A quick note about music blog removals
Earlier today, word spread about some popular music blogs that were recently removed from Blogger. While we make it a policy to not publicly discuss individual users or their accounts, we wanted to clarify a few things about how and when Blogger enforces its Terms of Service as they relate to our DMCA policy.
Last summer, we updated our enforcement of the DMCA. Our current policy is that when we receive a DMCA complaint, we:
-Notify the blogger about the complaint by e-mail and on the Blogger dashboard.
-Reset the offending post to ‘draft’ status, allowing the blogger to remove the offending content.
-Send a copy of the complaint to ChillingEffects.org.
When we receive multiple DMCA complaints about the same blog, and have no indication that the offending content is being used in an authorized manner, we will remove the blog.
Inevitably, we occasionally receive DMCA complaints even though the blogger does have the legal right to link to the music in question. Whether this is the result of miscommunication by staff at the record label, or confusion over which MP3s are “official,” it happens. If this happens to you, it is imperative that you file a DMCA counter-claim so we know you have the right to the music in question. Otherwise, if we receive multiple DMCA complaints for your blog, this could very well constitute repeat offenses, compelling us to take action.
Update: Should have linked directly to the instructions for filing a counter-notification.
In the end, though, there are two real issues here. First, is the ridiculous “left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing” aspect of record label lawyers sending out DMCA [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] takedowns for content that its marketing department sent to the blogs on purpose. But second, and much more important, is the ridiculousness of the DMCA‘s notice-and-takedown provisions in its safe harbors. It’s a “guilty until you’re innocent” type of measure. It effectively forces Google into a position where it needs to take down the content, until a blogger goes through the confusing process of filing a counternotice. It makes no sense, at all, why we don’t improve the process to allow for a notice-and-notice system, whereby the blogger is allowed to respond to the copyright holder before any content is removed. That seems like common sense. On top of that, while the DMCA is a little vague on this topic, it does in some ways suggest that service providers must do more to prevent repeat offenders—which is part of the reason why Google most likely shuts down those “repeat offenders.” Again, it seems like Google should be a lot more communicative with blogs it’s about to shut down, and a lot clearer in explaining the issues (and the best way to respond). The current notices leave a lot to be desired.
Pop Tarts Suck Toasted, a music blog which very nearly lost the whole of its 5+ years of content, reacted thusly to their shutdown:
there is now the possibility that my tumblr will turn into a source for the latest albums leaked by major labels…stay tuned (link)
I have gotten the DMCA takedown notices in the past, but always removed the mp3’s that I assumed were offending guess its not enough. (link)
Blogger and Google have finally struck down upon music blogs. So far they deleted my friend Chris’s blog It’s A Rap, along with PopTartsSuckToasted, and Livingears (newly started at livingears.com). When google gets complaints from the big labels and legal companies, they always take action. It started with deleting posts that got complaints, and that is why I moved to wordpress in the winter of 2008. I had a feeling that soon it wouldn’t just be posts, but it would gradually move on to the entire blogs themselves.
Without warning, they just deleted all of these bloggers hard work. These guys have put hours of their lives into their site. This is complete bullshit. How the hell can google get away with just coming in and deleteing someone’s website? Ok they posted a track that made someone upset. Email them, and ask them to take it down. That would be the end of it. Was it really neccesary to delete their site? God damn!!!!
A letter, from Google, sent to the music blog I Rock Cleveland (now deprecated). Note it does not give any information as to the what or where of I Rock Cleveland’s infringing content:
From: email@example.com [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, February 09, 2010 12:49 PM
Subject: Blogger Blog takedown notification
We’d like to inform you that we’ve received another complaint regarding your blog (http://irockcleveland.blogspot.com/). Upon review of your account, we’ve noted that your blog has repeatedly violated Blogger’s Terms of Service (http://www.blogger.com/terms.g). Given that we’ve provided you with several warnings of these violations and advised you of our policy towards repeat infringers, we’ve been forced to remove your blog.
Thank you for your understanding.
The Blogger Team
You can find I Rock Cleveland’s support ticket with Google here, where he attempts to outline his diligence in posting legal music.