This morning I stumbled across a fascinating article by David Lowery discussing the state of the music industry. He presents a well thought out case that runs contrary to most peoples views.

The traditional argument is that the ‘old’ record label system was grossly unfair to the musician, you could have a #1 hit, a sold out world tour, only to return home do discover that financially you were in the red with the record label. Musicians were essentially in a form of indentured servitude, nothing more than slave labor for the fat cats running the record labels.

This is certainly a theme that I have heard many times, from many musicians. The more successful you were, the worse off you became. Ken Hensley of Uriah Heap fame discusses the situation at some length in his excellent autobiography Blood On The Highway.

The argument goes on to extoll the virtues of todays wired world and how the internet has leveled the playing field for the independent musician. Freed from the bonds of the evil record labels a musician can now truly be a success, both on terms of popularity and also financially.

David Lowery is not so certain about the validity of this view point. The article is long, very long. But it is well worth the effort.

One section of it that certainly caught my attention concerns the Piracy aspect and the application of DMCA notices and how Google in particular applies them. They follow the letter of the law, but not the intent. A search that results in a DMCA notice brings the searcher to:

In response to a complaint we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page.  If you wish you may read the DMCA complaint that caused the removal(s) at ChillingEffects.org

Google removes the links.  It’s required to do this by law. But the next part is not required by law.

Google has chosen to  proclaim it has removed this link, and it provides you with a link to the complaint on the (ironically named) Chillingeffects.org. But if you click on “read the DMCA complaint” you are taken to www.chillingeffects.org where you get to see the actual complaint.  But more importantly you get to see the offending links. The unlicensed download link you wanted is just one extra click away.

 

I question where transparency ends and stupidity begins? Why doesn’t Google simply remove the offending search result?

Of course there is also the question of why the DMCA notice was sent to Google in the first place? I have only invoked a DMCA claim on one occasion. I did not point it at Google, rather the ISP that hosted the site. Google was gloriously dumb to the whole transaction and life is good! The offending material went into trash can and we all went our merry way.

That may sound off topic, but it is not. Google is very much part of the modern music business equation. They live in a win win world.

David puts forward some serious head candy. I really recommend that you read his article and give them some thought.

Simon Barrett

 

  

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