Wow, this article from the Electronic Frontier Foundation is not encouraging at all for those of us in the music blog business: Music journalism is the new piracy. Nor is this one: The day the music blogs died: behind Google’s musicblogocide.
Apparently a copyright enforcement organization called the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) filed Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notices against some blogs using Blogger, which is owned by Google. Google proceeded to delete a bunch of those blogs without warning. Some of them were innocent, having received permission to post or link to content. Some never received a DMCA notice letting them know they were in danger. One of the most notable deletions was the I Rock Cleveland blog, which has since moved to a new server and writes about the situation here. I Rock Cleveland’s Bill Lipold thinks what happened is the IFPI uses an anti-piracy bot that scans the Internet for copyrighted content and isn’t smart enough to figure out when a song was posted with permission or a link is dead.
My aim for this blog is to help the artists and introduce listeners to new music they might not have found otherwise. I never wanted to run one of those blogs where you put up album art and a Rapidshare link to the entire album and say “educational purposes only, wink wink.” Not all of those blogs are what I would call evil, even if their legal status might be iffy – some of what they post is very obscure, often ripped from long-out-of-print vinyl. How else are you gonna hear a lot of that stuff? But that’s not the kind of thing I want to do. I’m not interested in giving away other people’s stuff.
So far, I have only posted links to Bandcamp and Youtube. At some point I will pay for extra space and will host some mp3s. When I do, it will only be with the artist’s permission. I want artists to want to be on my blog.
Will that policy be enough to keep me out of trouble? Who knows? Companies buy other companies, start-ups get investment capital and go corporate, lobbyists buy off lawmakers and get game-changing laws passed. Indie labels get bought up by major labels. Artists’ decisions get overruled by their labels. The web is the Wild Wild West right now. There are a lot of factions fighting for domination and/or survival. Anything could happen.
All I know to do is keep on keepin’ on. I’ll do my best to stay enthusiastic and artist-friendly. Hopefully that will pay off in some way for the music I love, maybe even for myself. Stay informed (http://www.eff.org would be a good place to start) and stay tuned.