2014-06-18T14:19:32+00:00 2016-02-04T04:23:35+00:00

Who is the real enemy? Soundcloud or Copyright?


As many of you know, Soundcloud has been cracking down on enforcing their copyright terms, and it has affected a large mass of people. Unfortunately, artists have been experiencing issues with this, and has proved to do more harm than good in some cases, Kaskade for example. 

However, the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) allows Soundcloud to be free from financial liability due to any infringing content uploaded to their site. When you upload a track, you are saying that you have permission to post or own all copyrights to the content. If you don’t, it will be taken down. This has been set in place so that the platform itself does not have to monitor content being uploaded, as long as they have other safeguards in place, and the rights-holder has the ability to take down infringing material. This means that, at the time of your upload, it may seem that there is no issue, but the rights-holder may report to have the content taken down. Soundcloud has tried to facilitate this process by having an automatic response to certain uploads, resulting in tracks and accounts being removed. This seems to be the main issue.

While you may think that Soundcloud has a personal vendetta against you, it's simply their method of protecting the original content-holder(s). Just because you like a particular song, and want to mash-up, remix, and bootleg the shit out of it, it's not recognized as your property. That is, if you are not participating in a remix contest, are the original producer, and/or have permission from the artist and label to upload your track. If anything, this should provoke more creativity within the music community. Instead of remixing a really popular song, let it inspire an original idea. 

Another kind of copyright that has caused a lot of confusion is the Creative Commons license. It has been confused as some kind of work-around, but that’s not the case. It is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. You must still be the original owner of the content in order for this to be appropriate. As Soundcloud's blog says, "With Creative Commons licenses, creators have the choice to give up certain exclusive rights normally associated with copyright, while retaining others." It doesn't mean that you are uploading the content without the intention of making money or profit from it. 

While this may cause people to shy away from this particular platform, it is still a great tool for both producers and consumers, with several unique and helpful features. It provides a way to upload audio and the ability for anybody to interact with the uploaded content. It can also serve as a digital portfolio, or a way to discover and organize your favorite recordings. There may still be several issues with maintenance and their mobile app, but clearly that has not halted its increase in users. As with any globally-used platform, it is inevitable that there will be problems of some sort. 

People have been considering making their own personal portal for their music, but this may be less convenient to their audience since it's not all in one, cohesive website. Whether or not you continue to use Soundcloud though, is of course, up to you.


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  • As one who deals with false positives in support all day: Automatic scanning is the enemy when you can't tell what's a loop vs song

    Phil Robinson June 18, 2014 2:34 PM Reply
  • @credibleu Wonderful piece, thank you for saying it so well!

    Lewdite June 18, 2014 3:07 PM Reply

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