Billy Bragg Battles MySpace
Fri, 30 Jun 2006 09:32:01
Billy Bragg isn't someone whose bark comes without a bite, and MySpace is the latest to feel him nipping at their heels. When the British "anti-folkie" discovered that the Rupert Murdoch-owned site used suspicious language in their terms and conditions for posting songs, he yanked all of his material from his page and launched a very loud campaign encouraging other MySpacers to do the same.
MySpace responded quickly, making an artist-friendly adjustment to those terms just weeks after Bragg began his protest. Bragg had previously argued that MySpace was seeking to obtain full control over any songs that wound up on the site. The website addressed his concern, but also implied that Bragg was misinterpreting their original contract.
"Because the legalese has caused some confusion, we are at work clarifying it to make very clear that MySpace is not seeking a license to do anything with an artist's work other than allow it to be shared in the manner the artist intends," MySpace said in a released statement. "Putting music on MySpace does not give us the right to sell it -- the musicians own their content and can do with it as they wish."
All of that was music to Bragg's ears. "I am very pleased to see that MySpace have changed their terms of agreement from a declaration of their rights into a declaration of our rights as artists, making it clear that, as creators, we retain ownership of our material," he said. "Now that the popularity of downloading has made physical manufacturing and distribution no longer necessary, the next generation of artists will not need to surrender all of their rights in order to get their music into the marketplace."
In the meantime, there's plenty of Bragg out on the marketplace: He received the box set treatment earlier this year, when Yep Roc released the 115-track Volume 1, covering the early and perhaps most fruitful stretch of his career.
--The ARTISTdirect Staff