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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

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