3 Count: iPeeved

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1: MySpace/Imeem Deal Leaves Thousands of Artists Unpaid

First off today, Myspace’s purchase of Imeem has left a bad taste in many independent artist’s mouth. Many who sold music through Imeem’s storefront widgets, which were very common on Myspace at one point, are likely to never see the money they earned.

Imeem had gone as much as a year in some cases without paying artists due to financial difficulties but, when Myspace supposedly purchased the company earlier this year, there was supposedly a glimmer of hope. However, that too has been dashed as now it has come out that Myspace didn’t actually buy Imeem, just some of its assets. As such, Myspace did not acquire Imeem’s debt and has no obligation to pay the unpaid artists.

While these types of deals are not uncommon, especially considering that Imeem was in foreclosure at the time of the deal, it has understandably left a lot of artists upset about the deal and feel a bit burned.

Hopefully though, this incident won’t discourage the budding independent direct-to-consumer music sale business as it does have a great deal of potential for artists and businesses alike.

2: Apple Says Audiobooks Must Have DRM

Next up today, want to distribute your audiobook via Apple and Audible but don’t want to include DRM? That might be trickier than you think. As author Cory Doctorow found out, Apple and Audible both insist upon DRM for audiobooks, even as Apple has done away with DRM in the rest of their iTunes store.

The saga started out when Doctorow tried to distribute an audio version of his book “Little Brother” without DRM over iTunes. The result was that Audible, the only authorized bookseller for iTunes, refused to allow it even though both he and his publisher were prepared to try. By the time his next book came out, “Makers” Audible was comfortable with it but Apple was not. However, even attempting to sell the book directly through Audible seemed to be an empty gesture as Audible has a EULA that functions like a DRM.

Doctorow did heap praise upon his publisher for being flexible and hardworking in trying to distribute the book without DRM, but he wishes Apple and Audible could do the same.

3: Copyright Owners Fight Plan to Release E-Books for the Blind

Finally today, various copyright groups including the RIAA, MPAA, book publishers and even the Chamber of Commerce are filing objections with a proposed WIPO treaty being discussed today by the 180 member nations. The goal of the treaty is to allow the import and export of DRM-protected works that are accessible to the visually impaired.

Currently many nations, including the U.S., provide a copyright exemption for non-profits, including the Library of Congress, to make copies of copyrighted works so they can be accessible to the visually impaired. However, the largest catalog by far is in the U.S. and current treaties prohibit the import and export of those works, limiting access to them globally. The new treaty, if passed, would change that.

The only U.S. corporation to come on the side of the treaty was Google, who has expressed concerns that this is another case of the copyright industries blindly opposing any loosening of copyright law, no matter how much public benefit may be derived.


That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.

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