Blogger Burns Bloggers | Bleader

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blogger Burns Bloggers

Posted By on 02.10.10 at 04:54 PM

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Obviously the big news story today is that John Mayer has said a bunch of things that are either totally racist or that at least seem to be the type of things that someone who is totally racist would say, thereby finally settling the nagging question of whether he's a shitty person, which comes up whenever he does something legitimately entertaining or funny. Thanks for doing that, at least, John Mayer.

But of course there are other things happening in the world that don't involve John Mayer saying icky shit about his dick. Things like Google-owned Blogger deleting entire music blogs—not just individual posts—for violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Pitchfork and the Daily Swarm are both reporting that a number of well-known, Blogger-hosted music blogs have disappeared following notice of DMCA violations. Blogger's terms of service explicitly state that "It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act" and that "Google may, in its sole discretion, at any time and for any reason, terminate the Service, terminate this Agreement, or suspend or terminate your account." It's not just single offending posts that have gone missing—the blogs have been completely nuked. This, unfortunately for these particular bloggers, is also permitted by Blogger's TOS.

Judging from cached pages it seems that some of the deleted blogs were in fact hosting stuff that might legitimately violate the DMCA—which is a shitty law but a law nonetheless, and if you want to host infringing material you should do it somewhere that doesn't have DELETE EVERYTHING written into its TOS. But at least one of the nuked blogs seems to have been keeping it on the up-and-up. In a thread on Blogger's help forum, Bill Lipold of I Rock Cleveland says, "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."

Looking at yesterday's cache of his blog I recognize a lot of the songs posted there from e-mails where publicists or labels are actively asking people to post/share/podcast their MP3s. For instance, on Monday Lipold posted the song "Resiliant Bastard" by Brooklyn art-pop group Shellshag. A December mass e-mail from Shellshag's publicist, which I presume Lipold received, provides a link to the MP3 with the all-caps exhortation "PLEASE SHARE IT, POST IT, BLAST IT." I'm pretty sure that the publicist, the band, and its label were all OK with Lipold hosting it.

One of the many shitty things about the DMCA is that it's really easy to send out a DMCA takedown notice, and a lot of content-hosting services will cave at the mere sight of one, taking out the blog cited whether or not it was actually violating intellectual-property law. I'd hope that in a situation like this Google would at least let takedown recipients defend themselves—it'd mesh nicely with their "don't be evil" motto. I'd also figure that an operation like Google would be savvy enough to know that not every piece of music online is posted against the wishes of its copyright holder.

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