MySpace Moves to Protect Copyright Holders

On Monday MySpace will announce a partnership with California startup Gracenote to help detect and block copyrighted music from being posted on MySpace member pages. This will allow them to be more proactive about copyright enforcement, in addition to complying with DMCA take-down notices.

YouTube made a similar announcement earlier this year, although YouTube is not simply blocking copyrighted material – instead they are encouraging the copyright holder to allow the use and take a revenue share from advertising placed around the video.

Copyrighted material, particularly music, is one of the key drivers of the success of social networks. Over 3 million bands now have pages at MySpace – it is now a defacto requirement for a band to have a MySpace presence. Competitor Bebo recently announced that they have over 300,000 bands after just one year.

Recent news suggests YouTube’s free ride on the copyright infringement gravy train may be coming to an end. They’ve complied with “requests” to remove 30,000 Japanese media clips, as well as clips from Comedy Central shows. Rumor has it that in the past, marketing departments for TV shows would anonymously upload content to YouTube to get exposure, even while their legal departments were issuing take-down notices for the very same content. Now that everyone understands the value of being the online network for TV clips ($1.65 billion), copyright holders are taking a step back and thinking about how they can get a piece of that money, too.