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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Waking up to the DMCA

Letters have no Arms woke up to an email with a rather ominous subject today:

"Blogger DMCA takedown notification"


We've received one before and therefore already knew what it was going to tell us, and more importantly, what it meant to our blog: a post will have been removed. Not just the offending song(s), nope, the entire post. It seems that, ironically, on their crusade to protect the rights of their clients' creations, our words and our creations are of no value and importance whatsoever. This is exactly why we, and many other blogs, have a pleasant little text on the side of our page, saying "if you want us to take anything down, please tell us and we will immediately etc etc"... Deleting everything means we LOSE what we wrote.
Of course it also means that we don't actually know which artists we shouldn't include in the future. We don't know who we offended. The procedure therefore mostly seems to be an intimidation tactic. Sort of a "hey, are you sure you really want to keep blogging? You do know we can do anything we want with you, right?".
i.e. An utterly depressing situation.
It's also obviously something we can't win. They're big, we're small. End of story. We could try and fight it, but we would just end up having our entire blog deleted.
I also know however that they're fighting a war they can't possibly win. The ball is rolling, and there's nothing they will ever be able to do to stop it. A better solution will definitely have to be thought up. Until then, I guess we'll simply have to continue putting up with this farce.
By way of an experiment, I'm going to attempt to have my own post taken down. This post in fact. I'm going to attach an mp3 I know for a fact will not have any obvious legal repercussions (it's by my brother), and will then (anonymously) write to Blogger, requesting it be taken down, using the template below. I'm rather curious to see what happens...  Of course I am using a picture that I myself did not take, so maybe they'll beat me to it!
Michael Beijer - Day One Cambados Advent Calendar
Go here for a great article entitled 'Are Music Blogs under Fire?'


Alex said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

You should ask them to send all of your data, for sure they have a back up

Eliza K. said...

that was our trip post!!! the summary of our Venice & Milan adventures! i can't believe it!!!

Alex said...

I know, it's just stupid.
I guess Britney didn't like the MTV Italy comments...

boyhowdy said...

An interesting experiment -- I expect it will work. Sorry for your post loss, too; it's happened to the best of us.

Worth noting, however: the primary culprit behind the massive take-downs which have been plaguing the blogger blogs is not any label or musician, or even their reps -- most of which are perfectly happy to have you share music, and in many cases have actually given bloggers tracks, only to have those entries deleted anyway.

Instead, the biggest-by-far take-down instigator has been demonstrated to be the IFPI, which is an RIAA-scale organization that represents the rights of musicians in all of the UK and much of Europe. Combine that with the US law which blogger is subject to, which madates that all notices result in full-blown removal immediately upon receipt of take down regardless of the validity of the claim, and the fact that IFPI is clearly using a rubric of take-down which has no relationship to the wishes of the labels and the artists' wishes themselves, and I think you'll find that the problem is now systemic.

Your experiment may work, in other words, but it won't "test" anything other than blogger's adherence to the DMCA, which is, after all, a big scary law that can cost blogger huge fines if they don't take down posts upon ANY request, for ANY reason.

As long as you continue to use blogger, my advice is to keep back-up copies of all your posts, and be ready to repost them without song as needed. Many of us have left blogger for exactly this reason; Murush's explanation seems clearest: http://www.muruch.com/2008/12/blogger-battle-update-victory-is-mine/

liz said...

ugh, blogger just doesn't get it! boyhowdy is right - i think musicians & labels are generally okay with sampling, as long as we aren't posting entire cds. i know a few music-minded folks that have moved from blogger after their posts were deleted.

i'm using typepad and have yet to encounter any problems (my blog is much less prominent than yours though)...

Steven B. said...

thanks for the input guys!

Boyhowdy you're probably right about it not really being the artists themselves who are behind this. It just seems ridiculous that before a band gets any attention they harass us 24/7 with mp3s and Myspace links and 'what's ups?' and as soon as they've gotten a little attention the invisible hands of their lawyers/riaa etc slap us as soon as we try to PROMOTE them!

Yeah, we'll definitely be backing stuff up from now on though :-)

Has anyone actually ever heard of a blog actually being deleted btw? Or is that just bluff?

The experiment is mostly just to see whether a single email from anyone is enough to have a post deleted. If so, I'd say we're all f**ked...

Liz, we considered several places to host our blog but ended up with Blogger as it just seemed to be the easiest system for blogging. We would definitely consider moving if it were relatively easy as Blogger is also HORRIBLE for posting. You can't imagine the trouble we go to just to make a post look half decent - there's very little freedom for customisation and it seems to be full of annoying little bugs.

Agnes said...

Your experiment is an great idea I reckon! Will be interesting to see what happens.

You should come over to wordpress. It's really easy to use and they have a ton of themes to choose from. I host mp3s at mine as well for a paltry $20 ($29 Australian) a year. Have never had any problems with them at all, and haven't had any take downs either.