Google deleting music bloggers' posts without warning

According to the LA Weekly, music bloggers have been surprised to find their posts disappearing.

It all started when Ryan Spaulding, producer of the site Ryan's Smashing Life, noticed last November that some of his archived posts--and even some of his newer ones--that contained copyrighted materials had vanished from his site. Spaulding was nonplussed, as he had written the posts in response to press releases sent to him by record labels. He began contacting the creators of other music blogs and found that some were having similar problems.

In fact, all of the bloggers who were having posts deleted had their blogs hosted on Google's Blogger/Blogspot. Normally when Google believes that infringing content has been posted to their sites, they contact the bloggers with a warning letter. But now they seem to be deleting posts on the sly.

What is even more surprising is that Spaulding and others who have been targetted were not, they believe, infringing anyone's copyrights. Rather, they were passing on press-released information and content to their readers.

Spaulding told the LA Weekly, "I'd received the labels' press releases and followed their directions, spending my time and energy to promote their albums. By pulling down my post, they destroyed my intellectual creativity, the very same thing they're erroneously accusing me of doing. I'm not leaking albums, not putting up three mp3s. Just the one they wanted. And they start erasing everything, with the threat of a lawsuit. People are afraid."

According to Techdirt, the RIAA sends Google lists of URLs they believe to contain infringing materials, and Google then responds. Google says that, while they do often send warning letters in response to complaints from copyright-holders, they do not claim that they will always send such letters. Rather, they are free to delete at will. Their actions have led some music bloggers to defect to other hosting sites.

Techdirt concludes that either (a) the RIAA is potentially abusing the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) and its "takedown notice" provisions or (b) its members have promotions personnel who are clearly not talking to their legal departments.

The story itself has even found its way into the music magazine Rolling Stone.

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