Myspace Accused Of Using Music Without Permission
Posted by Joseph Lee on 01.22.2013
Lots of independent labels are upset...
The New York Times reports that Myspace has been accused of using music without permission. Myspace recently relaunched to focus more on music. Justin Timberlake, who released "Suit and Tie" last week, is one of the investors in Myspace. He's a minority partner in the investor group that bought it for $35 million in 2011, six years after News Corportation paid $580 million for it. This was before Facebook took over as the premiere social media site on the internet.
The new Myspace allows users to listen to several songs (over 50 million) for free and has been praised for its design. However, some of the independent record labels, represented by the group Merlin, says the songs are being used without permission. Merlin create deals on behalf of labels around the world. Charles Caldas, chief executive of the group, said that the deal with Myspace expired over a year ago, yet songs from over 100 of its labels are still available, including Beggars Group, Domino and Merge, three of the biggest independents.
Caldas said: "While it's nice that Mr. Timberlake is launching his service on this platform, and acting as an advocate for the platform, on the other hand his peers as artists are being exploited without permission and not getting remuneration for it."
Neda Azarfar, a spokeswoman for Myspace, said the company has not renewed its contract with Merlin and that if songs were still on the site, "they were likely uploaded by users" and would be removed if requested by the label.
In December, Myspace had 27.4 million unique visitors in the US. That is far lower than its peak of 76 million in 2008 but still decent numbers. The music industry has supported Myspace. A similar situation, however, happened in 2008 when Myspace Music launched and most of the independent labels were left out of deals for over a year.
William Crowley, vice president of digital and mobile for eOne Distribution (an independent label associated with Merlin), said: "The feeling is not good. Unlicensed services are a source of grave concern, especially high-profile ones."