Among the most advanced and popular online steaming services today such as Spotify, Beats, Pandora, and Rhapsody, the Swedish online distributor SoundCloud deserves to be included in the list of such prominent brands. If you ask EDM fans around the world, many of them would probably agree to this notion, as SoundCloud has been one of the largest platforms that facilitate listeners to reach out to the creative EDM community. I myself am a huge fan of what SoundCloud has been providing, and given the quality of its services, the company’s global user base of 175 million does not surprise me.
Because SoundCloud controls and has access to a plethora of copyrighted material, their intention to better secure and protect such types of material is understandable especially during this modern age in which copyright infringement has become relatively easier to engage in. The Berlin-based firm recently announced a partnership with ZEFR, a tech company whose copyright management system is also implemented by You Tube to look through its tank of content and determine infringing acts. SoundCloud has already started using ZEFR’s more sophisticated security program, and SoundCloud now detects copyrighted content with higher sensitivity.
However, while it is apparent that SoundCloud is becoming stronger in terms of protecting the rights of artists, the partnership is also disappointing many of them. SoundCloud and its copyright management system are being criticized for blindly taking down the properties of some artists, as can be observed in the cases of Knife Party and Martin Garrix. Earlier this year, Rob Swire, one of the two Producers/DJs of Knife Party, revealed via Twitter that five of their entire list of songs and teasers on their SoundCloud profile were removed as per automatic detection of copyright infringement. The screenshot posted on his Twitter page clearly shows that the automatic content protection system removed tracks to which Rob Swire legally owns the rights. More recently, SoundCloud’s computerized system went after the young and eminent EDM producer Martin Garrix, and pulled out “Don’t Look Down”, a melodic collaboration with Usher. Producers are witnessing their very own works being extracted by the automatic protection system, and they are nothing else but exasperated.
SoundCloud and ZEFR will stay in trouble unless they find a better way to protect the owners of copyrighted properties effectively and only take down the material that should be removed. Almost certainly, all the other artists on SoundCloud wish that what happened to Knife Party and Martin Garrix will not take toll on themselves. A solution to this problem is needed especially because technological modernization is progressing rapidly than anybody could have imagined decades ago, and so much content is being uploaded every single day. Digital distribution of copyrighted material has been creating issues more than ever, and online distribution services ought to be ahead of the curve.
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