Category Archives: Copyright & Law

How To Issue A DMCA Takedown Notice To Google

Its always exciting when an artist has a new release go public, but these days (and I’m old enough to have had vinyl/CD only releases in the 90s) its often tempered by the fact that the same day your release gets out it also appears on P2P networks and the endless pile of borderline legal filehosts. So, to try and keep an eye on things the first thing I do is sign up for Google alerts for new mentions of both my artist name, 99th Floor Elevators and the title of any new release, in this case ’99th Floor Elevators Hooked EP’.

99th Floor Elevators Hooked EP

Of course the very next day of my latest release I did my usual Google search query and although the Beatport (they had the exclusive option on the release for the first few weeks) entry was top of the SERPs, and my own 99th Floor Elevators MP3 page was second, queuing up in the majority of the results underneath was a swarm of outlets offering that very same release, free, most even showing the official MP3 artwork, one even having the cheek to use Beatports widget so ‘freetards’ could stream the tracks first!

First things first. I contacted the offending websites in the top 20 results (and this really is like playing whack-a-mole*) and issued DMCA’s (here’s a sample DMCA takedown notice), then I (for starters, I’ll be repeating the process today) filled in Google’s online DMCA takedown submission form with a sample of offenders from the top 10. Be aware that there is a separate process for YouTube.

Anyway, to cut a long story short the results from the first page that I had submitted to Google were gone less than 24 hours later. Bravo.

99th Floor Elevators issue DMCA takedowns to Google

Of course, the very same day those links that were removed were now being replaced by a whole host of new parasites (to which hopefully the same process will remove them as quickly!).

If you want to go through the same process yourself , read this piece from IP Watchdog, which will help you write a template DMCA notice to issue to individual websites (separate to filling in Google’s online submission form).

Sample DMCA Takedown Letter instructions.

You’ll generally find that the file hosts are much less responsive than Google, if they respond at all, but issue them anyway. Then, get them removed from the Google SERPs. Start here:

Removing Content From Google (Google Help)

And do remember also that this process is very much the same whether you’re finding your images used, videos or anything being shared or exploited, without your permission. There’s a separate process for infringement on YouTube.

Related Reading

Safe Harbor Not Loophole: Five Things We Could Do Right Now to Make the DMCA Notice and Takedown Work Better (The Trichordist)
Google URL Takedown Requests Up 100% In a Month, Up 1137% On 2011 (Torrent Freak)
The DMCA is not an Alibi: The Googlization of Art and Artists (Music Tech Policy)
Pirate Bay block effectiveness short-lived, data suggests (BBC News)
Stock DMCA Letters (Plagiarism Today)
Game of Whack a Mole Continues as Big UK ISPs Block More Pirate Bay IPs (ISPReview)
DMCA Takedown 101 (Brainz.org)

Google Respond Within 24 Hours To My DMCA Takedown Notice

Its always exciting when an artist has a new release go public, but these days (and I’m old enough to have had vinyl/CD only releases in the 90s) its often tempered by the fact that the same day your release gets out it also appears on P2P networks and the endless pile of borderline legal filehosts. So, to try and keep an eye on things the first thing I do is sign up for Google alerts for new mentions of both my artist name, 99th Floor Elevators and the title of any new release, in this case ’99th Floor Elevators Hooked EP’.

99th Floor Elevators Hooked EP

Of course the very next day of my latest release I did my usual Google search query and although the Beatport (they had the exclusive option on the release for the first few weeks) entry was top of the SERPs, and my own 99th Floor Elevators MP3 page was second, queuing up in the majority of the results underneath was a swarm of outlets offering that very same release, free, most even showing the official MP3 artwork, one even having the cheek to use Beatports widget so ‘freetards’ could stream the tracks first!

First things first. I contacted the offending websites in the top 20 results (and this really is like playing whack-a-mole*) and issued DMCA’s (here’s a sample DMCA takedown notice), then I (for starters, I’ll be repeating the process today) filled in Google’s online DMCA takedown submission form with a sample of offenders from the top 10. Be aware that there is a separate process for YouTube.

Anyway, to cut a long story short the results from the first page that I had submitted to Google were gone less than 24 hours later. Bravo.

99th Floor Elevators issue DMCA takedowns to Google

Of course, the very same day those links that were removed were now being replaced by a whole host of new parasites (to which hopefully the same process will remove them as quickly!).

If you want to go through the same process yourself , read this piece from IP Watchdog, which will help you write a template DMCA notice to issue to individual websites (separate to filling in Google’s online submission form).

Sample DMCA Takedown Letter instructions. You’ll generally find that the file hosts are much less responsive than Google, if they respond at all, but issue them anyway. Then, get them removed from the Google SERPs. Start here:

Removing Content From Google (Google Help)

Related Reading

Safe Harbor Not Loophole: Five Things We Could Do Right Now to Make the DMCA Notice and Takedown Work Better (The Trichordist)
Google URL Takedown Requests Up 100% In a Month, Up 1137% On 2011 (Torrent Freak)
The DMCA is not an Alibi: The Googlization of Art and Artists (Music Tech Policy)
Pirate Bay block effectiveness short-lived, data suggests (BBC News)
Stock DMCA Letters (Plagiarism Today)
Game of Whack a Mole Continues as Big UK ISPs Block More Pirate Bay IPs (ISPReview)
DMCA Takedown 101 (Brainz.org)

GrooveShite…

Jeff Price @Tunecore blog nails it.

“Let me start by saying I don’t like Grooveshark.  Actually, in my opinion, they knowingly and willingly use a legal loophole to steal from artists and songwriters.”

[blackbirdpie id=”190532040624574464″]

And

“I’m all for technology reinventing things and disrupting things, but do you really need to kick the artist in the face to do it?”

Resources To Help Get Your Music In Films & TV

In a climate where many artists are struggling to find income streams every avenue helps and one area worth exploring is music placement in film and TV.

The ‘gatekeepers’ to these type of gigs are the music supervisors. The music supervisor is a person who coordinates the work of the composer, the editor, and sound mixers. Alternately, a person who researches, obtains rights to, and supplies songs for a production (namely films and television programs).

TV viewers (particularly those who are geeky about music) tend to notice what songs get used on shows, and those touches can be credited to the music supervisor.

If you want to find out who the music supervisor is on any given movie or TV show you might not have earmarked the Amazon owned Internet Movie Database as a go-to  music industry resource but the site is packed with info on cast and crew members, including music supervisors.

Look up movies that have really great soundtracks then scroll through the credits and you’ll find out the names of the person responsible for music supervision.

Continue reading

Gnarls Barkley Get Mashed

Its been a while since we featured any posts on musical mash-ups here. Since the last mention (the excellent Green Day mash) the word mash up has taken on a slightly different meaning. Now the term is more likely associated with the latest Google Maps Api mash up rather than the latest frankenstein pop remix flying out of some digital DJ’s laptop studio.

Gnarls Barkley gets mashed by NY DJs Sound Advice

Latest renegade remixers to join the fray are the Brooklyn based DJ duo Sound Advice who have ironically (see DJ Dangermouse) chosen to weld the music from the ubiquitous Gnarls Barkley album ‘St Elsewhere’ to the vocals from deceased rapper Biggie Smalls biggest hits.
The result is Gnarls Biggie a hit and miss collection of eleven tracks (all available as MP3’s naturally). ‘Smilie Faces Hypnotize’, ‘Gimme The Online Loot’ and ‘The Last Nasty Boy’ are worth more than one spin but the simple A vs. B formula is not nearly as inspired as the more elaborate examples of the ‘art’ like DJ Dangermouse’s (half of Gnarls Barkley) groundbreaking Beatles vs Jay Z mash up the ‘Grey Album’ or the aformentioned Green Day (or Dean Gray) remix project.

The guys have already got themselves banned from MySpace (though another ‘fan page’ has already sprung up). The cease and desist is in the post.

Related Reading

Gnarls Barkley Mashed Up with B.I.G (Spin.com)
Green Day Mash Up Leads to Cease and Desist Order, Grey Tuesday Style Protest (MTV News)
Grey Album Poducer Danger Mouse Explains How He Did It (MTV News)
Gnarls Barkley (Wikipedia)
Sound Advice Blog (Blogspot)
Party Ben (PartyBen.com)
Mark Vidler (GoHomeProductions)
Grey Tuesday:A Quick Overview of the Legal Terrain (EFF.org)
Grey Tuesday-Free the Grey Album (GreyTuesday.org)

Green Day Mash-Up Gets Cease and Desist

The brilliant Green Day mash-up album we mentioned a few days ago has already had the plugged pulled by Warner Bros music officials apparently.

You can follow the subject at mashers hang out Get Your Bootleg On. Naturally the old download link is now dead but there’s a growing groundswell of support for the project just as there was for the famed (and similarily outlawed) DJ Dangermouse mashup, ‘The Grey Album’. You can, as of this minute grab the album here and read up further on the planned music activism set for December 13th.

Elsewhere this week we’ve stumbled across a Madonna mash-up project (‘the Immaculate Concoction’), one from Radiohead and a 50 Cent/Queen ‘co-lab’. Of course the artists themselves are blissfully unaware of all the DiY remix activity going on.

Related Links

Dean Grey Tuesday (Alt.fm)
RIAA Targets Mash-Ups (BoingBoing.com)
Grey Tuesday, Online Cultural Activism and the Mash up of Music and Politics (FirstTuesday.org)
Raiding The 20th Century, the History of the Cut-up (Musicalbear.com)
The Grey Album by DJ Dangermouse (BannedMusic.org)

Open Source Sounds Get New Creative Commons Resource

A free new Open Source music samples database has been launched by the Barcelona, Spain based Music Technology Group (MTG), part of the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF). The Freesound Project aims to create a huge collaborative database of audio snippets, samples, recordings and bleeps all released under the Creative Commons sampling plus license.

A new open source music samples resource, the Freesound Project

The project is also part of the forthcoming International Computer Music Conference hosted in Barcelona this coming September where sounds taken from the database will be part of live performances at the event.

There’s an increasing amount of audio projects adopting the Creative Commons licence idea including ‘Wired’ magazine who issued the ‘Rip.Sample.Mash.Share’ compilation CD with the November issue of the tech geek bible in association with Creative Commons. Readers were invited to remix and mash-up artists including David Byrne, the Beastie Boys, DJ Dangermouse and the Thievery Corporation.

Creative Commons also have a collaborative community music sharing /remixing site CC Mixter featuring songs licensed under Creative Commons, where you can listen to, sample, mash-up, or interact with music in whatever way you want. There is an ODB remix contest coming up soon and a Magnatune remix contest, with a recording contract for the winners.

Related Links

Creative Commons [CreativeCommons.org]
The Wired CD [Creative Commons]
CC Mixter-The Remix Family Tree [CCMixter.org]

iPac Launch Jailed For A Song Music Activist Website

New York based ‘culture meets technology’ activists IPac are , according to their website, dedicated to preserving individual freedom through balanced intellectual property policy. Their latest project is Jailed For A Song which looks at the US Congress’s brushes with copyright law in 2004 and examines several of the craziest items on Big Content’s wish list.

Being Jailed For A Song is what a proposed law would allow. “Skipping commercials is stealing? That’s what some copyright holders think. And spending millions of taxpayer dollars to hunt down file-sharers? Congress nearly passed not one, but two bills that would have done just that in 2004.”
The new intiative from New York activists, IPaction- JailedForASong.com
Included in some of the scary looking all encompassing law’s was, S.B. 3021. The bill (passed by the U.S. Senate on November 20, 2004 though still not passed as law due to procedural problems) specifically said that sharing a single pre-release work (song, movie, etc.) carried a possible five-year prison term for even first-time offenders. The two others we all read about last year were ‘The Piracy Deterrence and Education Act’ (PDEA, H.R. 4077) and ‘the PIRATE Act ‘(S.2237) which would have diverted law enforcement agencies to the pursuit of file-sharers at a time when the RIAA’s suits are paying for themselves.

“Copyright infringement is a problem, but the radical political agenda of copyright holders is far beyond what normal Americans want. We need constructive proposals for how to pay artists, protect technical innovation, and end the record & movie companies’ crazy litigation campaign. Congress isn’t listening to the public, and we need to be loud if we want to be heard over the Hollywood lobbyists and record label flunkies.” Points out the site. IPac are urging supporters to get involved and make a stand in the 665 days leading into the next federal election and make every day count.

Related Links

Electronic Frontier Foundation [EFF.org]
Banned Music [BannedMusic.org]
Downhill Battle [DownhillBattle.org]

Hollywood Launches BitTorrent Assault

Major Hollywood studios, through the US. film trade industry body the MPAA ( a conglomerate of Universal Studios, Disney, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros, MGM, 20th CenturyFox and Paramount ) stepped up their anti piracy action against online distributors of illegally copied feature films today with the announcement that 100 individuals had been targetted in a new international campaign targeting the BitTorrent, Direct Connect and eDonkey file-swapping networks, technologies widely used to trade movies online and designed specifically to speed downloads of very large files.

Latest legal action from the MPAA targets P2P apps like BitTorrent

The MPAA said that people who download copyrighted movie files were not the targets of its latest legal actions. Instead, the group is working with law enforcement agencies in the United States and Europe to target and arrest individuals who provide key roles in the functioning of each type of network. The BitTorrent and eDonkey P2P programs differ from traditional file-sharing programs like Kazaa and Grokster in that they use what has been called a “swarming, scatter and gather” file transfer protocol in which files such as movies and songs aren’t transferred in one piece from one person’s hard drive to another. Rather, small bits of a file are pulled from many user’s hard drives and reassembled by the program on the requester’s computer. The Direct Connect network is widely used across the high speed i2Hub college P2P network in the USA.

“The operators of these servers exercise total control over which files are included on their servers and even determine if some kinds of files aren’t allowed,” said John Malcolm, the MPAA’s Senior Vice President and Director of Worldwide Anti-Piracy Operations.

“For instance, some operators won’t post pornography on their systems, but they have no compunction allowing illegal files of copyrighted movies and TV shows to flow through their servers. We are moving to stop that. The message today is clear: if you illegally trade movies online, we can find you and we will hold you accountable.”

“These kinds of P2P networks rely on servers to index and efficiently deliver files of all kinds. The operators being targeted by these actions have helped online pirates steal hundreds of millions of illegal copies of movies and TV programs.” The MPAA and local rights-holder organizations are also sending cease-and-desist letters
to Internet service providers worldwide that host eDonkey servers and DirectConnect hubs.

According to Net monitoring firm BayTSP, eDonkey recently passed up Kazaa as the most popular file-swapping network in the world, measured by number of users. Other network monitors have said that BitTorrent has long been the most popular measured by the amount of data transferred between users. BitTorrent is distributed freely under an open source license and was created three years ago in the Python programming language by Bram Cohen who came up with the idea while working on an open source content-distribution project called Mojo Nation.

Since September 2003, recording industry lawyers have sued more than 6,100 people suspected of stealing copyrighted music. The film industry held off on suing individual downloaders until last month, when the MPAA announced that the major Hollywood studios would sue about 200 people as the first wave of a legal blitz modeled on the music industry campaign.

Official MPAA press release (PDF)

Related Reading

Studios Step up Fight Against Online Piracy [Washington Post]
MPAA to Serve Lawsuits on BitTorrent Servers [the Register]
Hollywood Fights Illegal Downloads by Targeting Servers [Reuters.com]
MPAA Targets Core BitTorrent, eDonkey Users [ZDNet.com]
Hollywood Wants BitTorrent Dead [Wired.com]
BitTorrent Gives Hollywood a Headache [Newsday.com]
MPAA Eyes Internet2 P2P Traffic [MusicbizNews24.com]
Music Downloads Overtaken by Movies [MusicbizNews24.com]
MPAA Enters P2P Wars; Is BitTorrent In Trouble? [Copyfutures]
How-To: BroadCatching using RSS + BitTorrent to Automatically Download TV Shows [Engadget.com]
File Sharing Thrives Under Radar [Wired.com]
P2P Traffic Analysis [Cachelogic.com]
BitTorrent Accounts for 35% of Traffic [Slashdot.org]
Bram Cohen on BitTorrent [NWFusion.com]
A Comparison with BitTorrent [Konspire2B]
Is BayTSP a Cyber Trespasser? [Freedom-to-Tinker.com]
MPAA:Meet BitTorrent, the File-sharing Network that makes Trading Movies a Breeze [MSN-Slate]

New Survey Indicates Musicians Split On File Sharing

Musicians believe the internet is an essential tool to help create and market their work, but at the same time more than half of artists say file sharing of unauthorized copies of music should be illegal, according to a new report. The study titled, “Artists, Musicians and the Internet,” by US. researchers suggests that musicians do not wholeheartedly agree with the tactics adopted by the music industry against file-sharing, artists are divided on the issue but not deeply concerned. 60% said they did not think the lawsuits against song swappers would benefit musicians and songwriters.

Musicians Proposed Solutions to P2P Downloading. Frrom the Pew  Internet Survey,  'Artists, Musicians & the Internet'

In Spring of this year, the not-for-profit Future of Music Coalition and the nonprofit, non-partisan think tank the Pew Internet & American Life Project worked with an array of other musician and songwriter organizations including Just Plain Folks, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, CD Baby, the Nashville Songwriters Association, Garageband.com, and the American Federation of Musicians. to conduct an online survey to gauge musicians’ opinions of copyright and the internet in general. Over 2700 musicians completed the survey, the results of which were revealed yesterday.

“Even successful artists don’t think the lawsuits will benefit musicians.” “We looked at more of the independent musicians, rather than the rockstars of this industry but that reflects more accurately the state of the music industry,” research specialist and author of the report Mary Madden told the BBC News website.

52% of all artists and 55% of Paid Artists believe it should be illegal for internet users to share unauthorized copies of music and movies over file-sharing networks, compared to 37% of all artists and 35% of Paid Artists who say it should be legal.

Songwriters Eric Lowen & Dan Navarro, who wrote the Pat Benatar hit “We Belong” said free file sharing can have tremendous promotional value, but artists should be able to decide if they want to give away their music. “I want the ability to choose whether it goes out there for free or not,” Navarro told Wired. “When people start taking (the music for free), it takes the control away from us. I don’t think that’s fair.”

Makers of file-sharing software like Kazaa and Grokster may be unnerved to learn that nearly two-thirds said such services should be held responsible for illegal file-swapping; only 15 percent held individual users responsible.

The report continues to say that 87% of the musician respondents say they promote, advertise or display their music online, and 83% provide free samples or previews of their music on the internet. 69% of the respondents say they sell their music online. 63% say that they sell their music online someplace other than their own Web site.

56% sell CDs through online stores like Amazon.com or CDBaby, 28% sell downloadable files through digital stores like iTunes, and 18% sell their music someplace else online.

“Some in the policy community and in media companies have feared that the internet would bring financial Armageddon to musicians and other artists,” said report author Madden, “What we hear from a wide spectrum of artists is that, despite the real challenges of protecting work online, the internet has opened up new ways for them to exercise their imaginations and sell their creations. To many, this feels like a new Digital Renaissance rather than the end of the world.”

For independent musicians, in particular, this newfound ability to bypass traditional distribution outlets and geographic boundaries has been a watershed. One musician explained that having the ability to sell music online was the most significant impact of the internet.

“A huge positive benefit is being able to have my music available for sale to anyone in the world who wants it. Ten years ago there was absolutely no way to sell your CD except through major distribution deals or at your own shows.”

The survey found that musicians were overwhelmingly positive about the internet, rather than seeing it as a threat to their livelihood. Almost all of them used the net for ideas and inspiration, with nine out of 10 going online to promote, advertise and post their music on the web.

The survey is the first large-scale snapshot of what the people who actually produce the music that downloaders seek (and that the industry jealously guards) think about the Internet and file-sharing. The Recording Industry Association of America, the trade group for the major music labels, declined to comment on the study.

Download the 61page PDF. report.
‘Artists, Musicians & the Internet’

Related Reading

Study:Musicians Dig the Net [Wired.com]
Musicians ‘Upbeat’ About the Net [BBC News]
Pew File Sharing Survey Gives a Voice to Artists [NYTimes.com-reg. req.]
How do Musicians Feel About File Sharing? [USAToday.com]

Further Reading

The WIRED CD: Rip. Sample. Mash. Share.[CreativeCommons.org]
File-Sharing Getting Bad Rap? [Rolling Stone] April 2004
Download This! Chuck D Interview [CBCNews.ca] March 2004
Grey Album Fans Protest Clampdown [Wired.com]
Killing the Music [CommonDreams.org] Feb. 2004
An Eagle Almost Gets it [A Networked World blog]
Musicians United for Strong Internet Copyright [MusicUnited.net]
RIAA Radar [Magnetbox.com]
Downhill Battle-Music Activism
[DownhillBattle.org]
Feeding the Mouth that Bites [ChrisVreeland.com]
Let the Music Play [EFF.org]
Recording Industry Association of America [Wikipedia.org]
Model & History of File Sharing [InfoAnarchy.org]
Tracking the Downloading Revolution [BigChampagne.com] PDF
Privacy & Piracy: The Paradox of Illegal File Sharing on Peer-to-Peer Networks and the Impact of Technology on the Entertainment Industry [US.Senate Study] 169pg PDF
Rappers in Disharmony on P2P [Wired.com] Oct. 2003
Changing Industry:Moby [Moby.com] Sept. 2003
Moby on File Sharing [Moby.com] Aug. 2003
the Internet Debacle-An Alternative View [JanisIan.com] May 2002
Lars Ulrich’s Death Wish: Metallica v their Fans [Disinfo.com] Oct 2000
Chuck D: Gotta Share the Tunes [Wired.com] Oct 1999
Downloading the Future. The MP3 Revolution & the End of the Industry as We Know It [LAWeekly] March 1999
Negativland and the RIAA
[Negativland.com] 1998