Facebook Gives In, Cuts Off Project Playlist For No Legal Reason
from the safe-harbors,-people... dept
This is yet another example of the recording industry's effort to use chilling effects to get its way, such as by going after third parties to do its dirty work. Third party service providers, such as both MySpace and Facebook, have clear liability protection thanks to the DMCA's safe harbors. Yes, the record labels are in a legal battle with Project Playlist -- but that's between the labels and Project Playlist (and most agree that it's really the record labels using litigation for "negotiating" purposes, rather than based on any strong legal backing). It's not surprising that MySpace of Facebook caved -- why should they fight someone else's legal battle -- but it highlights the problems of when companies like the major record labels are allowed to go after third parties. Those third parties will often fold, because they don't have the incentives to fight. It's an abuse of the law to get others to do the RIAA's unsavory business.
And, in the long run, it's only going to hurt both MySpace and Facebook. If I were a developer for either platform, knowing that they would fold like a cheap card table as soon as some bigger company shows up with a bogus legal claim, I'd focus my development efforts elsewhere. Either MySpace or Facebook could have taken a stand, knowing that any lawsuit would likely get tossed after a quick safe harbor review, and developers would have known that those platforms were safe places for developers. Now... it's probably time to look elsewhere.