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Music Entertainment Your Rights Online

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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  • Think (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @10:40AM (#29670521)
    Wasn't it the major labels that implored us to think of the artists?

    Yeah.
    • Re:Think (Score:5, Funny)

      by cayenne8 (626475) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @10:49AM (#29670679) Homepage Journal
      Friends don't let friends join MySpace....
      • Re:Think (Score:4, Informative)

        by ByOhTek (1181381) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:10AM (#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?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by BrokenHalo (565198)
        Friends don't let friends join MySpace....

        This is true. But what I find a bit curious about this case is that rather than doing something about the situation - like finding another hosting service or hosting the material himself (well, Hello! Maybe that's too obvious), the guy seems to prefer spending months whining about MySpace's policies.

        Seems to me that if you don't like MySpace, you can always just dump it, and tell everybody why.
        • Re:Think (Score:5, Informative)

          by conureman (748753) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:47AM (#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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mini me (132455)

          the guy seems to prefer spending months whining about MySpace's policies.

          It is called marketing. It is how an artist becomes rich and famous.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          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:Think (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @02:14PM (#29673205) Homepage Journal

          whining about MySpace's policies

          MySpace is breaking the law, or at least acting as an accessory to Warner's fraudulent claim of copyright. They are also failing to provide a service which they claim to provide. It's not "whining" to bring this to public attention.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by suso (153703) *

      Wasn't it the major labels that implored us to think of the artists?

      Yeah.

      Only if there is money in it for them.

      Seriously though, someone please tell this guy that myspace is done.

    • Re:Think (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Pieroxy (222434) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:13AM (#29671023) Homepage

      That said, if MySpace decides to remove content every time a party comes and claim copyright to the content, it's a MySpace problem, nothing more.

      We all know the Majors care about their artists, not THE artists, and only because it makes money. They don't give a rat's *ss about art, music or any concept like this. They care about their wallet, art and artists be damned.

      • Re:Think (Score:5, Insightful)

        by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:39AM (#29671355) Journal

        P.S.

        You say myspace is the problem, but do you think this artist would get different results on other sites like youtube or googlevideo? Youtube's pulled-down every song owned by WB per their request, and that would include this song "A Girl Like You". If Scottish artist Edwyn Collins tried to post his song on youtube, that too would get yanked. The problem is not the dot-com site but the DMCA law which requires the dot-com to take action, or else be fined.

        • Re:Think (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Pieroxy (222434) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:51AM (#29671479) Homepage

          Well, one would think the DMCA gave the site owner the right to get proof thet the plaintiff is the actual copyright holder before doing anything. I don't think the DMCA is the problem here.

          That said, you get a point in that any other website would do the same. And it's a problem between these sites and the contents publishers.

          I remember a story in europe where a magazine did get free blog hosting from ~40 providers. They published a novel by Victor Hugo - ie: In the public domain for centuries. There was a note at the bottom of the page stating this.

          Then they contacted formally all of the hosting companies demanding that the BLOG be shut off because it infringed their copyright. The results: 1 hosting company did its job, read the copyright notice, double checked the fact and sent an email back saying it was bullsh*t. 7 did ask for more proof, the rest did just shut the blog down, no questions asked.

          Customer service is a thing of the past....

          • Re:Think (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @01:29PM (#29672603)

            Well, one would think the DMCA gave the site owner the right to get proof thet the plaintiff is the actual copyright holder before doing anything. I don't think the DMCA is the problem here.

            One would "think"?

            The DMCA REQUIRES the site to take down the offending content when they get the takedown notice. IF the person who put it on the site has a legal right to do so, they have to then submit a counter-claim, at which point the site CAN (but does not HAVE to) put it back up. However, once a counter-claim is filed any repeat takedown notices do not have to be acted upon and it's up to the two parties who filed notice to resolve it in court.
            Failure to immediately take down the content makes the site liable, failure to re-instate it when they get a counter-claim does NOT make them liable.

            So YES, the DMCA IS EXACTLY the problem.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Hatta (162192) *

          The problem is not the dot-com site but the DMCA law which requires the dot-com to take action, or else be fined.

          If WB is issuing DMCA notices, the artist just has to issue a counter notice. If WB fails to file suit in 14 days, the service provider must restore access to the copyrighted material.

          Note that the ISP doesn't know or care who actually owns the copyright. That's for the courts to decide.

      • Required by Law (Score:4, Informative)

        by spun (1352) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `yranoituloverevol'> on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:33PM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

          by zippthorne (748122)

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

    • Re:Think (Score:5, Funny)

      by tverbeek (457094) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:25AM (#29671169) Homepage

      If it were up to the RIAA, artists wouldn't be allowed to stream their own urine.

  • Not always a problem (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DeeVeeAnt (1002953) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @10:41AM (#29670541)
    I have several friends in small unsigned bands who have posted their music to MySpace. Has the policy changed, or is this guy just unlucky?
    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @10:53AM (#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 InsaneProcessor (869563) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:08AM (#29670957)
        This sounds like Warner needs to be sued. Big money lawsuit!
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Kabuthunk (972557)

          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.

      • by Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:10AM (#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.

    • by sarahbau (692647) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @10:56AM (#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 Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @10:42AM (#29670553)

    So this isn't a story about MySpace. They have been notified of a copyright conflict, so they don't allow distribution of the song. The real story is that labels claim copyrights they don't have, for commercial gain, and are not paying $150000 per song.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lobiusmoop (305328)

      The Ruttles [wikipedia.org] had it right - "All You Need Is Cash".

    • by Anita Coney (648748) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @10:49AM (#29670671) Homepage

      "So this isn't a story about MySpace."

      It is about MySpace. Sure the label started the problem by claiming a copyright on a song it did not hold. However, it is now a MySpace problem because the site apparently has no mechanism or system to fix the problem the label created.

      Now that the label has admitted it has no copyright claim, it's MySpace's job to fix it and allow the song to be streamed. The label certainly cannot fix that problem. The fact that MySpace has not done so in three months makes it pretty clear that this story is about MySpace.

    • by lymond01 (314120) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @10:50AM (#29670695)

      Anonymous Coward,

      The phrase "So this isn't a story about MySpace." is a copyright held by the MySpace corporation. We urge you to cease and desist using said phrase for the next 70 years. If you fail to comply with our...request...we will be forced to take legal action. And possibly destroy your feeble world with our battle station.

      Best Wishes,

      MySpace
      Subisidiary of MyGalaxy
      Antares, Antares 20010

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by skammie (802503)
      MySpace would rather delete and account then do ANY fact checking. This happened to me and my music. Everything was fine for about a year, and then *poof* the page was gone. I asked why, and I got a generic response about violating the TOS. I asked for more specifics, but I was not given any more details. I was told touch luck, build a new page. It goes without saying I didn't build a new page. The previous page I set up didn't get that many hits anyway.
    • by IDtheTarget (1055608) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:44AM (#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 RevWaldo (1186281) * on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @10:44AM (#29670569)
    There are people who still use MySpace?
  • People are actually still using MySpace???? I don't mean to troll, but seriously, people are still using MySpace? I assume it's mostly for music artists? Surely there's a better way to get your music out?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LandDolphin (1202876)
      Surely there's a better way to get your music out?

      Yes, there are other ways and better ways. However, MySpace is free. Why not take advantage of all free options for advertisement?
  • Simple Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @10:45AM (#29670593)
    Stop. Using. MySpace.
    Find someone who understands what you're about, and use their service instead. If your business depends entirely on you having a presence on MySpace, you're doing something wrong. Especially now that this may (has?) cost you attorney's fees to sort it out.
    • by ClosedSource (238333) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:00AM (#29670861)

      "Find someone who understands what you're about, and use their service instead."

      Probably Google since they know more about you than any other web entity.

  • by BlueBoxSW.com (745855) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @10:47AM (#29670609) Homepage

    Yes, it started out as a good thing, and even promised to help people track bands and discover new music.

    But it's a mess now, and it's owned by the same company that runs FoxNews, so don't expect it to get any better.

    Time for a young, fresh upstart to pull something better together.

    Or are there already better alternatives?

  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @10:47AM (#29670617) Homepage

    This is yet another example of how present-day copyright rules and legislation has harmed the general condition of the market and made to favor a select few who have even more control over the market.

    When law does not serve and/or protect the interests of all evenly and equally, there is something wrong with the law.

    When making a case for having the law changed or removed, it is useful to create a list of examples of how exactly others are unfairly harmed by it.

  • Registered? (Score:4, Informative)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @10:48AM (#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.

    • How, exactly, does one register copyright at the Library of Congress on a piece of music?

      I'm not trolling. How would you do it? The score? How would a bureaucrat, exactly, identify that a performance is indeed the same as the score - without expensive lawyers getting involved? The title? Easily changed. The composer? Need to go to law to force $evil_corporation to admit they don't have title.

      I suspect this is more about Myspace=US corporation, Warners=US corporation, where is Scotland?

    • by Sique (173459)

      The copyright office actually is a british invention (where every work of art had to be registered before it was allowed to be printed).

  • by tekrat (242117) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @10:48AM (#29670661) Homepage Journal

    This is yet another example of Corporations having more freedoms and rights, than people do. People can vote, but corporations can lobby. People go to jail when they break the law, corporations maybe pay a fine at most -- some in fact, seem to get money from the government for breaking the law.

    I urge everyone in the United Corp.. uh States of America, to incorporate themselves so that they finally have rights.

    Remember that faxed letterhead carries more weight than actual legal precidence....

    • by nomadic (141991)
      This is yet another example of Corporations having more freedoms and rights, than people do.

      Not really. People can vote, but corporations can lobby.

      People can lobby, too.

      People go to jail when they break the law, corporations maybe pay a fine at most -- some in fact, seem to get money from the government for breaking the law.

      I don't really see how you can jail an abstract legal entity like a corporation. They certainly do jail corporate officers for actions taken on behalf of their corporation.
  • Sue Warner Brothers. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FlyingBishop (1293238) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @10:54AM (#29670753)

    If people had been able to stream this over the internet, he could easily have lined up dozens of concerts paying tens of thousands of dollars each, all because Warner Brothers fradulently claimed copyright to his work.

    Throw in some pointless punitive damages, and that ought to net him a good 6 million dollars, right? I mean if it works for the RIAA...

  • by SiChemist (575005) * on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @10:56AM (#29670793) Homepage
    I found "A girl like you" on Amazon's mp3 downloads. Sent them an e-mail asking about the rights with a link to the Guardian article. If I get a reply, I'll post it here.

    It's from a "Greatest hits" album, so I suppose it's within the realm of possibility that the label has rights to it.
    • The label may have non-exclusive rights to distribute it. That does not mean they can stop the copyright holder from doing anything with it.

      • by s0litaire (1205168) * on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:28AM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SiChemist (575005) *

      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/ [amazon.com]

  • by Dotren (1449427) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:07AM (#29670949)

    It seems like I've read previously somewhere a case where the record industry had claimed copyright on something they didn't actually own.

    I'm starting to wonder if they don't train their watchdogs to send out DMCA notices for any music they see online thinking it's better to risk a simple apology later if they don't own it than it is to leave potentially copyright infringing music online.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by The Moof (859402)
      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)

  • by eepok (545733) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:15AM (#29671053) Homepage
    People are getting charged $150,000 for every song they allow to be uploaded. Well, this guys is being denied the opportunity to advertise his music... for months. And the involved parties know about it. He's even sent his version of a "cease and desist". So what's the formula for damages? When does he get to collect.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by selven (1556643)
      Zero. Damages scale proportionally to the ratio of capital available to the plaintiff compared to the defendant.
  • by herojig (1625143) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:16AM (#29671077) Homepage
    1. Post the song on a hosted website of your choosing (other then myspace). 2. Link to the song from the myspace page to the hosted file. 3.Get these articles of /.
  • Yup... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Urza9814 (883915) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:21AM (#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 Holi (250190) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:26AM (#29671187)

    Well aren't the Smithereens signed with Warner, they have a song from 1989 called "A Girl Like You". Is it possible that due to identically named songs this is actually a misunderstanding?

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

    by tkrotchko (124118) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:42AM (#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 hoover (3292) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @11:50AM (#29671471)

    If he tried streaming "never met a girl like you before", I guess the Geneva convention was considered applicable for the abysmal guitar solo... good riddance and hats off to the guys in The Hague! ;-)

  • Umm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @02:03PM (#29673065)
    Doesn't the DMCA provide penalties for falsely claiming ownership of copyright to get content taken down? It would be pretty easy to set up a phony corporation, claim copyright of all the content on Warner Brothers' website, and order them taken down, wouldn't it? If the ISPs actions are any different when the shoe is on the other foot, it pretty much proves that it is an unjust law, doesn't it?
  • by davek (18465) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @03:22PM (#29673999) Homepage Journal

    How does this fit in with the SoundExchange Rules of Extortion [slashdot.org]? Doesn't that "agreement" mean that the media cartels claim default ownership of all music? Therefore, this guys claim is moot because he needs to pay a fee to stream any music on the internet anyway.

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