Tuesday, November 29, 2005

RIAA invades mashuptown

found this on boingboing:

MashupTown, a site that hosts and distributes mashups (two or more songs ingeniously mixed together to make a third) has taken down all of its files after complaints from the RIAA to its hosting partner.

cory links to this mashuptown post, which reprints an email they received from live365. the email begins thusly:

The RIAA has been in touch with us recently to let us know that they have found a number of stations that are not compliant on the service.

This is something we take very seriously, so we're going to ask for your help here.

curiously, the email never actually states that mashuptownradio is infringing or non-compliant. it simply reports that RIAA has complained about "a number of stations" and lists ways that casters can "help" by verifying that their casts comply with the rules.

i could see live365 sending out this email to all subscribers, not just infringing ones. so this email, taken by itself in a vacuum, is not very good evidence that the RIAA has targeted mashuptown.

that said, this passage is somewhat distressting:

1) Broadcasters must display complete ID3 tag information.
2) Broadcasters must comply with "The Rules" http://www.live365.com/info/rules.html
3) No unauthorized or "bootleg" recordings
4) For LIVE broadcasters, broadcasters must make sure the track metadata is streaming to the Player Window.

by "bootleg" they clearly mean concert bootegs, not "uk bootlegs" (aka mashups). but "unauthorized" seems to be a codeword that means that only RIAA-approved content is allowed. so that wouldn't just include mashups, but any non-RIAA material that uses any uncleared samples.

but the post immediately before that one had stated cryptically that the site was being shut down "for many reasons which I won't bore you with." the commenters immediately jumped to the conclusion that the site was being shut down due to RIAA complaints. and really, why pull down all the mp3 files when shutting down the site if there haven't been any IP complaints. so it seems a logical enough assumption, even if they never actually say that's what happened.

the site was only 8 months old, which explains why i'd never heard of it (i stopped following or much caring about mashups a couple years before that), but if the RIAA really is going after mashup sites, that's not a good sign.

it's also a sign that mashuptown's ridiculous disclaimer offered them no protection whatsoever. check it out:

Listen up
This site is dedicated to the art of other people mashing music from other people's work. The copyright is still held with the original artists and if you own the copyright to any material used and are a bit pissed off at the way it's tampered with it, I will happily delete it from the site if requested.

okay, pretty standard, unobjectionable stuff so far. but here's where it gets silly:

It is intended that if you download any material from this site, it is for evaluation purposes only and that it will be deleted from your computer after listening. By downloading anything from this site you agree to these terms. If you dig what you hear support the artists that provide the audio that you are listening to by buying their music at iTunes or Amazon.com. Links are provided on this site for doing so. Peace.

you must be joking. "for evaluation purposes only"? nobody, absolutely nobody, is going to delete mp3s that they just downloaded unless those mp3s suck. the suggestion that anyone would do so is absurd on its face. this is a disingenuous agreement. it's sad that anyone would have to write such a thing in hopes of protecting themselves, futile though it may be.

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