The sites in question were, of course, walking the line in terms of legality. MP3 blogs are scary to the music industry, because they represent such a challenge to the established promotional and sales flow. This is not the place for a whole argument about fair use, but I think most of what these blogs did would fall under that definition, woolly as it is. They hosted MP3s of artists they were discussing or promoting, but not whole albums. One of the bloggers notes that “everything I’ve posted for, let’s say, the past two years, has either been provided by a promotional company, came directly from the record label, or came directly from the artist.”Full article here.
Technically speaking, Google has the right to do whatever it wants with the blogs it hosts. That doesn't make their decision the morally correct one. The actions they took present a perfect example of the draconian measures I've been talking about.
There are reasonable debates to be had over what intellectual property means in the digital age, and reasonable boundaries. It's not at all clear that the deleted blogs crossed the line, and the bloggers weren't given a chance to defend or change their actions before all their posts were deleted.
I've been trying to figure out how to post Cinder Bridge MP3s on this Google-hosted blog. Now I'm kind of afraid to. Who can predict whether the powers that be will notice or care that Cinder Bridge is MY BAND, and that I'm the copyright holder?
Because, let's face it: they're not trying to protect copyright holders like me. They're trying to protect a dying business model.