My friend Simon Grigg is something of a music industry legend in New Zealand. Club owner, label manager, promoter, artist manager, punk pioneer, dance music pioneer, DJ, radio personality… You may have heard a song he released on his independent record label once, called ‘How Bizarre’.
These days he lives in Bangkok doing all manner of interesting things, but he still dabbles. On his blog this week, he talks about an email he received from Google…
Last year – whilst hunting through junk – I found a disc of old punk video footage. Amongst it was the video in that YouTube clip. I contacted the band members and, with their approval, uploaded it. I guess I thought I was in the clear. Nothing on that video actually came from the album, and even if it had done so, I had written approval from the band, who now own the copyright in all recordings.
Warners have never owned it. Ever. Never.
Unfortunately Warner Music Group don’t see it that way. Without any proof, legal right, paperwork or substance, they’ve claimed the rights to that (and another similar Toy Love video uploaded with permission) and, according to the letter, they have the right now to run advertising with the video if they want. In other words, they’ve stolen the clip’s copyright from Toy Love and are now asserting a right to profit from something they don’t own.
Piracy is a good word for that. It has currency these days.
The whole post is worth a read. He’s rightly angry.
Both Warner Music and Sony Music Entertainment have asserted copyright ownership of things they do not have any claim to, and have gone about removing it, taking away public access to it, and attempting to profit from it through advertising revenue where it is available.
This is not an administrative oversight. This is a business strategy. They’re not just deleting their own music through neglect – they’re actively seeking and destroying everyone else’s wherever they think they can get away with it.