If you need a piece of contrary fluff, check out this Wired article which claims that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was a great boon to the Net- the comments to the article itself explain how stupid this idea is. The DMCA was a piece of late 90’s legislation that was supposed to set up guidelines for who was responsible for copyright violations. What it’s done instead among other things like limiting research opportunities is also give Internet providers (ISPs) and sites the right to yank material from the web with little or no notice.
One example of this mess is Berkeley Place blog, which thought it was playing by the rules in posting music but soon found out otherwise as it had to deal with its material being taken down by blogspot. Rules about the music that blogs can or can’t post are still fuzzy. Some bloggers complain that someone from a big label will send them music to spread the word about a band but they soon get threatening notes from someone else at the same label, telling the blogger to take their music down. Until this gets straightened out, this gray area is gonna remain a sore spot not just for blogs but also labels who want to promo their material. In the meantime, everyone involved loses out- not just the bloggers and the labels but also the online listeners/users and the artists themselves who are caught between all of this mess.