Writing about music now considered identical to pirating it.

Feb 18, 2010

It seems like everything is being steadily reduced to one of three categories these days: terrorism, child pornography, or piracy. Mention of any of them will stop intelligent discourse with the rapidity of a falling watermelon striking the ground, and within the halls of government will derail legislation as surely as 1+1=2. When the categories begin to blur, however, is when the trouble really starts. In the past week that I know of (and probably a bit before, because this sort of shitstorm takes a while to ramp up) blogger.com was forced to delete six music blogs due to allegations of copyright infringement. The DMCA takedown notices stated that music piracy was taking place and Blogger dutifully closed those accounts even though the bloggers had received written permission from the copyright holders to post the recordings in question. Once again, the IFPI is up to its old tricks and acting like a bull in a china shop.

Frankly, I'm worried. If the permission of the copyright holder isn't enough to keep your site intact and the IFPI off your back, what is? Only time and money for legal fees (plus hopefully keeping a backup of your site stashed away someplace) will help if the hammer comes down. Plus, what if the software they use to scan the Net can't tell the difference between a pirated song and something from the Podsafe Music Network? Or music licensed under the Creative Commons? Or even free samples put up by artists so you can try before you buy?

It's only a matter of time before things go too far.