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Google Is Being Evil, Music Bloggers Say

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Some music blogs skirt the edges of legality (and some completely ignore it) when it comes to posting mp3 files of their favorite songs. But a number of popular music blogs say Google (s goog) deleted their blogs without warning, despite the fact that they had the legal right to post the songs they did — in many cases because they were given the tracks by record labels themselves as a promotional effort.

According to The Guardian, among the music blogs that have been deleted (all of which used Google’s Blogger platform) are Masalacism, I Rock Cleveland, To Die By Your Side, It’s A Rap and Living Ears. Each now brings up a “blog not found” message (Living Ears has put up a new blog here). One blog, Pop Tarts Suck Toasted, has put up a separate WordPress-based (please see disclosure at the bottom) site to mirror the deleted one, with a post that states:

Sorry for the mass nature of this little note, but as you may have noticed my blog – – was murdered by the villainous conglomerate known as Goggle (Blogger) yesterday morning. due to copyright infringement or however they want to spin.

The publisher of I Rock Cleveland, meanwhile, has posted a comment in the Blogger support forum asking why his blog was deleted, and noting that the blog has never posted anything but legally acquired tracks:

Today I received notice that I had been found in violation of DMCA regulations and my blog had been deleted. However, without knowing which post had been in violation I have no way of knowing what caused the violation and whether I can defend myself against the allegation…I assure you that everything I’ve posted for, let’s say, the past two years, has either been provided by a promotional company, came directly from the record label, or came directly from the artist.

Google’s deletion of these blogs is just the latest episode in what has been an ongoing battle involving bloggers, Google, record labels and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. As the official Google Blogger response to the latest incident notes, a similar series of deletions occurred last year, causing an uproar in the music blogging community. Google responded by updating how it responds to DMCA complaints, but the latest incidents clearly show that the process is still not working properly, as Mike Masnick at Techdirt points out.

Many of the music bloggers whose blogs were deleted say they didn’t receive proper warnings that deletion would be occurring, and in many cases the DMCA notices they received didn’t even specify which songs were the subject of the complaint, making it impossible to rectify the situation (which involves a complicated series of steps prescribed by the copyright legislation) to avoid deletion. If nothing else, this kind of behavior might speed the emigration of more bloggers from Google’s lagging Blogger platform to WordPress, Tumblr or other competitors.

Disclosure: GigaOM and WordPress owner Automattic have a common investor, True Ventures. Om is a venture partner in True Ventures.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user cotidad

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13 Responses to “Google Is Being Evil, Music Bloggers Say”

  1. Google, MySpace, etc… are all the same. They want to control the music content and basically monopolize and monetize it in their favor. The reason I bring up MySpace is because we had a similar incident happen with them but it had nothing to do with music content. They deleted our profile and after countless emails have still not given us a specific answer as to why. We are putting up a new profile as I type since we offer indie artists the opportunities to connect with people in the industry. Our staff is still baffled as to why MySpace would delete an account that is actually trying to help out new artists. Anyway, the point is I see these huge companies as the ones who are all trying to lock down the music industry and make it hard for individuals and smaller companies to make an impact in the online realm which is becoming the playground for nearly all new music.

    Hey WordPress(Matt)… you guys are awesome keep up the good work!

  2. Ken Jackson

    So Google makes it seem they take a stand against China, but then completely cave to DMCA? Where’s your backbone Google? And at least give them 30 days to get their content backed up if you are going to delete it. That’s just absurd!

  3. We ( try our best to be very careful when applying sweeping DMCA requests.

    I would encourage any music bloggers that got shut down to try out Spend $15 on a domain so you ultimately have control over your domain and can move your content (we have full import and export) without losing your audience.

  4. Matthew, you close with a suggestion that music bloggers might flee a trigger-happy Blogger/Google for WordPress or other platforms. Are there good grounds to suppose that Automattic or other hosts might be less trigger-happy in the face of DMCA notices?

    • This comment gets right at it. I’m sure Google tries their “best to be very careful when applying sweeping DMCA requests” too.

      As I understand it, the law provides safe harbor to those who cave to allegations, so while I have loads of sympathy for the folks who site is down (anyone who has gone through this sort of situation would), ought we not be mindful that intellectual copyright situations are never as clear cut as they seem?