Facebook Gives In, Cuts Off Project Playlist For No Legal Reason

from the safe-harbors,-people... dept

Earlier this week, we discussed how MySpace had blocked Project Playlist's widgets in response to record label complaints (and, of course, its own desire to have a competitor to its MySpace Music offering locked out) while Facebook left it up. We were surprised to see some claim that Facebook was being "irresponsible" here, because Facebook has a pretty strong legal defense. Of course, it's probably a legal battle that Facebook doesn't want to be involved in, so the company has now followed suit and disabled the Project Playlist app, claiming it violated Facebook's terms of service.

This is yet another example of the recording industry's effort to use chilling effects to get its way, such as by going after third parties to do its dirty work. Third party service providers, such as both MySpace and Facebook, have clear liability protection thanks to the DMCA's safe harbors. Yes, the record labels are in a legal battle with Project Playlist -- but that's between the labels and Project Playlist (and most agree that it's really the record labels using litigation for "negotiating" purposes, rather than based on any strong legal backing). It's not surprising that MySpace of Facebook caved -- why should they fight someone else's legal battle -- but it highlights the problems of when companies like the major record labels are allowed to go after third parties. Those third parties will often fold, because they don't have the incentives to fight. It's an abuse of the law to get others to do the RIAA's unsavory business.

And, in the long run, it's only going to hurt both MySpace and Facebook. If I were a developer for either platform, knowing that they would fold like a cheap card table as soon as some bigger company shows up with a bogus legal claim, I'd focus my development efforts elsewhere. Either MySpace or Facebook could have taken a stand, knowing that any lawsuit would likely get tossed after a quick safe harbor review, and developers would have known that those platforms were safe places for developers. Now... it's probably time to look elsewhere.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Tony, Dec 24th, 2008 @ 9:56am

    While YOU might move elsewhere, most developers won't. And until that starts happening in LARGE numbers, nothing will change.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Mordred, Dec 24th, 2008 @ 9:57am

    no more heroes anymore

    it's a pity that there is no-one just getting to court and fightin such actions, I think a lawsuit against the RIAA for unfounded threats would have a good chance of succes.

    but who could be such a super hero in these modern times...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    RD, Dec 24th, 2008 @ 10:12am

    Lead by example

    Time to sue gun stores for selling guns, car dealerships for selling cars (which can be used to commit crimes) and libraries for providing information that can be used to commit crimes, and for providing copyrighted material. It's only logical, given the precedent that the **AA's are setting with these kinds of ridiculous and illegal tactics.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    You never know, Dec 24th, 2008 @ 10:15am

    Its the golden rule method, He who has the gold, makes the rules. As long as there is money to be made the recording industry will go to great lengths to grab every penny they can before they completely kill the market. Once dead they will completely control what we listen to, Like it or not…. Marry Christmas….

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Dec 24th, 2008 @ 2:08pm

    only once...

    I'm only going to ask this once because I don't really expect a valid response but....

    So is the so-called free market supposed to work its troubles out on its own OR is it supposed to give C&D's, lobby congress critters, and file lawsuits to work them out?

    We CANNOT have it both ways.

    Yes, I know they didn't take the most profitable or upstanding outcome but I also know that you complain every time a lawsuit is filed for this crap as well. So what's it gonna be?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Dec 24th, 2008 @ 3:57pm

    Re: only once...

    I'm only going to ask this once because I don't really expect a valid response but....

    So is the so-called free market supposed to work its troubles out on its own OR is it supposed to give C&D's, lobby congress critters, and file lawsuits to work them out?

    We CANNOT have it both ways.


    Um. In a true free market then there are no laws established that allow such things to take place. I'm not sure what you mean by "both ways."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Vanarie, Dec 24th, 2008 @ 7:06pm

    RIAA needs to chill

    Sooner or later, the thug tactics of the RIAA will only hasten to spell the demise of a growing LEGAL listener base and the very industry it's trying to protect. Why? Because the RIAA refuses to work WITH new media streams (web-widgets, etc.) to find new opportunities to (believe it or not...) make MONEY. Instead, these idiots think that lawsuits are the answer. Big mistake! Same goes for Hollywood, but to a lesser extent. The RIAA can kill my a** - modern thugs that needs a good lesson.

    Facebook should have eaten the RIAA's breakfast on principal and used their own user base (god knows they have it) to support the cause to fight the RIAA. Boo to Facebook! Ditto for MySpace!

    If this isn't a case of the dog biting the hand that feeds it (music consumers), I don't know what is. Hip-hip hooray to the lawyer of this world! They're so smart!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 25th, 2008 @ 11:56am

    Site Ownership Is Law

    I suppose when Facebook (or any other site) throws you off, claiming you’re violating its “terms of service”, there isn’t any right of appeal or any requirement for due process, is there? It’s their site, they can allow or block whatever or whomever they like.

    You can talk about developers “going elsewhere”, but really, the developers have to go where the users are. And if the users prefer Facebook, then you don’t have any choice.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2008 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Site Ownership Is Law

    You can talk about developers “going elsewhere”, but really, the developers have to go where the users are. And if the users prefer Facebook, then you don’t have any choice.
    Facebook is far from the only choice for programmers. The world, and indeed even the Internet, is much larger than Facebook.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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