If you like listening to Pandora but are not living in the United States at the moment, you may want to enjoy it while you can, because Pandora has announced that they're going to block non-US visitors in short order. Why? You guessed it: licensing problems.

Previously, Pandora had only claimed that they were only offering their service to American visitors, allowing anyone from around the world to visit Pandora.com and enjoy the free music. Now that is about to change, due to the recent pressure from the media.

It all boils down to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that's in place in the US. Basically, it gives Pandora the permission to stream content free of charge, but only in the US. And unless they can secure license agreements in other countries, it looks like foreign Pandora lovers are going to be out of luck.

Pandora is a unique internet radio site, in the sense that it's categorized the music into thousands of different genres, and given each song unique attributes. Using this classification, it can determine songs that you will like based on information you give (song/artists that you enjoy). If you don't like the song that's playing, you can tell Pandora so, and it will skip to another song, while making an internal note not to play it again.

Of course, it's still possible like always, to get around location restrictions for websites by using proxies, so if you're willing to put up with a few extra ads and the breaching of a law or two, then be my guest.

Regardless, this decision is going to disappoint many listeners. But the whole point of Pandora was free, legal music that you'd enjoy, and Pandora must honor that, or else there'd be no difference between Pandora and some illegal file-sharing site.

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I don't know what makes Pandora so unique? I live in Germany and I didn't even know Pandora until today. I'm on last.fm and from discussions on this topic it seems like there's a bunch more webradios like that. A german one is to be launched soon, it seems.

BTW: what law would I break if I used a proxy? I don't think anyone could sue me.

Isn't that like Launchcast? I live in the caribbean and I use it...

OT: Why is "apple" the top tag for this entry?

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