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Deerhunter man reveals “Sony think they own my bedroom”

By | Published on Tuesday 30 November 2010

Bradford Cox of Deerhunter and Atlas Sound had a rather confusing couple of days last weekend after Sony Music issued a takedown notice against his own blog on Friday, over two albums of his own bedroom-made demos which he had uploaded for his fans to download for free. This was confusing because Cox is not and has never been signed to any Sony Music label. Deerhunter are signed to Beggar’s 4AD while Atlas Sound release via indie label Kranky. 

And in case you thought perhaps there were grounds for a takedown notice regards a publishing rights violation (there’s at least one cover in the demos collection), firstly it was Sony Music (Sony’s record company) and not Sony/ATV (Sony’s publishing firm) which issued the takedown, and secondly the notice specifically referenced a violation of the major’s sound recording copyrights. 

The file-hosting service to which Cox had uploaded his music, Mediafire, complied with Sony’s takedown notice, issued under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, preventing Cox from giving away his own music, and prompting the music man to joke “apparently Sony Music owns my bedroom”. But the major admitted to Billboard yesterday it had made a mistake and that it had made Cox, his manager and Mediafire aware of this fact. 

Although this was presumably an administrative error, content owners do need to be careful when issuing takedown notices, because some – including Google – have accused big music companies of being heavy handed when demanding allegedly infringing content be removed, often listing content they don’t actually own on takedown lists. Said people often use this as evidence as to why content owners shouldn’t be given new legal powers to have allegedly infringing websites taken offline, such as those currently being considered by US Congress.