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Artist Not Allowed To Stream His Own Music 423

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can't-get-there-from-here dept.
the_arrow writes "Scottish artist Edwyn Collins wanted to stream one of his own songs on MySpace, but it seems that copyright misunderstandings make him unable to do so. According to the article, 'Management for the former Orange Juice frontman have been unable to convince the website that they own the rights to A Girl Like You, despite the fact that they, er, do.' Collins said, 'I found a nice lawyer guy at Warners, very apologetic, promised to get it sorted, but all these months later it isn't.' His wife added, 'MySpace are not equipped to deal with the notion that anyone other than a major [label] can claim a copyright.'"
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Artist Not Allowed To Stream His Own Music

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  • Registered? (Score:4, Informative)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:48AM (#29670647) Homepage Journal

    In the US this would be a non-issue; here one can register a copyright with the Library of Congress for a very small fee, and your certificate is proof you hold copyright.

    Is there anything like that in Britain? TFA doesn't say if the song's copyright is registered, or even if it can be in Britain.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:51AM (#29670723)

    For better or worse (mostly worse); It's rare to find a recording artist or band without a myspace page.

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:53AM (#29670743) Homepage Journal

    You must not have RTFA;

    "I naturally blew my stack and wrote to MySpace on his behalf demanding to know who the hell was claiming copyright of Edwyn's track? ... Eventually, after HUGE difficulty, I was told Warner Music Group were claiming it. I found a nice lawyer guy at Warners, very apologetic, promised to get it sorted, but all these months later it isn't."

    Once again this shows the REAL reason the majors don't want P2P, even though it has been shown to increase sales -- it also increases indies' sales. Opposition to P2P is part of the majors' war against the indies.

    Does Britain have a law that would allow him to sue Warner? I would think they must.

  • by sarahbau (692647) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:56AM (#29670787)

    MySpace didn't just assume that someone else owned the copyright. In this case, it seems Warner Music Group was trying to claim they owned it, when they didn't. Perhaps at some point, Warner sold his CDs, while he retained copyright, or something.

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:10PM (#29670979) Homepage
    You must not have RTFA;

    Attempting to make them cease and desist would use up the rest of my life. Because this is what they do and what they've always done.

  • Re:Think (Score:4, Informative)

    by ByOhTek (1181381) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:10PM (#29670983) Journal

    So true, so true.

    That, and the competence of the developers there has to be some of the worst on the web. Why should the competence of any of their other divisions be any better?

  • Yup... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Urza9814 (883915) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:21PM (#29671123)

    Many years ago I had a myspace profile entirely removed for uploading one song that I created using 'cat [textfile] > /dev/audio'. Yea. Apparently the title I decided to give it was too close to a song that they had listed in their database as being copyrighted or something so they killed my entire profile immediately. I sent a couple emails to the address they had given to contact in such cases and I never got a response. I'm amazed he even managed to get in contact with anybody...

  • by Again (1351325) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:25PM (#29671179)
    When I want to check out a band, I search Purevolume [purevolume.com] before resorting to Myspace.
  • by s0litaire (1205168) * on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:28PM (#29671207)
    The Record labels DON'T have rights to sell the track (their rights to sell ran out years ago!)

    The Blog post said:

    A Girl Like You is available FOR SALE all over the internet. Not by Edwyn, by all sorts of respectable major labels whose licence to sell it ran out years ago and who do not account to him.

    So the music label is basically stealing Edwins work and not paying him.

  • Re:Think (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:30PM (#29671233)

    The flaw here is that these artists (and people in general) still think they own rights. They don't. The rights have been transferred to the corporations who, with the cooperation of Congress and other corporations, control everything. The artist doesn't own the song in the view of either WB or myspace, and that's why he can't stream it.

    No, the flaw here is you didn't reading the article before posting.

    "He owns the copyright," Maxwell underlined, "as he does for most of the music he's recorded in his life (preferring to go it alone than have his music trapped 'in perpetuity' to use the contract language of the major record company)."

    Eventually, after HUGE difficulty, I was told Warner Music Group were claiming it. I found a nice lawyer guy at Warners, very apologetic, promised to get it sorted, but all these months later it isn't.

  • Re:Registered? (Score:5, Informative)

    by LihTox (754597) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:35PM (#29671313)

    Also, in the US you do not have to register it to own the copyright. Placing a copyright notice on the work is sufficient.

    You don't even need the notice; every bloody thing you write is copyrighted unless explicitly released into the public domain. That's one of the many screwed-up things about US copyright law; you can have copyrighted material which gives you no indication as to who owns the copyright, let alone how to contact them. If you want to sue for damages, though, then registration will get you a better payoff; and registration serves as proof of ownership, in case there is a dispute over who actually wrote a particular song.

  • Re:Think (Score:5, Informative)

    by wastedlife (1319259) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:40PM (#29671363) Homepage Journal

    Erm, while it is usually the case that the artist(s) will sell the rights to the label to get a record deal, if you had read the summary even, you would have seen that Mr. Collins does in fact own the rights, and the label does not. Warner Music is illegitimately claiming copyright, and MySpace is taking their word over the actual owner's.

  • Well of course! (Score:4, Informative)

    by tkrotchko (124118) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:42PM (#29671391) Homepage

    "MySpace are not equipped to deal with the notion that anyone other than a major [label] can claim a copyright"

    Do you think that's by accident? The major labels have gone out of their way in the past 10 years to convince the governments and public that they are the sole gatekeeper for music. It's to their benefit to create that thought so that passing laws to codify their position and become the sole gatekeeper for music actually seem reasonable.

  • by IDtheTarget (1055608) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:44PM (#29671405)
    It is most definitely about MySpace. It doesn't matter what Warner claims (even if it was illegal and they could be sued for theft), MySpace has the duty to investigate the claim of copyright. It's not even that hard! Go to the U. S. Copyright Office Search Page [copyright.gov] and type in "Collins Edwyn" [loc.gov] and the sixth link to return is "Girl Like You". If I can find it in 2 minutes, how long should it take MySpace?
  • by The Moof (859402) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:46PM (#29671417)
    It'd just be nice if they actually enforced this:

    I swear, under penalty of perjury consistent with United States Code Title 17, Section 512, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

    (taken from a boilerplate DMCA takedown notice)

  • Re:Registered? (Score:2, Informative)

    by IDtheTarget (1055608) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:46PM (#29671421)
    His ownership of that particular copyright is showing up in the U.S. Copyright Office online search [loc.gov], so there's no excuse for MySpace not knowing who owns it.
  • Re:Think (Score:5, Informative)

    by conureman (748753) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:47PM (#29671427)

    Considering that MySpace purports to be a musician's site (or used to), and it seems to be the leader in it's niche, perhaps he thinks that it would benefit others if they could be convinced to remove their head from their ass.

  • by bobjr94 (1120555) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @01:17PM (#29671783) Homepage
    That happens all the time. The band Streetlight Manifesto spend their own money making their first official video, there label forced them to remove the video saying it was a copyright infringement. The band had no rights to use their own music for any purpose.
  • by Kabuthunk (972557) <<moc.liamtoh> <ta> <knuhtubak>> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @01:28PM (#29671867) Homepage

    That implies that "the little guy" is capable of winning against "the big guy". Which as we all well know is false. Warner would keep it in the courts until either an out-of-court settlement, or until "the little guy" is bankrupt.

  • Re:iFail (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mister Whirly (964219) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @01:31PM (#29671891) Homepage
    No, MySpace originally started out as a way for bands to get their stuff out there, and maintain contacts lists easily. It is why I signed up for it about 4 years ago. Facebook started out as a way for high school and college friends to find each other easily. I remember way back I think you even needed a school email to sign up for Facebook.
  • Required by Law (Score:4, Informative)

    by spun (1352) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {yranoituloverevol}> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @01:33PM (#29671925) Journal

    The Majors are required by law to care only about shareholder profits. Any publicly traded corporation can be sued if they put anything else but the bottom line first. They have a fiduciary responsibility to make money for their shareholders. If they use shareholder money to promote art, make music, and support artists without making money for said shareholders, they are breaching that fiduciary responsibility.

  • Re:Think (Score:4, Informative)

    by NoodleSlayer (603762) <(moc.moderobereves) (ta) (nayr)> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @01:51PM (#29672113) Homepage
    Wow. You can't even read the quote? Warners has admitted that they incorrectly asserted copyright on the song and in fact don't own the copyright. This guy has never worked with a major label, does in fact own all his copyrights, and has only licensed the song for time-limited, non exclusive publishing in the past.
  • Re:Think (Score:3, Informative)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @01:53PM (#29672127)

    Seems to me that if you don't like MySpace, you can always just dump it, and tell everybody why.

    MySpace is huge. It's not like if he just set up his own webserver it'd be a seamless transition for him.

  • Re:Required by Law (Score:3, Informative)

    by zippthorne (748122) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @02:05PM (#29672281) Journal

    That should be easily solvable by putting appropriate language in the charter before incorporating and issuing common shares.

  • by dfxm (1586027) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @02:18PM (#29672455)
    With all due respect, you don't know the details of Streetlight Manifesto's record deal (and maybe they don't either). I wouldn't be surprised if they don't own the copyright to their music, but their record label does.

    Courts will side with the law no matter silly it is. You just have to hope that these cases get enough attention so that people realize we need to change these laws!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @02:52PM (#29672923)

    Do you realize that this link you provided is actually showing that Island Music Limited registered a copyright for a recording of this song in 1995? The only Island Music Limited that I can find in a quick search of the net is part of Universal Music Group. So If MySpace tried this search it would have come to the same conclusion that it already did.

  • by s0litaire (1205168) * on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @02:55PM (#29672965)
    The Blog post was written by his Manager (and Wife) so it's safe to say she knew what she was talking about.
  • Re:iFail (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dragonslicer (991472) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @02:57PM (#29672981)

    Facebook started out as a way for high school and college friends to find each other easily. I remember way back I think you even needed a school email to sign up for Facebook.

    I believe Facebook was originally only for college students. It was a bit of a big deal when they started adding high schools as well (that was before it opened to the general public, of course). Originally, yes, you did need a .edu email address from a college that Facebook had added to their system. I even still have my email/password saved in Firefox from when you still accessed http://schoolname.facebook.com/ [facebook.com]

  • Re:Think (Score:4, Informative)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @02:58PM (#29672993)
    Like if I showed up at your house, said I owned the place, and everyone simply agreed with me and kicked you out of your home. What?!? That could never really happen! Oh wait... [nbcmiami.com] it could.
  • by SiChemist (575005) * on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @04:16PM (#29673939) Homepage

    Amazon's reply:

    Hello,

    Thank you for your interest in the Amazon MP3 Music Downloads store.

    The content available in our Amazon MP3 Store is provided by record labels and their distributors. The agreements to provide this content were arranged with these companies. Any questions you have regarding content should be directed to record label or distributor.

    For additional information and a list of partners we work with, please visit our MP3 Music Labels and Artists Guide at this URL:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200212210 [amazon.com]

    Thank you for your interest in Amazon MP3 Music Downloads.

    Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question:

  • Re:Think (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dun Malg (230075) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @10:28PM (#29676803) Homepage

    >The real question is why WB doesn't owe him several billion dollars for piracy.

    They haven't distributed his work.

    Yes they have. Allow me to quote because you're obviously too busy to RTFA (but not too busy to render an opinion, obviously):

    While Collins has worked to make A Girl Like You freely available to his fans, [his wife/manager] alleges that the same track is sold illegally "all over the internet". "Not by Edwyn, [but] by all sorts of respectable major labels whose licence to sell it ran out years ago and who do not account to him."

  • Re:Think (Score:3, Informative)

    by jaraxle (1707) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @08:28AM (#29679607)

    I don't know why I'm bothering to reply, particularly so late in the discussion, but here goes...

    Of course he still actually retains the rights, and of course the rights are being infringed.

    However, what it boils down to is what fucking good is having the rights to your own works if a big corporation is blocking your ability to distribute said works? At that point, it's like you don't have the rights to your works at all (hence why I said He effectively has no rights).

    ~jaraxle

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