Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Why Bother?

Way before I was a "music blogger", I was - and still am to this day - a high-volume (pardon the pun) music consumer. (My page can attest to that!) My uzi hard drives weigh a ton. Not only do I love consuming music, I also love sharing it. In the "Where Will You Be in Twenty Years?" page of my high school yearbook, here's what they wrote about me: "Bringing BET to the masses, but for a lot cheaper than they'll give it to you." I was known for my mix CDs (a precursor, you could say, to my long running series, The Tape Deck). I don't need two turntables (though I've got those too...) to supply you with tracks to fill up your rotation.

However, groups like the RIAA make it difficult to do this over the information superhighway a.k.a. The Internets. I know, I know, it's the same old story you hear all the time. But it's made me question where I want to go with this blog. Yesterday, I received a message from Mediafire by way of the RIAA stating the following:
September 4, 2012


Dear Sir or Madam:

I am contacting you on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of America, Inc. (RIAA) and its member record companies. The RIAA is a trade association whose member companies create, manufacture and distribute approximately eighty-five (85) percent of all legitimate sound recordings sold in the United States. Under penalty of perjury, we submit that the RIAA is authorized to act on behalf of its member companies in matters involving the infringement of their sound recordings, including enforcing their copyrights and common law rights on the Internet. We believe your server is hosting the below-referenced files on its network. These files contain sound recordings for other users to download. We have a good faith belief that this activity is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law. We assert that the information in this notification is accurate, based upon the data available to us. We are asking for your immediate assistance in stopping this unauthorized activity. Specifically, we request that you remove the infringing files from the system, or that you disable access to the infringing files, and that you inform the site operator of the illegality of his or her conduct. You should understand that this letter constitutes notice to you that this site operator may be liable for the infringing activity occurring on your service. In addition, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, if you ignore this notice, you and/or your company may also be liable for any resulting infringement. This letter does not constitute a waiver of any right to recover damages incurred by virtue of any such unauthorized activities, and such rights as well as claims for other relief are expressly retained. You may contact me at RIAA, 1025 F Street, N.W., 10th Floor, Washington, D.C., 20004, Tel. (202) 775-0101, or e-mail, to discuss this notice. We await your response. Kind regards.


Erick Plascencia

Online Anti-Piracy RIAA
I received this message in direct response to the Slaughterhouse sample set I posted the day before. The irony of this is that I believe the RIAA erroneously assumed that I was posting a link to the album itself: not my unique compilation of samples from the album! I'll never be able to prove this, of course. Likewise, they'll never be obligated to do the same. (Still, and understandably so, I know that my sample sets do toe the line on illegality.) Bottom line: It's really aggravating because each of these sample sets take a lot of time and effort - all for what? To be deleted with the swift stroke of a few clicks.

It's truly frustrating because I feel like this wouldn't have happened if Shady VP of A&R Riggs Morales(!) or The Smoking Section hadn't publicized the release of the sample set. But surely I can't begrudge those guys! Out of the goodness of their hearts, they were doing me a favor, showing love and support to my site (I'm thankful for every reader(/listener) I've got!) and building a bigger audience for myself, Slaughterhouse, and the burgeoning scene of eclectic crate digging. How "underground" do I need to be to evade the gaze of the RIAA? It's impossible.

So I'm done with the sample sets... I guess. It sucks, I know. What can I do? Every single day, I receive requests to re-upload sample sets with dead links. I can't! Now you know why...

Got any alternatives (that won't land me in prison)?

P.S. F*ck this sh*t.