A few days ago we reported that U2's latest album, dubbed No Line on the Horizon, had leaked to the Internet despite huge efforts put in place by Paul McGuinness. After all was said and done, everyone's eyes turned to Last.fm, a web service that lists your recently played tracks. Techcrunch ran a story stating that, "Last.ft, which is owned by CBS, actually handed the data over to the RIAA." The story then became a huge tabloid in the blogosphere as fears of the RIAA possibly tracking down the leakers.
The story has turned into a huge controversy over Last.fm user's privacy, and co-founder Richard Jones isn't so pleased with the defamation of his service. In an open memo to Techcrunch, Jones states ""When you signup to Last.fm and scrobble what you listen to, you are trusting us with your listening data. We take this very seriously. The old-timers on Last.fm who've been with us since the early days can attest to this – we've always been very open and transparent about how your data is used. This hasn't changed. We never share personally identifiable data such as email and IP addresses. The only type of data we make available to labels and artists, other than what you see on the site, is aggregate data of listeners and number of plays."
The author of the story, Erick Schonfeld, ran the story even after a Last.fm representative told them that they were unaware of any data given to the RIAA. This could very well turn into a lawsuit between the two companies, and is something that I particularly would support. This type of journalism is completely uncalled for, and can damage a news source's credibility. Jones then went on to say "So do us a favour – if you see people spreading the rumour, refer them to this blog post and mention you heard from a friend that 'Techcrunch are full of ****.'"
Neowin was alerted of this story after the allegations were announced, but after contacting Last.fm we were told that this was untrue and didn't run a story. Do you think that Last.fm should pursue legal actions for defamation? Let us know by voting in the poll below.