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Google and Microsoft Sued By Mini Music Label 105

Posted by Soulskill
from the blame-the-internet dept.
carre4 writes "Blue Destiny Records has sued both Google and Microsoft for allegedly 'facilitating and enabling' distribution of copyrighted songs illegally. The suit alleges that RapidShare runs 'a distribution center for unlawful copies of copyrighted works.' RapidShare is helped by Google and Microsoft, which benefit from the ad relationships, according to the suit. Blue Destiny has attempted to link to pages with RapidShare links to their music via DMCA takedown notices, and Google has, apparently, not complied, while Microsoft's Bing site has removed the links. RapidShare, for its part, is based outside of the US and does not accept DMCA notices."
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Google and Microsoft Sued By Mini Music Label

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Changing the order around a little here...

    Blue Destiny has attempted to link to pages with RapidShare links to their music via DMCA takedown notices, and Google has, apparently, not complied, while Microsoft's Bing site has removed the links.

    [...]

    Blue Destiny Records has sued both Google and Microsoft for allegedly 'facilitating and enabling' distribution of copyrighted songs illegally.

    So, what lesson should we take away from this?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by maxume (22995)

      Blue Destiny's lawyer doesn't have any ethics?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Duradin (1261418)

        99.999% of the time a lawyer's ethic is entirely "If I'm being paid by the client it is ethical to act in his self described best interests".

        • by MrNaz (730548) * on Saturday December 12, 2009 @12:31PM (#30414722) Homepage

          Only a lawyer would claim that.

          Anyone else would point out that in the real world, clients defer to the advice of lawyers when deciding what is in their best interest, and lawyers ensure that whatever the client *thinks* is in their best interest, is in fact the course of action that yields the highest number of billable hours.

          • Only a lawyer would claim that.

            Anyone else would point out that in the real world, clients defer to the advice of lawyers when deciding what is in their best interest, and lawyers ensure that whatever the client *thinks* is in their best interest, is in fact the course of action that yields the highest number of billable hours.

            Exactly. Fixed:

            If I'm being paid by the client it is ethical to act in his self described best interests, as long as possible, because money buys stuff, like ethics and luxury cars.

          • that really only happens in corporate law, or with those specialists who can command top dollar from clients that have piles of money. Not every lawyer is rich, or has clients that are rich. For work like divorces, real estate transactions, wills, etc, you charge what the market will bear (and these days the market bears less and less) and make your practice as efficient as possible. Even in the corporate law world, the trend is shifting away from the billable hour, to billing flat rate for work, where the

    • by V!NCENT (1105021)

      Blue Destiny Records: Hey Rapidshare. We saw that somebody uploaded a few songs without our permission. We have copyright on them. Could you maybe remove them for us please? If you could do that than we would be very grateful for that.
      Rapidshare: Hey what a kind email. I suppose we could notify the uploader and take it down.

      But this happened instead:

      Blue Destiny Records: Hey you fothermuckers! You got our copyrighted material on your website! Take it the fsck down or we will sue you!
      Rapidshare: Pardon? Fsck

  • Sue Microsoft (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jrkotrla (690946) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @11:23AM (#30414142) Journal
    Although it could (potentially, I suppose) be argued that their software (MS Windows) does have significant non-infringing uses, I think it's fairly obvious that 90%+ of all illegal file-sharing takes place on systems that utilize Microsoft software technologies. RIAA meet Bill.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      While it does have non-infringing uses I'd also say 90%+ of all illegal file-sharing is done with electricity from power companies.
      They can afford to bail out the RIAA too.

  • by Norsefire (1494323) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @11:29AM (#30414206) Journal
    So if someone finds an address in the White Pages and robs their house the homeowner should sue the White Pages?
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Of course not.
      He should sue the paper company that makes the paper of the White Pages.
      Or the one that makes the ink, whichever has more money.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rtaylor (70602)

      If the publisher who puts out the book received a percentage of the spoils from the robbery, then probably.

      • by c6gunner (950153)

        If the publisher who puts out the book received a percentage of the spoils from the robbery, then probably.

        Except that's not the case here. This is more akin to a the robber having to pay for his copy of the White Pages, as well as possibly paying to have his number listed in the "for sale" section of the Yellow Pages.

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        If the publisher who puts out the book received a percentage of the spoils from the robbery, then probably.

        If the publisher (Google, Bing) has no knowledge of the crime, it's rather hard to make the claim that the publisher is an accessory.
        And since these guys are dumb enough to file in a US Court, the DMCA exemptions and requirements makes all their claims go away.

        Anyways, here's the case: BLUES DESTINY RECORDS, LLC v. GOOGLE, INC. et al
        http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/florida/flndce/3:2009cv00538/56427/1/ [justia.com]

        And here are the search terms being complained about:
        "Roy Powers Firing Line"
        "Peter McG

        • if, as claimed, google ignored the DMCA takedown notices.

          I actually had the misfortune to have to send google a takedown notice after our neighborhood's property manager put some of our newsletters online at a public place (they were already available on a different website via password). I got the idiot property manager to take them down (but only after threatening him with going to the state board of realtors for violating his fiduciary duty), but google was actually a *lot* harder. In the end, I was

          • by ymgve (457563)

            Yes, it's Google's problem that you don't know how to use robots.txt.

            • by X0563511 (793323)

              Please go back and read #30415338 [slashdot.org] again.

              Here, I'll make it easy for you:

              "... after our neighborhood's property manager put some of our newsletters online at a public place"

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What if the thing robbed was a very long prime number written in the front door which the robber memorized? We are supposing this thief did that because he is an appassionato of very long prime numbers, not because he intended to sell the number.

        (I'm just taking the analogy to it's logical extreme)

      • Google gets revenue from searches by displaying ads and by sponsored links.

        The White Pages does the same thing.

        • by cdrguru (88047)

          Not quite. Google gets revenue from displaying ads on sites they direct people to through their searches. You might see some ads on the search page, but the real kicker is getting you into a site where there are 10 more ads and every time you click something in that site there are 10 more. I'd say there is at least a five-to-one ratio between search ads and web site ads in terms of revenue.

          • by Kalriath (849904) *

            No. Google charges MUCH less for Content Network ads than Search ads.

            • Nice to know, but still relatively insignificant (as was cdrguru’s claim). The key is, they profit from them. How then is it significantly different from the White Pages’ business model? It isn’t. In any case, it’s absurd to blame the search engine for content when all it’s done is categorize and index said content. If they’re made aware of fraudulent pages, then sure, they can de-list them, but if they’re not aware of them yet then there’s nothing they can do

      • A percentage? You're mistaken, Google doesn't get a percentage, it gets paid upfront a set fee for serving keywords. What if you got that information from calling 411 instead and just paid 50 cents upfront for you to get that information? Are you saying 411 should be held liable.

  • Seriously? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gman003 (1693318) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @11:36AM (#30414262)
    They know, absolutely, that they're going to lose. So what reason could they have for suing? Well, they're about as unknown on the Internet as possible. No Wikipedia entry, and their website seems to be hidden, unless they call themselves "Blues Destiny Records" when not filing frivolous lawsuits. Maybe they just want some attention? Which raises the question: Is a lawsuit against the two biggest companies in technology cheaper than buying some ads?
    • Which raises the question: Is a lawsuit against the two biggest companies in technology cheaper than buying some ads?

      Probably, but it's also substantially more dangerous.

    • No Wikipedia entry, and their website seems to be hidden, unless they call themselves "Blues Destiny Records" when not filing frivolous lawsuits

      Apparently both Blues Destiny Records and Blue Destiny Recordings exist, but not Blue Destiny Records. Anyway, a lawsuit by a small label may be the big four's way of either limiting their risk if they lose or getting around some previous agreement with Google. And by limiting risk I mean avoiding big "Sony, Universal, EMI and Warner sue Google!" headlines when th

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by RattFink (93631)

        [quote]have appeared when users search Google for the Roy Powers song "Firing Line."[/quote]

        Apperently this artist is carried by Blues Destiny Records here [bluesdestinyrecords.com]. TFA would be wrong.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Reziac (43301) *

          Aside from the fact that I never heard of them before... $25 per album?! I think we already know why their sales might be down, eh??

          • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Aside from the fact that I never heard of them before... $25 per album?! I think we already know why their sales might be down, eh??

            Curious as to what cost 25 dollars I clicked the grandparent's link to see. The price tag is for their VINYL releases. While 25 dollars seems pricey for a vinyl they put an emphasis on it being 180 grams vinyl. Looking further into this it seems to be some audiophile format that uses a thicker vinyl so the price isn't out of line. Their CDs are 13 bucks, a double album for 25, and a digital download is 10. None of which seems to imply they have a reality distortion field on their prices.

            You sir are just who

            • by Reziac (43301) *

              An AC says I'm being unfair, but after further review, I disagree:

              The price may not be bad for what it is, but vinyl (which appears to be what they're primarily pushing) is still a VERY small market, and alt-blues isn't exactly a mass market genre either. If you sell a fairly-priced yet expensive item, or one that has only limited appeal, its very nature means you will have a limited market, and you cannot fairly blame someone else for your small market. Which is what it appears they're trying to do.

    • by HatRoot (875638)
      ""Maybe they just want some attention? Which raises the question: Is a lawsuit against the two biggest companies in technology cheaper than buying some ads?"" Um... for the lawyer or the company? Seems to me it's the lawyers reach, not the DMCA that is in question here.
  • I hope lots of companies without billions of dollars sue Google and others like this. It will build up a precendent of this is stupid. So whenever the major labels try it they will have to work extra hard.
    • by m509272 (1286764)

      You never know. Perhaps they are being funded by the very ones they are suing to establish some precedent. For sure it's at the very least the cheapest global advertising you can get even if it never goes to trial or they simply drop it. You pay the couple of hundred dollars or less it costs to file and they get 100's of thousands or more of free publicity.

    • it almost looks like that's exactly what they're trying to do. Surely they know they can't win, and they probably won't get a huge amount of converts just by disallowing RS access.
      I know they probably are sueing in earnest but it seems as though they're trying to take the wind out of record companies sails. (IE you can't sue the ISP for being the medium)
  • US Jurisdiction (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "....RapidShare, for its part, is based outside of the US and does not accept DMCA notices."

    This is an important concept regarding the internet that most politicians still don't get.

    • by click2005 (921437) *

      This is an important concept regarding the internet that most politicians haven't fixed yet.

      • by Wowsers (1151731)
        This is an important concept regarding the internet that most politicians haven't had any brown envelopes to bother with fixing yet.
    • > This is an important concept regarding the internet that most politicians still don't get.

      It's not clear that "they don't get it". You are assuming that what a politician says is connected with what he wants done or thinks can be done rather than being connected with what he wants others to think about him (so he gets reelected, perhaps via getting more campaign contributions).

    • by shentino (1139071) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @11:50AM (#30414384)

      Actually, they DO get it.

      Why do you think ACTA is getting pushed?

    • Rapidshare, if told about it, will remove files that infringe on copyright though. http://rapidshare.com/abuse.html [rapidshare.com] It's not DMCA, but the result is basically the same. They will also fingerprint/hash files and remove such files proactively in future. Rapidshare make their money selling premium subscriptions. For the free downloads, they show ads, which I'm sure will be something other than google in very short order. I'm quite surprised they are using adsense at all really.
      • by cdrguru (88047)

        Not use AdSense? Why not? AdSense gives you an anonymous, protected way to separate the advertiser from the placement of ads. How many people would willingly call up a porn link site or warez site to advertise there? Right, nobody. AdSense gives the porn linker and warez site an easy way to display ads that the advertiser never knows anything about. And, more importantly, cannot exert any control over specifically what sites their ads appear on. In exchange, they get a cheaper rate and this pretty mu

  • Its not like google runs a message board where people post these rapidshare links and is being sent notices to run the message board better and remove infringing links. If that were the case then google and microsoft both would be advised if not required to remove those links if they want to avoid a suit. Google, on the other hand, simply runs a web site that searches other web sites and finds keywords without discrimination between keywords that are linked to rapidshare links and keywords that aren't. I
    • The way I read the origional article, (not the Slashdot hackjob!) is that Blue Destiney Records (BDR) is suing Google and Microsoft NOT because if the links, but for the fact that Microsoft and Google profit from the filesharing activities through the ads placed on Rapidshares free pages.
      • by russotto (537200)

        Right, it's a vicarious infringement case. One of the earliest vicarious infringement cases was about a flea market operator who sold space to vendors who sold infringing material; the operator was found liable despite being unaware of the infringement, because he profited from the infringement and had the ability to prevent it (by kicking out the offending vendors).

        This case is even weaker, because Google does not have the ability to prevent the infringement, but in general the courts will accept any old

  • FTA: "The suits insists that Google and Microsoft benefit financially because they generate ad revenue from search results. And both companies have received DMCA takedown notices requesting removal of the links in question."

    Google would generate several times the revenue by placing the allegedly illegal download links lower so that one would perform multiple searches rather than finding them with the first click. If there is a financial incentive for Google to manipulate results, it would be to lower the

    • Unless you're talking about lowering the rankings as a solution to the lawsuit, it seems to me that lowering the rankings of a highly-sought after website would do nothing more than drive away customers. If I'm searching for something, unless I know it's obscure or on a specific page, I usually don't bother with going past the first page.
  • Business plan (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @12:31PM (#30414724) Homepage

    ...RapidShare, for its part, is based outside of the US and does not accept DMCA notices.

    • Launch groundless legal action against company with $154 billion net worth.
    • ????
    • Profit!!!

    What could go wrong?

    • by wo1verin3 (473094)

      That part of the summary is not false but is very misleading.

      While they are based outside of the US, they do respond within 24 hours on the takedown notices I've sent them over the past 2 years. I've provided them all the information asked for and each time the files were removed and checksum of those specific files blacklisted.

      More Info: http://www.rapidshare.com/abuse.html [rapidshare.com]

  • Even if something is copyright infringement, how does the DMCA apply for something like music, which (generally) does not require any sort of decryption to digitize.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pem (1013437)
      There are multiple parts to the DMCA, which is an update to copyright law. Google and wikipedia are your friends here, but basically, without the "safe harbor" provisions of the DMCA, any ISP or search engine would be at major risk.
  • "Point you finger back far enough and some germ gets blamed for splitting in two." How fitting.
  • Patently false. (Score:4, Informative)

    by clone53421 (1310749) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @01:42PM (#30415330) Journal

    From TFA:

    “Google’s consistent and prominent ranking of links to illegal ‘free’ downloads of [Blue Destiny’s] copyrighted recordings has devastated [Blue Destiny’s] business,” the suit reads, before pointing to specific RapidShare links that have appeared when users search Google for the Roy Powers song “Firing Line.”

    It would appear, however, that Google is not linking directly to such downloads. It links to RapidShare landing pages where the download urls are listed. In other words, Google’s top “Roy Powers Firing Line” result points to a RapidShare page that serves up several links where you can download the song.

    And even that is false! The Google results for “Roy Powers Firing Line” [google.com] are:

    Roy Powers Firing Line rapidshare file downloads [rapidog.com]
    Roy Powers Firing Line megaupload file downloads [megauploadbot.com]
    Roy Powers - Firing Line (2009) rapidshare [zona-musical.com]
    Roy Powers Music Firing Line Out Now! [roypowersmusic.com]
    Roy Powers on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures ... [myspace.com]
    Blues Destiny Records [bluesdestinyrecords.com]
    Google and Microsoft sued for links to filesharing sites ... [tech-forums.net]
    Ronny Sessum Funk'n Blues Man Album Out [ronnysessum.com]
    Vans Triple Crown of Surfing [triplecrownofsurfing.com]

    None of those URLs point to a RapidShare server!

    Even the ones that look like they’d have RapidShare links are merely search engines or forums where the RapidShare links are found.

    This is so false that it’s laughable. Also, can anyone say Streisand effect?

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Also, can anyone say Streisand effect?

      This might be their ultimate goal. Claim to sue giant companies, wait for tech sites to advertise their obscure company.

    • by gmuslera (3436)
      Maybe something that should Google do is to clean all pages from their index that have that author name and song title, as they don't know a priory if it is linking to a rapidshare-like server or forum that enables to illegally download that song. In fact, they should do that with anyone that complains. Avoiding piracy is more important than having any opportunity to be known.
  • Search shared (Score:3, Informative)

    by Exception Duck (1524809) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @03:03PM (#30416070) Homepage Journal

    Take a look here, this will land you most albums
    http://www.searchshared.com/ [searchshared.com]

    and it's using google.

  • This page [rapidshare.com] seems to spell things out pretty clearly. Email them with your contact info, the links in question, and what the problem is (in this case, copyrighted content), and they will work with you to resolve the matter. Took all of 2 seconds to find.

    But no, rather than have their content removed, they would rather make a huge stink about it to try and get attention and press coverage. As a previous poster pointed out, a nice civil email about the matter could have had this whole thing resolved in a day

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