You may not have noticed, but several posts on The Pop Cop have been disappearing in the middle of the night without warning.
We first realised something was amiss when we received an email from Lindsay from The Next Big Thing. He had remembered reading our Glasvegas album review and was intending to link to it from his own site, only to be left scratching his head when it was nowhere to be found.
We’ve since republished it (we keep back-up copies of everything) but, perhaps naively, our initial thought was that some Glasvegas hater had somehow infiltrated our Blogger account and started deleting posts. So we emailed Google Support to ask if they could shed any light on the matter. Silence.
It was only when we read about an almost identical incident last week on the Edinburgh-based blog 17 Secondsthat things became clearer. Their tale was even more extreme. They had done an exclusive and lengthy interview with Glasvegas singer James Allan back in January and had posted a few of the band’s demos at the bottom of the piece. However, a full nine months later the original post was removed, with 17 Seconds receiving a takedown notification from Blogger (Google) which read:
“Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog infringes upon the copyrights of others. The DMCA is a United States copyright law that provides guidelines for online service provider liability in case of copyright infringement. We are in the process of removing from our servers the links that allegedly infringe upon the copyrights of others. If we did not do so, we would be subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its merits. Please note that repeated violations to our Terms of Service may result in further remedial action taken against your Blogger account.”
But what makes this development so incredulous is that these were mp3s that the band themselves had actively circulated on the internet, as guitarist Rab Allan himself confirmed in an interview with Twisted Ear: “We put all our early demos up online for people, as we wanted them to know the words to the songs before they were coming to the gigs.”
Now that the band are signed to major label Columbia, though, staff there are seeking out blogs which have written about Glasvegas and sending legal letters to Google to force them to delete the posts if they contain mp3s of the band’s songs (as The Pop Cop album review originally did) – even if they are just demos.
Bearing in mind that the majority of music bloggers are genuine fans who spend hours of their own time promoting artists for no financial reward, it’s disgusting behaviour that borders on bullying and it has convinced us to boycott writing about Columbia artists ever again, which frankly is no great loss since Glasvegas are one of the few credible ones on their roster.
The whole row has been discussed on other Scottish blogs such as Song, By Toad and The Vinyl Villain and from reading the feedback there it’s clear that many people don’t think Glasvegas themselves are immune from blame. In fact, we can tell you that the band have been made personally aware of the situation but have chosen not to comment on it.
While we’d be amazed if Glasvegas don’t abhor their employers’ campaign to target decent folk who have been championing them for months, we do have some sympathy for the band as they’re in an impossible position. After all, it’s always said that you shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds you.
Ultimately, though, they are the ones who will end up the biggest losers of all when the blogging community turns its back on them.
4 The Shins – Gone For Good (alternate version)