The online hip-hop community is still reeling after several well reputed “rap blogs” were taken down in a federal raid Thanksgiving day (Nov. 25). Websites Onsmash.com and DaJaz1.com, were just two of the domains seized.
Last week, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized 82 registered domains citing they were stopping the sales of counterfeit goods bootleg clothing, movies. Working with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), authorities targeted sites were also "selling" music. What the authorities have failed to realize is that neither DaJaz1 nor Onsmash have ever sold or promoted the distribution of illegal or copyrighted material.
VIBE spoke with Onsmash content manager, Legend, who explained Onsmash’s role in today’s music scene.
"We give new artists that platform to be heard which they might not have had before. We really just enjoy good music when it comes down to it,” Legend continues. "I think [rap blogs] have changed in terms of content. There’s so much more viral material out there. From the snippets, teasers, trailers, sneak peaks, etc"
With the majority of the hip-hop blogosphere’s most visible players remaining silent on the situation until more details emerge, a sense of uncertainty lingers in cyberspace as the fate of independent music blogs remains in deliberation.
But even with the RIAA and ICE paying close attention to the blogworld, dedicated tastemakers continue on in the relentless task of exposing new music to the masses.
"We're definitely not down and we're definitely not out,” says Lowkey, founder of YouHeardThatNew.com.
In the grand scheme of things a blogsphere where labels and blogs can coexist in harmony seems to be swaying further and further away.
“This is something that the labels and the Blogs have to work out. They both need each other there has to be a compromise between the 2 the Blogs are what's keeping are Music going,” says Rafael “June” Cardona of JuneBiz/Atlantic Records.
Mitch Bainwol, Chairman and CEO of the RIAA spoke out on the operation deemed "In Our Sites v. 2.0," a sweeping intellectual property enforcement initiative targeting the most notorious and flagrant websites trafficking in online music theft.
“Federal law enforcement authorities have now hung a ‘closed for business’ sign on some of the most notorious music websites that were havens for copyright theft. No anti-piracy initiative is a silver bullet, but targeted government enforcement against the worst of the worst rogue sites sends a strong message that illegally trafficking in creative works carries real consequences and won’t be tolerated.”
Even as both DaJaz1.com and Onsmash.com share cooperative relationships with a number of the major labels and many recording artists themselves, both sites continue to remain down while sorting legal matters in their respective situations.
Attorney General, Eric Holder, also released a statement behalf of ICE, “By seizing these domain names, we have disrupted the sale of thousands of counterfeit items, while also cutting off funds to those willing to exploit the ingenuity of others for their own personal gain.”
VIBE will continue to cover this developing story...
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