Thoughts on web piracy

We’ve had as many discussions about piracy at the EDIT meetings as almost anything. We’ve found some good stuff out and thankfully we do feel there are ways to suppress this if you wish to have it suppressed. Of course, not everybody does as some people are happy to have free files available etc but we feel that we should be able to make the decision as to whether the music is available, at what price and to whom. We have discovered a wide scale disregard of copyright ownership from Radio 1 down to share sites. The principle is always the same. We should have the right to decide and to manage the distribution of our copyrights.

OK. If you want to stop your files being instantly and freely available on the net you can stop it yourself ( time consuming and needs to set up precise and methodical work practices and systems) or employ freelance people to do it for you. BPI should help but we have no direct evidence of that as of yet and they haven’t exactly been helpful to us. We had Carl Wicker from RIP BLOCK ( an all round brilliant bloke) to meeting 3 and what he has to say is both jaw dropping and scary. That said he can keep your music off the net at the crucial periods. Many people have used RIP BLOCK and swear by them. There are also other services and we will post them up when we have some info and experience with them.

Our friends at Kudos also have a great blog on the subject and we are taking that info and adding it here. http://kudosrecords.blogspot.com/2009/10/pirate-blogs.html Remember. If you own the rights to it its your right to distribute it how you see fit. Sell it or give it away. Fine, but its still your right.

It’s 4 weeks to release. You’re promo campaign is building nicely. Press had been overwhelmingly favourable. You’re getting fantastic radio support., and the producers from Later with Jools Holland have been in touch.

Then you see it. Your WHOLE ALBUM is posted on a RASH of blogs, with rapidshare links to 320 MP3s of the complete album.

The good news is that, with a little persistence, you can usually get these taken down. Blog hosting companies like Google and WordPress are generally very co-operative when copyright infringement is brought to their attention, as are file hosting services like Rapidshare,

All blog platforms and file hosting services have abuse procedures.

Here is the link to the Bloggers infringement notification form.
Use this if the blog in question is a Google Blogger blog. These have URLs such as username.blogspot.com

Here is a link to WordPress’s copyright violation procedure

Use this if the blog in question has a URL similar to en.wordpress.com/username

Here is a link to Rapidshare’s copyright violation procedure
Here is a link to Megaupload’s copyright violation procedure
Use this if the links to the actual MP3s originate from Rapidshare or Megaupload.

The Big Guns

The IFPI has a global anti piracy unit. The BPI is its local agent. They have a team of blog crawlers (no……, seriously… that’s what they call themselves!) who can issue enforcement and take downs on your behalf, provided you are a member of a collecting society that contributes to IFPI’s anti-piracy funding. For most of you this means being either a PPL or a BPI member. You do not have to be a member of the BPI to avail of this service, and ALL labels should be PPL members. Contact antipiracy@bpi.co.uk with details of any infringements, and they will fill you in on the procedure.

Blogs can be a fantastic source of grass roots promo. It is just those few errant (and generally mis-guided) bloggers who link to unauthorised content that present a major problem. It is very much worth embracing those bloggs that genuinely support your music and who understand the importance of music retaining an inherent value. Do your research, find out who they are, and offer them some promo content… perhaps a specific free mix or edit. Ensure they include working links for their readers to pre-order or purchase your releases from ITunes and Amazon, and try and persuade them to host a streaming player from Juno, DJ Download, or perhaps a SoundCloud player, complete with a buy this set link.

Specialist blogs with links to unauthorised content represent a genuine threat to small labels as they are completely focused on very specific niches. They usually carry releases well before their release date, and so can seriously undermine your marketing efforts.

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