Merlin, the group which negotiates rights deals on behalf of thousands of small and medium-sized labels, is accusing MySpace of using songs to which it has no right.
Merlin's deal with MySpace expired about a year ago, and yet, oddly, over 100 of its labels have still got their music being used by the site. The New York Times reports that MySpace is blaming its members:
Neda Azarfar, a spokeswoman for Myspace, said the company had decided not to renew its contract with Merlin, and that if songs from its member labels were still on the site, “they were likely uploaded by users” and would be removed if requested by the label.Really? MySpace "users" did it? Why not blame something more likely to actually exist, like "a unicorn did it"?
But if we accept that Azarfar is guessing correctly - and wouldn't you have checked, rather than guessing, if it had been you? - isn't this a pretty terrible line for MySpace to be putting out to the music industry partners it desperately needs to court?
MySpace: a place where people are sticking any old copyright-breeching material online, and we don't really keep an eye on what they're doing.
Now, remind me what the RIAA usually says about such business plans.