Thursday 30 April 2009

OurStage or Outrage? The case of copyright and community values

I've just been reading the Community Values page on music discovery site (see Wikipedia entry here) and I'm trying to work out how it works.  It's definitely something to do with symbiosis between bands and artists who want to be rich, famous or just listened to, on the one hand, and a spectrum of music consumers who extend from the discerning talent-spotter at one end to the load-all-you-can track-grabber at the other. Anyway, I soon found myself reading the Community Values page.  It reads, in relevant parts, as follows: 
" is an online community serving passionate music & video fans and artists who have come together for the purpose of collaboratively selecting the best in emerging music & video.

Through active involvement at our site, we will come to know each other as friend and fan, a connection of like-minded individuals interested in sharing thoughts and ideas about music & video. As a whole we are creating a priceless environment for the industry to use as a resource for selecting the best talent for their needs, while also providing a discovery resource for fans to embrace new artists and artists to earn the support of new fans.

Artist Community Values:

We seek to facilitate strong relationships that enable artists to earn the support of new fans and introduce them to new art.
Your art remains yours, forever – we demand no rights. [Not even a licence to make it available?]
There’s no sharing, sending, giving or stealing of your property. [I get the gist, but I'm not clear what the full implications of this are] If you want to sell your work, that’s your business.
For the sake of the fans’ listening experience, content in a channel must adhere to our posted channel descriptions.
The site is for you to discover new fans, not just solicit votes. Please check out other artists you like, and introduce yourself to their friends and fans.
We like to think we’re in this together, meaning we provide the platform to showcase your talent, but we need artists’ help too. Keep your profile updated, keep uploading into our channels, make friends, recruit fans—help us help you.
We are here to see you advance your career. If you have ideas to make this site better, tell us. We’ll respond in kind.
Because this site is about music and video, we want users to engage in conversation via email or other means with members who share your interests and welcome your viewpoints. Please don’t spam friends or other fans with off-topic messages.
Share your thoughts and ideas about OurStage with us. We are here for you and value your opinions.
We do not condone, support or tolerate those who write disparaging, negative or slanderous comments about Artists or Fans and then broadcast those views to other OurStage members via blogs, OurStage email, chat or any OurStage communication mechanism. Concerns about other members should be communicated to the OurStage team directly and exclusively. We will address any issue raised privately and discreetly. [there's no mention of anything to do with copyright in the list of non-condoned activities  - not just in its economic guise but in terms of moral rights]
The opportunities we offer artists for career advancement and promotional placements are for all genres and never does one take precedent over another.
Fan Community Values:

OurStage is here to help fans discover great music & film. We encourage all fans to vote often, vote for the best talents and vote fairly. Every participant is a contributing member of this collective taste-making venture.

Share your comments, thoughts and accolades with your favorite artists—let them know you love them. We encourage it and value it, as do the artists.

Fans are invited to flag off-topic, copyrighted [Is this an attempt to avoid or at any rate discourage liability, or what? There's no suggestion of a take-down policy here] or offensive content, but please, not artists’ uploads simply because you don’t like them.

Help your favorite artists by spreading the word about OurStage to other music & film lovers. We’re here to support artists, but most importantly, to empower you the fans to take music & film back from the Man and give it to its rightful owners – its creators and patrons.

Be a presence on OurStage. Show your face, make favorites, playlists. The more active you are, the happier the fans and artists will be – us too.

Because OurStage is about music & video, we want users to engage in conversation via email or other means with members who share your interests and welcome your viewpoints. Please don’t spam friends or other fans with off-topic messages.
What do you think of our Community Values? One value we have is that we want your feedback. So please share!"
I'm curious to know how OurStage functions as an environment in which a relaxed attitude towards intellectual property is cultivated, given that there are no express rights waivers, no indemnities, no warnings and no explicit guidance to community members. Can any readers enlighten me?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

AOL's Ourstage has deleted the WinterBand fan page on behalf of a handful of false-christians who didn't like what we teach and filed frivolous "complaints"

Details and documentation are available at:

What has happened is outrageous religious censorship and discrimination.
Whether you love us or hate us consider the precedent that this situation establishes.

If anyone you know is investing time and effort building a presence and network of connections on Ourstage you owe it to them to make them aware of what is going on.

Bro Steve Winter
For Bible doctrine
For Christian music
For Christian community