It's been an interesting week for Universal Music. The company was outed
for their secret war on various hiphop blogs, including some of the sites of their own artists, such as 50 Cent, whose personal site was declared a "pirate" site
on a list that Universal helped put together. Now, super popular Universal artist Drake is lashing out at Universal for issuing takedowns over his own music
. Apparently, like many artists who value the promotion, he's been leaking his own tracks to the various hiphop sites and blogs that Universal has declared evil. And Universal has been taking them down, leading Drake to tell them to stop
Now, as I'm sure people will quickly point out, he signed a contract with Universal, and that means he almost certainly handed over the rights to the music in question. To some extent, you can argue that if he was doing it for the people instead of for Universal Music, he shouldn't have signed a deal that gave all the rights to Universal Music.
However, even granting that, this shows yet again how far out of touch Universal Music is, and how its claims that it's protecting "artists" are full of it. The artists know how promotion works these days. Universal Music, apparently, does not.
And this raises a much bigger issue: as ICE continues to seize domains and the PROTECT IP Act continues to move forward, are these really "rogue sites"? After all, if the artists themselves find them valuable
as a means of promotion, and disagree with their own labels about whether or not these sites are useful, why is the government solely relying on the labels' definition of "rogue" sites?