Ibibo, the Naspers and TenCent owned social network has recently launched “My Voice”, a mobile based service which allows Ibibo members to post audio status updates from their mobile phones. The way it works is quite simple – users who have registered their mobile phones with the service merely click a link on their profile page, or SMS ‘RECORD BEEP’ to 58247. They receive an incoming call from ibibo (in my case, from +91-22-61168700), asking them to record their message after the been, much like voice mail. The audio of my recorded message was uploaded as a new ‘beep’ on ibibo within minutes, and an update automatically posted “I have recorded a new voice beep on ibibo. To listen, sms PLAYBEEP NIXXIN to 5676746 or go to http://t.ibibo.com/s0LPE

While I’m not likely to put up other audio messages, I quite like the fact that ibibo is trying to integrate its services across Internet and mobile – most of their Zynga inspired games (the latest is Mumbai Underworld, much like Mafia Wars) are also available on mobile.

Copyright Issues, Voice Updates And Version Recordings

The issue that Ibibo might face with voice updates, is that users like Raju Singh will sing songs as updates; click here to listen to his version of ‘kuchh toh log kaenge‘, a Hindi film song. That instance of singing is similar to an unlicensed cover version of a song. Ibibo will have no control of that; one can’t possibly expect them to manually verify each update, so they would need some tool using which they can prevent copyright violation; take something like an online karaoke license from music labels. Ibibo was taken to court last year by music label T-Series over an online singing competition – iSinger.

Remember that the current Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2010 seeks to create licenses for version recordings, and in its current form treats copyright violation at an individual level as a criminal offence. In our comments on the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2010, we’ve requested that individual instances of copyright violation not be deemed criminal offences.

Group SMS

Additionally, Ibibo has also launched Group SMS over the past couple of months. This is similar to SMS GupShup, which allows its users to create and subscribe to groups, enabling one-to-many and many-to-many SMS’.

Both these services create an incentive for Ibibo users to share their mobile numbers with the service.

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