Thursday, July 27, 2006

MySpace Caves

From Boing Boing

Billy Bragg's highly publicized campaign against MySpace's crummy, grabby terms of service has been successful. MySpace has revised its terms so that musicians who upload to the site retain control of their works, and MySpace/NewsCorp/Fox can't sell those songs without contracting with the musicians.

Bragg now declares:

"Now that the popularity of downloading has made physical manufacturing and distribution no longer necessary, the next generation of artists will not need to surrender all of their rights in order to get their music into the marketplace. It is therefore crucial that they understand, from the moment that they first post music on the internet, the importance of retaining their long term right to exploit the material that they create. This is doubly important on a networking site where many of the songs posted will be by unsigned artists. Ownership of the rights to such material is somewhat ambiguous. Thats why I hope that the groundbreaking decision of MySpace to come down on the side of the artists rights will be followed throughout the industry.
I also welcome the new wording of the terms and conditions in which MySpace clarify exactly why they require specific rights and how they intend to use them. Again, I hope more sites follow the lead of MySpace in ensuring the use of clear and transparent language in contracts. The last thing any of us wants to see is a situation in which everyone posting a song on the site has to have a lawyer sitting next to them. "

Interesting. MySpace is of course very vulnerable to anti-PR stirred up by a well known musician since its USP is that every wannabee band in the world as their home page there. I wonder if YouTube will follow suit? YT's conditions have been criticised for potentially grabbing rights to all amateur videos posted there. (Google Videos' are similarly ambiguous.)

1 comment:

Michael said...

Does allowing free downloads of your music put it in the public domain. I might argue that this is very similar to RSS feeds, which courts have held is free to publish on any website without ever compensating the author of the creative work. Audio files and video files can certainly be synidcated through RSS. It stands to reason based on my logic that allowing your media to be downloaded in and of itself may just create a loophole in the DMCA.