One Direction Offers Remix Competition, Then Sony/Soundcloud Punish The Entrants As Copyright Infringers

from the that'll-teach-'em dept

Soundcloud has been having some issues of late trying to "balance" (stupid word, but we'll get to that) the interests of copyright holders and people who use its platform for remixes. Soundcloud -- a site that is essentially a YouTube for audio, and which has long been a key place for DJs and remixers to upload their crafts -- has been going back and forth with an angry recording industry for a few years, trying to appease the industry, often by defaulting to the "take it down!" side of the ledger to avoid lawsuits. There was a big kerfuffle a year ago when Soundcloud gave more power to the labels to take content down from its service. However, in the last few months things have gotten much crazier, as Soundcloud clearly ratcheted up its takedown procedures leading to many vocal complaints from angry Soundcloud users. We've even seen the company tell someone that "fair use" is no defense, since fair use is only in the US and Soundcloud is available globally. That's beyond troubling for a variety of reasons, and as someone who pays Soundcloud to host our Techdirt podcasts, it has me concerned and looking for alternatives.

But even getting beyond the fair use question, things are getting even more ridiculous. TorrentFreak has the story of a UK-producer and songwriter named Lee Adams who took part in an official remix competition of boy band One Direction's music, put on by the band and its label, Sony Music. The stems for remixing were released on Soundcloud. The rules of the contest required entrants to upload their remixes on Soundcloud... and that's exactly what Adams did. And yet those works still got taken down via copyright claims from Sony Music as infringing.

Hey, Sony Music, if you want people to participate in your remix contests, maybe don't accuse them of being infringers when they do?

In this case, it's even more ridiculous, because it initially happened during the contest period, held last year, and Adams reached out to everyone and finally got the work reinstated. As Adams told TorrentFreak:
“I messaged SoundCloud back saying it was part of a remix contest. Then they told me that doesn’t mean I own the copyright,” Lee says.

“I then explained that if the stems had been put out by the record company officially, then they had given permission. They still argued that I didn’t own the copyright.”

Undeterred, Lee contacted the company running the competition on Sony’s behalf.

“As it was only a couple of days before the contest closed, I emailed TalentHouse themselves to see if they could do anything,” Lee explains.

“They were very good and after a couple of emails SoundCloud reinstated my track. Interestingly, TalentHouse made the comment that ‘this kind of thing happens all the time with SoundCloud’.”
All good, right? Nope. Because with the latest expansion of Soundcloud takedowns, Adams finds himself back in the same situation again:
It's great that labels like Sony are embracing "remixing" as a legitimate form of expression by holding contests like this in the first place, but issuing takedowns on people who enter seems kind of backwards, doesn't it? And then they wonder why no one "respects" copyright any more?

Filed Under: copyright, lee adams, one direction, remix, takedowns
Companies: sony, sony music, soundcloud, talenthouse

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2015 @ 1:37pm

    Unless ALL the uploaded remixes were pulled down, this was a case of bad TECH pulling down certain ones.

    But of course, Mas nick tries to place blame on record companies, as he thinks that will further his pro-piracy agenda.

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