Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Grrr...stand up to bullies



Extremely displeased by bully boy tactics.

I checked my email this morning to find an email from Blogger saying that links had been removed 'Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog infringes upon the copyrights of others.'

Now, I cannot actually check the article concerned, which was an interview with James Allan of Glasvegas, because it was removed. Yes, not just the mp3 (which I had believed that I had removed, given that I allowed my account to lapse with the file hoster concerned, as I felt that they had seriously let me down a few months back) but the whole interview, which frankly speaking, I consider to be MY intellectual property.

I would like to say that I do not blame Glasvegas for this. They're a great band, James Allan was a charming interviewee and his sister and manager Denise remembered that he had promised me a place on the guest list when they played Edinburgh last month. However, I do feel that removing mp3s of demos that the band had made available for free on their website is somewhat unjust. Yes, I posted them, they were free. Added to which, james Allan had commented that before many of the songs were out, fans seemed to have learned the lyrics to the songs from blogs.

Until a few months ago, the first three singles from the band (recorded prior to their signing with big record company, I won't name it here,) were available to download from a well-known online retailer. You now cannot buy them from said retailer. Now, if the band chose to do that, that is their choice. BUT: if you have previously enabled things to be either downloaded for free or to be downloaded, then withdraw that, people will distribute them ILLEGALLY, and if they were once available to buy -guess what, the band won't make the money that it might have done!

Back when I interviewed the band in January, James Allan was very modest, and even with the signing frenzy that was happening, didn't seem to have let it go to his head. From what I saw onstage last month in Edinburgh, he still hasn't. As well as coverage in the NME (three covers this year, I think), what has helped them was the coverage in blogs like this. Oh, and bizarrely, people like me who played them to their students in aesthetics, and the students went and bought the album and singles.

There are those who see all copying and distribution of music as being the same as walking into the shop and stealing multiple copies. I beg to differ. Whilst I have had to cut down on music buying of late (there's, y'know, bills to pay, and there is a recession coming -sorry, but the Emperor isn't wearing any clothes, this is not scaremongering), I have bought pretty much everything by Glasvegas I could lay my hands on. Including buying a copy on vinyl even though I'd been sent a promo CD and buying a copy of the LP for brother Seconds' birthday. I might also add that when I reviewed the album in September I stipulated at the end of the review 'Don't copy this, go and buy it.' Short of going and buying thousands of copies of the album and giving it to strangers in the streets, I don't think I could have done more to promote the band.

So why the hell am I being made to feel like a common criminal?

Like I say, this is not a rant at Glasvegas, but at people who feel that they can use bully-boy tactics and scaremongering. As I've mentioned before, I co-run what is Scotland's newest and smallest record label. I hereby declare that I will never, EVER hound people who promote the bands whose records we release. And may I be struck down if I do.

Glasvegas' album is out now. It's brilliant, go and buy it. And go and buy the Aberfeldy single, it's brilliant too.

If you are the sort of person who is trying to concentrate on internet crime; here's a tip: deal with the real criminals: people who exploit others. Not bloggers who do this out of love of writing and music. The web police are no more than manifestations of George Orwell and William Gibson's worst nightmares come to life.

After that rant, there's only one thing I could possibly post:

Crass -'Do They Owe Us A Living?' mp3

I had been going to post 'Police and Thieves' by the Clash, until I remembered that it is on a label with big scary lawyers (well, very likely).

Oh, and I will post the review of the Mogwai/F*ck Buttons/Errors gig tomorrow, it was brilliant).

50 comments:

So It Goes said...

Eloquent and yet savage at the same time. Ed, you excel yourself in your writing. As you may remember, I posted 'Police And Thieves' when the same thing happened to me, only not on the scale of this intrusion into your rights. Makes you want to pack it all in. You know what I say? Fuck 'em. You're brilliant.
P.S. In on Saturday?

Anonymous said...

Continue the blog please - as im sure you will however knowning that there is people out there that proberbly have never read the blog who seem to get kicks out of fucking people over is terrible. Its basically the big man bullying the small man.The fact the actual post its self has been taken down is a disgrace on blogspot.com's behalf -In my view...
SW

Ed said...

Hi guys - thanks for your support which means a lot. I did briefly consider chucking in the blog, but not standing up to bullies allows them to continue.

Ed

Nuzz Prowlin' Wolf said...

Some people. Stay Free! and Keep On Blogging In The Free World! The last three albums I bought; Glasvegas, The Gaslight Anthem and Primal Scream, I'd already got from blogs a lot less scruplious than yours and mine, when it comes to sharing music, before I bought them. Fuck 'em, owe us a living too fucking right, the amount the 'music biz' has had out of me over the years, doesn't bare thinking about; It's payback time.

Ed said...

Cheers npw!

Davy H said...

Ed, to be honest I think you're being overly charitable to the band, with the best of intentions I know. This can't be happening without them knowing about it, surely?

It seems to me that they need you and others like you to grow, then once grown, take the silver dollar and all the lawyers that go with it and look the other way whilst this kind of act is perpetrated in their name.

I'd like one of your 'modest' friends from the band to come on here and explain himself, frankly.

Meanwhile I'd assume they approve of all this, since they appear not to be looking for another record company (and lawyer pool).

Oh my friends punk is dead, dead, dead; stone dead.

Ed said...

After reading this, I'm actually tempted to email the manager and ask for an explanation.

Cheers for the support, though!

Ed

Davy H said...

Good idea. You might also try contacting Blogger and asking them to restore your writing - Adam had something similar happen with Wordpress and they did oblige.

Ed said...

I did try with Blogger -I got sent exactly the same email as before, word for word as Mrs. 17 Seconds points out.

Y'know, if I had posted the entire album before release then that would have been one thing, but this feels dangerously close to being stabbed in the back. Sure, I didn't kid myself that they were friends or anything, but I didn't expect to see a band that I had supported when they were small do this.

Mrs. 17 Seconds: 'Never mind 'forget your dad he's gone' forget your morals, they've gone.'

As ever, my darling wife has the last word!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'd also like to know how much, if anything, Glasvegas had to do with this.

Just out of curiosity, Ed: If they were involved in creating this hassle, would you still listen to their music and would you still enjoy it? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

In the meantime though, get back to reviewing and giving coverage to those bands who appreciate it, Ed! I'm sure heaps of bands/labels are very grateful for your support. I've had emails from bands telling me how thrilled they are that 17 Seconds have reviewed their album/gig and posted an mp3 of their new single.

Best wishes,

Gav

www.letterboxrecords.com

Anonymous said...

Ed,
Love the blog, I've been a long-time admirer (aka regular lurker), and you've got me into a number of excellent bands (Sons & Daughters, The Darling Buds, Specials, Wah! in many forms, etc etc). Keep doing what you do above all else.

I've noticed this kind of episode happening more with other blogs, too (A Plague of Angels, for example). You were fortunate to receive some kind of notice, it seems, as the practice of summarily deleting entire blog posts seems to be standard practice in these situations.

As to Glasvegas: I saw them at this year's Great Escape in Brighton, they were really good, highlight of a fantastic weekend. I became a fan and bought the singles I could find of theirs. I went to see them at a signing session soon after, singles in hand to be signed, and they laughed along with their huge bevy of bouncers (who demanded to check what was being signed) about how I was going to put them on Ebay. It was an embarassing way to treat a fan (I'd already told them I'd loved the gig) and, perhaps, a sign that they were being absorbed by The Industry.

Purely anecdotal, I know, and you've clearly had better experiences with them (in interview/with management); but after this you'd have to have a pretty thick skin not to be wary of being so effusive in praise of them in future.

(Apologies for anonymity, I'll sign up at some point!)

- best, Ian

Anonymous said...

i dunno one appearance on soccer a.m. and glasvegas they think they're the rolling stones! don't get upset by lawyers, bunch of fuckin' vampires who feed on society and put nothing back.
A.J

Anonymous said...

Better watch what you say about playing the tracks or you might get the PRS on your case as well. What happens to bands when they get signed by majors? As I, like others who have commented believe that the band must know that this is going on and if they don't, they better find out as this kind of behaviour doesn't make them any new fans.
Drew

entrailicus said...

I know it will dismay you all to hear that one of my K-Tel compilations (and the entire post) has gone the same way.

Anonymous said...

Ed,

another regular reader supports you :)

Personally, Glasvegas don't do it for me. But you can't blame the band for this really, as soon as most bands sign a typical record deal they're no longer in control of their catalogue, its distribution or the copyright of the catalogue.

Just as a myriad bands have found.

"They said, we'd be artistically free, when we signed a bit of paper. They meant, let's make a lot of mon-eee, and worry about it later ..."


cheers, Craig

david said...

Well maybe not the last word..........

All of this typifies the hypocrisy running rampant throughout the 'music business'.

Every single person who's ever wrote a song/started a band is delighted when people hear and enjoy their music. How many bands put up their first tracks on Myspace for free and are delighted when they reach their first thousand downloads? Huge numbers. I played in a number of (startingly unsuccessful) bands, but they all had one thing in common - we did it because we loved doing it.
But when a little bit of success comes along, it all changes and becomes 'business'. And it becomes less and less to do with the musicians and all to do with parasites making money out of it.
I'm quite comfortable about putting my cards on the table - I download music all the time. Lots of it. Everyone knows you can rip tunes from Myspace in seconds (including the bands). Who cares? The answer to that is the record companies/music business. That's all really. Who protests the loudest about downloading? U fcking 2! How much money does King Bono of Ireland need ffs.
Sorry about the rant Ed, but it's been building up for a long time. If you want to make music, go ahead and do it. If you're any good, people will PAY to come along and listen to you doing it. They might even buy the t-shirt. In reality, the recordings are only a way to let people hear how good you are at your job, which is going out and playing music.
People like WeePop lovingly create beautiful artefacts that I will buy and treasure but the Sony's etc of this world simply want your money for putting in the correct order a number of 1's and 0's.
Well, I've had enough. I've been ripped off for years and years by record companies. Revenge is sweet.
Rant over.

Ed said...

Guys, thank you all for your support. Think I will contact the band and try and get an explanation.

Keep in rocking in the free world, while you can...

adam said...

From the little bit I've read about it (having had two different posts locked up, and two fileden accounts deleted, because of DMCA notices) is that it seems to exist primarily to protect providers like blogger, wordpress and fileden and so on - if they receive a notice about hosting protected material, and they comply with the notice instantly, they are immune from further action in relation to that breach. That means that they comply, without question, to any and every notice they receive, and the notice could come from anybody, it has to say that the person responding has authority from the copyrightholder to do so but how anyone would know is beyond me, it is not necessarily anyone with an interest in the ownership of the material but anybody who can be bothered.

And the other thing that pissed me off about this, along with the point that you've made about your rights to your intellectual property and your media text that you've gone to the effort of creating yourself, is that this is an American law, I have no say at all in the rights or wrongs of it, no vote, nobody to write to or lobby even in my individual and ineffective way, no say at all whatsoever. It would be interesting whether a case might come up where a blog or such hosted by a UK company playing music from a UK band on a UK label got hit from somewhere with a DMCA notice and what could be done about it. From what I've been able to find looking around online I imagine there is an equivalent piece of legislation in UK law as the European directive asking for it across the EU has been around for quite a while, but I can't find any reference to the UK legislation if it exists.

DMCA allows an almost automated response with a guaranteed result and stops, completely stops, the prospect of their being any dialogue between people who legally 'own' music and people who want to support and publicise and, to be honest, usually eulogise about it. It's dumb dumb dumb, and in fact the only thing I can think of to say in its support is that some people have used it to stop the McCain campaign posting YouTube videos with songs they didn't get permission to use on them.

Ed said...

Adam - interesting point about the McCain campign trail; as it won't surprise any regular readers to know I do not want McCain or Palin *involuntary shudder* to win the US election. I think the use of songs in stuff like that is open to far more abuse than the likes of a humble mp3 blog with an average of 300-400 hits a day supporting a band.

In reply to Gav's comment earlier; I'd certainly still listen to Glasvegas if I found out that they'd had a hand in the notice, but it's ot beng melodramatic to say that it would leave a nasty taste in my mouth. I'm glad that it's meant something to your artists that they've been featured on this blog. Particularly hlpful to have that when I've been hit like this!

Ed

Anonymous said...

I first found out about Glavegas on this blog and have since spent a fairly obscene amount of money on them! Glasvegas should be eternally thankful to bloggers like yourself Ed, who got the word out in the first place. I sincerely hope that the band have nothing to do with this but if they do fuck 'em and thir label cos I wont be spending money on the Christmas album!

Ed said...

Thank you anonymous, have been very touched, as I have said by the support, and your comments about getting into them through this blog certainly support what I was doing.

There has been a very touching post over at Song, By Toad (http://songbytoad.com) looking at this article and its' disappearance.

Ed

david said...

Sorry about the rant Ed but...y'know.
Just don't post anything by Mogwai or you'll find yourself getting another visit sharpish.

Ed said...

Ach, it's always good to see you round these parts. will keep you posted on anything happening...

a Tart said...

Chin up dear Ed, the love we make is greater than the love they take and all that, ... however badly I misquote the Beatles, we do blog out of love for music and create a common love for what moves us, excites us, invigorates us. That force can't be stopped ya know ;)

xoxo,
a Tart

Ed said...

Cheers, tart! More weird and wondeful music around these parts soon...

Ed

JC said...

Hi Ed

I find all this really quite fightening, sad and pathetic.

I think its important to establish if the band and/or their management had any degree of compliance in this....I really hope they didn't.

If they turn out to be as appalled as the rest of us, the least they can do is give you a replacement interview....

I couldn't be so level-headed if this had happened to me....

Have you thought about highlighting this practice with a sympathtic investigative journalist?? The way you've been treated is the sort of theing that sometimes gets Sunday broadsheets foaming at the mouth.

Please keep us informed of progress please....

Ed said...

I am still waiting to hear back from the band's management, I will of course keep you informed, and thanks for the support!

Ed

So It Goes said...

I received my first DMCA today and as a result, TK will be gone within the week. I don't want to play this game any more.

Ed said...

Steve, please don't go; we cannot let these people win.

Ed

Simon said...

I've been a musician for a long time. Perhaps the fact that I've not made much money from it affects the way I feel, but I'm not interested in wringing out any profit from my works. The only thing I've ever strove to protect was my ownership of the...creation. I wouldn't want somebody else to make money out of my works, but mostly I want to make sure that anybody hearing those works know they were by me, created by me. If I could tattoo my works or watermark them in some permanent way that nobody could remove I'd be happy. Don't make money out of my works without giving me any but if you want to share those works with anybody who's willing to listen all the better. If I didn't want people to hear what I've done I'd never have stepped out of the bedroom.

What I'm saying I guess is that all exposure is good exposure. I'm old fashioned I guess in that money isn't what it's about. Speaking as a blogger and musician I don't see any clash between the two.

I'm waiting for the industry to see what a good thing this network of people is. But it's more interested in protecting profits. Most of which don't go to the bands anyway...

Ed said...

If we're going to point this out to the industry we'll need all the help we can get. Anyone interested in helping??

Ed

Jim said...

Well, that's just pish. Not much else I can add, sorry this happened to you Ed and I can only hope that it all gets sorted out, one way or another.

The ironic thing might be that for a good few years I was one of those full album posting people and never really had any hassles like a lot of blogs whose intentions were better than mine.

david said...

If I thought there was any way of helping I'd be glad to Ed BUT..
it's really about a few powerful people trying to squeeze the last drops of profit out of a dying model isn't it?
I'm not sure Columbia or anyone else thinks you or any other blogger has a major impact on record sales. Anyone who's messed around on the internet knows exactly where to get zipped files of any album they want, and it's certainly not from blogs. In fact I honestly agree with you that blogs like 17 Seconds simply help publicise what bands are doing - a 21st century version of the John Peel Show if you like.
Action from the likes of Columbia is only designed to strike fear into the hearts of the naive, and convince them they'll be prosecuted if they dare to download anything. It's not really anything to do with logic.
Viable new models have been proposed - give away the music free, make the £££'s from advertising, tours, merchandising etc - but the music business won't give up its cocaine accounts easily.
I'm with you Ed, as I'm sure SiG, Song By Toad and countless others (including active musicians) are, but just where do you go from here?
The DCMA may be unjust and possibly illegal, but if it's enough to frighten Google it's going to be difficult to counter. Sadly.....

Ed said...

Jim - still trying to sort it out, have heard nothing back from the powers that be

David - It may be a hard battle, but I cannot let this go down without attempting, in some way at least to try and take them on...

barbelith said...

please excuse my language (and apologies to alan moore) but

who watches the fucking watchmen?

Agnes said...

You certainly have every right to be shitty - they're YOUR WORDS, that's what gets me! You and the other bloggers who've been affected have a lot of support out there though, and I hope you keep going. If us bloggers chuck it all in, then they've won, and that's crap.

I too am curious about your feelings about Glasvegas now - I know you believe they're not at fault and by all accounts they've been pretty good to you, but I reckon if I'd supported and promoted a band on my blog and then this happened to me, I'd find it hard to listen to their music again without being left with a pretty bitter feeling.

Ed said...

barbelieth - good point, they certainly cannot be trusted to regulate themselves.

Agnes -thanks for your support too. Have to admit, over the last few days, I've not felt inclined to listen to them. Maybe it'll come back to me, but if they don;t know what their record company are up to, they ought to know...

Ed

Planet Mondo said...

I got blog-busted last week as well - I think Prince being in the mix may have been the clincher - I've had a rant about it here..


http://channelmondo.blogspot.com/

But in summary I'll keep in blogging 'til the buggers pull the plug

The Lemur said...

Another fellow blogger and first-time visitor submitting support and full agreement and understanding. I was lead to this post by the writer of Acid Ted and Vinyl Villain after posting a review on my blog The Lemur Blog

http://thelemurblog.blogspot.com/2008/10/album-of-year-week-43-glasvegas.html

Several times and still continuing my posts have been deleted although never with any notification from Blogger, the DMCA act or the RIAA, leaving m,e very confused over not finding or reaching a certain post. Let's see this as a test wether this will pass unnoticed or if strong reactions will follow. I have shared Daddy's Gone after a ridiculously celebrating text in mostly Swedish, including a link to Amazon.com to buy the album.

I'm seriously considering buying myself my own domain name and server to decrease the risks of shutdown by Blogger and disappearing posts.

The Lemur is fully on your side!

Ed said...

Thank you, kind sirs. Apparently those links that i thought were dead weren;t, but they were the demos, not property (I thought) of Columbia. May

Ed said...

I was going to say (before I pressed send) that I believed that the links were dead. Not happy that the interview was removed, but grateful for support.

Ed

Hooli said...

Ed,

Ditto.

Same thing happed to me last week at Hooligan's Lament.

Put a lot of work into a post, got an email same as yours.

As was the case with Fence, a simple message in the comments section would have sufficed. As I did then, I would have removed whatever was offensive.
No question.

Now, I will probably lose interest.
Not sure I can be bothered wasting two thirds of my week writing something and promoting the music I love just for someone to wipe it out.

Hooli

Highlander said...

Ed,

appalling treatment all round. Most of the other comments have pretty much covered anything I might add.

But I will say that however clever Google think they are, they haven't yet (as of writing) deleted the cached pages of the Glasvegas interview post. I wonder how that "complies" with the DMCA notice they have been served?

I have added the link above but if that doesn't work then search Google for '17 seconds glasvegas interview' - your interview should be the first link and the Cached page is linked accordingly underneath.

I have also copied the text and mailed it to you in the event the cache is refreshed. At the very least you will have your own work back.

Ed said...

Hooli - please don;t give up, these sods must not be allowed to win.

Highlander -thank you very, very much...

Filmore Mescalito Holmes said...

Yeah, that's some serious crap. Don't let the man get you down.

Ed said...

Spread the word comrade, spread the word!

Hooli said...

Hey,

Cheers Ed.

Like Highlander, I too have just found all my posts untouched and unaltered via Google Reader.
In case anyone is unfamiliar - open Google use the drop down on 'more' and select Reader.
In the reader homepage click add subscription and paste the URL of your blog - bingo!

I didn't know this until someone told me - now at least I have the archive of my posts that I stupidly didn't keep before now.

Please pass on


Cheers

Hooli

Ed said...

Fantastic - in case it ever happens again -and I still need to repost the Glasvegas interview -i will note this. Cheers!

Ed Halbert said...

well i seriously do believe you should continue.

Ed said...

Cheers, looking back at this I'm glad i did...