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Google Music The Courts Technology

Overzealous Enforcement Means Even Legit Music Blogs Deleted 240

Posted by timothy
from the let-god-sort-'em-out dept.
AnotherUsername writes "Recently, many [Google-hosted] music blogs were deleted for hosting mp3s of songs by various artists. The problem? The music blogs in question had been given permission to host the songs, and often, the older links to mp3s were often broken intentionally by the bloggers in order to save bandwidth. From the article: 'You're reading this right: Five years of Lipold's labor of love was deleted, in part, because he posted a track with full permission of a label, and the track apparently wasn't even online by the time the IFPI filed its complaint.'"
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Overzealous Enforcement Means Even Legit Music Blogs Deleted

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 14, 2010 @02:46PM (#31135872)

    What? You thought this had anything to do with their "intellectual property"?

    This has everything to do with crushing alternative distribution methods.

  • by SharpFang (651121) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @02:46PM (#31135874) Homepage Journal

    ...as long as there are no repercussions for frivolous DMCA.

    The only provision limiting the scope in DMCA is to own copyright on whatever you claim someone infringes upon.

    So, I have copyright on MyDumbSong. And I am totally free to file DMCA against _anyone_ and everyone_ and _anything_ and _everything_, claiming it infringes on my rights to MyDumbSong. And then it's their burden to prove they don't. And taking content down is so much easier than proving its legality.

  • by damburger (981828) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @02:48PM (#31135884)

    The laws in question are basically a way of saying 'the music industry controls music. There shall be no music without our say so' whilst appearing to be a justified set of rules to make the industry fair. Even if this were the first example (it really, really is not) then nobody ought to be at all surprised. Few service or hosting providers have the balls to actually look into the matter when a legal-sounding letter arrives; they just err on the side of not being taken to court and comply immediately, which is exactly the kind of environment the content industry has sought to create.

    Rather than there being a presumption of innocence for those publishing on the web, and the rights holder having to prove guilt - there is a a presumption of guilt and the publisher has to prove innocence, normally with far fewer legal funds available than the rights holder. There is also no consequence to the service/hosting provider for taking content down.

    In a society so thoroughly and openly corrupt, how can this be a surprise? If the entire government and legal system is open to the highest bidder (true in every western nation I can think of) then naturally the intent of all laws will be to keep entrenched elites in place.

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @02:55PM (#31135924) Homepage
    Keep backups of everything. If it isn't on your server you don't know when you'll lose it. If you keep backups you can just move elsewhere if there's a problem.
  • by Faylone (880739) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @03:03PM (#31135982)
    They went above and beyond following both the letter and the spirit of the law. They had the label's permission to use it and songs has been taken down before the complaint was even filed. The labels attacked part of their own distribution method for something that would have been invalid even if they had not had permission!
  • by Gabrosin (1688194) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @03:06PM (#31136006)

    From TFA:

    the Digital Millennium Copyright Act forces Google to take these actions — otherwise, it would lose the protection of the DMCA’s “safe harbor” clause and could be found liable for any copyright infringement on its blogging networks.

    and

    after an unquantified number of complaints — valid or otherwise — the law forces Google (or any other blogging platform) to terminate the accounts of “repeat offenders,” even if their only mistake was not to file paperwork against the accusations of an anonymous robot — sad and wrong, but mandated by current law.

    So... why do you fault Google for this, rather than the IFPI/RIAA? Do you think that "don't be evil" translates to "knowingly violate the (admittedly crappy) law"? I can't imagine how Google opening itself to a RIAA lawsuit would be beneficial to anyone involved in this whole mess.

  • by vesuvana (1166821) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @03:08PM (#31136014)
    I completely agree. A major problem is that our system rewards the most egregious control freaks with more and more power.

    We seem to operate out of a misplaced Puritan holdback of 'any freedom is evil' and 'humans are inherently evil and must be controlled lest they be themselves', which could only equal evil in this mindset. It's completely ass backwards and results in a total thwarting of creativity.

    Without an atmosphere of assumed trustworthiness, how can our society thrive and move forward at all? The music industry (and the film industry) are symptomatic of a much bigger problem. I believe it needs to be fought against aggressively and nipped in the bud before government usurps any more control by crushing individual freedom and creativity. But I don't have any good ideas of how to stop this nauseating trend.

  • by cats-paw (34890) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @03:10PM (#31136028) Homepage

    The music industries goal here is to reinforce the belief that ALL music sharing is illegal and ALL music must be paid for. It doesn't matter what the reality is, they are trying to force a mindset on people. Things like the creative commons are just as much a threat as downloading.

    Everything must have an owner, that owner must be a big corp and you must pay. ALWAYS.

    It's a propaganda war. Unfortunately one of the reasons it works is that when they actually do things which break the law to try and further this propaganda, the law won't come after them.

    They can just point at absolutely anything and say "that's illegal" and immediately there is a presumption of guilt. Then you must prove you innocence.

    I for one, do not welcome my corporate overlords.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @03:13PM (#31136048)
    For a lot of bloggers, yes. Especially the average blogger who might know some HTML, some CSS and perhaps a bit of JavaScript but knows very, very little about servers, PHP, and networking.
  • by rockNme2349 (1414329) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @03:14PM (#31136056)

    You sir, do not understand Web x.0

    His blog was hosted in the Cloud! A super place where data is impervious to destruction and can never be lost!

  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @03:24PM (#31136116) Homepage Journal

    If you're going to host a blog for five years, why not upgrade to hosting it yourself?

    Why host it yourself if using existing services works so well? Sure, the guy might change stance now, but until this point I doubt that he thought anyone would be so reckless and careless in how they approached copyright enforcement, especially when the guy had permission. The more extremist copyright holders try to stamp down, the more people will realise there is a force out there out of control. Sure there are plenty of people flaunting copyright, but every case has to be looked at on a individual basis otherwise its no better shutting down a whole city just because a few people were breaking the law.

  • by Newer Guy (520108) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @03:25PM (#31136122)
    Welcome to the Corporate States of America-where coroprations have all the RIGHTS of citizens-and more-with none of their RESPONSIBILITIES!

    Want proof? Here it is! http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/realestate/article1072632.ece [tampabay.com]

    If a human being had done this, we'd be charged with the felony crime of breaking and entering-BUT after all Bank of America isn't a human, are they? Personally, I think that when stuff like this is done they should arrest the President of the corporation, process him and then throw him in a cell with the derelicts (make sure you do it on a long holiday weekend so he suffers for a few days).

    You might think that this is off topic, but it really isn't. Corporations have WAY TOO MUCH POWER-mainly because they have been able to BRIBE our corrupt government into letting them have it!

  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @03:34PM (#31136182) Homepage Journal

    I don't like hosting stuff in the Cloud. When it's too hot in the summer the data just evaporates.

  • by twidarkling (1537077) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @03:37PM (#31136198)

    If you run on someone else's hosting, they'll just send the DMCA to your host, who will then take down your content. They only way you'd be safe from being DMCA'd is if you had your own server sitting in your closet. And that's what GP was talking about with their post.

  • by Fujisawa Sensei (207127) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @03:39PM (#31136210) Journal

    All the DCMA takedown notices that I've seen, not received just seen, like the Open Office notice that was sent out a few years ago, contain an "Under Penalty of Perjury" clause. A few disbarment, and some jail terms for perjury might put a damper on that BS.

    The only thing that would top going after the peons and lawyers sending out the notices would be RICO charges against the xAA; and member corporations for the crap that they're pulling.

  • by blueworm (425290) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @03:40PM (#31136216) Homepage

    Don't post anything related to a major music company to a blog -- it's that simple. If you don't agree with the takedown notices and the lawsuits, do some research and stop endorsing companies who do that type of thing. Stop sharing it and listening to it, because without sharing nothing can survive in the Internet age. The problem is people like music, but they've been so psychologically damaged into thinking that music making isn't a perfectly able to be learned iteratively that they feel they MUST consume music produced by these companies, and that simply isn't true. We need new musicians to make music and find ways to make money off of it through inclusion in other products such that they don't feel the need to be marketed by malicious record companies.

  • by twidarkling (1537077) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @03:41PM (#31136230)

    So you're saying "take action" _has_ to be "nuke site from orbit?" "Take action" can't be "hey, you got a permit for that? Yeah? Okay, send it to these guys."?

    So yes, it's evil and it's fucking lazy. A corporation doing business with individuals should at least make a token effort at resolving the situation with the involvement of the individual.

  • by Hadlock (143607) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @03:43PM (#31136246) Homepage Journal

    Why host it yourself if using existing services works so well?

    Because hosting it yourself gives you infinitely better control of your content.I don't just mean against legal threats, I mean in presenting your information to the public/your readers. Blogger is pretty rudimentary compared to what you can do with something as basic as WordPress, and you can just go crazy with other free things like Drupal. The term control also conveniently includes backup and legal protection from the DCMA. If blogging about music is your hobby, which if he was doing it for five years, it probably was, then it's worth it to yourself to bite the bullet and buy the hosting/domain for 5-10 years. If you buy in bulk most registrars and hosting solutions will give you crazy good deals. I bought my domain on sale for $1/year and bought the maximum I could buy at the time (15 years) and bought 7 years worth of hosting for less than $200. That boils down to about $2.50 a month. Most people spend more on coffee in a morning. When you look at the cost of blogging as a hobby, it's almost free, even if you pay for it. If you've got enough viewers/bandwidth issues you can double or triple your bandwidth for only a dollar more a month usually.
     
    I'd been "blogging" since I was 16, but couldn't afford the domain name/hosting until college. I'm sure when my domain/hosting expires in five years I'll buy another 20 years worth of hosting. Not investing in a website for a blogger is like an author not investing in a typewriter/computer.

  • Re:Freedom (Score:5, Insightful)

    by couchslug (175151) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @03:49PM (#31136298)

    People have the insanely naive, stupid idea that when they have someone else host their content that they will still have control over that content.

    You voluntarily surrender everything when you have someone else host your shit

    The good side is that when they nuke it your poor planning becomes an example to others.

  • by formfeed (703859) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @04:18PM (#31136554)

    I don't like hosting stuff in the Cloud. When it's too hot in the summer the data just evaporates.

    .. yes, but as soon as it cools down, your 1s and 0s will crystallize again, forming new data for someone else to enjoy. Or as one of these greek guys once said: Panta rei.- You can't log into the same sever twice.

    And it's not as as if it is truly lost, it just gets arranged differently. Who knows- that part on the server that hosted the only copy of your thesis might now host someone else's lol-cat collection.

  • by PrimaryConsult (1546585) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @04:25PM (#31136634)
    Your hosting provider is more likely to send it off to you before deleting your stuff, though. If you're paying for the service, they can't just go and delete things without opening themselves up to potential lawsuits from their clients.
  • Wrong. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @04:36PM (#31136752) Homepage

    ...the law forces Google (or any other blogging platform) to terminate the accounts of "repeat offenders," even if their only mistake was not to file paperwork against the accusations of an anonymous robot -- sad and wrong, but mandated by current law.

    This is false. The DMCA does not require Google to do anything. It merely grants them immunity from a claim of copyright infringement if they comply with it in response to a legitimate, correctly formed and delivered takedown notice. If they ignore the notice they are in exactly the same position they would be in had the DMCA never been enacted. Furthermore, there are penalties for sending false DMCA takedown notices as well as a counter-notice procedure that permits the material to be put back up (with the service provider retaining immunity) and gives the copyright owner thirty days to file suit.

    Absent the DMCA none of these blogs would exist as Google would be strictly liable for infringements.

  • by Endo13 (1000782) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @05:03PM (#31136984)

    Which is all well and good if you have the money or influence to get a good lawyer on your case for you. Some of these bloggers may actually have the influence, if not the money. But how many of them don't? And how many other wrongful DMCA notices and take-downs occur each year that go unpunished?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 14, 2010 @06:18PM (#31137678)

    That's what you get for delivering your message with other peoples computers instead of on your own. Would it have killed em to run their own server?

    That doesn't really solve the problem.

    They can complain to your co-lo and have them pull you from the rack.
    They can complain to the upstream provider and have your IP block dropped.
    They can complain to your registrar and have your domain stop resolving (GoDaddy).
    They can even complain to google and have you blocked from appearing in search results (Scientology).

  • by sjames (1099) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @08:02PM (#31138614) Homepage

    Considering that you can still get taken down by a DMCA notice unless you get your own Internet, I don't see your point.

  • by Cyberllama (113628) on Monday February 15, 2010 @02:22AM (#31141232)

    Just FYI, the rights holder's did file the claims in this instance -- they also gave permission for the song to be hosted. In short, they have NFI what they're doing. One branch of the company says "Sure, use this for promotional purposes" and the other is doing random Google searches for their IP and sees the mp3 up and fires off the complaint without another thought. In other words, the complaint was filed in good, albeit very stupid, faith by the proper rights holder.

    Google could have handled the situation a bit better, perhaps, but they're really stuck in the middle. They must comply with the takedown notice UNLESS a counter-claim is filed or they become liable. What Google *could* do is make it easier for people to file counter-claims when they receive takedown notices -- which effectively ends the issue unless the original claimant decides to take it to court.

    But there's still only so much they can do. At the end of the day, most people who receive a takedown notice for something they have the rights to post are going to just say "Pfft, whatever. I have permission." and ignore it and then cry foul later when their stuff is removed. They simply don't realize that the way the DMCA works is that it has put a burden of declaring their innocence upon them or they are presumed guilty.

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