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,
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
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."
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.
that cheap or free music subscription services are the industry's
greatest hope. Apparently plugging such services as Zune Pass
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."
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.