Last week, we reported on a new site called Wefre that had the potential to give music rightsholders a few sleepless nights.
The site tapped the APIs of Spotify and YouTube to offer free, on-demand streaming music, with a Kickstarter campaign raising funds to launch Android and iOS apps.
Was it legal, though? Wefre’s developers have now ‘paused’ the site and cancelled the Kickstarter campaign, while they try to figure that out.
Wefre signed up more than 16,000 users in the days following the first media reports about it last week, which put a strain on Wefre’s servers to the point where the site crashed.
However, the three-person team behind it are also concerned at criticism of the legality of using Spotify and YouTube’s APIs in the way that it does.
“Since the beggining, when we launch our BETA we thought that all of we were doing was totally legal, but some Twitter users said the opposite. We want to point that we haven’t receive any offical warn from Google or Spotify, but we’ve never wanted to profit at the expense of the artists and, before making a huge mistake, we want to seek advice in a smarter way,” they wrote.
“We’ve already try to contact with Youtube in order to be sure about we can use their videos as we were doing (and other websites do)… We want to tell you that Wefre are just 3 people, students and workers, without the purpose of taking advantage of others.”
The developers say Wefre will return “with new features, stronger and without technical problems” once they figure out whether it is legal.
With around two weeks to go, the Kickstarter campaign had only raised €423 towards its target of €3,000, so the decision to cancel it makes sense on those grounds too.
Wefre doesn’t look like another Aurous: the streaming software whose developer was sued by the RIAA in 2015, with a settlement that ensured it would not be made available again.
The conversation around Aurous was about whether the service was legal or illegal. For Wefre, it’s more about whether it’s conforming to or breaking the API agreements of Spotify and YouTube.