Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Vanishing music posts

Jeff Weiss wrote an interesting piece in L.A. Weekly last week about the phenomenon of music blogs on Blogger mysteriously losing their content, as happened to me two months ago when my year-end list vanished without a trace. Weiss sees an RIAA-Google conspiracy gone haywire:

Blogger chat rooms buzzed with speculation about the mysterious force behind the surge in disappeared posts. Open e-mails to the Recording Industry Association of America began popping up at such a rapid rate that you’d think they contained new Justice mp3s.

Eventually, though, a consensus emerged: Each post takedown occurred on a blog hosted by the Google-owned Blogger platform, the publishing system used by the majority of mp3 sites ... Google, the bloggers believe, has quietly changed the methods by which it enforces its user agreement. Whereas in the past, a blog owner would receive a warning before a post’s removal, Google is now simply hitting the delete button.

It certainly makes sense that labels want to protect their copyrights, particularly when it comes to pre-release leaks that can destroy legit sales; the RIAA and Google basically admit to this in Weiss’s article. But that doesn’t explain the disappearance of posts with harmless old audio files or (in my case) posts with no downloadable files at all.

Are Google’s blog-scouring robots too zealous and indiscriminate in sniffing out copyright violators? Weiss doesn’t address that point directly, and I’d be curious to hear more stories from us schmucks who did nothing wrong but apparently fit the profile.

The story received many detailed comments. One is from a blogger who had written about the issue several months ago, and links to a Google page about DMCA removals, including instructions about filing a counter notification — in other words, how to defend yourself if one of your posts has been chucked down the memory hole. It includes a phone number and an email address. I've bookmarked it just in case this post goes AWOL.

3 comments:

Rob said...

Well that settles it. When I finally get around to firing up my own blog, I will have nothing to do with Google.

tresider said...

told you it was a google/riaa thing!

B. said...

Indeed you did, Tresider. I apologize for not tipping my hat.