Is There Any Way To Be A Music Blogger Without Risking Takedown?
from the not-really dept
Last week, we wrote twice about the Google music blog mess, which caused many people to falsely attack Google for its policies in dealing with takedown notices. While it is true that Google could do a better job in communicating and potentially in fighting for its users, the real problems are that the DMCA makes this very difficult for Google (and potentially very risky) and the big recording industry lawyers seem totally disconnected from what the same label marketing folks are doing.
Now, the EFF has weighed in to look at whether or not it’s even possible for any music blogger to avoid this sort of scenario and has concluded that the answer is basically no, it’s not. Many music bloggers jumped ship to other hosting firms, but as we noted in our original discussion on the topic, those other hosts will face the same exact issue when they start receiving takedown notices, and may be even less receptive to sticking up for music bloggers or less helpful in explaining to them how to file counternotices.
The EFF does shed some light on one interesting aspect of all of this. Many of the takedowns were filed by the IFPI, who seems to claim that the takedown notices are not technically DMCA takedowns since the IFPI is not a US-based organization, and thus, it doesn’t need to follow the DMCA’s rules (such as specifically designating which files are infringing):
Ordinarily, the party issueing the takedown notice would be required by US copyright law to specify which content is being accused. But, as an international organization headquartered in London, IFPI is arguing that it doesn’t even need to play by the USA’s rules. “We neither admit nor accept,” they write, “…that Google is entitled to be served a notice in compliance with the DMCA.” Translation: IFPI is essentially threatening to sue Google under some unspecified foreign law — presumably one which lacks even the modest safe-harbor provisions available in the USA. It’s no wonder Google felt the need to take drastic action to avoid liability, even at the expense of the resulting headaches and bad press.
While, yes, I can understand why Google might want to avoid yet another lawsuit in some foreign country (it’s already dealing with a bunch of those), you would think that the company might be better off responding with a simple: “we are based in the US, the content you are complaining about is hosted on US servers, we abide by US law, and unless you follow the DMCA’s rules for an official takedown notice, we will not be taking down the content.”
Either way, the bigger (and more important) point is that pretty much anyone who blogs about music may face this sort of situation at some point or another — even if you have explicit permission to post those tracks. The process that the IFPI, RIAA and others go through to demand takedowns is so automated and so disconnected from any marketing people (or common sense around marketing) that lots of people will receive them even though they should not. At some point, perhaps, the labels will recognize this is a mess of their own making, but it seems like we’re still a long way from that day.