October 29, 2008

B(oot)log hits the big time! or how I got served

Posted in mumbling at 11:26 am by rgsc

Hey folks. Just popping my head up for a moment to let you know that I’ve hit the big time! I’ve been noticed by the folks at Web Sheriff who sent me a DCMA request to take down a file, specifically, a cover of a Bryan Adams song by Habitat which was featured here. This isn’t the first time I’ve been asked to take something down but it is the first time WS has issued a letter. After a little bit of internal debate we here at b(oot)log HQ decided to take the file down.

However, I did need to ask myself if they have the authority to assert rights over a live recording of a cover song. If it were a recording (live or otherwise) of Bryan Adams performing one of his own songs, then it would be more cut and dry. However, my understanding of Recordings of Independent Origin, such as appear here, are not illegal to create or distribute (assuming no money is made through the sale of the records…and trust me, this here site is a money losing venture – I don’t even accept advertisers). The email stated that I was infringing on Adams’ “COPYRIGHT, TRADEMARK, PERFORMERS & MORAL RIGHTS”. It seems to me that there are a number of rights at play. As the composer of the work, Adams’ rights were being infringed, which is ultimately why I took the file down, even if I don’t know about the rest.

I have a fairly good understanding of Canadian copyright law, but am not so sure about all the ins and outs of the US DCMA (my server is based in the US). Any legal experts out there who can shed some light on the ins and outs of ROIOs and the law? Please comment if you have any knowledge (or experience) in dealing with this stuff.

I have, I hope, appeased the sheriff and will return to our regularly scheduled b(oot)loggin’ next week after a well deserved and much enjoyed holiday.


  1. John O'Regan said,

    Weird! Sorry for kinda getting you in trouble by covering that song.
    I think Bryan and Habitat (RIP) should settle this Kingston style…
    With a SAILING race! This November!!
    First one to fall into Lake Ontario and get hypothermia loses!!!
    Oh, man.

  2. rgsc said,

    Hey John – In no way did *you* get me into trouble. I’m just happy that you seem cool with me posting your stuff (i sorta take the easier to ask forgiveness than seek permission approach). it was a really rad song from a great show – which sadly only a few people were at. Anyway, I’ll still enjoy it for myself.

    It just seemed like a really strange thing to be busted for – if I left the “bryan adams cover” out of the file name i am sure it wouldn’t have been noticed… ah well. such is life on the internet.

    Looking forward to the show on the 7th – Everyone – go see the D’Urbervilles at the Grad Club with Woodhands Nov. 7th. It is gonna be epic! (maybe even a Bryan Adams cover or two…)

  3. Craig said,

    People always say ‘Fight the Power!’ (without the awesome beat though) but it is always a matter of ‘at what cost?’. Personally I think you did the right thing, and it puts you in the company of Radiohead who were confused when Prince blocked video of a cover he did of ‘Creep’ (http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2008/may/31/popandrock.news).

    ps. personally I want to bring back ‘Turtle Power!’ but sadly I am in the minority. It is my cross to bear.

  4. ekko said,

    This is happening everywhere. I posted about it recently, when I had to get a new web address. Sadly, you do not have many rights under the DCMA. It’s best to comply, or get out of the biz altogether. Which a lot of us are doing.

    Good luck!

  5. Croz said,

    I run a site similar to your own (great!) site, and after a recent post of a terrific Elvis Costello/Allen Toussaint show I got the DMCA (or UK equivalent as that is where the site is hosted) letter from Costello’s lawyer. In that case it was clear cut: the material, though a ROIO, was of EC playing EC music, but had it been another artist playing EC I could have received exactly the same notice: it is the composition that is copyrighted.

    There was an interesting recent kerfuffle when the Artist Now Know To Be A Freakin’ Jehovah’s Witness (*sigh*), who is notorious for going after YouTube et al for posting his performances, went after the web at large for sharing a cell-phone video of him performing “Creep”, by Radiohead, during his set at last summer’s Coachella Festival. Even members of Radiohead–a wonderfully share-firendly band–got in on the act expressing a bit of dismay at the situation.

    Anyway, good luck and keep up the great posting. I’m a huge Feist and Sarah Harmer fan up here in chilly Ottawa!


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