The world is calling it "Musicblogocide 2010." We call it yet another demonstration that the DMCA takedown is a ridiculously blunt instrument.
As reported by The Guardian, Google recently destroyed six popular music blogs hosted on its Blogger service after receiving repeated notices alleging that the sites were housing unauthorized copyrighted content.
According to Google, the blogs - Pop Tarts, Masala, I Rock Cleveland, To Die By Your Side, It's a Rap, and Living Ears - had violated its terms of service, which says Google will respond to notices of alleged copyright infringement in compliance with the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
At least some of the music bloggers claim they were not hosting unauthorized content. "I assure you that everything I've posted for, let's say, the past two years, has either been provided by a promotional company, came directly from the record label, or came directly from the artist," one blog owner said.
But whether the content was authorized or not, Google is merely sticking to policy.
Last summer, the company updated its DMCA policy so that if it received a takedown notice for a particular blog, it would change the post to "draft status" - so that it's no longer publicly accessible - and notify the user via email as well as the Blogger dashboard. This was actually a policy improvement. Previously, when a takedown was received, Google simply deleted the post.
On top of this, if Google receives multiple DMCA complaints about the same blog and the company has no indication that the copyrighted content in question is authorized, it will remove the entire blog. As the DMCA requires. In order to protect themselves from deletion, bloggers must file DMCA counterclaims when they believe takedown notices are in error.
"Inevitably, we occasionally receive DMCA complaints even though the blogger does have the legal right to link to the music in question," the company said in a blog post of its own following complaints of Musicblogocide 2010.
"Whether this is the result of miscommunication by staff at the record label, or confusion over which MP3s are 'official,' it happens. If this happens to you, it is imperative that you file a DMCA counter-claim so we know you have the right to the music in question. Otherwise, this could very well constitute repeat offenses, compelling us to take action."
It would seem the music bloggers aren't versed in the ways of DMCA claims and counterclaims. But you can't blame Google for that. Blame the DMCA. ®