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MySpace controversy

June 3rd, 2006 | 2 Comments | Categories: Musing on Music |

there’s been a lot of forum activity across the entire internet created by the MySpace.com terms and conditions, with lots of musicians protesting that MySpace are going to be stealing our songs and photos and using them all over the place, selling them on etc.

This is the offending section in the T&Cs –

  • Proprietary Rights in Content on MySpace.com.

    • By displaying or publishing (“posting”) any Content, messages, text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, profiles, works of authorship, or any other materials (collectively, “Content”) on or through the Services, you hereby grant to MySpace.com, a non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense through unlimited levels of sublicensees) to use, copy, modify, adapt, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, store, reproduce, transmit, and distribute such Content on and through the Services. This license will terminate at the time you remove such Content from the Services. You represent and warrant that: (i) you own the Content posted by you on or through the Services or otherwise have the right to grant the license set forth in this section, and (ii) the posting of your Content on or through the Services does not violate the privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, contract rights or any other rights of any person. You agree to pay for all royalties, fees, and any other monies owing any person by reason of any Content posted by you to or through the Services.

(Italics added by me).

The purpose of this bit is to stop anyone from suing them for having their songs played on someone else’s myspace page. It also leaves them free to have streaming audio on the site for ‘artist of the day’ type deals, or even myspace online radio using the tracks that have been posted. Without this clause, they could be hit with royalty claims by God-knows how many shitty indie bands whose mates have put their tracks on their page… It’s an arse-covering clause, not a rights-thieving one.

Think about it – MySpace is currently one of the top three biggest sites on the entire internet. It’s huge, it’s a phenomenon. They really can’t afford to piss people off. They have huge name musicians on there, with incredibly adept legal teams who would fry them alive if they decided to start using MySpace music clips on TV shows or whatever. If they stole some of my music or nicked photos of my site, I’d be onto the papers quicker than you can say ‘any publicity is bad publicity’, it’d be front page news and the site would start haemorrhaging users at lightning speed. Their ad revenue would disappear and the site would implode.

Now, I like most people think that Murdoch is a despicable odious louse on the pubic hair of society. He’s filth and scum of the worst kind. He’s also a business genius. A rancid amoral business genius, but one who really knows what’s going on. MySpace is his latest acquisition and he’s not about to let it fall apart over the licencing of a few tunes. The cost of paying a band to use their music on a compilation album or tv advert or whatever is tiny compared to the legal costs of being sued by Madonna for trying to claim that they have the right to use her tunes anywhere.

So, please, stop fretting about the MySpace T and Cs. Them doing what people say they are going to do would result in such a HUGE own goal for the site and for News Corps on mass, that it’s really not going to happen.

Panic over.

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • benj

    Hey Steve

    It looks like myspace have changed their T’s and C’s back again, as a result of all the fuss. Take a look at these from a few weeks ago:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/05/03/myspace_terms/
    http://earfarm.blogspot.com/2006/05/myspace-wants-to-steal-your-songs.html

    The offending clause was “Content posted by you may remain on the MySpace.com servers after you have removed the content from the services, and MySpace.com retains the rights to those copies,”

    But now it’s mysteriously changed back again.

    So fretting about the T’s and C’s was exactly the right thing to do!! Murdoch took on the internet and he lost (or have I completely got the wrong end of the stick?)

  • Steve Lawson

    No, you’re right – that was the bit that appeared some time towards the beginning of the year, was reported on and changed… if it was still there, it would’ve been worth lobbying to get it changed to where it is now, but even with the old clause, I think it was about arse-covering – there are enough places where pages can be archived, and I think MySpace was covering themselves against spurious royalty claims for archived versions of myspace pages after the content had been removed from the live site…

    While I’m convinced that Murdoch would happily be that pernicious and evil, I can’t believe he’d be that stupid…