Nothing gets bloggers' dander up like digital rights management. The news that Universal Music Group is close to a DRM deal with online community Bolt.com sparked concern across the Net, as bloggers worried about the precedent being set.
Universal sued Bolt last November over uploads that contained copyrighted music owned by Universal. According to The New York Times, the new settlement would be worth millions of dollars and would require Bolt to admit it infringed Universal's copyrights, and agree to pay royalties for future video submissions contain Universal work.
Bolt is hardly the biggest player in the online media world. But Universal is clearly hoping that a settlement will help it take on bigger fish like MySpace. As the copyright battles continue to rage, bloggers are worried that, even if they have the law on their side, online video sites may end up losing the battle to media players with deeper pockets.
Blog community response:
"Realistically speaking, this is Universal Music pressuring Bolt out of business (and even getting the company to admit it was 'guilty' of violating a law it didn't break)."
"Did Bolt cave because it couldn't handle the ongoing disruptions of litigation and the mounting legal expenses? Or, did Bolt's attorneys decide that it wouldn't win if the case move forward? If Bolt decided that the DMCA--which has take-down provisions that put the onus on Universal Music to request protection of its copyrights--didn't provide the company with sufficient legal cover, then boy oh boy, expect the copyright infringement lawsuits to start flying."
--IP & Democracy
"We've been niaive in thinking that big royalty collectors like Universal would not go in pursuit of violators and we've been niaive too I think in imagining that there are new business principles that the old guard ignore at their peril. Truth is the Universals are not dinosaurs at all but just hard headed. And who wouldn't be?"
--What Will You See Next?