am mistaken, we are talking about entering additional information in Roon for one’s personal use.

That is totally untrue under copyright law. It may be the case relative to Allmusic’s terms of use, but that is not copyright law. Best not to confuse the two. Roon’s use of it is not personal use, and the fact that it is personal use for all of its subscribers doesn’t change that.

Just want to keep the record straight.


Yes you are absolutely right when it comes to Roon, which is a commercial use. I should not have used the term “copyright” here. But the terms of service of AllMusic are clear.

When it comes to cataloging information there are no copyrights, and that is the correct term to use in that case. A list of published works does not fall under copyright law. If someone has build a catalog of someone else’s music and tries to impose copyright on that, it’s a scam.

Hi Stephane. I’m an IP lawyer, and this isn’t exactly true. Many lists are copyrighted. This is a nuanced and complex area of law. Compilations do have some protection. Think of it like a phone book - an individual number is public information, but the effort to compile that list of numbers is valuable work that is protected to some degree.


I will trust your expertise!

Do you agree that the actual content that Roon provides (the track listing, the credits - am not talking about the reviews) is publicly available information that is not submitted, when taken individually to any copyright?

If i were to add similar data on an individual basis (no "bulk upload’ in a database for my personal use) i do not see how there could be any issues either. I am not talking about copying the data that is in Roon, but adding to it.

Now if i were to share this information with others, i do not believe there could be any issues either, since the data is publicly available.

Now if i were to source this information from a database which allows its usage (such as Discogs, MusicBrainz) i do not see that being an issue either.

His self-alleged expertise! Not that I doubt it, but remember on the Internet, …

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That’s a great cartoon. I suppose I could be the equivalent of a highly trained dog…

I agree Stephane that your adding individual, non-compiled, publicly available information is likely not copyright infringement. That is partly premised on fair use, though, and when you get to sharing it with others, then you have commercial use, and at that point you have to be 100% sure that YOU are the compiler. You probably are, so then it would be OK to share. But this all depends on the sources of your info and whether any of it was already a compilation that someone claimed copyright on.

Discogs and MusicBrainz probably both limit to individual, personal use. So you can probably take it and use it, but cannot redistribute. That’s my guess, but have not read the terms.

Well, I’m glad we have you with us to discuss this! I’m not an IP lawyer, I just remember what I’ve been told.

Discogs allows non-commercial private use of their data, and they provide monthly data-dumps of the entire database as well as APIs to access their data. There are in fact numerous companies selling products that rely on Discogs data (SongKong, mentionned previously, being one of them), so what is “non commercial” is not very clear…

Metadata management is a complex topic. It should not be, but it is.

Being able to see who is playing on an album seems to me like a pretty “basic” request. Why is the information missing from so many “digital” services ? When we had LPs or CDs, you could look at the jacket and find the information (most of the time). Why should that information no longer be availble simply because we are accessing the music differently ?

When you watch a movie, or use IMDB, you are interested in knowing who directed it, who is acting in it - if you like an actor you will look up what other movies he/she has played in.

That does not mean you cannot enjoy the music if you know nothing of who actually made it - but being a little curious can be rewarding (and part of the “discovery” process).

Well, with most streaming services, and unfortunately with a significant number of cases in Roon as well, that is simply not possible. You would think that adding a simple list of credits would not be so complicated, but I guess it is.

Unfortunately, and I do not know why, music digitalization has simply not addressed this correctly. The labels who pay no attention to this, the streaming services who pay no attention to this are not “respectful” of the works they are publishing.


I’m sorry I brought this up.
But @James_I’s Point is absolutely relevant, because this all started about why can’t Roon pick up metadata from various sources, and that would be commercial use, and as @James_I indicates, this is very complex and risky stuff.

I’m an engineer, not a lawyer, but some of my best friends are IP lawyers. One thing I learned is that when the license says you can use the IP commercially provided the derivative work is also public domain, in certain circumstances the “derivative work” would not be Roon’s database dump, it would be Roon itself. Depends on the actual license, but some contain such traps.

And as far as we are concerned, license violation does not require money-making.

I was not dismissing it as irrelevent…

Yes, exactly, there are open source licenses like this. I doubt that content licenses would include a requirement to make all of Roon open source, but it could include making the derivative data available to others for no charge.

The real problem is that it’s too legally complex to source most metadata from the community. As mentioned, certain very simple forms of it may not be subject to copyright, depending on their origin, but anything like a review, or the liner notes, all of that obviously copyrighted content has to come from a fully licensed source.

That is not to say that Roon cannot provide more tools to use that stuff locally, for personal use. Just a blank spot on the interface that corresponds to a blank database field (to oversimplify) - put notes, more reviews, etc., in that.

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I still cannot see a problem with musicbrainz - or its license of the core db data dumps (which was / is built with non-copyrightable data).

But then I’m not a lawyer … :wink:

Here is a site concerning the relatively new standard for metadata definition in the music industry, that could hopefully solve some issues for future generations:

And the type of data captured:

And an overview:

I beg to differ. I do not subscribe to Tidal or Quboz, although I might at some distant time in the future. I have a very large local library, suffer similar issues with metadata, but would not leave Roon for anything else.

I manage my metadata through iTunes, which although equally lame, I have managed to find a way to make work for my needs. The iTunes files upload to my NAS where needed. I rely on Roon for playing music, my iTunes database for metadata when needed.

I would love Roon to work better on metadata, particularly since much of my library contains classical music. However, what Roon does it does so well that I remain a satisfied user.

You’re assuming that the person that uploads it to MusicBrainz has the right to do so. That person may have waived rights, but if someone else owns the copyright to it, then that waiver doesn’t protect MusicBrainz or any other user.

EDIT: to be clear, I am not saying that all metadata from these services is problematic. If people are simply typing song titles from the back of the CD into musicbrainz in order to populate song titles in CD ripping, that probably qualifies as something that can have its rights waived - so yes, Musicbrainz could define its terms for using this information which could include making it available for anyone else to use.

It’s case by case how far that can go. As I mentioned above, it is nuanced and probably also differs by country. Some of the metadata issues could potentially be addressed by sourcing from the community. Others clearly could not (album reviews/artist bios).

I was excluding anything going beyond track listings and mere facts about albums like artist names, recording and release dates and such. And that kind of data is - or so I did understand - not copyrightable as such.

I think this discussion about legal aspects, while interesting and educational, is missing the big picture: everyone benefits from better metadata, starting with the artists themselves.

If Roon did live up to its aspirations it would understand that and perhaps be a little more forward looking. This Rovi centric solution is limited and needs to evolve.