If you're not familiar with hip-hop music blogs like the one cited in the article, please visit http://nahright.com or http://missinfo.tv to get a better idea of what they look like (since dajaz1.com doesn't seem to be back up yet, understandably).
Almost every track posted to sites like these are released by the artists themselves (or by their labels). Many hip-hop blogs (including the two I linked) will not post songs if they weren't legitimately authorized by the artists (e.g. if a track was stolen and leaked on the web).
Something you won't ever see are full albums. These sites aren't designed to replace album sales, they actually encourage them. They will only link to individual songs or freely released mixtapes.
(Also, you'll note that a lot of the music posted is from unsigned artists. A lot of newer rappers actually rose to prominence after having their music posted on these sites.)
There are many, many sites that willingly infringe on copyright and the government has good reason for shutting down. This was not one of them.
PS. For more information on how music gets released to these blogs, read this excellent piece, also by Techdirt:
> There are many, many sites that willingly infringe on copyright and the government has good reason for shutting down.
Or maybe, the notion of copyright police is stupid. Have we caught all the bad-guys and evil-doers in this world, and all that's left is COPYRIGHT abuse? I mean, what about all those terrorists who hate us for our freedom. Yet, we have enough resources left over to shut down some poor dudes blog? I feel safer all-ready!
Terrorists do not threaten the power of congress. The freedom to share any data you want over the internet does. Digital rights, saving the children, pornography are all just smoke screens for the government to acquire a "thumb of smite" button to squish anything on the global internet that challenges US congress's authority.
Congress just got done bankrupting this country 800 times over, you think they are worried about some pennies lost by some company due to copyright? It's about power.
I'm sure every Congressperson rides the border between:
- Personal morals (i.e. voting against gay marriage or evolution because their religion dictates it)
- Pandering to corporate interests for campaign money (or votes in the case of strong unions)
- Supporting their constituents (or at least appearing to). This can take the form of pandering to corporate interests so that said corporations open up their new offices within said Congresspersons constituency (i.e. bringing new jobs into the area!). It can also take the form of voting on crap laws to look 'tough on crime' or 'tough on child porn' or whatever.
I doubt very much that many of the people in Congress see it as a 'power grab' even if that is essentially what it is.
You know I read all these comments about how this is just incompetence, but I think it smells like payback for something. How interesting that it was all filed under seal. That speaks to intent to me more strongly than anything else.
How doing all this is legal is still beyond me. I hope someone SOMEWHERE is planning to sue the living crap out of these asshats.
Is there any case in the history of America where the FBI was found to be corrupt or in violation of human rights? What would it take? If the FBI starts murdering people and taking them away in the night, is there a process to check that power?
Almost every track posted to sites like these are released by the artists themselves (or by their labels).
How would an outside copyright enforcer know that? In a world where companies send takedowns to YouTube over videos that they uploaded, it seems like it's not enough to be legal — sites need a way to prove that they're posing authorized content.
I assume this burden of proof did, or still does exist, and SOPA is the industry attempt to change that because it's too much of an inconvenience for them.
Those familiar with Nick Davies' Flat Earth News will know that copyright is a prime candidate for a flat earth story. The lobbyist angle is so pervasive that it has, to the media at large, become a fundamental truth.
The trouble is, copyright infringement is so widespread these days that the burden of proof is quite a burden indeed. It isn't just on the consumer end that copyright law hasn't yet caught up with the times.
You can't use that as an excuse to put someone (or some corporation) in a position power to hurl around accusations that cause mountains to move because they are assumed to be true.
"It's so hard for us to enforce our copyrights, so just give us the ability to point the finger at anyone, and have them (and their business) forcibly thrown off the Internet until they prove their innocence."
Oh, I agree completely. I just think "The burden of proof needs to be on the ones making the accusations" kind of glosses over some very important facets of the problem — it's a "Let them eat cake" sort of idea.
How would an outside copyright enforcer know that?
Well, for one, there is no such thing as "an outside copyright enforcer." The only people allowed to complain at all about a song's presence on a website are the people who own the copyright. That's it.
Which tells us that the RIAA lies to law enforcement and should be criminally investigated. If its a corporation, and since corporation are now people, perhaps we should put it in prison and allow it one phone call per week.
For whatever reason, it's good to know for the future. That is, it's probably a good thing to remember when future legislation (like today's new SOPA) comes up. I totally agree that the whole industry-written legislation Thing is lame.
Philosophically that's supposed to be true. In practice, not so much.
For example, in NJ, if you're found in possession of a firearm, you are assumed to be in violation of this state's gun control laws unless you can prove that you acquired the gun in accordance with State laws.