Sunday, May 02, 2010

Seasick Steve, the DMCA and me

At the end of March, I got an email from a promotional company which included a Seasick Steve track "approved to post", which I duly did. After all, who doesn't love Seasick Steve, eh?

A few days later, when I logged in to, I dunno, post a long thing about Billy Corkhill or something, there was a cheery message from Google telling me that somebody had issued a DCMA takedown, claiming that the track had breached their copyright.

Funny thing is, I wasn't even hosting the track, all I'd posted was a link to the song. Which was on the record company's own server.

Frankly, being slapped with a DCMA notice for a song which was being promoted to music bloggers as safe to post was irritating enough - I have no respect for the copyright laws, but I try to abide by them - but getting a smack from Google for merely linking to a file that had been made public by, presumably, the very same label who had published the file online was grating.

The same email had, it's worth mentioning, a link to a full download of the album, with a request not to share that. If I had been trying to rip off the labels, wouldn't I have posted that?

I wrote to the promo guy who originally sent the link, and to be fair, he apologised swiftly and said he'd talk to Rykodisc about it. That, though, was the last I heard from anyone.

I know Rykodisc are part of Warners, and perhaps you shouldn't expect any better from a fake indie. But I did think they were better than that. Disappointing.

Set against the scale of misery inflicted on people by the mess of copyright law, it's not a big deal. There is a wider point, though: if Warners are effectively accusing themselves of breaking copyright law, how can they ever be trusted when they issue lawsuits and threats?