Like many of you, I received a notification from Tumblr that professional busybody group, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, led by Anti-Piracy Director Jeremy Banks, has requested that a particular audio post be removed from my blog. Many of you are confused by the way Tumblr has handled this, so I’ll comment in the hopes of clearing some things up:
1. It is illegal to post copyrighted material onto the internet without going through official channels (where content is supported by ad revenue like on YouTube or Spotify) or without written consent by the rights holders (record label, publisher, artist, etc.) This remains true not only with most audio files, but with video and images as well. In essence, 99% of the blogs on Tumblr are massive, repeat copyright infringers - mine included.
2. I see that some people are confused as to why they received a message indicating that multiple artist songs have been removed from their blogs. That isn’t what the message says. It says that that a DMCA* notice was sent to Tumblr by the IFPI which included multiple artists in it. Because your blog posted at least one of these artists, you received the takedown notification. In my example, I infringed on Mobb Deep’s copyright (and none of the others). (On a personal note, I’ve legally purchased the music in question not once but four times: Full length vinyl LP, two copies of the 12” single, and one full digital album version. But I’m still a criminal, technically speaking. Amazing!) So, in short, the message you were sent is like a mass email to all bloggers who posted at least one song by any of those artists. If I were to guess, all of the songs by the artists listed on my email are owned by the same publishing company (and they are the ones who enlist the help of jackboots like Jeremy Banks at the IFPI.)
3. *DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Read up on details here. This is nothing new - in fact, it is 16 years old.
4. Tumblr has made a ton of money off of us simply being here and using their service. They are - quite literally - built off of vast, unchecked copyright infringement. It is in their financial interest to remain compliant with the DMCA when someone makes a fuss. The fact that they immediately remove content at the first request of a group like the IFPI should come as no surprise. The threat of blog deletion should be taken seriously. Tumblr has a lot to lose by not pretending to care about copyright law and your blog really is nothing to them in the big picture.
So, basically, we’re all criminals. Now what? Well, that’s up to you. I’m not going to do a damn thing. I am satisfied with the level of support I provide to content owners. I purchase nearly all of the music I post. I provide source/purchase links for nearly all of the images and art I blog. In short, I’m a good-faith blogger who deserves to be treated not as a criminal but as a friend to artists and content creators. I share music and images because these are the things that enrich my life. If my blog helps you find something that enriches yours, then my hope is that you support the creators of the original content.