I work in technology, building platforms for companies, which comprise the creation of the technological product and production of the applications.
I only want to work on businesses that I believe are fully legal. I am not a law expert but try to maintain a good level of understanding of laws related to technology. I think I have a good understanding of copyright in technology, but in this case there are a few things I can't figure out.
I have been asked to build a content distribution platform, quite similar to how Spotify works, but on a business to business level. It is geared towards businesses opened to the public, typically stores. The company operates in various European countries.
It works like so: the company sources some audio content, mostly through online platforms like iTunes, buying the content, according to my understanding with a normal user account. Then they distribute the audio files to their customers premises (they can be stored locally on various platforms like a computer or a mobile phone). And then the customer plays that audio content on their premises, to the public. The service is very similar to a radio or Spotify being played in a store for the customers to enjoy.
The company assures me they are in their full right and have been operating like that for some time now. They argue that the store that is diffusing music is the one legally responsible before their respective country's copyright collection society.
Can the company really put all the legal burden on the ones diffusing the copyrighted content? I thought the distribution was also subjected to licensing. For instance, I thought platforms like Spotify need to get the license from the record companies before they start distributing copyrighted content. I thought commercial radios also needed that.
What makes me wonder is also the fact that the Apple store refuses to allow the application in their store due to legal issues. They assume that the company does not have the authorization from the third parties to let users download their content. I have no idea how Apple knows that Spotify has the rights from the third parties to allow the download of audio files and not the company since they did not ask to see the licenses first. But anyway, it makes me think some legal work must be done before distributing the content.
I would like to understand the legal aspect of each step (getting the content, distributing it and diffusing it).