Picosong.com, a popular music-uploading website, will be permanently shutting down in October.
Picosong’s founders confirmed as much in a statement, claiming that today’s fans and artists have better music-hosting options to choose from. However, it appears that the move came in response to an ongoing legal dispute with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
According to preliminary reports, the basis for the RIAA-Picosong legal dispute is an unreleased Kanye West track, which was leaked and posted to Picosong without West’s approval. This track, “The Storm,” is believed to be part of West’s upcoming album, Yandhi, but it’s unclear if it will still be included now that it’s circulating on the web.
RIAA has attempted to learn the identity of Picosong’s owner, but to this point, they haven’t been successful.
Picosong doesn’t have the resources to fight back against RIAA’s legal threats, and posting copyrighted content that belongs to others is a problem on all of today’s leading user-upload websites. That said, it’s generally assumed that music-industry professionals will give these companies a break so long as they make an effort to remove content that’s uploaded without permission, inline with the provisions of the DMCA (or international variant).
Of course, there’s a big distinction between already-released and pre-release content, with the latter more damaging.
It should also be emphasized that the RIAA’s pushback against Picosong is hardly a comprehensive solution. On the contrary, if Picosong wasn’t initially used to upload the leaked track, then YouTube, Twitter, Dailymotion, or some other website probably would have been used instead. And once in-demand content is “out there,” it’s simply impossible to stop its spread.
The real solution is to prevent tracks from being leaked in the first place. Despite stopping Picosong from operating, RIAA professionals, West’s associates, and the execs employed at West’s record label are likely working tirelessly to determine who leaked the song — and how such leaks can be prevented in the future.