Soundcloud’s Raining On Your Parade

You might have heard a disturbance in the Force – many people crying out in pain suddenly at once. No it wasn’t the destruction of Alderaan, it was Soundcloud partnering with Zefr and thus many more tracks were taken down. I forecasted this would happen, rather than the ad-sponsored mashup/remix utopia that some were claiming would happen – then later had to retract.

So now this new system is in place, many more tracks have been taken off Soundcloud (the steady trickle has now become a flood) – including ones that were owned by the artists themselves such as Knife Party which was later restored but shows the system is flawed like the endemic YouTube Ad revenue fraud with false DMCAs to gain revenue for content they don’t own – but at least the video stays up in that case!

Even one of my mashups ‘Right Gaga’ was taken down – thanks Flo-Rida NOT (I’d only had ever one take-down from 3 years ago). This open letter sums up the issues really well – although depressing the wannabe lawyers in the comments who don’t seem to have the slightest grip on fair-use (I am not a lawyer either, but I seem to know more than they).

The odd thing is that Soundcloud. although Swedish and German HQ is incorporated in the UK, where the new Orphan laws passed last year which include transformative works for parody and education – thus meaning Soundclown and probably mashups or home-made remixes should be defensible, if not DJ mixes – but I’d guess those would be equally transformative too. The UK law – long pushed by Open Rights Group and others – specifically protects non-profit use of commercial copyright – so Soundcloud could argue that. And the record labels are really paranoid about case law being made in this grey area – hence they tend to back down or settle rather than go for a high-level court case. One ruling saying mashups or non-profit mixes are fine and then the floodgates would open. They’d rather use the ‘might is right’ of their well-funded lawyer teams to shakedown people, and drop it if they fight back (waves at EMI!)

But I think Soundcloud is too cowardly to do so, and in the pocket of the record labels…and is shitting on us mashup artists, DJs and remixers that helped it grow initially. I think we’re seeing the slow demise of Soundcloud – I for one prefer Mixcloud for my long mixes, no stupid upload limits and even better the artists get royalties, and am checking out TheFuture.fm which has similar artist AND DJ-friendly policies. And self-hosting is always better for those who create mashups or unofficial remixes.

And friends have setup a Facebook group for reporting take-downs – think ‘Chilling Effects’ – as an early warning for record labels or artists (usually the former) on the warpath over certain content. This is so you can avoid uploading litigious artist, which is actually an own goal for them, losing that valuable ‘taste maker’ free promotion us DJs and remixers give, but sucks to be them.

Relatio Clash

Tim B Written by:

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