Print 43 comment(s) - last by Master Kenobi.. on Oct 12 at 7:02 PM

The former frontman for the UK band Orange Juice was recently denied the right to post his own song on Myspace due to copyright confusion. Turns out a major label claimed to own it, essentially stealing it. His wife and manager says labels steal more music than filesharers.  (Source: The Portastylistic)
Artist's woes illustrate the problems with copyright in the U.S. and abroad

Illogical suits and copyright enforcement are nothing new in the music industry.  Rock musician John Fogerty was once forced to show a court that his song "The Old Man Down The Road" did not share the same chorus as "Run Through The Jungle" -- a song that he also wrote, when he played with the band Creedence Clearwater Revival.  With the modern era of music permeating the internet, though, such bizarre illustrations of a flawed system have taken on a whole new dimension.

One such illustration recently occurred when UK indie rocker Edwyn Collins was barred on MySpace from streaming his own 1994 hit -- "A Girl Like You" -- due to copyright restrictions, despite the fact that he owned the copyright (Collins wrote this song as the frontman for the defunct band Orange Juice).  Grace Maxwell, Collin's wife and manager, first ran into the bizarre scenario when she tried to post the song to his MySpace page in an effort to promote his work.

She writes in a blog post,"MySpace are not equipped to deal with the notion that anyone other than a major [label] can claim a copyright.  [After trying to upload the song] lo and behold, it would not upload. I was told Edwyn was attempting to breach a copyright and he was sent to the Orwellian MySpace copyright re-education page. Quite chilling, actually."

She adds, "[My husband] owns the copyright.  as he does for most of the music he's recorded in his life (preferring to go it alone than have his music trapped 'in perpetuity' to use the contract language of the major record company)."

Getting to the root of the issue, apparently Warner Music had illegitimately claimed the copyright.  They promised to fix it, but then never did anything. States Maxwell, "I naturally blew my stack and wrote to MySpace on his behalf demanding to know who the hell was claiming copyright of Edwyn's track? ... Eventually, after HUGE difficulty, I was told Warner Music Group were claiming it. I found a nice lawyer guy at Warners, very apologetic, promised to get it sorted, but all these months later it isn't."

She says that over the years her husband's music has been continually ripped off, both my major labels and smaller companies which are legally obligated to pay licensing fees, but "forget" to.  And she says he's not alone.  She states, "[We are] aware of who the biggest bootleggers are.  It's not the filesharers. [A Girl Like You is sold] not by Edwyn, [but] by all sorts of respectable major labels whose licence to sell it ran out years ago and who do not account to him."

She says many smaller independent labels are often just as bad.  The main problem, she says, is that Collins has tried to offer some of his music free to fans, and music labels would rather exploit it for profit, despite the fact that what they're doing is illegal.

She concludes that cheap or free music subscription services are the industry's greatest hope.  Apparently plugging such services as Zune Pass or SpiralFrog, she states, "Now let's get on with working out a wonderful new way for music lovers to enjoy music for free or for a small subscription that makes it legal and easy to hear ANYTHING and allows the artist to reap the rewards of such freedom of access."

That hope, of course, relies on the assumption that the services get who owns the copyright correctly verified in the first place.  One can only hope that these services are better than MySpace at that.

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So now what?
By Drag0nFire on 10/8/2009 3:48:46 PM , Rating: 5
Really, she needs to sue Warner for millions and millions of dollars in a highly public lawsuit designed to draw attention to the failings of the big record companies.

RE: So now what?
By spartan014 on 10/9/2009 12:54:52 AM , Rating: 5

I expected there would be more comments about this. But so few? I guess the article has to contain the words MPAA or RIAA to attract attention.

RE: So now what?
By jconan on 10/9/2009 1:08:15 AM , Rating: 5
that's true if it doesn't say RIAA no one reads it, and if there's any bad publicity to RIAA or MPAA they will try to claim defamation. RiAA and MpAA are out to bilk and screw the the public as they can get away with a lot of things while blaming the John and Jane Does.

RE: So now what?
By therealnickdanger on 10/9/2009 8:51:05 AM , Rating: 5
RIAA and MPAA are first and foremost looking out for the interests of the parties they represent, which are corporations and artists that have legitimate ownership claims to their respective media. Millions of people DO steal music and movies, so let's not completely demonize the RIAA and MPAA for doing their jobs.

Second, I believe that the RIAA and MPAA have too much influence and power, which CAN and sometimes DOES result in abuses and infringements upon the rights of others. So we have every right to push back and be skeptical of their motives.

Third, so long as the masses continue to BUY the content that major artists create, thees artists will continue to be members of the RIAA and MPAA, thus channeling that money right back to supporting their legal teams.

Fourth, this article isn't even really about the RIAA or MPAA, but rather some major labels that infringe on the copyrights of others. Should the RIAA get involved and stop it? Probably. Will they? Unlikely.

RE: So now what?
By MrPoletski on 10/9/2009 10:24:40 AM , Rating: 5
maybe it's time for the RIAA to step up and defend edwyn or be disbanded as some sort of illegal monopoly...

RE: So now what?
RE: So now what?
By MadMan007 on 10/9/2009 1:38:42 PM , Rating: 3
Hah. This was classic too, especially since the Inq is British:
In atypical French fashion, Sarkozy refused to surrender

RE: So now what?
By ajfink on 10/9/2009 8:32:46 AM , Rating: 5
I dunno, I read it. It's still early east coast time.

Anything and everything that can be done to (legally) shaft major content holders like record companies and movie studios, I'm all for it.

Draconian bastards, the lot of them.

RE: So now what?
By xsilver on 10/9/2009 1:09:54 PM , Rating: 2
I dont understand why even now record companies are still fueling so much debate - its so 2008.

IMO no new band in their right mind would sign stupid contracts that relinquish all their rights anymore. A lot of bands instead are going a garage thing and posting their own stuff on myspace etc and offering free downloads to attract an audience.

The audience then pays for live gigs and band merchandise which ends up being better than the $1/cd that a record deal would have gotten them.
the RIAA is a dinosaur, its death is inevitable, why get so riled up about that?

RE: So now what?
By MadMan007 on 10/9/2009 1:42:15 PM , Rating: 2
Lables do serve one purpose other than distribution and that is promotion. I'll be the first to say that there's lots of crap being promoted out there but the internet is too vast and varied to be a promotion tool. I don't do social networking so a band that expects MySpace or something similar to be their promotion tool will not reach me by that method.

RE: So now what?
By xsilver on 10/9/2009 3:39:16 PM , Rating: 3
the fact that you think that this method of distribution isnt working on you now is no reason to go back to the RIAA method. With kids these days, it spreads via word of mouth, someone likes band X, they put it on their myspace page, all their friends get to hear it, X% are then followers and 6 degrees ensues.

Even if you're not on myspace etc, when band X gets a large enough audience, they go mainstream and get free publicity on mainstream media. Thats when you will hear them, At no point is the RIAA needed. A larger % of profits will go to the actual artist and they own all their rights, the new system devalues the actual music in exchange for performances.

Losers in this system will be wannabe britney spears artists that used to rely on residuals because they wont be able to get their stuff off the ground because they cant sing. Good thing? You bet. (someone like britney now can make huge money off live shows but its more of an extravaganza than a concert, starting out you wont be able to afford that. Can you imagine a britney type in a 200 seat club? lol)

RE: So now what?
By MrPoletski on 10/12/2009 7:06:49 AM , Rating: 2
The fact that whenever you visited somebodies myspace page meant you had to listen to whatever song they put on there (which would restart every tie you reload, i.e. check out one of their pictures then hit your back button) was the single most annoying thing about myspace.

I hated it so much that not long before I left myspace for good I set my song to the downtrodden song by denis leary.

Every time you opened my page it was instantly EVERYTHING IS HORRIBLE YEAH HOO REALLY REALLY TERRIBLE.....

RE: So now what?
By Uncle on 10/9/2009 2:53:06 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly why they want perpetual never ending copyright on older music. Most music they produce sucks and we won't remember the artist in a few years, but the classics will keep selling.They know the writing is on the wall for them.

RE: So now what?
By MrPoletski on 10/12/2009 6:46:05 AM , Rating: 2
Not only that, they are responsible for the decline in the music industry, NOT pirates.

They know that louder songs get heard more. Just like when you're watching TV and it breaks to adverts, suddenly the volume is doubled. It's the same for pop music, they compress the hell out of the song, making it sound diabolically void of any character or nuances because it will sound louder when played over the radio, get heard more and therefore stand a much higher chance of being number 1.

They are not interested in producing music, they are interested in selling little circular pieces of plastic that people can use to kill silence.

somebody did a humorous parady about this based on 'master of puppets' by metallica.

google 'mastered by muppets'

RE: So now what?
By MrPoletski on 10/12/2009 7:08:35 AM , Rating: 2
dont google mastered by muppets, go here

RE: So now what?
By TSS on 10/9/2009 8:53:48 AM , Rating: 5
And how is she going to pay for that, with no income from the music?

Anyways, i asked my dad about this (he's a classical sheet music composer so he knows a thing or 2 about copyright) and the conclusion is: copyright is complicated.

My dad runs a website with his own work on there amongst other, copyright expired works and gets ad revenue from it, however the works themselves are all free. This revenue is... well as he puts it, "alot for his respective field", but in reality probably just enough to own a car (we don't have one though).

Now if he where to join up with BUMA/Stemra (Dutch RIAA), he has to send them a copy of his works and they search for uses of his works and collect income on it (licences). Of course, this income is split between my dad and BUMA/Stemra.

However, they reason that when my dad offers one of his own works for free, it also costs them money. Because there cannot be any income collected on said works, and i figure this is also the income they live on.

So in short: If my dad where to join up with BUMA/Stemra, They would tell him to remove all his works from his own website since it's costing them money. Nevermind that the income for us is greater then they could ever offer, which is 100%.

When thinking about that and reading the article again.... i have to conclude the record companies aren't stealing.

They're leeching. And a leech doesn't give up until he's full or he's dead.

RE: So now what?
By tmouse on 10/9/2009 9:01:30 AM , Rating: 3
I agree 100% sue them all, but to be frank I find it difficult to believe an artist who clearly hates the system and is aware of the system ripping him off had not thought of this. There would be no shortage of lawyers who would take such a case, for the publicity alone, a lot more would for a piece of the pie. I cannot help but think there is only a tiny bit of the truth in this story and more exageration for publicity.

RE: So now what?
By Murloc on 10/10/2009 4:12:21 PM , Rating: 2
the labels' lobby would make pressure on the judges

By Spookster on 10/8/09, Rating: 0
By crfog on 10/9/2009 8:39:55 AM , Rating: 1
No, John Fogerty has absolutely no relation to CCR. In fact, his non-relationship with CCR is directly comparable with Sting's non-relationship to The Police! all seriousness, though, I literally face-palmed when I read this comment.

By crfog on 10/9/2009 8:43:31 AM , Rating: 4
Upon further inspection, you were pointing out a typo. Do people actually read this site just to point out mistakes? I completely overlooked that and understood what was meant.

Maybe it's just too early in the morning and I need coffee.

By kattanna on 10/9/2009 11:58:38 AM , Rating: 4
Do people actually read this site just to point out mistakes?

its seems, VERY MUCH so.

enjoy your coffee

By PrinceGaz on 10/9/2009 8:41:42 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, of course we do. DailyTech purports to be a serious technology news site but most articles are riddled with errors. I'm surprised Anand continues to allow it to be part of AnandTech's homepage.

Why would people visit DailyTech if not to criticise the articles? For accurate and informative news, you'd be far better off visiting the likes of reputable sites like The Inquirer, and THG.

By Master Kenobi on 10/12/2009 7:02:32 PM , Rating: 2
reputable sites like The Inquirer


By therealnickdanger on 10/9/2009 8:40:15 AM , Rating: 2
By the way, 1987 called and it wants its joke back.

By Ristogod on 10/9/2009 9:33:11 AM , Rating: 2
By the way, DailyTech called. They want their post back.

By FITCamaro on 10/9/2009 10:55:16 AM , Rating: 3
This whole string of posts is an epic failure.

By ipay on 10/9/2009 12:08:00 PM , Rating: 2
Hei! We Didn't Start The Flame War, friend.

By MadMan007 on 10/9/2009 1:45:29 PM , Rating: 2
It's just been always burning
since the blog's been posting.

By MrPoletski on 10/12/2009 6:50:05 AM , Rating: 2
mutton dagger, fishing rod?

Oh my
By Ratinator on 10/8/2009 4:32:38 PM , Rating: 3
I really hope this becomes a huge case and the record companies get dragged through mud for the hypocrits they are.

RE: Oh my
By R3T4rd on 10/9/2009 9:03:54 AM , Rating: 3
Agreed. Why does important and revealing news such as this not get onto the major new channels? Yet the small fry "John/Jane Doe" who gets sued by the RIAA gets onto the local news and major news outlets?

Support independent Artists and boycott big labels. Haven't bought a CD/Tape/DVD for 15yrs now and will continue to do so.

RE: Oh my
By jimbojimbo on 10/9/2009 10:44:04 AM , Rating: 5
They need to sue Warner for $20k per song that they've sold illegaly. That's the going rate for piracy these days right?

The fact is when someone uploads a song online for free that's one thing but when someone is selling someone else's legal property for profit that's what the legal system should be going after.

RE: Oh my
By gstrickler on 10/9/2009 10:56:23 AM , Rating: 2
Could be more than that, they're doing it for commercial purposes, so the maximum penalties attach. I believe I read that max penalty is $150k per offense, but don't quote me, that's just a vague memory.

RE: Oh my
By greywood on 10/9/2009 11:57:34 AM , Rating: 2
I believe I read that max penalty is $150k per offense, but don't quote me,

I believe you are right, for "willful" infringement. I think 'willful' is defined as: knowingly and deliberately infringing (even if not for commercial gain).

RE: Oh my
By MrPoletski on 10/12/2009 6:55:36 AM , Rating: 2
this is different with edwyn and more vast though...

how many other pop songs have they relased re-using parts of his work illegally? They are only interested in churning out hits, not refining a beautiful work. Undoubtedly they have nicked drum beats, re-used guitar lines etc.. I expect often as direct 'use this chunk of sound for the backing to the chorus'.

That's a whole hell of a lot of potential, and very difficult to track, abuse of his music far higher in damages worth than any filesharer.

$20k per song is their (BS) figure, if that was a fair figure, then I'd say the fair figure for edwyn would be 100-1000x that amount.

The song is up there now
By mrtakeyoursoul on 10/9/2009 11:51:44 AM , Rating: 2
I checked this guy's myspace page a few days ago when I first saw this story and the song "A Girl Like You" showed up on his player and had over 500k plays at the time. It appears that myspace fixed their end of this problem several days ago.

I think he should sue the hell out of anyone selling his music without permission to the tune of $80,000 per song. That might ring a bell with the major label's lawyers.

RE: The song is up there now
By HrilL on 10/9/2009 1:34:08 PM , Rating: 2
If every artist that is being ripped off sued them they'd probably have to go out of business. I think this would be a great idea.

it's time...
By moriz on 10/12/2009 1:57:26 PM , Rating: 2
... to do away with the record label. they were just a middleman in ages past to distribute and promote the music the artists created. as a middleman, they've gained far too much power and influence.

now they are no longer needed. in the age of the internet and online distribution, artists can record and market all their music by themselves, and use services like iTunes to distribute for them. the recording label is a thing of the past. they need to either die, or adapt.

RE: it's time...
By JediJeb on 10/12/2009 4:52:06 PM , Rating: 2
The music industry is just one place the middle men have raked in huge profits for doing little or nothing. Just like the Record Labels, the brokers in Oil and Food products are doing the same. Both of these commodities are owned several times by someone who never touches them before the final customer receives the product. This does nothing but increase the price to the consumer. Artist need to learn to market their own products(music) just as farmers need to learn to market theirs. Same for movies, I always laugh when I see the opening credits: A John Doe movie, from Jane Doe productions in association with Bill Pictures, produced by Fat Head, under license of Greedy studios, distributed by Money Makers Inc ...........

All lies..
By Jalek on 10/10/2009 5:19:31 PM , Rating: 2
Who ever heard of a person owning something a corporation can claim? The RIAA would side against him since he's not a dues-paying member anyway.

It'd be a battle of lawyers, and the RIAA's won with arguments that defy sensibility. WMG's got it's own legal team that're probably even more notorious.

So what if he owns it, if he can't hire enough lawyers, he can't win. Isn't that the American way?

By CZroe on 10/11/2009 7:28:41 PM , Rating: 2
My brother and I made a Youtube video long ago demonstrating using a Wii Les Paul guitar (from Guitar Hero III) on PC. Of course, we demonstrated it and that meant playing one of the songs. There were telephone rings, talking, and numerous other interruptions. It was NOT an inappropriate use of their song. When they licensed it for use in the game, the same rules apply that apply to any game. Nintendo vs. Prima proved that screenshots and videos of the copyrighted content displayed or played back from the console game is not exclusively owned by the copyright holder and can be used in derivitive works without permission with fair use. Basically, they were after Prima for using screenshots and maps generated by the game in their game guide books but Nintendo lost and now Prima is the official Nintendo guide book maker (even Nintendo Power backed out).

The YouTube video is mine and I know that the only reason they are claiming this is because of the number of views it has (the vast majority of other GH vids are untouched). I countered the claim months ago but it has sat in limbo ever since. I can no longer show people on my iPhone because the illegitimate copyright holder has blocked syndication and embedding.

Oh well
By bill3 on 10/10/2009 6:19:21 AM , Rating: 1
If Mick supports people stealing from the record companies, which he obviously does, then whats wrong with the record companies stealing from people???


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