The US-based Morpheus music-swapping service that stung a JetStream DSL user with thousands of dollars in fees for uploaded data offers no clear warning of its potential costs.
The children of Auckland IT consultant Ian McTavish were downloading music tracks using JetStream unaware that they had given permission for up to 100 other users to trigger uploads from their computer, resulting in bills of $10,000 over three months (see JetStream user gets $10,000 bill surprise).
McTavish says Telecom has offered to compensate him to the tune of $7000 for the extra costs.
When a customer requests a download of a music track from Morpheus, he or she gives implicit permission for other users to share that download — to acquire the data from the user’s PC with the cost of the upload traffic being charged to the original user.
When installing the Morpheus client program the visitor is presented with a long warning notice on copyright, but no caution on unwittingly allowing other members to upload files from the user’s PC, the subject of the original complaint. The install-time warning says users have to register and “read and accept the client licence agreement on our website” before using the service.
This agreement is not readily visible on the site, and a visitor is not compelled to give assent to any conditions, other than those on the installation notice, before being allowed to download music. Nor does it warn up-front that the visitor’s PC might be open to uploads by other Morpheus members.
The Morpheus website FAQ does explain about uploads and how to stop and limit them, but the user has to specifically call up the document up.
Emails to MusicCity, which runs the service, were not replied to by deadline.