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DMCA: The Cultural Sniper Rifle · Friday November 21, 2008 by Crosbie Fitch

There was a very good article on the Million Music blog yesterday:
http://millionmedia.wordpress.com/2008/11/20/bloggers-vs-majors

This asked why music bloggers had changed from sympathy and tolerance toward major record labels to outright condemnation, and wondered if this had been due to the labels’ recent ‘assertion of their rights’ by exercising their powers under the DMCA that had resulted in people’s entire blogs being taken down rather than just an offending post.

So I commented thus:

Individuals (human beings) have natural rights. Corporations don’t, they have privileges.

Copyright is a privilege that suspends the natural right to cultural liberty (specifically the right to share and build upon published works) in order to grant a lucrative monopoly to publishing corporations.

The DMCA is simply an enhancement of powers granted to copyright holders.

So, the majors are not asserting their rights, but exploiting their privileges.

If anyone was going to assert their rights it would be individuals asserting their right to share copies of published music recordings.

Unfortunately, most file-sharers and people who publish blogs containing mp3 files don’t realise they have a right to do what they’re doing.

Users of Google’s ‘Blogger’ service are reliant upon Google, so really they should host their blogs themselves on their own PCs if they don’t want them taken down by those privileged by the DMCA.

The blogger agreed in a subsequent comment with my moral viewpoint, but invited my further explanation.

So I then suggested in a second comment that if the labels kept on using the DMCA (or EUCD) as if it were a cultural sniper rifle, that eventually they’d have so many victims that they’d prompt a rebellion, that the worms would turn – if they haven’t started already. Cultural participants will either develop bullet proof vests (defenses against the DMCA) or will shoot back (use the DMCA against the labels).

Shortly afterwards it seems (from my referral logs) that someone from Universal Music found the post and its comments so disagreeable that they’ve ‘persuaded’ the blogger to discontinue publication.

Time: 21 Nov 2008 11:06am
IP: 167.167.136.2
Host: ip-167-167-136-2.ukrom.umusic.com
Page: index.php
Referrer: http://millionmedia.wordpress.com/2008/11/20/bloggers-vs-majors/
Method: GET
Status: 200

Interesting times…

Anonymous said 3975 days ago :

From the Google cache of http://millionmedia.wordpress.com/2008/11/20/bloggers-vs-majors

Bloggers vs Majors
Posted on November 20, 2008 by millionmedia

So, question: How do you turn this…

“Most bloggers share views, opinions and songs that they adore in the hope of bringing that music to the attention of a wider public. Most bloggers are first and foremost music fans who spend a great deal of cash keeping things going.”

into this…

“First and foremost, none of you should ever pay for a Columbia product ever again. Fuck them. If you feel you can’t live without their music then just download the bastard stuff illegally, better yet just live without it, but under no circumstances give these chiselling vipers a cent of your money ever again”

Well, how about deleting blog posts because they feature music from Major labels – so far Universal & Sony BMG appear to be the instigators.

In another round of ‘Copyright vs Common Sense’ the Majors appear to be asserting their rights to issue take-down notices to Blogger.com and demand the removal not just of the offending track, but the entire blog. Not surprisingly, this is getting bloggers rattled and it’s going to get VERY interesting to see who comes out of this worst – anyone want to bet who it will be?

Crosbie Fitch said 3975 days ago :

Thanks Anonymous.

I thought I’d take the opportunity to see which articles Million Music quoted in their post that they were subsequently ‘persuaded’ to unpublish.

The first quoted article appears to be Dial 999, 911 or whatever the number… posted on the 26th of October by The Vinyl Villain.

The second article (cited by the first) is a very perceptive, if understandably emotional Don’t Be Evil post made on the 23rd of October by SongByToad.com.

Both articles are well worth a read, especially if you question my allusion of the DMCA as a ‘cultural sniper rifle’. There are good pointers and comments too.

It seems that if Google starts being relied upon to both host blogs and maintain archives thereof, that they obtain the power to control the global conversation, at least in terms of discovery and the power of historical revisionism as coveted by such wealthy customers as the record labels and other publishing corporations.

Tel said 3963 days ago :

No one has any “natural” rights. They have the rights that they are prepared to fight for.

We offer humans certain rights (such as liberty) because in the past someone fought for our liberty, and a mutual decision was made that it was better for all concerned if those rights were granted, and we would be able to live in peace.

I’d kind of like to redesign a WWW that worked a bit like the way “git” does (and p2p), with hash based content addressing. The design would be to make it impossible to retrospectively edit pages without leaving an obvious trace that something had changed, and also make it very difficult to remove the old version.



 

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