Google fail, & RIAA once again misses the point.

There is a furor, yes, a raging furor, on the internet right now over Blogger’s deletion of some music/mp3 blogs from their service.

For those of you who don’t know, an mp3 blog posts a review of an album AND a song or two as mp3. Usually, the reputable blogs have permission, which marketing people are more than willing to give, because many of these blogs get hundreds of thousands of unique views.  And the RIAA and music business lawyers hate ’em, even though their colleagues in A&R and Marketing love ’em.

Here is some background on how effective music blogging is.

First, a few years ago I flew to Toronto to go to NXNE to represent HPX, but also to see a band from my history, Buffalo Tom. I met the band, the manager, and got an advance copy of “Three Easy Pieces”. I wrote a justifiably glowing review on Amazon and my website. Over the next few days I got about 500 visitors to this site, largely via Google and message boards, fans of the Tom flooding in from all around the world, looking for a review of the new record. Five hundred people to a politics and wanky op/ed site, just for posting a record review.

Next, Matt Charlton of Pigeon Row and Halifax Pop Explosion fame used to run a music mp3 blog called “That’s Fucking Dynamite” with some friends in Halifax. The site is gone now, after a familier cycle – label marketing sends the CD to the mp3 blog. Blog puts mp3 online with rave review. RIAA lawyers send angry letters threatening legal action for copyright violation. ISP that hosts the blog takes the blog offline until the offending material is removed. TFD had over 5000 regular visitors in the short time it was online!

So, fast forward 2-3 years and we have much bigger established blogs being deleted by the biggest media company on the internet as a part of the same stupid cycle. Blogger, owned and operated by media giant Google, has buckled to RIAA pressure.  In part the article linked above confirms that the pattern continues:

The process Blogger followed for handling the claims is where most of the criticism is coming from. For example, Bill Lipold, owner of I Rock Cleveland claimed that “everything I’ve posted for, let’s say, the past two years, has either been provided by a promotional company, came directly from the record label, or came directly from the artist. Even some of the past violations I’ve been served with fall into this category“. He also posted numerous example emails on Blogger’s post proving that he sought and was granted permission

As I comment on the article: Hmmph. Way to stand up to China and back down to major labels. A company the size of Google has the power to dictate if not terms, a bit of common sense. Simply send a form letter back to the RIAA lawyers saying:
1) you have to name the offending mp3s and provide a link to where it is/was
2) we require 2 weeks to contact the blogger and check and see if they have permission. (edit: they do this, but the Google robot that was supposed to forward the notices for permission malfunctioned in some cases, and the record label bot generating take down notices knows that an mp3 is copyrighted, NOT that the mp3 has been used with permission, so there is a huge volume of meaningless complaints being levied against successful mp3 blogs.)

The sad fact is the majors are so unorganized that the marketing people are sending CDs to mp3 blogs and then the legal department is sending the letters, so it is entirely possible to have “permission” and still get lawyered.

Google should be protecting its users, not giving in to badgering by RIAA.

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