Google Sheds Light on MP3 Blog Crackdown

Google Sheds Light on MP3 Blog Crackdown
Bloggers are, by their very nature, an outspoken, highly opinionated bunch. So when Google deleted a number of popular MP3 blogs yesterday (February 10), it came as no surprise that the webmasters kicked up a fuss.

The outcry occurred after Google's blogging service, Blogger, shut down a number of music blogs, claiming that the files posted on the sites violated its terms of services. Among the blogs affected were I Rock Cleveland, It's a Rap, LivingEars and Pop Tarts Suck Toasted.

Google has since explained the closures, writing in a statement, "When we receive multiple DMCA [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] complaints about the same blog, and have no indication that the offending content is being used in an authorized manner, we will remove the blog."

In such cases, Blogger's policy is to notify the author by email and reset the post to "draft," thereby allowing the blogger to delete the offending material without losing any of the written content.

That doesn't seem to have happened here, however, as the blogs in question were deleted outright. And while Google does allow for accused bloggers to file counter-notifications, many of the bloggers targeted yesterday weren't even sure which files were deemed in violation of the DMCA. Earlier today, Pop Tarts Suck Toasted (which has already relocated to posted a speculative list of the top 10 "tunes that probably got me booted from Blogger."

The catch here is that many of the bloggers targeted in this recent crackdown were not posting illegal MP3s, and had previously cleared all material with publicists. You can read I Rock Cleveland's Google support ticket here, which shows that record labels had filed DMCA complaints against material that he had received permission to use, including the download-friendly single "It Ain't Gonna Save Me" by Jay Reatard.

As Techdirt points out, this is a case of record label lawyers targeting the same files that its marketing department sent out in the first place.

Patrick Duffy of Pop Tarts Suck Toasted has a rather more conspiratorial explanation for why the shutdowns occurred, citing his negative reviews as the reason for the labels' outrage. He identified the Who's "My Generation" as the most likely cause of his blog's shutdown, writing, "After showing us how old they really are on Super Bowl Sunday, me calling them old farts a few days earlier must have really stung!"

Whatever the reason, let this incident be a warning against anyone posting copyrighted material on Blogger. Since the shutdowns, Pop Tarts Suck Toasted, I Rock Cleveland and It's a Rap have relocated to new domains.

For a long list of comments and some heated debate, head to The Daily Swarm.