Merlin, which bills itself as the “virtual fourth major,” says the re-launched social network is acting in bad faith.
According to Mashable, rights management agency Merlin says the music-minded social network is using songs by its artists without permission. The agency, which represents Rough Trade, Warp, Domino, XL, and Sub Pop, among others, had a deal with the old Myspace, but the agreement expired over a year ago.
“What we’ve taken issue with is the service launched without a license from us, yet with our music all over the service,” Merlin CEO Charles Caldas told Mashable. “It’s launching with hundreds of tracks and offering them free, on demand to consumers without the permission of the people who own the material, and certainly without remunerating them for it.”
When contacted by The New York Times, a Myspace representative said the infringing songs “were likely uploaded by users” and would be removed if requested by Merlin or the label.
As expected, that laisse faire attitude to copyright and renumeration doesn’t satisfy Mr. Caldas. “I don’t see ignorance as a justification for piracy,” he says. “If you’re offering music, without permission, that belongs to a copyright holder in a commercial environment, the onus is on you, the business, to make sure those rights are cleared.” Merlin is exploring its legal options.
After a period of beta testing, the new Myspace opened its doors last week, with a renewed emphasis on building connections between musicians and users. The grand opening coincided with the release of prominent endorser Justin Timberlake’s new single.