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Piracy strikes again, this time with Aurous (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’re used to things behind compared to Netflix here in the tech sector. “The Netflix of [insert service/sector here]” has become journalistic shorthand for anything that adapts an existing business model for the digital age.

Sadly, piracy lovers have their own reference point for such matters, after the emergence of Popcorn Time last year. Serving up the latest movies and television shows without license or any legal right, platforms like it have become a go-to source for the cheapskate piracy population.

Hence, an objectionable new streaming site called Aurous is already being labeled the “Popcorn Time for music,” and is unsurprisingly facing equally rapid legal action for its efforts. The RIAA filed a lawsuit against the service earlier this week, citing “willful and egregious copyright infringement.” 

Essentially, it serves up all of the latest music that its legal competitors use to attract an audience, but doesn’t see a need to pay for the privilege of using those songs. So far, so cheap.

Another day, another dollar lost to piracy, you might say. And it would of course be true; streaming unlicensed music is not a new phenomenon. What is increasingly galling, however, is how blatant such services have become.

Not only does Aurous rip off legal services like Spotify and Rdio in terms of content, it also mimics their style and layout.  Far more effort appears to go into making these platforms easy for users to access content than does the consideration that paying for the privilege might be a worth a thought as well.

Perhaps the saddest fact of services like Aurous is that there are legitimate services offering exactly the same thing for free. The difference is they actually compensate creators for the music they deliver, by placing ads and passing that revenue on to creators. There’s certainly some debate around the level of those payments, but at least the attempt is there to value creative rights.

Worse still, the price of consuming music has never been lower. $4.99 buys you a basic monthly subscription to most legal music services. Cut out one cup of coffee a month and you can have 20 million tracks at your fingertips, ad-free! How low would the price have to go before these cheapskates think music is worth compensating the artists they enjoy for their efforts?

It’s a question that is essentially rhetorical, because we all understand by now that pirates are cheapskates, leeching off the hard work of others and those who pay for subscriptions to subsidize their stolen entertainment. Anyone surprised to see Aurous sued out of existence should ask themselves a simple question: would I give away my work and labor for free?

In most industries, that would be a ridiculous, even offensive suggestion. For some reason, in the world of music, movies, and other creative entertainment, it has become an expectation. Not one that we can’t fight, however, starting by making a choice to stand against platforms like Aurous and use only licensed services for our daily listening.