I’ll admit to my seedy past… I once worked at a place where we used a dubious legal release that, if one looked at it at the right angle, could be interpreted to give my employer ownership of any music we put into our distribution system. And, realistically, anyone that saw it knew that it was just lazy legalese, and that their lawyers would squish us like bugs if we ever tried to actually assert ownership.
Billy Bragg spotted some similar legalese in the MySpace terms of service, a loophole that technically granted the site full ownership of any songs submitted for playback by musicians.
Kudos, then, to the MySpace folks for heeding his complaint and changing the wording. MySpace now explicitly states that they do not own the songs submitted by its users.
Yet another reason that Billy Bragg’s my hero.
[WISTFUL ASIDE: Somewhere in the multiverse, there exists a photo of Billy Bragg putting me in a headlock. While I’ve never been fond of the “grip’n’grin” photo, I always regret misplacing my copy…]