from the dmca-failures dept
If you look, you can see a bunch of takedown requests for Megaupload links in the past month.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Sep 7th 2012 5:29pm
by Tim Cushing
Wed, Sep 5th 2012 1:32am
The video, posted by the official YouTube account for the convention, DemConvention2012, was blocked, according to YouTube, for ostensibly infringing on the copyright of one of many possible suspects:The video has since been updated to state that "This video is private." There's probably quite a bit going on behind the scenes at the moment, but fortunately Wired snagged the complete list of claimants for future reference.
This video contains content from WMG, SME, Associated Press (AP), UMG, Dow Jones, New York Times Digital, The Harry Fox Agency, Inc. (HFA), Warner Chappell, UMPG Publishing and EMI Music Publishing, one or more of whom have blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.When contacted by Wired for comment, Erica Sackin, an Obama campaign staffer who works on digital outreach, had no knowledge of the outage, asked this reporter for the url and then upon seeing the takedown, said, "I'll have to call you back."
Sorry about that.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Aug 1st 2012 1:06pm
Divestments in the wake of mergers should first offer copyrights, at market rates, to the artists who created them. To sell them to other corporations, whether large or small, is just a perpetuation of an old business model, which has seen the recorded music business halve in value over 10 years. During that time, the technological revolution has displaced the old music business players. We do not need to repeat the mistakes of the past.That letter is signed by Ed O'Brien of Radiohead and Nick Mason of Pink Floyd. Of course, I imagine that the labels and the artists might disagree about what "market rates" are. Also, given how focused the labels are on fighting copyright termination in the US (allowing artists to take back their copyrights after 35 years), you have to imagine that they'd fight any such plan equally hard. It's no surprise why, though: if the artists who could afford to buy back their rights did so, that would take away many of the "big name" acts, which are pretty much the remaining money makers under the old system. There's no way the labels would agree to this, even if it certainly puts the artists' interests first. Yet another example of how labels' and artists' interests are not aligned at all.
It would be good to have music business people rather than financiers owning and running music companies again. It would be even better to have artists owning their work and entering into partner relationships with service-providing major and independent record companies with all the finance and expertise an artist needs to develop their own business.
by Tim Cushing
Mon, Jul 30th 2012 9:00am
What is your main goal for this use?Huge responds:
In your original enquiry you have noted that you intended to make a video for the song but have said "maybe" in your request form. Is this principally for release as an mp3 single?
To be honest, my main intention is to make the song for my own amusement.Gauging the market before putting the song up for sale is just common sense and YouTube's a pretty good place to get quick feedback. But as soon as YouTube is mentioned, EMI fires off a preliminary standard contract for sync rights, showing that its share of any money generated would be 33.34% and a guesstimated one-time fee of $1000.
If I play it to few people who agree with me that it's fun and good, then I'll think seriously about making a video as cheaply as possible and releasing it on YouTube. I have a few people who are interested in helping with that, though they wanna hear it first.
If it gets any traction on YouTube, then I'll think about releasing it as an MP3 and via iTunes, etc ... I just wanted to clear everything properly first.
I just want to clarify with you that we are the licensing department of EMI Publishing, so we are quoting you on the synchronisation rights if you intend on using the work in a video clip. If you want to request approval to record and release this song you will need to get in contact with our copyright department.So, Huge has been talking to the wrong people. He sends a letter back acknowledging the fact that he (obviously) can't sync the video until after he's recorded the song. He asks EMI for a contact name in the copyright department and receives this in response:
Will you be getting a mechanical license from AMCOS before putting this song on youtube or will you be putting it on youtube before you get a mechanical license?This a question that can't be answered. According to APRA/AMCOS rules, Huge needs to secure permission before he can worry about uploading it to YouTube. He tries again to get EMI to follow his line of thinking: get permission, record, upload.
That depends on whether I am allowed to use Sony's backing music or whether I have to completely re-record it myself ... still no word from Sony.EMI takes this clear statement of ducks-in-a-row and it decides that the mechanical license question needs to be clarified before anything else can proceed, except that other stuff (getting permission) also needs to happen first and perhaps simultaneously.
My instinct is to clear everything before I do anything. If I know what it's all gonna cost me I can do up budgets and set targets and so on. I just figured that securing permission was the first step ...
So does this mean that you do not intend to release the song with a mechanical license prior to putting a video on youtube?At this stage, Huge is still waiting for permission from two more writers. EMI, however, only seems to be concerned with properly licensing a song that a.) doesn't exist and b.) quite possibly won't exist if permission is denied. It's also given Huge the "opportunity" to pay an upfront fee of $1000 for a track he might not even make. Huge (once again) points out his thought process: permission, record, YouTube/mp3. This repeated clarification makes no difference. EMI is still hung up on the mechanical license for syncing when it's not trying to just punt the whole thing over to the copyright department. EMI also insists that its previously mentioned $1000 "contract" is valid for only four weeks, after which it will need to issue a new contract. Huge points out (again) that he still is waiting on permission to record.
If you intend on getting a mechanical license first you will need to get approval to record and release an adaption but if you do not intend on releasing the song first you will need a synchronisation license.
We can not give you permission to do anything with the song until you commit to a sync license (internet video) or a mechanical license (release) so please confirm if and when you are ready to proceed.Huge attempts to wrap his mind around this:
OK, so let me get this straight: EMI will not contact the writer and ask for permission for me to make a parody unless I fork out $1000 upfront and possibly also a mechanical license ... for a song I might not be given permission to make and that might turn out to be unreleasable ...Precisely. If you want artists to play nice within the confines of your system, then you need to have a workable system, not just a set of loosely-related entities all acting independently and in their own best interests. Having multiple layers of corporate bureaucracy standing between two artists only hurts those who are actually trying to do the right thing. If Huge had gone the other way and decided that it was easier to ask forgiveness than permission, I can guarantee that any sort of takedown or cease-and-desist would come from a single source. When it comes to saying "no," you generally only need one person. But to get a "yes?" That's a "team" effort, apparently.
Alternatively, they won't ask for permission for me to record the parody until ... I've recorded it and know what I'm gonna do with it. No wonder people are just breaking the rules and doing what they want with recorded music!
by Mike Masnick
Mon, May 14th 2012 9:16am
Since November 2007, EMI Music and EMI Music Publishing have been engaged in a lawsuit with MP3tunes and its principal, Michael Robertson, in connection with Mr. Robertson's facilitation of widespread copyright infringement on MP3tunes.com and Sideload.com. These sites have built their businesses on the unauthorized distribution of music, at the expense of EMI's songwriters and artists.Here, they're simply lying. The court ruling in the MP3Tunes case stated explicitly: "MP3tunes did not promote infringement." To claim otherwise is to ignore what the court stated flat out.
Now on the eve of trial, and after an ongoing press campaign claiming that MP3tunes would fight to vindicate its 'right' to infringe, Mr. Robertson has filed for bankruptcy protection for MP3tunes in the Southern District of California. After four and a half years of Robertson's bluster and rhetoric, it is apparent to EMI that Robertson has finally realized that his case has no merit.This makes no sense, and is even self-contradictory. As they state above -- and which everyone here knows -- filing for bankruptcy does not get you out of a copyright damages award. Thus, there is no reason whatsoever for the company to file for bankruptcy "to escape liability." That's impossible. The only reason to file for bankruptcy is because the company is out of money from fighting the damn lawsuit. And it's bizarre for EMI to claim that Robertson realized his case has no merit, considering that he mostly won the original lawsuit. Yes, there were a few key points that he lost on, which may turn out to be expensive if he loses on appeal and depending on the damages calculation, but the key elements of the case were won by Robertson and MP3Tunes.
While Robertson may believe that MP3tunes will be able to escape liability in the upcoming trial through this bankruptcy, Robertson himself is still a named defendant in the case and the Court has already determined that both he and MP3tunes have infringed EMI's copyrights. As such, he is facing personal liability both for infringements that the Court has already determined have occurred and for the further alleged infringements that will be addressed at trial. Accordingly, EMI will continue to pursue its case against Robertson, to ensure that its songwriters and artists are properly compensated for their creative work.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, May 11th 2012 1:00pm
At every opportunity EMI dragged out the legal process making it costly and burdensome. One example is the interrogation of company employees in all-day inquisitions called depositions where attorneys try to trick people into making admissions. In our case, they deposed not just management but nearly everyone in the company all the way down to clerical help and customer support personnel. They even paid $25,000 to get an ex-employee to agree to a deposition. For management they deposed everyone - some multiple times with me getting deposed 3 separate times.As Robertson notes, fighting the legal battle was one thing, but blocking the company from partnering and building out its business was the really deadly part. Robertson, of course, has been outspoken in his criticism of the RIAA over the years, and has been through previous legal battles with them as well. In part, some of EMI's infatuation with this case appeared to be personally vindictive (they sued Robertson directly as well as the company). Whether or not MP3Tunes could have succeeded may be an open question. But it seems clear that the company had no chance at all given the barriers that EMI put in its place. Of course, during this same period we've witnessed the collapse and sale of EMI (in pieces) as well. Perhaps, instead of suing the innovations that would help move it into a modern digital era, it should have been looking for ways to embrace them.
The legal pressure was not just confined within MP3tunes. EMI sent legal demands to existing partners and potential partners were told they could not work with MP3tunes or risk losing their license to sell EMI music. More than one digital company told us they wanted to work with us, but were prohibited from doing so by EMI. They used their government-granted copyright monopoly to get MP3tunes blackballed in the industry.
EMI spent an estimated $10 million dollars with multiple law firms to arm their attack against MP3tunes in an attempt to thwart unlicensed personal lockers. They know it's difficult if not impossible for startups to fight long costly legal battles. Their hope is that the startup cannot fund a protracted legal battle and they win by default. This happened with the music search engine Seeqpod, Muxtape, Favtape and many others that have quietly faded away. They know that even if the digital upstart prevails in court, they will be terminally weakened. Veoh won multiple rounds of their copyright battle outright only to be forced into bankruptcy after spending $7 million on legal bills.
by Leigh Beadon
Tue, Apr 3rd 2012 1:01pm
Well, this is a fun twist. We just wrote about the story of now-world-famous drunk guy Robert Wilkinson, his poor Freddy Mercury impersonation, and the resulting takedown and reinstatement of the video by EMI. Now a commenter points us to the fact that
the video has been taken down again a different version of the video has also been taken down, thanks to a copyright claim by... Robert Wilkinson:
The claim is, of course, bogus. Wilkinson doesn't have rights over anything in the video: he didn't film it, and the song belongs to EMI. It's likely that he just wanted to stem the tide of this embarrassing video, and knew that he could do so in a few steps with YouTube's takedown tool. Whether or not he believes he does have some copyright stake here is unclear, but hopefully he knows better than to pursue things further, because he could end up facing liability for copyfraud. Unfortunately, this is how notice-and-takedown systems work: free speech can be easily censored, at least temporarily, by anyone for any reason.
Copyright does not exist to save people from embarrassment, nor does it even apply in this case—but in the ownership culture of intellectual property, the average person seems to think they have some innate right to control every use of their image or even any reference to their existence. It's not like this will make a difference anyway: plenty of people have surely made copies of the video by now, and it'll be back soon enough (possibly with autotune, or synced to My Little Ponies clips). Sorry Robert Wilkinson: there's no escape from reality.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Apr 3rd 2012 10:33am
"It seems like a mistake has been made."That's a fun way of indirectly saying "hey, we made a mistake." Suggesting "a mistake has been made" leaves open the possibility that someone else made that mistake. But, in this day and age where the major labels are so quick to shut down anything that doesn't involve them first getting a huge check, perhaps the "mistake" is with the way the law works.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Mar 30th 2012 8:38am
Unnamed sources at Universal have briefed journalists that the competitive threat of digital piracy means consolidation should be permitted. Critics have pointed out that the merged entity's 40+ per cent market share would make it the king-maker for digital music services – and that no service would then survive without Universal's catalogue.We were just discussing how the labels were looking to turn the screws on Spotify to try to wrench even greater profits out of the still unprofitable company. But really, when you put these two sentences side-by-side, it just shows how ridiculous the major labels -- and particularly Universal Music -- are today. Because of "piracy," it needs to be able to merge to create an even larger aggregator of back catalog music... to restrict that same music from appearing on new and innovative digital music platforms, unless those platforms pay more than is reasonable.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Mar 2nd 2012 11:35am
A “work made for hire” is--There are a lot of specific conditions there. If you're wondering how such an odd list was put together, some have suggested it was basically just who was in the room. Somewhat surprisingly, one of the main parties who apparently wasn't in the room were the major record labels. Notice that sound recordings aren't there, and you'd have to stretch the definition mightily to cover sound recordings. Of course, the labels have been freaking out about this for decades. Famously, back in 1999, Mitch Glazier, a Congressional staffer, snuck some language into a totally unrelated law about satellites to make sound recordings count as work for hire too. He allegedly did this in the middle of the night such that no one -- even the "authors" of the bill -- knew it was there until after the bill passed. This one time, the outcry (especially from musicians) was so loud, that Congress had to go back and repeal that section. Of course, by then, Glazier had jumped ship to a job at the RIAA making about half a million dollars. He's still at the RIAA where he's now the second in command. Remember that the next time anyone pretends the RIAA is about helping artists. Their number two guy tried to screw artists out of their copyrights.
(1) a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment; or
(2) a work specially ordered or commissioned for use as a contribution to a collective work, as a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, as a translation, as a supplementary work, as a compilation, as an instructional text, as a test, as answer material for a test, or as an atlas, if the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them that the work shall be considered a work made for hire. For the purpose of the foregoing sentence, a “supplementary work” is a work prepared for publication as a secondary adjunct to a work by another author for the purpose of introducing, concluding, illustrating, explaining, revising, commenting upon, or assisting in the use of the other work, such as forewords, afterwords, pictorial illustrations, maps, charts, tables, editorial notes, musical arrangements, answer material for tests, bibliographies, appendixes, and indexes, and an “instructional text” is a literary, pictorial, or graphic work prepared for publication and with the purpose of use in systematic instructional activities.
What I'm looking for is an artist who has the courage to stand up on this issue and claim their works, laying the groundwork for them and ALL artists who share their plight to take ownership in the near future and escape this slavery. (Rather like Curt Flood did battling to get free agency for baseball players: See The Curious Case of Curt Flood which should have been called the Courage Case of Curt Flood.)Of course, some of this may get sorted out by the long list of coming lawsuits for those artists who have actually begun the process of trying to terminate the copyright assignment, starting with The Village People (though that's a weaker case, since the band itself was put together by the label). Either way, it's pretty ridiculous to see how far the labels are going to try to deny artists the ability to take back their copyrights, despite the law being pretty clear that they have that right.
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