Friday, February 26, 2010

EFF posts advice for music bloggers on DMCA takedown and censorship issues

On Feb. 24, Electronic Frontier Foundation posted a summary column by Fred von Lohmann, “Practical Advice for Music Bloggers Worried About DMCA Takedown Censorship”, in the EFF “Deeplinks” log, link here.

Some of the tips deserve extra note. For example, bloggers might well consider mapping their blogs to a regular shared hosting domain that they own, rather than depend on someone else’s “free service” (we saw that advice a couple years ago with respect to the spam-in-blogs problem). But it’s important to know your ISP: not only is its technical support reliable, but also does it handle DMCA takedowns in a way that is considerate of customers?

Another tip questions the advisability of sending a “DMCA Counter Notice”, as is allowed by the DMCA, without seeking legal advice from an intellectual property lawyer, as it could invite a lawsuit from the copyright owner. (ISP’s and blogging services may tell you that you must counter to protect your rights; be careful, the article says.)

Perhaps the most important issue, however, is the most subjective. In the music business, it’s very hard to tell who has the authority to give permission to incorporate a music segment (usually, it seems, most of these offenses have indeed occurred with MP3 embeds). A music blogger-journalist should, it would seem, know the business as well as the music, because that is partly what he or she is writing about.

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