Anontune is a proposal for a "fault-tolerant and open platform for social music" from Anonymous. Its current beta implementation allows users to create playlists of song titles which are then playable through Anontune's music engine. Since the music engine works by searching other networks like YouTube these playlists can then be shared without sharing any actual music. Thus Anontune's music engine is more like a client-side metasearch engine than any previous systems. Anonymous hopes that this will make the platform immune from copyright infringement lawsuits by never directly hosting or linking to copyrighted music or allowing it to be downloaded.
In a white paper titled "A Fault-tolerant and Open Platform for Social Music (Version 2)" Anonymous outline their aims for the Anontune project:
- Allow open access to the platform and its information for developers, researchers, users, artists, and labels.
- Provide legal indemnity and anonymity from prosecution for users.
- Create a music engine for flexible, dynamic, redundant, and fault-tolerant organization of music networks.
- Improve musical listening experiences.
- Create a social environment and model for sharing and discovering music.
- Support and contribute to experimentation and innovation around music.
- Allow artists, labels, and associated parties to earn money from their content.
The concept of openness here is a pervading theme for Anontune. The source code for Anontune is open source under the AGPL license, there are no current restrictions on developer API usage, the platform may be used by anyone, and the music itself will be open. Anonymous view this as a key difference from other music services stating that [such services] employ geographic restrictions and provide only partial music catalogs.
Stance on piracy
A video posted on the website stated that Anontune will never host or encourage the downloading of copyrighted music but will instead provide information about music. The video states that this is a new paradigm for music sharing, and will allow the music which exists on the Internet to be played from a single platform. The video also states that Anontune itself, as distinguished from copyright questions about the music, will be legal. Users of the service will be able to remain largely anonymous.
Anontune's music engine works by consulting multiple components called "routes." Each route describes a way to search, filter, play, and optionally download - music from a specific place on the Internet. A route for YouTube would allow results from YouTube to be played in a web browser. The music engine is designed to be as flexible as possible and its finished version will allow users to extend it by adding arbitrary routes thereby increasing the music they have access to.
Because of limitations in the web Anonymous claim they had to develop new technology allowing sockets to be used from the music engine. This technology will require contributors to run a Java applet. Such technology is currently in development, but already functional.
News reports warned potential users that they would need to trust Anonymous to use the service, because the website would require the Java applet to run with full permissions. Anonymous responded in a Pastebin post that the Java applet is no longer used, that any Java used would be open source, that it wouldn't be strictly required, and that it would be against their interests to harm their users.
A prototype went online in the early hours of April 21.
Anonymous says that the law is on their side in the creation of Anontune, and that one object of Anontune is to break down the copyright industry's monopoly without fighting them in court. They say that they have learned from the experiences of previous entities such as Napster and LimeWire. Anontune will attempt to avoid legal problems by never hosting links to copyrighted content. Users will be able to avoid lawsuits as well, since the media is played in the browser rather than downloaded to a user's hard drive. Since Anontune merely allows users to centralize their experience of other music sources, legal complaints would have to be addressed to the original sources of the content such as YouTube.
- File sharing
- Privacy in file sharing networks
- Trade group efforts against file sharing
- Open Music Model
- Graduated response
- Information wants to be free
- Stop Online Piracy Act
- Virtual private network
- A Fault-tolerant and Open Platform for Social Music (Version 2) Accessed 12:30 AM May 10
- Anontune demo Accessed 12:30 AM May 10
- Anontune: The New Social Music Platform From Anonymous Wired April 19, 2012 By Angela Watercutter
- Anontune: Anonymous arbeitet an einer Musik-Plattform Der Standard April 2012
- Anontune: How Anonymous Hopes To Change Music On The Internet They hope to create the Facebook of music WebProNews By Zach Walton April 20, 2012
- Anontune: the new social music platform from 'Anonymous' By Angela Watercutter, Thursday April 19, 2012
- Anontune: Hacker Group Anonymous To Create New Social Music Platform [Videos] International Business Times By Kukil Bora, April 20, 2012
- Anonymous: Musik-Plattform ersetzt Filesharing Chip Online 20.04.2012
- Anontune Developer Accessed 12:30 AM May 10
- Anontune site, accessed Thursday April 19, 2012
- Pastebin Accessed 12:30 AM April 21, via link from the Anontune.com site