Downhill Battle seems to be on a roll, they have a new project called Grey Tuesday where they ask sites to post the mp3s from the Grey Album to their websites on February 24th.
90% Crud and SongBuddy plan to participate.
I am an attorney for Capitol Records. We see that SongBuddy intends to participate in “Grey Tuesday” (described at http://www.greytuesday.org ) by offering audio files of recordings from Danger Mouse’s The Grey Album at the SongBuddy.com website on Tuesday February 24, 2004. You must know that The Grey Album includes numerous unauthorized samples of Capitol-owned recordings of The Beatles.
We are surprised that you have decided to take this approach given that your site seems to profess respect for copyright issues. For example, your “Terms of Service” state “SongBuddy LLC respects copyright owners rights,” and your FAQ states:
Adding pirated (copyright infringing, really) music is against our Terms of Service and if we find out that you added pirated music, not only will we remove the song from the site but we will forcibly remove you from the site too.
At SongBuddy we respect the law. We work within the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to take down infringements that we are aware of. And since we make all our data available in machine readable formats, it’ll be pretty easy for a copyright owner to find out if you’ve added their music.
Also, since it’s fairly simple to find out where a song is being hosted, chances are that the web site that was hosting the songs will get taken down off the Internet. Then that super secret pirated music stash you found goes away forever, and under the DMCA you could wind up being fined thousands of dollars for putting the link on our site.
The bottom line is that piracy hurts artists and the whole goal of SongBuddy is to help artists. Some artists make their music available for you to listen to online, but some don’t. If you add music that artists don’t want on SongBuddy, you’re hurting the artist, the person who was hosting the music, yourself, and us. SongBuddy doesn’t enjoy dealing with piracy so do us a favor and don’t make us.
In fact, one “Tip” featured on the SongBuddy website reads:
Posting pirated mp3s on your own web server is a good way to get sued, plus we wind up having to deal with it. Whatever you think about the RIAA, take pity on us and don’t do it.
Again, we are surprised that SongBuddy would agree to participate in the “Grey Tuesday” event and offer unauthorized sound recordings to the public. Accordingly, we request that you reconsider your decision. Of course, we are compelled to reserve all rights and remedies with respect to this matter.
We would appreciate hearing from you by return email, or — if you’d like —
we can discuss.
Very truly yours,
EMI Music North America
This e-mail including any attachments is confidential and may be legally privileged. If you have received it in error please advise the sender immediately by return email and then delete it from your system. The unauthorized use, distribution, copying or alteration of this email is strictly forbidden.
This email is from a unit or subsidiary of EMI Music, North America
So am I going to capitulate? Hell yes! It’s one thing to do something right, it’s another thing to do something right when you are told by one of the lawyers who would sue you that he will sue you. I have neither the time nor the money to fight for what’s right.
Plus, he is right that it’s hypocritical for me to post copyright infringing songs and then go all over the site warning people not to post copyright infringing songs.
I guess I’ll just have to hope that SongBuddy and the web become a way to promote independent artists so much so that the music cartel is forced into enlightenment. Sorry if I’m letting anyone down.