Websites Dispute Government Seizure, Blame Record Labels
The federal government-ordered closure of five websites last month is still causing waves throughout the online music world. Over the weekend, the New York Times revealed that the warrant used for shutting down the sites accused the owners of trying "to commit or facilitate criminal copyright infringement." In response, hip-hop blogs Dajaz1.com and OnSmash.com cried foul as their routine posts are almost always sent directly from artists, record labels or DJs with approval to distribute.
An agent for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is the arm of the Department of Homeland Security that investigated the sites prior to shutdown, also confirmed that the Recording Industry Association of America claimed that music on the all five sites was released without authorization.
The owner of Dajaz1.com, known under the moniker Splash, went to the Times with proof that record label employees and marketers on their payrolls had offered up many of the specific songs mentioned in the government's affidavit.
"It's not my fault if someone at a record label is sending me the song," Splash told the paper. Another instance where the government sided with the RIAA on copyright violation accusations was a link to a Kid Cudi MP3 on OnSmash.com. The post apparently linked to label-sanctioned music while also posting a link to legal download of the record from iTunes, yet this was somehow cited as illegal.
The entire piece is a great read and worth your time if you're interested in the potentially shaky future of independent hip-hop blogs.