Friday, June 09, 2006

YOURSPACE, MYMUSIC SAYS MURDOCH

Billy Bragg has pulled his music off MySpace in protest at the rewritten terms and conditions Rupert Murdoch's teens-in-bikini website has issued. The problem is this bit:

"You hereby grant to MySpace.com, a non-exclusive, fully- paid and royalty-free, worldwide license to use, copy, modify, adapt, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, store, reproduce, transmit, and distribute such Content on and through the Services."

Bragg isn't happy:

We are hoping to start a small revolution (in true Bragg style) to try and put a stop to this. You can do your bit by posting out a bulletin to all your friends, esp artists, and badgering Tom with e-mails letting him know how unfair this clause is (not least because you can't hear Billy on here anymore!).

"Thanks for your help and support. The amazing thing about My Space is how fast we can all communicate so if we all do our bit we should be able to change this."


Now, this all seems a little familiar to us: indeed, it's an exact replay of what happened when Yahoo bought up eGroups and inserted a similar clause. There was a flurry of panic, with horrific futures in which Yahoo abandoned its web business in favour of publishing recipe books using dishes culled from within the archives of various groups and lists. Calmer heads pointed out that you needed to cede some sort of copyright to Yahoo, otherwise it wouldn't be able to store or distribute the messages legally, and it seems that that is the point of this clause.

For example, it does claim the right in the name of MySpace.com and not News Corporation - so even if Fox News wanted to download Billy Bragg doing There Is Power In A Union to soundtrack Brit Hume, they wouldn't be able to. But the problem here - as with Yahoo - is that they've erred too hard on the side of legalese. Maybe "Tom" should redraft the clause in a slightly less obscure language, and be very specific indeed about what he'll be doing with everyone's content.

Because this probably isn't evil. But it is Murdoch.


1 comment:

iiii said...

As far as I can see, the license only applies to "the Services", defined as

the MySpace.com Website (the "Website"), the MySpace.com instant messenger, and any other features, content, or applications offered from time to time by MySpace.com in connection with the Website (collectively, the "Services").

also missing from the quoted clause is the following line

"This license will terminate at the time you remove such Content from the Services."

I don't see a problem with the clause myself (although i am not a lwayer as they say). It's tom's way of being able to transmit copyrighted material (which still belongs to the copyright owner) without having to pay and kind of royalty

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