Musician Called A Copyright Violator On MySpace For Uploading Her Own Music

from the hurray-for-copyright dept

The various record labels have pushed sites like MySpace to institute aggressive filters to try to stomp out the ability of people to upload others’ music — but as with any such filters, they seem to make mistakes that aren’t easily fixed. Reader Ken Blake points us to the news that indie musician Emily Bezar had her account flagged as a copyright violator after she tried to upload five or six songs from her own self-produced CD. She’s emailed MySpace’s support email… and seems to have heard absolutely nothing back weeks later. But, no, overly aggressive copyright enforcement doesn’t hurt anyone, right?

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Comments on “Musician Called A Copyright Violator On MySpace For Uploading Her Own Music”

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132 Comments
Kirk says:

Fishy

Someone should look into this “Emily” person and see who’s music she’s really uploading. Too bad there’s no investigative reporting anymore now that the newspapers are dying.

Warning: The preceeding message contains sarcasm. If you experience outrage lasting longer than 4 hours, consult your psychiatrist.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Fishy

Dogs have better taste than that.

On topic: I guess my only question would be a rights issue: Did the artist sign away any rights for distribution or marketing purposes? Is she the sole rights owner? Since she didn’t report herself, it would appear someone else has “rights” here. So what is actually the full story, not the “slice” that is being told?

Ryan says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Fishy

Since she didn’t report herself, it would appear someone else has “rights” here. So what is actually the full story, not the “slice” that is being told?

She is the artist here; it should be on MySpace to prove that she does not have rights, not the other way around. But if you insist…

I am about to report to Mike that you have plagiarized in your post. I will give you one response to prove that there is no copyrighted work anywhere in the world similar to your post. If your response is not satisfactory, you will be reported as a plagiarizer. Good luck.

Ryan says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Fishy

Mr. Masnick,

It has come to our attention that a commenter of yours by the name of Harold,Weird is unable to prove that he owns the rights to the words in his comments. After providing Mr. Harold a more than adequate period(c. 15 minutes) to defend himself, we are insisting that you take action to prevent any more financial harm from coming to the writer(s) whom he is inevitably stealing from.

We recommend that all comments written by Mr. Harold be removed from your site, and that Mr. Harold’s IP address be banned for a period of no shorter than one year. Additionally, we hold you responsible for collecting compensatory and punitive damages from Mr. Harold of $100,000 per written word for each post he has written during the statute of limitations.

Failure to comply may or may not result in your site being reported to the Department of Homeland Security as a national security threat, as well as forfeiture of assets and deportation to Sudan.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Sincerely,
The Techdirt Community

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Fishy

“Since she didn’t report herself, it would appear someone else has “rights” here.”

…or that MySpace has a dodgy script running that incorrectly flagged the song without human interaction. Or that someone who didn’t have the rights requested the songs be removed erroneously (very common if you look at the history of takedown notices).

Given that she’s signed to CDBaby for distribution (which usually doesn’t involve a 3rd party or label), I’d say her story is rather credible. There’s also the question of why she was able to upload 3 songs but not get accepted for the rest.

“So what is actually the full story, not the “slice” that is being told?”

If MySpace could be bothered to respond to her and tell her why they removed the songs, then we’d know and she wouldn’t need to get her problems advertised in this way, now would she?

I don’t know, maybe she’s lying or mistaken about something, but the story as being told is rather poor if even half of it is true. But, given what tends to happen with these things and the fact that MySpace will probably take the corporate side in the case of any doubt, it does ring true. Yet again, remember this is all to “protect the artists”…

R. Miles says:

Her stupidity....

…was using MySpace to begin with.

This should be a reason why to stay away from this site, especially when there are others out there.

But I guess, at $0.00 cost to advertise, it’s better than nothing.

Good luck with getting the flag removed. Remember this is the same site which blew away 90,000 pedophile accounts, matching on name only.

Not a good platform to use, regardless of cost.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re:

Understanding past what is written is even more important.

Who complained? Does someone else have rights? Has she granted any other rights? Why would someone complain about her stuff if she is the only rights holder?

Like I said, this article / post is lacking enough detail to know what is going on. Just because she produced the music herself doesn’t mean she hasn’t signed exclusive distribution rights or other with various companies of individuals. Perhaps even Cd Baby? 😉

Anonymous Coward says:

Well I guess

This means I can pretend to be a musician on myspace and uplaod their music …

There is somethign seriously fucked about a system where a musician can’t self-produce music and retain all rights associated with it.

If I go out right now and record a kick ass single in my garage I couldn’t even get it played on web radio without sound exchange making money on it. Apparantly can’t upload it onto my myspace. If it sounds remotely like any other song then I can’t put it on youtube.

Copyright needs a serious overhaul

Shawn (profile) says:

I dont think anyone ‘reported her’ I think Myspace is using automagig computer algoramathingees that decided ‘this must be a violation’

Clearly the only way to deal with the issue if it were actually a dog that uploaded the files would be to send a scary letter threatening huge legal damages but offering to settle for a few grand.

mechwarrior says:

Re: Re: Re:

The internet is an inanimate entity with no intelligence. It can barely maintain itself from the onslaught of automated spam. Its the people who create these scripts. And since no human is perfect, neither can anything that said humans produce be stated as such.

Thus, its fallacious to believe that someone will have a solution to a problem that would require absolute perfection to be able to pick out offenders and innocents automatically. This is why the Judicial system is staffed with actual lawyers and judges, and not AI agents.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

It has little or nothing to do with copyright, and everything to do with potentially overzealous coding and perhaps crappy myspace customer service.

She isn’t accused of anything, she has been filtered and temporarily locked out until resolved. Has she not brought it up herself (and someone spread it here) I would have no opinion about her activities (legal or illegal).

However, if she tries real hard, she can fall under “masnick’s law”

Ryan says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

And this is why it is idiotic to hold sites, ISPs, whatever liable for infringing content their users may put up. The only way for them to attempt to meet these requirements is to institute crude and sweeping enforcements that inevitably hurt the completely innocent.

Let’s think of an example…say the Secret Service was required to implement a new policy to deter assassins such that the only way to feasibly enact it is to fire immediately into the crowd with assault rifles anytime an agent believes he sees a potential weapon. When dozens of innocents are killed in a shower of lead, do you say, “It was a good decision, they just need to train a little more on the firing range”…or do you say, “Jeez, that was a damn stupid policy”?

The infamous Joe says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Don’t you get it? No matter what facts you throw up here WH will still disagree with you. I don’t know his reasons for being so blindly pro-IP despite the many, many, many facts that show how it’s hurting the people the system was designed to protect. He probably works for them, or is a troll, or hell, maybe his ex-lover cheated on him with someone who downloads movies on a regular basis.

The point is, give up trying to show him where he is mistaken, it falls on blind eyes. He doesn’t want to look at the facts, he wants to blindly follow the rules as they are. Anything that disagrees with his views is “unbalanced”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It has little or nothing to do with copyright…

You know, when most people say something really stupid they have the good sense not to repeat it after having it pointed out to them. Not the Weird one. But maybe he’s just trying to apply Goebbel’s technique.

She isn’t accused of anything

From her blog: ‘somehow I got flagged as a “copyright violator”‘

If Weirdo wants to accuse her of lying then I think he needs to present a little more evidence than just his say-so.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Let me start here. An automated system flagged her account, nothing more. I don’t see her accused of anything, mostly I see someone who ran afoul of an automated system. If she wants to call it an accusal, by all means she can do so. I just think of it as a programming error, nothing more.

The story is actually more in the end about MySpace’s horrible customer service.

batch says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Just STFU Harold. You’re doing the opposite of preaching to the choir, and not even making a good argument in favor of your position. You’re a douche who ignores anyone who makes a reasonable statement and just goes off on some random speech about something else. You’re not playing semantics, you’re just being an ass.

You don’t help the people you intend to support at all by being belligerent, ignorant and selective in your responses. The people here have given you plenty of opportunity for a fair and rational debate, of which you are clearly incapable.

The infamous Joe says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

If a speed camera clocks you going 80 when you’re going 60, then you’ve been unfairly accused of speeding. Programming error? Maybe. Still you’ll be getting a ticket.

This girl has been accused by myspace via their program of file sharing. As punishment, her account was suspended. She lost an untold number of potential fans while her page is suspended due to an accusation.

Furthermore, the only reason myspace made this script is due to pressure from Big Media. Without them, no script would be made and no page would be suspended.

How would you feel if your site was blocked for illegal filesharing, even by a script? You’d rightly be upset. So is she.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

How would I feel? i would be upset, and I would work dilliegently to get the problem resolved. I wouldn’t leave it stew for a month or two and hope someone was working on it, I would be up MySpace’s ass with legal letters and all that can be done. I wouldn’t be off creating another web page to cry about it – I would be taking positive action to resolve the issue.

As a side note, MySpace didn’t create it just because of “pressure”, they created it because of the implications of liability for information published on their domain. It’s just the reality (that some companies refuse to face) of operation a system where you let random people upload information to your servers (that you control). Please see DMCA regarding hosted files directly under control of the host.

If a speed camera clocks you going 80 when you’re going 60, then you’ve been unfairly accused of speeding. Programming error? Maybe. Still you’ll be getting a ticket.

I guess you have never fought a ticket and won? Let’s see – how many other tickets given on the same day. Records of all setup parameters on the speed camera. The potential that my car could be going that speed. How many tickets issued that day were contested? Etc. You have the choices to fight and try to fix things – or you can sit on your butt and pay the fine. People fight and beat traffic tickets every day. It’s not special. Fixing myspace is easy by comparison.

Weird Harold's former #5 fan says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

How would I feel? i would be upset, and I would work dilliegently to get the problem resolved. I wouldn’t leave it stew for a month or two and hope someone was working on it, I would be up MySpace’s ass with legal letters and all that can be done. I wouldn’t be off creating another web page to cry about it – I would be taking positive action to resolve the issue.

In other words, you would have to expend both time and energy (and possibly money if you get a lawyer involved) to prove that you’re innocent. That, in a nutshell, is the entire problem with the current system of automated takedown notices, whether it’s myspace or your local ISP – everyone is guilty because a script said so, and it’s up to them to prove that they’re innocent.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

In real life, you can be accused of a crime and have to spend time, money, and effort to right the wrong.

MySpace is so easy to solve: STOP USING IT.

MySpace is only as good as it’s users. If you are stupid enough to keep using it, even as it screws people over, then you are part of the problem.

Want to help this girl? Start an anti-myspace campaign. Protest. Scream. Delete your profile. Convince your friends to delete their profiles. Go to other people’s profiles and say “I won’t buy your music if you stay on My Space”. If you are truly upset, do something, don’t debate it – do something.

I dare you 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Please see DMCA regarding hosted files directly under control of the host.

Now hold on just a minute there. You’ve been claiming that there was no complaint. To now say that they were acting in response to the DMCA, which to the best of my knowledge would most likely require a complaint, seems patently duplicitous.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

I need to type slower, I guess.

I didn’t say that there was a DMCA complaint. I am saying that what MySpace is doing (in checking file uploaded automatically and flagging accounts with excessive uploads in short order) is to avoid certain issues that might lead to these types of complaints.

Myspace hosts the content directly on their domain. For all I can tell from the outside, MySpace is responsible for the content on their domain and their servers. I think they have a much harder time falling under the “innocent host” routine.

I am not saying that they have a DMCA for this case, but I can see where they actions are done in a way to cut down the DMCAs they have to deal with.

As for this “artist” (I have no idea who she is really), if she has a website, great. Excellent, whatever. I didn’t know there was a test here.

BTW, Her myspace page is up. I don’t know what the fuss is about.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

So, let’s see… assuming that her story is 100% correct (and, again, we will have to wait for MySpace to deem her worthy of providing a response to):

She is being barred from a valuable and popular method for promoting her own music. The reason for this is copyright, which is supposedly in place to protect the artists (the excuse used even if the artist isn’t the legal copyright holder).

“She isn’t accused of anything, she has been filtered and temporarily locked out until resolved.”

That’s the problem. She’s been locked out for weeks without an explanation. In the meantime, she’s lost all the potential exposure that having the music on MySpace could bring and thus potential sales/concert bookings/etc.

So, she’s potentially being screwed out of income and she does what any ordinary person does when they have a complaint about a corporation – she makes her complaint public. Yet, the fact that she’s felt the need to speak out publicly somehow makes her complaint invalid?

Aren’t you the one bemoaning the fact that YouTube make money instead of the artists in other threads? Or does that only count for famous people?

Again, most people accept we only have one side of the story. But, until MySpace break their silence (which prompted the blog post to begin with), we have to make assumptions. So fact, the evidence in favour of my assumptions seems the be greater, but we’ll wait and see.

(P.S., if you’re going to quote “Masnick’s Law”, read what it means. Again, it’s got bugger all to do with what’s being discussed here. It’s like discussing evolution with creationist who thinks that evolution has something to do with the origin of life…)

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Start at the bottom, “Masnick’s law” is a joke I keep tossing out there because anything that could be pro-kill-copyright somehow manages to work it’s way into it.

As for the girl, well, a couple of things to note: “Weeks” is actually 2 weeks, 1 week for her to make a public post. Now the kicker – the public post is made on the myspace blog site. Sort of odd, isn’t it? 1 week isn’t a ton of time, and considering email is the only thing she reports using, I think the public wasn’t the next place to turn. They made this thing called a phone. Remarkable device. you dial 310-969-74XX (won’t put the whole number) and you end up at myspace customer service. Amazing. I also think it would take less effort than making a blog post.

Again, being that myspace is a private company, there is no guarantee or “right” to use the service, and any income lost for any system outages, technical issues, or false flagging are all just part of using the system. Her losses are more because she doesn’t run her own website, and relied instead on a free service by a third party.

Perhaps she should work on making her own website and branding herself that way, using facebook and myspace and twitter to drive traffic to her personal site, not one at the mercy of the apparent idiots running myspace these days.

The infamous Joe says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

You’re missing the point. They are accepting as fact and taking action using a system that is clearly flawed, and have no system in place to quickly resolve the problem.

This will only hurt their business.

Also, in regards to an ISP three strikes policy, if you think it won’t be an automated system then you’re just foolish. I don’t know about you, but I would be very pissed if I were booted off the interwebs for something I didn’t do. Pissed enough to take my business elsewhere.

CT says:

Re: Re: Re:

“If it is completely automated, then this has nothing to do with copyright, patent, or anything else, just a bug in the way myspace works.”

This has everything to do with copyright. Their script is preventing her from benefiting from her copyright. Granted, Myspace is a private entity and there is no cognizable claim. However, stories like this should make people all the more suspect of measures to implement copyright filtering on the ISP level (this site has reported on many such stories). This should ESPECIALLY concern people regarding proposed government measures to have people permanently banned from the internet once their ISP has received 3 notifications of alleged infringement (see the recurring posts about New Zealand and its current copyright debates).

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

wow, you guys are off chasing rabbits with this one.

1) her copyright benefits are not lost. She didn’t lose control of her music or anything like that. A private service declined her uploads. In “masnick’s law” that would pretty much be there loss, not hers.

2) This has nothing to do with 3 strikes. Again, no notice of infringement was sent to anyone, just an automated system shut down her uploads and her account because of something it saw. I see no “strike” here.

3) mixing totally unrelated issues and attmepting to create controversy is the reason why so many people laugh at so called pundits who go off on this stuff.

The only 3 strikes I see in this discussion are those three right there.

Ryan says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Are you actually unable to see that MySpace took this down as a result of 3 Strikes implications? You cannot hold a gun to another’s head, force them to say…vandalize a building, and then claim you had nothing to do with the vandalism. You had everything to do with it!

MySpace enacted this policy solely in order to comply with the entertainment industry’s desired 3 Strikes law. But what does it matter to them that as a result, actual artists that don’t give them a cut are collateral damage?

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Oh gawd, this is almost moronic to talk about.

3 strikes? are you kidding?

I am actually banging my head on the deak trying to figure out this stuff. You guys seem to think that an automated system triggering a shutdown is somehow going to be a strike that loses this girl her ISP? ARE YOU KIDDING? WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING?

It’s an explainable circumstance that would leave MySpace with an ass load of liablity if it wasn’t corrected – I am certainly that MySpace wouldn’t participate in a 3 strikes program and report what their automated system did, because they would find themselves on the ass end of some massive lawsuits that they would lose every time.

This isn’t some teenager download pr0n in mom’s basement from the pirate bay. It’s a musician uploading her own freaking songs.

You guys really need to stop worrying about the copyright gunman behind the grassy knoll. He ain’t there.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Three songs uploaded. Account suspended by filter. Three… strikes… Or are you unable to count, today, as well? Just because you say it isn’t about copyright obviously doesn’t make it so, since the filter sees songs as copyright violations. Also, to say she isn’t fighting it does not take into account the fact that MySpace isn’t responding to her letters. What legal recourse does she have? Well, since it’s a private server, none, but that does not make it any more palatable or any less about copyright.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

three… strikes.

You are kidding, right? You don’t know the difference? ANYWAY!

As for MySpace, if the girl feels her reputation is somehow tarnished by this labeling, she just has to start the old defamation of character lawsuit thing, and I am sure that someone in the MySpace legal department would answer.

Plus, read her comments “I wrote them a week or so ago at the support email address, hoping to get my page here exorcised and some reset-button pushed but I think I must be 34,915th in line for service.” – so her entire attempt to resolve this massive oppression of her rights as an artist has been an email to support.

Yup, she’s worked hard to resolve the issue. In the words of Ned Flander’s parents, “We’ve tried nothing and we’re all out of ideas”.

Michael says:

You miss the point.

Copyright rules as they currently stand very obviously do more damage than good. The old middle men no longer have a place in the industry, no one needs them anymore. It does not matter how many laws they pass, eventually there will be no artists willing to sign on their crooked dotted line, and the artists they currently hold will fade away. The old music industry is finished, these are just its last dying gasps. (oh and why do you people feed the troll? Harold only exists on here because you respond to him, without you paying attention to him he will disappear as well)

Anonymous Coward says:

Ode to Weird Harold

Harold, your not wanted here. We’ve been here for years and what we have has been long established before you got here. Do you invite yourself to other people’s parties? Do you crash weddings? You seem to be that type.

Not to reduce it to a child’s level, but from day one with you, you ran into the soccer game in progress and wanted to make us play kickball.

Techdirt existed well before you got here. You can play Soccer with us, your not taking our ball to play kickball regardless of how many people you have that want to play.

If you have a problem with this, go elsewhere.

You seemed fixated on the current method of operation, whereas we think about things in a future sense. This is the fundamental difference between what we contribute versus your contributions. Acceptance of the current way is fine with you, but your *not* at that place. We don’t accept the status quo. We theorize on what things would look like merely if a few fundamental things could change.

This is not your sandbox. Quit it.

Kevin says:

Re: Ode to Weird Harold

To the long established playground fixture who goes by “anonymous coward”. Just because you park you butt on a public bench, does not make it yours. I will sit next to you an misbehave for the sole purpose of annoying you until you abandon the bench and go elsewhere…. This is called “territorial Operations” when the navy does it along international water limits.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Ode to Weird Harold

To the long established playground fixture who goes by “anonymous coward”. Just because you park you butt on a public bench, does not make it yours.

Anonymous Coward would be happy.

This is called “territorial Operations” when the navy does it along international water limits.

Good thing you know navy terms. I prefer to consider it a Proper Noun, and capitalize Navy.

The infamous Joe says:

Re: Re: Re: Ode to Weird Harold

I laughed because you capitalized “Proper Noun”(sic) when correcting someone on how to properly capitalize and forgot to capitalize “navy” against your own rules.

Furthermore, I think it should be coined “naval terms”, but I could be wrong there.

Also, navy doesn’t always require a capital letter, as when speaking of a navy, but he needed a capital for speaking about the Navy.

This PSA has been brought to you by the Naval association of The navy terms. 😛

CT says:

Weird Harold

You seem unwill, or unable, to see the bigger picture. Perhaps this stems from a lack of familiarity with current copyright and technology issues. However, if you can’t see the relevance of copyright law to this story insofar as it relates to things such as the proposed 3 Strikes Plan (http://techdirt.com/articles/20090323/1311354215.shtml), I am not sure what to tell you.

The use of code to protect copyrights is central to the key issues facing our copyright regime these days. Look no further than the DMCA.

If you are interested in these issues, a great starting place is Larry Lessig’s “Code: And Other Laws of Cyberspace” — http://www.amazon.com/Code-Other-Laws-Cyberspace-Version/dp/0465039146

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re:

CT, you make my point for me.

This has nothing to do with 3 strikes, or anything else. Attempting to attach something like this to a big picture pretty much makes you look ridiculous for trying. Myspace apparently has an automated system to trap out file sharers that have abused their systems. Combine that will crappy customer service (aka none), and that is the whole story.

As for Mr Lessig: from Wikipedia: “Lawrence Lessig (born June 3, 1961) is an American academic and political activist. He is a professor of law at Stanford Law School and founder of its Center for Internet and Society, and will soon re-join the faculty at Harvard Law School.[1] Lessig is a founding board member of Creative Commons, a board member of the Software Freedom Law Center and a former board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.[2] He is best known as a proponent of reduced legal restrictions on copyright, trademark, and radio frequency spectrum, particularly in technology applications.”

Honestly, I don’t expect to get a balanced view from a proponent of reduced legal restrictions on copyright. I suspect I would be getting more of Mike, perhaps using slightly longer words.

CT says:

Re: Re: Re:

Weird Harold,

If you can’t see the implications stories such as this one have on the propriety of a 3 Strike System you are incredibly dense.

This is only confirmed by your masquerading as some form of authority on intellectual property related technological issues while not being familiar with Larry Lessig.

Good day to you, sir.

Ryan says:

Re: Re: Re:

Honestly, I don’t expect to get a balanced view from a proponent of reduced legal restrictions on copyright. I suspect I would be getting more of Mike, perhaps using slightly longer words.

So…anybody that supports a view other than your own cannot be relied upon to provide merited logic or evidence to the discussion?

You’re like the people way back when that refused to believe the world is round: “Anybody that disagrees is a heretic!”

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

No, that isn’t what I am saying.

What I think is this: If you want to get a true grasp on reality, asking the 1% of people at the extreme of any issue won’t get you closer to reality. You may understand a little bit more about what they are fighting about, but you are no closer to the reality of the situation.

We are not going to get an all white (100% free everything no copyright hurrah!) solution, nor will we get an all black (everything is copyright and you must pay for everything all the time by the minute you little thieves). The real answer is somewhere in the middle, in the grey, which in reality is where the system is now – nobody is particularly happy, and nobody is significantly happier than anyone else.

Proposals that say “make it all free” and proposals that say “lock it all up” are wonderful theoretical exercises for college professors and legal scholars. The real answers are closer to what you or I or someone between us thinks, not the extremes.

The biggest problem of extreme positions is that they have no allowance for the other side at all. What is worse is when a reader falls for the position and THINKS it is the middle ground, without understanding the other side (or by just learning to call the other side names… Lars Ulrich seems to get some good ones tagged on him here).

That is why I sort of laugh when people get all upset at me for my opinions. The reality is that when you get too far off to one side, every other opinion closer to the middle looks like it is at the other end, because you are looking and everything is in a line, one obscuring the other so you think they are all together. People calling me an RIAA shill really gets me laughing, only because it confirms how far off the map their own opinions are.

Mr Lessig is a very smart and very well informed man who has chosen to work from some pretty extreme positions. I don’t dismiss his opinions out of hand, but when I see where he is coming from, I am not surprised by his opinions. Sort of like asking the pretzel man if the pretzels are good. His are always the best around, but it isn’t exactly an unbiased opinion.

C.T. says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Mr Lessig is a very smart and very well informed man who has chosen to work from some pretty extreme positions. I don’t dismiss his opinions out of hand, but when I see where he is coming from, I am not surprised by his opinions. Sort of like asking the pretzel man if the pretzels are good. His are always the best around, but it isn’t exactly an unbiased opinion.”

You didn’t even know who he was 30 minutes ago! Have you based this opinion on his Wikipedia entry?

Care to expound on the extreme positions that Lessig has advocated?

Lessig falls in the middle ground you claim to strive for. He is a trained economist who simply realizes that our system of copyright has conferred a far larger monopoly than is required for the purposes of “promoting the progress of Science and the Useful Arts.” It should also be noted that this is the conclusion of just about everyone who is in any way affiliated with the practice of intellectual property law, myself included… save for representatives of the largest copyright holders (RIAA, MPAA, etc…).

I am somewhat new to this site. But it has only taken me one day to realize how little you know about the topics on which you act like an authority.

Ryan says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Your rebuttal of Larry Lessig, however, is solely based on ethos. If you were to refute his logos by showing why you feel his logic is invalid, or were to present new evidence indicating why one of his assumptions is incorrect, then that would be a worthy argument(and the same goes for your disagreements with the rest of us).

However, if the only way to convince you of any position is to present you with the opinion of somebody you agree with more than yourself, then our efforts are pointless and moot.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

It’s not a rebuttal. It’s just an opinion, nothing more. I tend to search for the answers somewhere closer to the middle ground. I ignore the cow plop coming from the RIAA and MIAA as well, because it is just that, cow plop. They have no reasons to tell all the truth, and someone pulling really hard in the other direction (such as Mr Lessig) has no reason to be exactly balanced in his comments either.

Honestly, I find Mike to be more middle of the road than that, and he is pretty far OVER THERE as far as I can tell.

Too often, the debate is crowded by people trying to turn a mole hill into a mountain, example of turning an automated blocking by myspace into some sort of major incident that proves that the copyright system is defective. It’s laughable, but it is pretty typical in attempting to stir people’s emotions up to make them rally more of less blindly to a cause.

Do I love copyright? Nope, not all the time. But I have yet to see a replacement system that would actually encourage development, protect artists, and encourage investment in arts, sciences, and the like. Most of the solutions out there imply a certain socialist spin, which really won’t line up with the capitalist ways of the US.

So I am all ears for replacements for the systems, but replacements have to replace it for everyone, not just for a chosen few or under a few carefully selected circumstances. The implications of poorly thought out change is disaster and disorder.

Mekano 46 says:

Same happened to me...

…and it took me over a month of harassing MySpace for them to finally respond. It was only after I demanded to know who had accused me of taking the song that I had created and threatened legal action that they sent me an email stating that it was a “software error” that flagged me as a copyright violator. This was after I offered proof (several times!) that I was the sole creator and copyright holder of the song I was accused of stealing.

anymouse says:

WH is just following the **AA's script

WH idolized the music industry, but wasn’t allowed to be a part of it (no talent, and they didn’t need a janitor), so he decided to do his best to be like them.

He learned that the truth doesn’t matter, if you repeat the same lies over and over, ignore anything people say that is contrary to what you are lying about, and if you are louder and more obnoxious than anyone else, some people will eventually believe you…. It doesn’t make any sense and it’s not logical, but hey, it worked for the music industry for years, so why not for WH?

It doesn’t matter what you say to WH, he’s just not going to get it. Half the time his comments support the position he’s trying to tear down, and the rest of the time he’s just spouting nonsense.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: WH is just following the **AA's script

If I met you in person, I would tell you to do something that isn’t exactly anatomically possible for most people (and it isn’t touching your nose with your tongue).

Basically, you are a moron, probably living in Mom’s basement posting between periods of studying the 10th grade math you have failed 4 years in a row.

Go away roach.

ICanHazResearch? says:

Howard, your denial of the implications of this show an amazing ignorance.

Who runs MySpace? What are their connections to content producers and the **AA? What political influence do they have? Who will the US government turn to for information about copyright violators?

Those are the questions you need to answer in order to become (slightly) less ignorant.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Am I a bad person for hoping that Harold gets kicked off the Internet after his ISP receives 3 faulty automated takedown notices?

No. In fact times like these remind me of Pastor Martin Niemöller’s poem:

In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me —
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

CT says:

“Can you show me where it was announced that Myspace is sending their flagged account info directly to the RIAA? I missed that one.”

The cause for concern is that the technology that will be used for the 3 Strike system will likely be similar in nature to that used by MySpace.

It really isn’t that complicated, Harold. You are frustratingly dense.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

There is no proof that this is a “3 strikes” system of any sort. would you feel better or worse if it shut her off at song 2 or song 4 instead? is the number 3 bothering you?

You are getting all excited about an automated flagging system, which apparently went a little wonky, and somehow tagging it onto an RIAA 3 strikes lose your ISP deal?

You would need an extension arm to be able to reach that far.

The infamous Joe says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Harry,

You’re my favorite antidisestablishmentarianist.

The facts are that she was flagged by a faulty system created to appease a third party claiming to protect the rights of “the artist” they just hurt.

Imagine if a faulty program flagged you as a terrorist, preventing you from flying. Now, the private airline has every right to deny you service, so they didn’t exactly do anything *wrong*, but you’d still be pissed off, and who knows who else will see that you are flagged a terrorist and take different, perhaps more destructive, actions against you.

Weeks later, they clear the whole mess up, and you can fly again. No harm no foul?

Please.

RD says:

Holy Jesus God!

“There is no proof that this is a “3 strikes” system of any sort. would you feel better or worse if it shut her off at song 2 or song 4 instead? is the number 3 bothering you?

You are getting all excited about an automated flagging system, which apparently went a little wonky, and somehow tagging it onto an RIAA 3 strikes lose your ISP deal?”

Wow…every day you amaze. You are SO ideologically and dogmatically opposed to ANY criticism of copyright issues that you completely miss the underlying point of all of this. Maybe you ARE that stupid.

BECAUSE of groups like the RIAA, MPAA and other copyright holders PUSHING and SUING so vehemently over copyright infringement, we now have providers (and not JUST ISP’s: YouTube, MySpace, and other “portal” or social type sites) reacting by implementing a 3 strikes rule SO THEY DONT GET BLAMED AND SUED BY THESE *IAA ASSHOLES. The level of intimidation and threats of lawsuits has pushed them to start adopting these sorts of measures. so, yes, “3 strikes” CAN apply to a place like MySpace. 3 strikes – lose your myspace account. No appeal, no evidence, no recourse. YOU may not like MySpace (and I dont really, either) but OTHER PEOPLE DO LIKE AND USE IT. It can be a big help for people to find out about musicians like this. If you cant see how this is harmful, please, by all means, STOP COMMENTING ON STUFF YOU OBVIOUSLY ARE TOO STUPID TO UNDERSTAND. The internet wont miss you.

RD says:

Yes, but...

“Again, being that myspace is a private company, there is no guarantee or “right” to use the service, and any income lost for any system outages, technical issues, or false flagging are all just part of using the system. Her losses are more because she doesn’t run her own website, and relied instead on a free service by a third party.”

And you DO have a point here. In absolute terms, MySpace is under no obligation to be fair to her (or anyone) or to take the side of its users over the big media corps. But, just as in MANY other posts I have pointed out to you, just because you CAN do something DOESNT MEAN IT MAKES GOOD BUSINESS SENSE to do so. Can you not see that effectively selling our YOUR USERS is not good business? Who would WANT to use a service that would arbitrarily cut them off for no good reason AND then not allow for any redress of the situation? Really, can you not understand that? I guess you cant see that, with your head so far up your industry buddie’s asses.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Yes, but...

Oh yeah, it’s terrible for MySpace, they are being freaking idiots about this. Obviously, they need to be a little more proactive in dealing with accounts that the system has flagged. However, it isn’t news to anyone that MySpace has horrible customer service, there are plenty of posts all over the web about it, they don’t care.

I stopped worrying about what other companies than my own do, especially when I see them being self destructive. MySpace is taking what was a massively dominant position in the market, and working hard to kill it. Their service may be free, but that doesn’t free them from customer service obligations.

This girl has a case and a point, but I think she could do just as much good getting on the phone and getting to it, not just sending in an email and waiting. If she is losing that much business / exposure / credibility / whatever it should be worth her effort to do something more.

As a side note, would you think it better perhaps if artists would have to register first with MySpace and somehow confirm their account (I dunno, credit card charge or something) to say this is their account, and that it would give them permission to upload say, I dunno 5 songs to start out? perhaps the system should only allow one new song on an account, and then after X number of days and additional song, etc? Would she have hit the filters if she had just ripped a single song and uploaded it?

There are plenty of ways for MySpace to improve – but there is also a nice big space in there for a new player that isn’t so arrogant or so easy to screw with.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Yes, but...

Because the files are on MySpace’s servers, and they control them. They are potentially not one of those innocent hosts, so they need to control the content of their domain or risk at least some liablity. Obviously, if an artist was registered they could perhaps be less stringent or apply less checks to uploaded files for “registered artists”. It’s not a way to limit rights, just a way to shortcut and avoid more agressive control systems that are in place.

Put it another way, why wouldn’t an artist want to make sure they have control over their own page?

Weird Harold's former #5 fan says:

The world is coming to an end!!

I agree with Harold on something!

Perhaps she should work on making her own website and branding herself that way, using facebook and myspace and twitter to drive traffic to her personal site, not one at the mercy of the apparent idiots running myspace these days.

Believe it or not, I was wondering myself why she didn’t have a personal website where she could upload songs to her heart’s content. Web hosts (that you pay money for) generally don’t automatically scan all website content looking for copyright violations in the same way that MySpace seems to.

I didn’t mention it because it’s tangential to the story, but it would be a better long-term solution. Still doesn’t get MySpace off the hook, though.

Jesse says:

Despite how much you have tried to fail, you have in fact fully understood the point of the article. This sort of overly aggressive enforcement can and will lead to big mistakes and it is self-destructive. It is the very thing you seem to defend on a regular basis.

I’d like to thank you Weird Harold. Whenever I’m feeling down on myself, I just visit techdirt, and see what stupid arguments you are getting into this time.

I guess every village needs one idiot.

RD says:

Yes, but...

“As for this “artist” (I have no idea who she is really), if she has a website, great. Excellent, whatever. I didn’t know there was a test here.”

No, sorry, you dont get to bail out on the argument that easily. YOU were the one who stood up and DEFENDED MySpace on this topic, against all reason. YOU chose to step out in support of an oppressive system of “uploaded song=infringement/violation” when everyone and their brother told you how wrong it was. YOU stuck your ill-informed, industry-brown nose into this, so YOU get to bear the brunt when your arguments are refuted. Grow a pair, man up, take your medicine, and dont cut and run when the discussion doesnt go your way.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Yes, but...

RD, no ducking out. Why would you think that?

Once I get past all your name calling, I just realize you can’t read very well, and that you are so busy projecting stuff onto me that it doesn’t matter what I say.

Like I said: Girl got caught by automated filters (and as been cleared now),nothing more. No 3 strikes, no reports to the RIAA (why?), no grand branding of her as a bad person. Automated filters are key.

I defend MySpace’s right to look at multiple music file uploads from a brand new user as suspicious. They are responsible for what is on their site, and they are at least trying to work on it and stop abuses. Is it better than a million files are shared without permission so that one “artist” doesn’t have to wait a couple of days to get their full cup of “FREE!” from myspace?

Seriously, your rant is very amusing, but it shows a general lack of reading skills and a desire to do nothing but fight. I’m here to discuss ideas, not fight with a schoolyard bully.

Jesse says:

Har har harold!

Nick, I agree. Weird Harold, you’re a good sport. You take most of it in stride, and occasionally you bring up a decent point. To be fair it seems like you’ve been a little less inflammatory lately. I will do my best not to jump to the ad hominem.

I have to say techdirt lately really does make me think of that xkcd comic: http://xkcd.com/386/ I’m sure we can all relate (even you WH). It’s all in good fun, I hope.

Weird Harold (user link) says:

Re: Re:

Trust me, when you are not longer sitting around a table discussing things with people who drink the same flavor koolaid all day, you actually can learn something about your own beliefs. It would be easy for me to find a site full of people who feel like I do on issues, but that would be pointless.

Sort of like listening Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. They call them fans “dittoheads” for a reason, because they have nothing else to do except kiss limbaugh’s fat behind and tell him he is right. You learn a bunch more about yourself listening to the other side.

Funny cartoon – I long since learned to go to bed 😉

RomeoSidVicious (profile) says:

WeirdHarold

I just want to make a quick off-topic point: IMO WH is welcome here just like the rest of us who agree with Mike and company on all or some of their ideals, conclusions, and so on. WH may be a complete jackass but telling him to leave and resorting to ad hominem attacks (I am guilty of the ad hominem attacks as well) is as asinine as anything WH has said. I cannot believe I am actually sticking for the guy because I don’t agree with anything he says but if we all really believe in the freedoms we claim to believe in then we should welcome folks like WH strictly because not doing so makes us all hypocrites. Good natured poking is one thing but once you pass that and fall into throwing insults in response to his arguments, how ever untenable and ill conceived, then he and his ilk win the argument.

CrushU says:

Harold

Eh. I find him amusing. Mostly because he contradicts himself. Earlier he said it wasn’t worth listening to the extremes in any argument…
#116:
“You learn a bunch more about yourself listening to the other side.”
In any case, I don’t begrudge him. I don’t get angry at people for their opinions, and welcome the opposing point of view. I tend to take opposing points of view in any argument just for the fun of it, anyway.

I do agree that we would be much better off without copyright law. Patents, sure, on actual inventions, are useful. Copyright on ideas, not so much. It’s amusing because this was written about long ago in various books, and I’m reminded of a Sci-Fi short story “Melancholy Elephants” about the danger of copyright being extended. I think it was written in the 60s?

anymouse says:

HAHAHAHAHAHA

“Basically, you are a moron, probably living in Mom’s basement posting between periods of studying the 10th grade math you have failed 4 years in a row.

Go away roach.”

I’m have enough self confidence that I don’t need to worry about what internet trolls think of me, but if I was going to be insulted by what a troll had to say, this is the best you can come up with?

While I was studying for 10th grade math (about 20 years ago), I at least learned some critical thinking and reasoning skills that allow me to see, understand, and comprehend the entire picture, and form an objective opinion based on the facts, not what some industry shill claims. If you really had any understanding of the actual problems caused by the industries who push for copyright, patent, trademark, and IP ‘protections’, you wouldn’t be so quick to defend them at every turn.

It’s not worth rehashing the explanations or arguments with you, as they have already been explained by various others in various topics here on Techdirt, but you still just fail to get it. You can’t seem to comprehend that the current USE of these things (copyright, patent, trademark, etc) is not the same as what the INTENT was when they were created.

You honestly seem to think that preventing an artist from promoting their works on a privately owned system has nothing to do with copyright. But would this situation have ever happened in the first place if not for the industry pushing for stronger copyright laws (and trying to partner with ISP’s to become the judge, jury, and executioner)? The answer is no, this never would have happened. So are companies interpreting copyright laws in a way that promote the progress of the arts in this case? NO. Does it matter that this situation has been rectified and her music is now available? NO.

If I was standing next to you with a gun to your head and I said, “You need to stop making contradictory comments on the internet, OR I’M GOING TO BLOW YOUR HEAD OFF.” would it make any difference if I then said, “But don’t worry, I’ve never had to pull the trigger.”

Times change, laws change, if people don’t respect a law (en mass), then perhaps there is a problem with the law and not with the people? The problem is that the people buying the laws (industry lobbyists) have more clout than the people, because the politicians listen to the money more than they listen to their constituents (those who bother to contact their legislators). Most of this is going on without anybody even noticing (hell, most people don’t even care anymore even if they do notice), which is why Mike is trying to draw more attention to the fact that these things are going on mostly behind closed doors (international treaties are drafted in secret that call for stronger copyright/IP laws, then state/federal lawmakers point to these treaties and claim they need to pass laws to meet the treaties, then laws get passed and people end up getting screwed – it’s only the ones on the end though, customers and artists, the middlemen who do nothing except expect to get paid from both ends, never seem to get the short end of the stick, wonder why that is?

Emily Bezar says:

update and message to me from myspace

Hi there….someone alerted me that my 15 minutes had arrived so I’m checking in here but haven’t had a chance to read through all the 124 comments so far. (@kirk: yes, I am most definitely the real thing and not a dog uploading his spittle or old Sting hits but I appreciate the flattering canine comparison.)

Though I’m impressed that my silly little myspace hassle has inspired some impassioned discussion, I have to say that everything is totally fine here and please don’t fight any fight on my behalf — I have no aspirations to take this any further, do not consider it a legal issue for ME (just a rather funny exposition of clumsy tech and the perils of massive, unsophisticated content-management systems!!!???). As you saw, I basically told people to ‘go elsewhere’ to hear more of my weird music….LastFM, CDBaby etc. and I consider myself well-represented online, so I do not believe that myspace owes me a thing…it’s a free platform for exposing my music right? I’d completely ditch it if I could, but I’ve capitulated to using it at least as a main-street shingle here in the indie music world. I already get enough wonderings about my Facebook absence.

Yes, I have many ideas about copyright and its evolution and its history and what it means to me as a musician with 35 years invested in my art etc and you can find some of them in my interviews…but my myspace posting was really just a silly, light ‘hello’ to my fans to explain why I was only posting 3 songs when everyone else was posting 6. This was, in fact, the first time any of my tunes had been rejected by myspace…..I had uploaded successfully many times in the past and the anomaly was striking and I wondered what I had done differently that time….probably should have expanded my blog to say that.

So yeah thanks for paying attention – shocking actually and a new experience for me to go viral like this….never intended it and not sure I want it to happen again. This email isn’t very articulate….I’m a bit rushed and running out for the day (great spring sun here in the bay area!!) but I wanted to get on the record about this and mostly, to show you below the email that I finally did receive from myspace with their recommendations to me. You can have fun with this one, but from this point on….please leave me out. I’ll decide what to do about it – probably nothing – hey, if they offer the ‘comedy-version’ of copyright school maybe i’ll sign up! 😉 lunch must be included, of course. So, in sum, I have bigger fish to fry and I need to get working on generating new copyrighted material to give away.

all the best and good luck to each and every one,
emily

FROM MYSPACE to ME:

Hello,

Audio or video content was blocked/removed from your profile because we received a notice from the copyright owner claiming you were infringing on his/her rights, because the content was recognized by MySpace’s copyright filter, or because your use of the content violated MySpace’s Terms and Conditions. As a result, your uploading privileges have been suspended.

To reinstate your uploading privileges you must complete the MySpace Copyright Education Program. To get started, go to the message sent to your MySpace profile inbox with the subject “Content blocked/removed from your profile” and complete our Copyright Education Program or go to: http://collect.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=copyright. Once you complete the program your uploading privileges will be reinstated. Please note, repeat infringers’ uploading privileges will not be reinstated even if they complete the Copyright Education Program.

If you believe this content was misidentified or was removed/blocked in error, and you are the copyright owner of the content and/or have all necessary legal rights to upload the content, complete and submit a counter notice form (the “Form”) to the Copyright Agent as instructed in the message you received in your MySpace profile inbox with the subject “Content blocked/removed from your profile.” The Form will be forwarded to the party claiming to be the copyright owner. If you complete the Form, do not delete the media file in question (The media file will not be viewable to others but it needs to remain associated with your profile so it may be reviewed by the party claiming to be the copyright owner.) If you delete the media file, your counter notice will be considered withdrawn and you will not receive a response. Only complete the Form if you want to dispute the block or takedown.

MySpace terminates the accounts of repeat copyright infringers. Please be careful not to include content on your profile that you do not have permission to use so you can continue to be a part of the MySpace community.

Below please find responses to some frequently asked questions:

Can I upload a version of a song that’s not the original version?

No. You may not upload songs onto MySpace that you are not the copyright owner of. Making a remix of another’s song does not make you the copyright owner of the recordings or compositions contained in the remix. Uploading remixes of others’ copyrighted music without their prior permission can result in the restriction of your uploading privileges. MySpace also discourages covering songs owned by other artists or recording your own lyrics over another artist’s instrumentals. Using another artist’s instrumentals or making a cover song without proper permission can result in the restriction of your uploading privileges.

I promise not to upload anymore songs I am not the copyright owner of, can I have my uploading privileges back?

No. Repeat infringers’ uploading privileges will not be reinstated. If this content was misidentified or was removed in error, and you are the copyright owner of the content and/or have all necessary legal rights to upload the content, complete and submit a counter notice to the Copyright Agent as instructed in the message you received in your MySpace profile inbox with the subject “Content blocked/removed from your profile.” The form will be forwarded to the party claiming to be the copyright owner. If you complete this form, do not delete the media file in question. (The media file will not be viewable to others but it needs to remain associated with your profile so it may be reviewed by the party claiming to be the copyright owner.) If you delete the media file, your dispute will be considered withdrawn and you will not receive a response. Only complete the Form if you own the copyrights to the uploaded content and you want to dispute the block or takedown.

The pictures in the video I tried to upload are all mine, why does it say I am infringing on Copyright?

Although you may be the copyright owner of the pictures in the video you created, using copyrighted music you do not own in the background of your video can lead to your video being blocked by the copyright filter or being removed from your profile due to copyright infringement.

Thank you,
MySpace.com
Copyright Agent

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