Pondering The Blogging Future

Originally posted October 27, 2008

In twenty-one months of blogging – more than five hundred posts – I’ve received two requests from copyright owners to remove material. The folks who own the rights to Leo Kottke’s 12 String Blues asked me to remove a link to that album last March, and early this month, a representative of Bobby Whitlock asked me to remove the links to his work.

In both cases, I happily complied within an hour of receiving the request, and then I double-checked over the next day to make sure I hadn’t missed anything.

Those were the only complaints I’d received.

The only ones until last Wednesday and Thursday, that is, when I received three notices from Blogger, telling me that complaints had been filed regarding copyrighted material on three different posts. Those filing the complaints were unidentified, and Blogger deleted the posts. The threat, of course, is that if Blogger decides too many complaints are filed, my account will be closed. (So if this blog disappears without any warning from me, that’s what has happened.)

I stewed about the complaints at the end of last week, and while wandering the world of blogs over the weekend, I learned I wasn’t by any means the only person receiving a notice: Tom at TC’s Old and New Music Review wrote about it, as did Steve at Teenage Kicks. And Sunday, jc at The Vinyl Villain had a list of other bloggers – including Steve – who had received similar notices.

Theories abound in blogs and on bulletin boards about who is lodging the complaints: It’s a certain record label. It’s an industry representative. It’s a ’Net vigilante. I don’t know. I do know that I found the three recordings cited in the notices I received were an odd mix: A 2003 edit of a 1986 duet by Demis Roussos and Nancy Boyd; an Aretha Franklin B-side/album track from 1972; and a Shawn Colvin album track from 1994.

And I’ve spent a lot of time since the middle of last week pondering how to respond. As I noted Saturday morning,* I did in fact have to reformat the hard drive Friday, and Saturday was spent playing Strat-O-Matic baseball [see note below], so I likely would not have posted either day anyway.

The complaint/deletion notices have spurred me to do some housekeeping that I should have been doing all along, and that’s to delete links two weeks after they’ve been posted. While catching up, I accidentally deleted the links I posted a week ago Saturday when I wrote about the death of Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops, but I don’t think that’s a loss, as those were hardly rare singles. And that leads me to one of the things I’m considering: Focusing as I did in the first months of this blog on more rare music. Instead of, say, a Baker’s Dozen – a format that may have run its course after one hundred installments – perhaps offering a “One From The Deep,” which would look at individual songs that languished in the lower levels of the Billboard Hot 100.

I don’t know yet what I am going to do. I’m certain there will be bloggers who will close shop as a result of last week’s flurry of complaints, and I’m certain as well that such is the hope and intent of those lodging complaints with Blogger. I imagine I could continue to write about my life and how it’s been intertwined with music without offering the music itself. I know that when I visit my favorite music blogs, I’m a great deal more interested these days in the tales than the tunes. I’m not sure to what degree that’s true for the four hundred or so folks who stop by here most days.

Keeping this blog running – and getting the response I have – has been one of the greater joys of my life. I don’t know what I am going to do come tomorrow. But in the meantime, I could use some feedback.

About baseball: For those who are interested in the Strat-O-Matic results, my 1931 Athletics defeated the two-time defending champions, Rob’s 1922 Browns, in the first round, but Rob won the tournament for the third year in a row. Somehow, he ushered his 1995 Rockies through the puzzle of poor pitching to win the title dramatically with a Larry Walker home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of the deciding game.

*The Saturday morning post noting that I would not share a Saturday Single was evidently written directly on the blog. It does not exist in the archives. Note added August 24, 2011.

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