RIAA goes after Radiohead MP3’s that were once free

Radiohead may have given its 2007 In Rainbows music album away for free online, but music bloggers have recently received cease-and-desist notices to remove the copyrighted music.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) responded with cease and desist letters when they found several online blogs sharing music from Radiohead, U2, the Doors, and other signed music artists.


Specifically, the cease-and-desist notices are dated from September 2009 and January 2010. Most of the accused blogs also shared music from other artists as well.

It’s not uncommon to hear the RIAA and other music copyright groups targeting file sharers and pirates, but it seems rather interesting considering that Radiohead supported online distribution of its music.  Radiohead left record label EMI behind, and told music fans to download the album and pay what they thought was fair. Although the deal was only good from October to December of 2007.


The album was eventually released in disc box sets — and can now be found on iTunes for $9.99.  The band did admit that they support file sharing, but obviously they believe artists should be paid for their work.

“These recordings are owned by one of our member companies and have not been authorized for this kind of use,” the RIAA said in a statement.  The IFPI also is seeking assistance in eliminating and preventing future “unauthorized activity.”

Musicians have voiced their opinions regarding file sharing, but the final decision usually lies with the record label.  The record company normally has the final word on digital music distribution, marketing plans, and whether or not there should be a crackdown on file sharing.


I still argue that targeting individual music listeners is a mistake — but targeting organized piracy rings and online music blogs distributing copyrighted music — should continue in the future.  However, it seems strange the RIAA wants to go to bat with an artist that was willing to give music away for free — even though it must now be paid for.

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