The website of a record label which offers completely free music downloads has been taken down by its host for copyright infringement, even though it only offers its own music. Quote Unquote Records calls itself “The First Ever Donation Based Record Label”, but is currently homeless after its host pulled the plug.
Quote Unquote Records is an Internet based record label, run by Bomb the Music Industry! and ‘The Arrogant Sons of Bitches’ frontman Jeff Rosenstock. A forward looking outfit, all artists on the label give their music away for free on the label’s website. Well, they would, if the webhost hadn’t have taken down the site for alleged copyright infringement.
In a MySpace blog entry, Jeff Rosenstock explained that the Quote Unquote Records site is non-operational, and other sites connected to the label, including the Bomb the Music Industry! and Arrogant Sons of Bitches sites, have all been taken down too. So what happened?
Around a week ago, the label was notified by its webhost that it had some copyright music files on its server, which was no surprise to them since they were tracks by Arrogant Sons of Bitches, one of the label’s bands. The tracks the webhost referred to were actually written by Jeff himself. Jeff spoke with someone at the host on the telephone, explained that they were his own tracks and was informed this wasn’t a problem.
Three days later the labels site went down completely, due to Jeff hosting his own copyright files on his own site – a claimed violation of the hosting company’s Terms of Service. In order to solve the problem, Jeff would have to send his copyright registration forms to the host by mail, to prove he held the copyright, a problem in itself, explains Jeff:
“I called the company to explain that a lot of this material was NOT in fact registered with the US copyright office, instead we did the ol’ poor man’s copyright. The music that was copyrighted was done so under a Creative Commons License, which is a digital copyright that cannot be viewed if the website where the files are posted is down.”
It seems amazing that a host should be proactive like this, especially since it has clearly made a huge mistake. However, a week later and Jeff’s site is still down and he’s quite rightly upset: “I guess the scary thing for me is that it seems that my hosting server employs a guilty before proven innocent policy, which is terrifying for anyone who does not physically mail forms for every small idea they’ve ever had in their bedroom to the US copyright office. What a great new digital age, stuck in the trappings of wasteful forms and red tape.”
If losing your site to a bogus copyright claim isn’t enough, there is a more immediate problem. Jeff is being denied access to his data by the host and he says that since he had a crash on his local hard drive, he no longer has copies of any of the content that was on the Quote Unquote Records server. “So, long story short, I’m looking for any artwork or mp3s that were put on Quote Unquote Records,” he said.
If you can find any of the material Jeff is looking for on P2P networks, please post comments on his blog.