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Music Reviewer's Blog Suspended For Promoting Music

from the left-hand,-meet-right-hand... dept

It's really funny to watch the old record labels try to understand the whole music blogging culture. The folks in the promotions department send music bloggers mp3s and encourage them to post them, knowing that it'll get the musician attention. That's a good thing. But the folks on the legal side go the other way... often sending takedowns to the very same bloggers. Rafi Kam points us to a ridiculous situation involving Warner Music Group, who hired a firm called Gray Zone to help "deal with" unauthorized tracks being shared online. Apparently Gray Zone tracked down a song by Gucci Mane that was on well-known music reviewer Andrew Noz's website and sent an angry cease-and-desist to both Noz and his hosting company using all capital letters, including the phrase: "IMMEDIATELY REMOVE ALL LINKS, REFERENCES, DOWNLOADS, VIDEOS, STREAMING AUDIO, AND MP3 FILES ASSOCIATED WITH GUCCI MANE."

Noz didn't see the email, which his filter assumed as spam, but his hosting company did and suspended his entire site. Nice of them. When Noz contacted them, they told him that, based on the above sentence, he needed to go through his blog and remove every reference to Gucci Mane (after all, that's what letter said). Apparently, Noz had written about Gucci Mane quite a bit, so that was a lot of work. Of course, the letter is wrong. While there may be a copyright issue with downloads, it's difficult to see where there would be any copyright claim at all when it came to links, embedded videos (hosted elsewhere) or references. That's actually copyfraud by Gray Zone, on behalf of Warner Music Group, by claiming copyright on things that it does not have rights over.

Either way Noz scrambled and spent hours deleting everything on his site about this particular artist. After all of that, he spoke with a VP at Gray Zone who said that Gray Zone and Warner were really only demanding that he take down a single track. But, of course, that's not what the takedown notice said. Noz points his anger at Warner Music, asking why folks from Warner Music email him tracks all the time... but then get his entire site taken down for those very same songs? This isn't just the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, it's the right hand shaking someone's hand, and the left hand smacking that guy in the face for shaking the right hand. And people wonder why the big labels are so hated?

I actually spoke with both Warner Music Group and Noz to try to find out more about this. Noz says that he's not sure if the one particular song was actually sent by someone from WMG, but that he gets hundreds of songs a week, many of which come from WMG, and he helps promote many of those tracks, so he finds it pretty ridiculous that rather than just contact him and politely ask him to take down the song, they had his entire site taken down. WMG noted that it, as a corporate entity, wasn't directly involved with this, but that it was handled by a subsidiary, Asylum Records. Asylum then sent over a statement:
Apparently, unauthorized copies of the unfinished and unreleased track "I Got All Of That" by Gucci Mane have been stolen and sent out to certain websites by parties unknown to us. In cooperation with the artist and his manager, we instructed our third-party vendor to notify websites to take down the unauthorized track from their sites immediately. We appreciate the cooperation of sites that recognize that this unfinished song does not represent the artist's complete vision and may have been obtained illegally.
Of course, that doesn't really address the issue. The complaint from Gray Zone didn't just target that one song, but all content related to this artist, and because of that, it forced the guy's blog offline -- all the while he's receiving plenty of songs directly from the record label. You can understand where there might be some confusion there. At the very least, someone should have just contacted the guy directly with a friendly request, rather than sending the immediate ALL CAPITALS cease-and-desist threat.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2009 @ 10:25am

    It sounds more like the hosting company are idiots, more than anything. Failure to read the full email, failure to communicate with their client, etc.

    Warner was doing it right, the host is the one that punted this one. Why not string the host up rather than the music companies who did it right?

     

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    known coward, Aug 28th, 2009 @ 10:25am

    Clearly the record company

    Does not want Mr. Noz to mention Warner’s music. Mr. Noz should honor that request and never blog about any warner musican again. He should also post the cease and desist letter as the reason why. (though of course they will claim the letter is copyrighted material and demand it be taken down, but one step at a time).

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 10:36am

    Re:

    Warner wasn't doing it right, Warner didn't do jack shit. Asylum Records was the one in control of the song and Gray Zone are the lawyer assholes who sent the overly broad cease and desist (or should I say "CEASE AND DESIST"). Gray Zone could have sent a cease and desist on that one song, since that's that one song that was "stolen". Or, you know, they could have just called, but I know that's not the lawyer way.

     

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    Joe, Aug 28th, 2009 @ 10:44am

    Re:

    "Warner was doing it right, the host is the one that punted this one. Why not string the host up rather than the music companies who did it right?"

    I really don't think you can blame the hosting company for this. Sure, it looks like they took down this guy's whole blog without giving him notice or warning or anything like that, and that is kind of a shitty thing to do, but they're just trying to avoid the crazy-ass lawyers over at WMG. And you REALLY must be off your rocker to think that Warner was "doing it right". What, exactly, was Warner doing right? They're not making themselves look good, they're not promoting Gucci Mane, the only thing that you could even try to say they're doing is enforcing copyright - and they certainly aren't doing that properly. They are doing usual music-exec dickery properly, though.

     

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    brokeastunes, Aug 28th, 2009 @ 10:54am

    Yet another perfect example of how the major labels are just HELL-BENT on self-destruction and just inept beyond all belief. They just can't die soon enough.

     

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    Free Capitalist (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 10:56am

    And proud they are....

    Apparently this company specializes in illegal take downs.

    From their company line on their website:
    Our clients include record labels, music publishers, computer software companies, law firms, investigative agencies, recording artists, producers and fashion designers. GrayZone has fostered long-term and amicable relationships with leading Internet Service Providers, international anti-piracy agencies, and popular websites, which enables us to remove infringing product on a moment's notice.


    How about we bring due process back to the table? Not viable at this point?

    Sounds as if WMG acted like the uncoordinated gelatinous trapper-keeper 15000 that they are again. A vital economic vacuum without a clue or a product of their own making.

     

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  7.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 11:05am

    Re: Re:

    You must excuse the poor mindless AC.
    He has to run to protect his masters at the slightest mention.
    I clicked into this story from the homepage just to see what half assed poor excuse he would make for them to make it seem like they are still all angels.
    I think he could have tried harder though than to simply try to pass blame. Maybe he feels they aren't paying him enough anymore.
    I know he will rush in to declare his independance but I cannot come up with any other possible reason than money or a supreme case of fanboi-dom as to why (s)he could ever possibly defend Warner (or Asylum) on this one. There is just no reason. The group is obviously a bunch of lawyer happy asshats.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2009 @ 11:10am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Ahh, screw off. The problem you are seeing is that you are only seeing 1 line out of the entire notice the ISP received, and even Mr Noz admits that his host "Bluehost somehow misinterpreted this line of the email". When you look at the email that he posted, it is clear it refers to a single URL (which is listed).

    So let's call the out the right fools. There is no evidence that Warner / Asylum / Grey Zone went "overboard", only that the ISP took something and went overboard with it. The fools didn't even contact their client.

    The only asshats are the commenters here assuming too much, wanting to tar and feather any lawyer that walks by no matter what they have or have not done.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 11:10am

    Re: Clearly the record company

    " Mr. Noz should honor that request and never blog about any warner musican again. "

    Seriously, why risk it? It's not like there's not a ton of talented artists out there who aren't on WB. Most of them would be more than happy for some exposure.

     

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    Robert Ring (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 11:10am

    I would like to know what hosting company that is: 1. reading a client's email, and 2. forcing him to remove content just because some random company told him he had to.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2009 @ 11:11am

    Re:

    If Warner was doing it right why did they hire the wrong hosting company?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2009 @ 11:12am

    Re: Re:

    n/m

     

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    Marcus Carab (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 11:13am

    If I were Noz, I would consider attempting to contact the artist. He deserves to know what is being done in his name. A brief note might make him really rethink his recording contracts: "I thought you should know your record company has instructed not to mention or refer to your work on my popular review blog. I found this request odd coming from the group in charge of promoting your music, and wanted to be sure you knew about it. Unfortunately, to avoid expensive legal repurcussions, I am forced to comply with the request despite my desire to spread the word about your music."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2009 @ 11:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I disagree. I think Mike has a point when he says

    "At the very least, someone should have just contacted the guy directly with a friendly request, rather than sending the immediate ALL CAPITALS cease-and-desist threat."

     

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    senshikaze (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 11:15am

    Re: welll..

    The article clearly states that Gray Zone sent the email to both the host and Noz.

     

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    Erika Jong, Aug 28th, 2009 @ 11:15am

    Just for fun, read the official FAQ on this Grayzone racket's website. I cut and pasted some of the text just to watch them pee all over themselves trying to figure out who to sue for copyright infringement.



    http://www.grayzone.com/faqindex.htm

    "GrayZone, Inc. was founded in 1986 by its President and CEO Dorothy Sherman, who believed that a reasonably priced investigative, paralegal and research practice of the highest quality could be established in a creative and stimulating environment. GrayZone specializes in high-tech Internet investigations involving bootleg, counterfeit, and pirated product. GrayZone has been dubbed the "bootbusters" of the entertainment industry.

    Our clients include record labels, music publishers, computer software companies, law firms, investigative agencies, recording artists, producers and fashion designers. GrayZone has fostered long-term and amicable relationships with leading Internet Service Providers, international anti-piracy agencies, and popular websites, which enables us to remove infringing product on a moment's notice.

    Two basic principles have guided our company throughout its 23-year history. First and foremost, we are committed to providing our clients with services of the highest quality with the utmost integrity. Second, to attract and retain our clients, we are committed to providing services on a cost-effective basis. Our commitment to both of these principles led us to reject the fast-growing, high-leverage and media hungry investigative firm model long before it became fashionable to do so, and to create a company distinguished by its international reputation, a thriving and interesting practice, and the diverse backgrounds and achievements of its employees.

    GrayZone prides itself on forcefully and ethically representing our clients' interests, while striving to be creative and efficient. We were a pioneer in high-tech, cutting edge Internet investigations long before the advent of websites, when the Internet was nothing more than a blinking cursor on the computer screen. We specialize in alternative dispute resolution in a discreet and low profile manner, and we are proud of the reputation we have achieved for providing high quality services on a cost-efficient basis.





    Services We Offer
    We have paralegals, research experts, music, movie and software professionals, licensed private investigators and skilled computer operators on call to serve you. We specialize in the field of anti-piracy operations and have contacts worldwide to assist us.



    Investigate | Coordinate | Overviews | Scenarios | Why GrayZone? | Accomplishments



    Investigate and Identify
    Quickly, quietly and in a cost effective manner.

    Our first task is to conduct a thorough investigation to determine the extent of the problem.


    We draw upon our many contacts in the music business and retain the services of a research consultant who is knowledgeable on your artist. Working with your own in-house experts and consultants, we design a database from which we can begin to ascertain a course of action.

    Edited portions of these databases are distributed to various law enforcement concerns (such as customs, FBI, IRS and other worldwide tax agencies) as well as music industry agencies (such as IFPI, RIAA, CRIA, ARIA, et al.)

    We keep track of information like: alleged licensees, SID codes, bar codes, matrix numbers, distinguishing marks and characteristics, track listings, quality, volume, price, release data and distributors. We even have a comprehensive list of independent record shops worldwide who offer bootlegs for sale.

    We scan all product we collect, and make these graphic files available to the appropriate agencies. For instance, do you know that virtually all bootleg, pirate and counterfeit compact discs arrive at a customs port of entry on spindles (compact discs are stacked on a pole) and not in their jewel cases? Many disc do not list the bootlegged act as it would be too obvious and could possibly tip off authorities.

    Top

    Organize and Coordinate
    Solving the issues can be a logistical and time-consuming ordeal. We have the skills and connections to work with the worldwide agencies related to your circumstance.

    Once we have assembled our facts and figures related to your artist, we organize the information in a manner that is accessible and manageable for our respective contacts. We advise them of specific recommended targets: bootleg manufacturers, distributors, Internet sites, independent record shops and record fairs. We draft the proper paperwork needed and secure the appropriate legal documents to initiate action. We are informed of actions already in progress and can lobby the agencies of clients' desire to receive more direct attention to their specific issues. We keep you informed of all activities and take no action that you deem inappropriate or unnecessary.

    Top

    Provide an Overview
    We distribute to our clients a quarterly digest that summarizes events in the world of anti-piracy operations. Much of the information we compile relates to recent bootleg, pirate and counterfeit raids, seizures and arrests. We try to keep informed of novel legal issues, precedent setting cases and other interesting items pertaining to recent changes in the general field of copyright/trademark infringement. Over time, you'll notice throughout the digests how our work with you fits into the larger picture within the world of anti-piracy events."

     

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  17.  
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    Chris Maresca (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 11:15am

    Re: Clearly the record company

    +1 to that. I was once VP of Engineering at a music oriented startup and most of the 'stolen' tracks we got were from an official source of some kind.

    It the worst kind of cynicism and sleaze to give people something then claim it was stolen. Typical.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2009 @ 11:17am

    Re: Clearly the record company

    If I were him I would post the cease and desist letter and then start replacing all the good things I said about Warner with the truth.

     

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  19.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 11:21am

    Re:

    "It sounds more like the hosting company are idiots, more than anything. Failure to read the full email, failure to communicate with their client, etc."

    Well, you certainly make a valid point that WMG wasn't the ONLY idiotic party here. Perhaps it wasn't even the MOST idiotic, but did it right? Nahhh.

    This 3rd party plausible deniability doesn't fly. In the words of a recent discussion, they were assisting the assisters of the idiocy. You contract out to third parties, you bare part of the responsibility when that 3rd party does something moronic.

    And by moronic, of course, I mean putting out an overreaching cease and desist letter that both goes well beyond what their client actually wants and defeats the purpose of blogging partners that WMG obviously utilizes o some significant degree. I'd say that in this story Gray Zone is the idiot extraordinaire for garnering nothing but heat and resentment towards what I imagine is its principle client: WMG. Best of luck on that customer retention there, retards. Oh, and did anybody else read the all caps message and think it might have come from Angry Dude?

    Next is the hosting company. If you're providing hosting services, shouldn't you have some modicum of understanding on a legal issue before taking such drastic measures as suspending an entire site of one of your customers? How is that different than a landlord getting a notice from the police that they think you've got drugs in the apartment you rent, so the landlord just summarily changes the locks on you? So that was idiotic.

    Finally, to a much lesser degree, you've got this odd statement by Noz suggesting he didn't know who sent him the song that was ultimately in question. Okay, how much time did he spend trying to figure that out? And how are they sent in? Email? Mail? Contact Form? It seems to me that there ought to be several easy ways to:

    A. Standardize how music is sent in so as to avoid this in the future (mandatory song titles in subject lines, for instane)

    B. Search for sent in music (search email by song title, etc.)

    C. Put in place a logging system that wouldn't take a prohibitive amount of time/effort to keep track of where music submitted is coming from (might even be able to automate it).

    Seems to me there is plenty of stupidity in this story to go around....

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2009 @ 11:21am

    Re: Re: Clearly the record company

    The problem is that they have content and no one knows about it so they can't sell it. So they give it away so people can know about it and once it becomes popular they start saying, "this isn't fair that we gave away valuable content, we should sue those we gave it to." It's an interesting business model. Give away content, make them believe it's free, and then get rich by suing them.

     

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  21.  
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    Denis Moskowitz, Aug 28th, 2009 @ 11:28am

    Actually if you go to Noz's site he has said he'll be avoiding talking about WMG artists on that site and others that he contributes to. He also posts an amusing conversation with the GrayZone company about a different artist with a similar name.

     

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    diabolic (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 11:34am

    So many reasons not to buy I lost count.

     

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  23.  
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    Aaron Martin-Colby (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 11:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "even Mr Noz admits that his host "Bluehost somehow misinterpreted this line of the email". When you look at the email that he posted, it is clear it refers to a single URL (which is listed)."

    You misinterpreted his misinterpretation. He was being sarcastic. Go back and read it again.

     

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  24.  
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    Vic, Aug 28th, 2009 @ 12:01pm

    Who is Gucci Mane?

    Ah, anyways... let's altogether now:

    WE ARE NOT GOING BUY ANY GUCCI MANE MUSIC!

     

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  25.  
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    Matt (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 12:04pm

    Wow. First, did anyone notice that Gray Zone _are not lawyers_? This C&D was sent by a paralegal. In some states, there is no licensure or education requirement to declare yourself a paralegal. In any event, in most states a paralegal must be supervised by a lawyer to do legal work (like sending out an ALLCAPS C&D). Problem one, then, is that Asylum hired an outfit that is performing poor legal work poorly.

    Problem two: whatever else the C&D said, it also said: "IMMEDIATELY REMOVE ALL LINKS, REFERENCES, DOWNLOADS, VIDEOS, STREAMING AUDIO, AND MP3 FILES ASSOCIATED WITH GUCCI MANE." That has no place in a proper C&D, and goes well beyond what copyright demands (or even permits). Maybe a competent lawyer would have caught this.

    In any event, the problem is not that Warner or Asylum did something stupid. They may not have - they hired an investigative company to investigate and handle the illegal distribution of pre-release music. The problem is that the DMCA eliminates an ISP's safe harbor against overreaching copyright suits if the ISP fails to promptly honor a take-down notice. The real villain here is Congress. The law is broken, not the behavior of the actors trying to obey it.

    (Now if you want to carp about the role of the music industry in advocating for the DMCA or lobbying against the safeharbor provision, that is another story...)

     

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  26.  
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    bigpicture, Aug 28th, 2009 @ 12:05pm

    Re: DOING IT RIGHT???

    NO!!! The music companies are not doing it right. They bribed Congress to pass a one sided law, that essentially deprives everyone else of their CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. Then they sue everyone on any whim based on those bought laws against which no-one has any hope of winning. Where an ISP could be put out of business, or an individual bankrupted on a whim while even acting in GOOD FAITH. Some even dead!!!

    NO THREATENING BEHAVIOR HERE??? In other words the fact is that someone can be sued and put out of business by rich companies who have all the laws on their side. What the hell do you expect a fearful barely profitable ISP to do??? Fight them? Piss them off? Do you ever see these bastards take on Google? No because Google is rich enough to buy or malign more Judges and Politicians than them.

    Here is the analogy: If I legally buy a book or a CD and leave it on a train or table or a bus bench where anyone else has access to it, and even someone else takes it and plays it or reads it, it is not illegal. And even if they copy it I am still not legally responsible. (I did not break the law) But if I put the contents of that same CD to my PC and someone else copies it, then according to the Recording companies I did break the law, THE LAW THAT THEY BOUGHT AND PAID FOR.

     

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  27.  
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    MikeP (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 12:13pm

    copywrited notification?

    Someone mentioned that he'd likely be sued next for posting the C&D letter hers a link to it form his site: http://www.cocaineblunts.com/blunts/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/email.txt check out the last line.

     

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  28.  
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    Jason (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Clearly the record company

    "they will claim the letter is copyrighted material and demand it be taken down"

    Easily handled with a sue-me EULA that says reading and responding to the site constitutes agreement with the terms which include publication of all legal mail.

     

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  29.  
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    David (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 12:19pm

    Hyperbole much?

    "Noz says that he's not sure if the one particular song was actually sent by someone from WMG"

    So sure, the situation is a bit ridiculous, but this sentence set me off. This is kind of typical of Mike, who often builds huge mountains out of mole hills.

    Noz should keep track of where he gets the songs he posts. He probably should have known that a C&D is often crap, especially one in all caps, and could have perhaps contacted some of the parties involved before going to all the trouble to remove stuff that he didn't need to.

    It sounds to me like some twit lawyer or paralegal sent a bogus C&D, and some twit at the hosting service shut down the blog due to that, and some twit blogger panicked and subsequently messed up his blog.

    If he panicked like that, maybe he had something to be guilty about?

    This is really a "nothing to see here, move along" situation.

     

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  30.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The problem you are seeing is that you are only seeing 1 line out of the entire notice the ISP received"

    The entire E-Mail was that one line. It had a link to the main page, the threat about removing all references to Gucci Mane, and then another address. The rest was crap about how they are allowed to make those claims. How is a hosting site to know that "?p=3768" references one specific .MP3 file? And even if they did know that "?p=3768" was an .MP3 file (that's ASP code so it's not) they still have to pay attention to the rest of the capitalized threat.

    If a law firm filed papers like that with a court, the case would not only be dropped due to a mistrial, but the law firm would more than likely be fined for gross abuse of the law.

     

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  31.  
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    John85851 (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 12:29pm

    Lots of blame to go around

    First, I sort-of understand why the ISP would blindly take down anything that's ask of them. After all, if they don't take something down and it turns out to be illegal, then they might become liable themselves. So why bother asking the customer (who's paying to use the ISP) when it's quicker to just take down the material?

    Second, I do think this is a case of right-hand/ left-hand. One division at WB is sending promo music to be reviewed while another division is hiring pseudo-legal companies to issue take-down notices.
    So, WB, which is it: send out promo music even though some of it may be "pirated" or tell every single blogger to not review your music?

    I think the reviewer should find a new ISP and post a message on his blog about how his current ISP disables sites at the drop of a hat. He should also stop reviewing WB music and return any promo music with a letter saying it's too risky for him to be in possession of WB music.

     

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  32.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 12:33pm

    Re:

    "That has no place in a proper C&D, and goes well beyond what copyright demands (or even permits). Maybe a competent lawyer would have caught this."

    Yeah, and the competent lawyer would have said, "We'll have to go to court to push back."

    "In any event, the problem is not that Warner or Asylum did something stupid."

    Yes it is, they hired these morons. Nice going, there.

    "The real villain here is Congress. "

    Well, as always, but rather outside the scope of some poor bastard who has the THE LAW hanging over him like gorram cudgel.

    Frak it, easier to erase any memory of Warner Brothers from his site.

     

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    sysadmn, Aug 28th, 2009 @ 1:15pm

    Re:

    Brilliant. And if you really want to stir the pot, point out to the artist that his label claims to have copyright on his name (and they might, given how evil their contracts are), as well as everything you've written about him.

    Then write the company and ask why they swore under penalty of perjury that they owned your text.

    IMMEDIATELY REMOVE ALL LINKS, REFERENCES, DOWNLOADS, VIDEOS, STREAMING AUDIO, AND MP3 FILES ASSOCIATED WITH GUCCI MANE: http://www.cocaineblunts.com/blunts/?p=3768

    Perhaps that's not what they meant, but they certainly didn't ask the ISP to "remove the following ...."

     

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  34.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 1:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So you are saying that even though they sent a takedown notice (in all caps) instead of contacting him in any shape, form, or fashion, and sent one to his host as well, that they are in no way at all assholes or responsible?
    I feel as if you are helping me prove my point in my first post about the reason you are here. So please continue.

    And if you ever get subpoenaed for something and submit it to the legal system, obviously are at fault for whatever results because you were following a legal request for something you know nothing about. Remember that by your own reasoning. I would say you probably don't have to worry about it since they don't sue their own, but they did just send a takedown notice to a guy they have review their music ...

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2009 @ 1:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "So you are saying that even though they sent a takedown notice (in all caps) instead of contacting him in any shape, form, or fashion, and sent one to his host as well, that they are in no way at all assholes or responsible?"

    They did what they are legally required to do. The record company / Grey Zone didn't take down his site, the idiotic hosting company did. They are the ones that failed to contact their client, failed to take any other action except to pull the plug.

    The Notice is clear: Remove everything that links to or refers to Gucci Mane on the page they listed. If there is a song in there or a file that is somehow illegal (stolen before release) they are exactly in their rights.

    Basically, remove all links (in case they link to it on another site) references (saying where the file is located), downloads (if the file may have been offered for download), videos (in case it was displayed in video format), streaming audio (in case it was displayed as sound only), MP3 Files (in case the song was in that format). What exactly is wrong in that list?

    DMCA notices have a period of time for compliance, it is not instant. The host didn't have to pull the plug instantly. They too could have emailed their client, they could have attempted to contact him in other ways. They apparently did not. They are the only ones, sole and unique, responsible for the site being down. Nobody at Grey Zone walked into the data center and pulled out the power plug on the server.

    The music in question was "review" music - it was a song stolen and distributed pre-release (ie, not suppose to be in public).

    You need to read better.

     

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

  36.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The Notice is clear: Remove everything that links to or refers to Gucci Mane on the page they listed. If there is a song in there or a file that is somehow illegal (stolen before release) they are exactly in their rights.

    Actually, no. First it's not clear, because above that message they list his overall domain, and beneath it they list just that one post -- but it's not clear if they're referring to either with the demand to remove.

    Furthermore, even if the song shouldn't be there, they have no legal right to demand links or references to gucci mane. And if the video was embedded from elsewhere, again, they have no legal right, but instead should be sending a takedown to whoever is actually hosting the video.

     

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

  37.  
    icon
    william (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 3:05pm

    time to get a new host site

    if your host company would just bend over YOUR ASS and let you get whipped by anyone walking by with a stick in their hands...

    It's time to look for a new hosting company

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    Michael Kirkland, Aug 28th, 2009 @ 3:28pm

    Re: hosting companies are idiots

    The profit margin for small scale hosting is razor thin. Having to take any non-automated action at all with regard to an individual account will put that account in the red.

    You can't blame hosting companies for taking the easiest possible response. What's needed is to explicitly protect them from liability in cases against their customers so that the easiest response is to ignore these sort of letters.

     

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

  39.  
    icon
    Thomas (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 4:40pm

    Re: Clearly the record company

    Great idea! After all the bloggers do this, then Warner will wonder why no one writes about their music anymore. Serves them right.

    A cease and desist letter can't be copyrighted.

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2009 @ 6:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Again, the only people who took the site offline was his host.

    Plenty of errors on this one:

    1 - Blog owner using spam filters on an email address used for noticed. Not really a smooth move.

    2 - Host for pulling the site rather than communicating with their customer, there is a 48 hour grace period in here to get things done.

    3 - The blog owner for over reacting without checking the facts. Rather than just pulling everything under th sun down, why not communicate with the people sending the notice?

    Plenty of ASSUMPTIONS made by the host and the blog owner, things that could have been solved by a little communication between themselves and with the company sending the notice.

    They failed to communicate, they failed to ask questions, they just ASSUMED things and now they are mad because the assumed the wrong thing?

    This is classic "morons in a hurry", isn't it?

     

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

  41.  
    identicon
    noz, Aug 29th, 2009 @ 10:08am

    some clarification

    "Blog owner using spam filters on an email address used for noticed. Not really a smooth move."

    Gray Zone has never contacted me before to my knowledge. Spam is a red herring anyway, this would have played out exactly the same had I just not checked my email for 12 hours. Or if it were to be overlooked amongst the literally hundreds of similarly worded spam-ish emails I receive daily from industry folks looking to promote their records.

    "The blog owner for over reacting without checking the facts. Rather than just pulling everything under th sun down, why not communicate with the people sending the notice?"

    This isn't really a fair assessment. I was not given a contact initially and told by my provider that if the tracks in question were not removed within two hours that they would shut my site down permanently. That's a pretty small window, no? My first priority was to get the site back online. I didn't panic as much as I took the path of least of resistance. After that was taken care of I figured out that the folks behind Gray Zone were behind it, spoke to a few people over there and clarified some of the confusion with a on the site.

    I do agree that some readers here are over reacting by trying to paint this as a david & goliath case of THE INDUSTRY trying to hold down an innocent blogger. That would be a cute fight the power narrative, but it isn't exactly what happened here. This is not a problem of malice or control but of disorganization and misinformation. And that might be more dangerous. All parties involved, including myself, could benefit from stronger lines of communication and a better understanding of the laws and limitations of internet music distribution.

    There are nuances unique to the hip hop world that come into play here too. Gucci Mane in particular makes it an interesting case. Over the past ~18 months he has become (arguably) the most popular rapper in the country without putting a single solo song or album officially. Instead he has "released" literally hundreds of tracks that are exclusively made available on blogs and barber shop bootlegs. He performs these songs in concert, they get radio play, he even shoots videos for some them. They are not currently available on Itunes or CD and most of them never will be (hence the bizarre "might be on his album" talk in my post). Bloggers like myself are sent these songs from official or semi-official sources on an almost daily basis. Sometimes from the labels themselves, sometimes from firms hired by the labels or the aritsts to promote and distribute this music, sometimes directly from artists or their management and sometimes from overenthusiastic fans who can misrepresent themselves as any of the above. I wasn't the only blogger to assume that "I Get Alot Of That" was just the next in a long line of these sort of implicitly "free" tracks, I was just the only one who ended up having his site taken offline by an unfortunate twist of circumstance.

    Anyway, thanks to Michael for picking up this story and to everyone who showed their support in the comments. If you're interested in underground rap music, please stop by the site sometime.

     

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

  42.  
    identicon
    Ben Zayb, Aug 29th, 2009 @ 5:36pm

    Re: Re:

    Third parties. Hit men.

    If you contract a guy to kill somebody and that guy gets caught, you go to prison too for hiring him in the first place.

     

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

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2009 @ 6:48pm

    Re: some clarification

    Noz, you need a new host, seriously. DMCA gives pretty much 28 hours to react. Your host giving you two hours is absolute shite. They obviously don't have a clue (and you have potentially a good legal case against them if you so desire).

    Your site should never have been taken offline period. What your host did should be your invite to move out fast, because now you know they will do it again at a moment's notice. Don't take a vacation, don't turn off your email, don't forget to charge your cell phone, otherwise you are likely to be offline and out of business in minutes.

     

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

  44.  
    icon
    jack druggy (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 7:38pm

    noz nod

    For anyone who doesn't know noz, he's an idiot, spends way too much time on the internet because he can't get a date.
    Don't waste your time reading his blog, it's beyond boring.

     

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


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