This is very much an emergency.
Today's posting was supposed to be a nice cheery thing about Martin Stephenson in response to a nice e-mail sent to me with requests for a couple of songs. The piece has been written, but I'm afraid it has to go on ice for the time being so that I can add my tuppence worth to something that I find very sinister, worrying, frightening and downright disgusting.
I'll provide the appropriate links a bit further down, but let me try and sum things up.
Ed, who is responsible for the blog 17 Seconds recently had something very nasty happen to him in that one of his postings was taken down by Google without any advance warning. It seems that Columbia Records objected to something he had posted quite a few months back....
Ed's 'crime' was that he published an in-depth interview with the then relatively unknown Glasvegas and posted some mp3s of demos they had recorded. All of this was done with the full support and indeed encouragement of the band.
But now that the band have signed a substantial deal with a major record label - the aforementioned Columbia Records - it seems that the goalposts have shifted. Citing something called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the label have insisted that Google remove immediately Ed's piece on Glasvegas - which the search engine giant immediately did.
Now.....the thing is this was a piece that the mp3s had long since been removed, so no-one out there could actually get a hold of the demos even if they wanted. But what has now in fact been removed is Ed's interview with the band - something that I'm sure he spent days preparing for and hours putting together as a blog piece. In other words, something creative from his brain and fingertips.....
I am at a total loss as to why this is allowed to happen - there's been a fair bit of debate and conjecture over at Ed's place as well as within a posting that Matthew put up the following day at Song, By Toad (to say Matthew was raging at all of this is probably the understatement of the century....). But it seems Google feel they had no option but to comply with the DMCA notice served on them by Columbia - and yet their own code of conduct should have allowed Ed to explain himself and/or willingly take action to remove whatever it was the was offensive.
I've followed things over the past 24 hours and now to my horror, it turns out that another very worthy and long running blog - Teenage Kicks - has also had action taken against it under the DMCA nonsense. So much so, that Steve, the talent behind Teenage Kicks (which by its anem you should have worked out is a blog aligned to the work of John Peel) is likely to pack everything in.
The thing is, I dont blame him. Most bloggers share views, opinions and songs that they adore in the hope of bringing that music to the attention of a wider public. Most bloggers are first and foremost music fans who spend a great deal of cash keeping things going. As I've mentioned before, I spend £20-25 every four weeks on a file hosting service as well as the incalculable amount of cash on buying vinyl and CDs - most of which are of artistes and bands brought to my attention by other bloggers.
And of course if you dig a little deeper, you'll find its also happening elsewhere -for instance, Coxon from To Die By Your Side has also discovered that posts have gone missing. And there's loads of others going by some of the comments left behind in various places.
Ed's story is here
Matthew's rant is here
Steve's reaction is here
Coxon's tale is here
All of these are essential reading my friends.
In all cases there's been no reason given for taking this action against the bloggers other than Google or whichever host was reacting to a demand from a record label.
So....does that mean that record labels can now employ someone to surf the Internet using all sorts of search engines for the artistes/bands under their charge and send out orders demanding the removal of blog pieces that are critical?? Well, given they are prepared to remove fawning articles such as that of Ed's in respect of Glasvegas, it is a fairly likely scenario.
Some folk - and Ed in particular - have been quite restrained in their response to what has happened. I reckon that when, (not if, but when given how this has sprung up suddenly to so many others) this happens to me, I'll likely just shut this venture down.
But I will not go away.
My own idea, and this is one that came to me in a bit of an alcoholic stupor this afternoon after a football match, is that I will instead do everything by e-mail to subscribers (i.e. - instead of posting a piece here every day, I'll send it out with an e-mail with an mp3 attached to whoever wants it - free of charge).
In other words, I'll go underground, but I'll still carry on.
I'm ready to batten down the hatches........but I really hope it doesn't come to that.
mp3 : Jarvis - Running The World
Thank you for listening.
I really do hope you've all spent time reading those other posts.