Today, I received notice from SoundCloud, a place where I’ve been posting my music, paying for the privilege too, that my album ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ released in 2012 was in violation of copyright.
First I gulped.
Then I swallowed.
Then I got mad.
After all, I had paid Harry Fox, a music licensing company, gobs of money to redo a few jazz standards. They took the money immediately and sent me the physical licenses to allow me to sleep peacefully at night.
The other the other songs were originals, meaning they belonged to me, Aman Mahajan and Suresh Shottam, reasonable fellows who wouldn’t come out clawing in the middle of the night without warning.
So I dashed off a bunch of emails to SoundCloud hoping they were real and not just flashes of light in the clouds.
They were very quick, very responsive and very helpful.
And here’s what they said, “Whenever a sound is uploaded to our platform, it’s checked against the fingerprinting database to verify whether or not the content is copyright protected. If there is a match, we don’t publish the sound. So, if your upload has been blocked, an original copyright owner (The Orchard, who probably distribute for the label you released the album on) submitted it for fingerprinting and requested that its publication on SoundCloud to be prohibited.”
Ok, I said, but whatsitgotta do with me? I don’t know orchard from meadow. I do know Fox and they already got my money.
SoundCloud believed me immediately and restored my tunes and they’re back on the cloud. Proof is https://soundcloud.com/unkensemble/sets/album
But then I did a little snoopling (snooping on Google) and found out that this is the new way of things. According to a bunch of websites, companies are allegedly throwing blankets of ownership around artists on the internet and laying claim to their work.
My understanding of the situation is that they’re locking up the music first and asking questions later. Are we, as artists, guilty before we’ve had a chance to dust off the licenses and email them? It only takes a second, you know.
Is this a big ploy to increase revenue for lawyers? I don’t know. Here’s something to think about if you’re a musician: http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2013/08/13/stealingartists
But know this. There are some ogres out there with gargantuan reach and they’ll get you. And if you don’t fight back, it doesn’t matter a whit that you’re legit.