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Indie music heads show divided reactions to ICE domain seizures

Posted at 24 December 2010 00:09 CEST by wconeybeer

Much has been reported about the reactions from music blogging, sharing, and torrent-searching site owners whose domains were seized by US Homeland Security and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Now, we’re finally starting to hear details about the reactions from Indie music organizations, some of which rely on the seized domains to get music from their new artists circulated and heard, and their opinions of the situation clearly fall on opposite sides of the debate.

Posts by Jesse Townley, the general manager for Indie Label Alternative Tentacles Records, reported to Techdirt.com that a letter has been sent from Richard Bengloff, president of the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), to Indie label executives urging them to send letters of thanks to the ICE to “to show them some love for their action!”

“The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has taken aggressive action against infringing websites, recently seizing the domain names of 82 sites. Since then ICE, and its Director John Morton, have been taking heat in the blogosphere and in some print media for their actions. It is imperative that the music community let the Administration know just how vital ICE’s actions are, and how much we appreciate them,” Bengloff’s letter read.

Townley, who notes that some associates are part of A2IM, although he is not, sent the following response to Bengloff & company:

“Not to be rude, but really? Really?

The URLs that ICE removed from circulation were badly targeted and at least in some cases, completely and utterly against record labels’ & artists’ promotional interests.

See this explanation of the half-assed affidavit against DaJaz1:
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20101222/02112912376/more-bigger-mistakes-discovered-homel and-securitys-domain-seizures.shtml

Seems like of the 4 songs that “caused” ICE to harass the site, 3 were sent by the record labels specifically to promote the songs and the 4th was sent by the artist’s mentor to promote the song (the artist is not on an RIAA-affiliated label).

This flies directly in the face of record labels trying to be flexible & USE blogs for promotion, which all of us smart ones are doing (among many other things).

If all A2IM is trying to do is be a runt RIAA, complete with the willful blindness & strategic missteps of that larger organization, why would other independent labels like Alternative Tentacles bother joining?

Sorry, but this rah-rah celebration of FBI/ICE/RIAA idiocy is really disappointing from a group that claims to represents so many key indie labels.”

Like Mike Masnick over at Techdirt, I’m completely baffled by the fact that an organization that’s supposed to represent independence and innovation can jump on the RIAA’s antipiracy, domain-seizing, liberty-destroying bandwagon. Hopefully more Indie execs who feel like Townley will speak their minds to Bengloff, Homeland Security, and ICE.

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There are 2 comments

Zathros
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 24 Dec 10 03:36
    Why wouldn't an independent artist want their music protected? It seems like the seizure of domains based on albums or songs that were released for promotional reasons is a failure of organization within the industry. The independent companies are in competition with the big name labels. One would expect them through their attorneys to release the names of song that are being promoted. If this means sending such a list to the R.I.A.A, maybe they should consider a class action suit against the R.I.A.A as a monopoly. There seems to be good basis for this. Did the independent labels ask for the R.I.A.A.'s help? Has the R.I.A.A.'s collusion and manipulation finally shown itself for what it is? I believe in protecting one's work but I abhor monopolies and the R.I.A.A.'s use of taxpayer monies for their witch hunt. A better, equitable and fair system must be found.
    AllanDeGroot
    MyCE Resident
    Posted on: 24 Dec 10 23:17
      If the indie labels intentionally released versions of their copyrighted material and then ICE shut the sites down based on complaints from RIAA about that release then the indies have an essentially ironclad case against both the RIAA and ICE for restraint of trade.

      "a Monolopy"

      Frankly I think ICE was acting CRIMINALLY when it colluded with RIAA, but I'm not a federal judge.

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