First and foremost, Atlantic Records has been fully supportive of me throughout this ordeal. My issue is not with them. They’re the good guys here. With that….
A few days ago I received a Cease-And-Desist letter from GrayZone, Inc and their legal team, stating that my Miami-based website, The305.Com, was infringing on copyrights by posting a stream of a recent music video for Flo-Rida’s â€œRight Round.â€ Their claims were that I was encouraging â€œbootlegging,â€ by letting the video stream. The video was not EVER available for download on The305.Com. It was simply embedded as a stream from a third-party video hosting website.
With that, my hosting company also received a letter from GrayZone and immediately shut my website down due to the actions and accusations. Yet, the video has stayed on the video hosting site untouchedâ€¦
Either way, I immediately called my contact at Atlantic Records who then transferred me to the Digital Media Department. To paraphrase what they said: â€œThe305.Com has done nothing wrong here, we don’t understand why they would try to have you shut down – we have no knowledge of what they’re doing.â€ Atlantic Records responded to GrayZone and had them retract their accusations and rescind their statements. I commend Atlantic for being supportive.
However, this is an unjust and unfair practice by GrayZone that targets bloggers and e-zines. Bloggers are part of the â€œnew media,â€ and whether the music industry and its lawyers like it or not, it is the new form of promoting music that’s here to stay for the foreseeable future. You can embrace this new form of media orâ€¦you can let your artists’ next release go double-wood in its first week.
I’m asking you to please spread the word as fellow bloggers and as fellow members of the media because this could happen to you as well. Hopefully these record labels and legal watchdogs like GrayZone, Inc will see that digital media helps their cause and without us, they’d be living in the stone age, promotion-wise.
After 5 days of being shut-down, The305.Com is now live and operational again. Upon following up with GrayZone, I asked if they could provide me with documents or links to some kind of laws and/or common-practices of â€œembedding videosâ€ and/or how a blogger could avoid being shutdown. After evading the questions in a couple of replies, the Vice-President over at GrayZone simply stated, â€œThere are no materials availableâ€¦â€
There needs to be some kind of dialogue to protect bloggers and online magazines from these kind of actions because this could happen to anyone. Like other media outlets, I’ve done nothing but show support for artists who I have deep respect for. But how is it fair for companies like GrayZone to reward my support, by sending an infringement notice to my hosting company without any regard of how that may or may not affect me or my website â€“ which ultimately lead to a five-day shutdown without any legal reason.