I Run an Indie Label. And Here’s Why I Support the MegaUpload Shutdown

Creative Artist

The following guest post comes from Sam Rosenthal, owner of Brooklyn-based Projeckt Records.

“The takedown of MegaUpload is a small victory for creative artists. An early step toward reasserting our rights to control our creative work and to deny criminals from exploiting our art for their profit.

You see, all those millions and millions of illegal files (music, films, books) are not up there because of some utopian belief in open-source access to art. This isn’t about paradise. This is about a new way to screw the artist.  Let’s be clear about that.

It’s using the “pipelines” to deliver our content without permission. What am I talking about? Back on December 16 (2011) Shea and I were scratching our heads wondering what incentivized people to upload the same Steve Roach album 10 times a day @ filesonic. Then we found the answer. Those sites pay users when people download illegal content. $50 for 1000 downloads! Read “Basis of indictment” at Wikipedia.  “An incentivizing program was adopted encouraging the upload of ‘popular’ files in return for payments to successful uploaders.” It is all about greed.

Follow the dots. Illegal content brings people to their sites. Those people don’t want to wait 3 hours to download a movie, so they upgrade to the premium service and get the movie in 3 minutes. Ka-ching! More profit in the “locker” sites’ pockets! The site wins, their incentivized uploader wins, the person illegaly downloading wins. Win-win-win! Who loses? We (the artists) lose!

“Let’s stop these sites from making money off our creations.  Let’s pull the plug.”

You’re probably an artist looking for instructions on how to get your music taken down from those sites. Wouldn’t it be nice if it were opt-out? Alas, it is not. You have to find every violation and report it. It’s a game of whack-a-mole, many of the files pop up again within days. The reason I spend five hours a week on this is to break links and disconnect connections. Blogs and websites that share illegal links are one of the ways people find illegal music. If we take down the file, we create a dead link. A small step.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (learn yourself at Wikipedia) was designed for this purpose. The act passed in 1998, a naive era before illegal sites like these existed. DMCA is based on the premise that an illegal file must’ve got up there by accident. Sites can host illegal files as long as they take them down when the rights holder catches them and complains. F-d up, but it’s all we got.

Ok, here’s how to do it:

(1) find illegal content

(2) file a “Takedown Notice”

(3) the site takes the file down.