Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

First Page



In the past decade, the information distribution channels for music have changed dramatically. Not only have they largely moved from radio and print to online sources, but many audioblogs have formed to cover various niches according to the individual tastes of bloggers. This democratization of music criticism has been popular with listeners, as the information is easily and immediately available as well as tailored to a particular interest.

A defining feature of the audioblog is the inclusion of a downloadable MP3 in each post. In some cases, especially for more popular audioblogs, the download is approved by the copyright holder. In most cases, however, songs are posted without approval. This creates obvious copyright infringement implications.

Because audioblogs serve a valuable function, this Note looks within copyright law for a potential exemption for these posts, focusing on the fair use defense. Through an analysis of the four factors of the traditional fair use test, the Note concludes that, based on current precedent, a court would not likely find that this use falls within fair use. Under the current law, however, it is possible that music labels will not bring infringement cases to court, relying instead on their DMCA rights.

As a result of the potential liabilities and the tactics and beliefs of copyright owners, this Note then considers a variety of solutions to resolve the tension between marketing, information sharing, and infringement, considering the current state of technology. Finally, it concludes with a look forward at a potentially ideal system that would capture the appeal and utility of audioblogs while satisfying the requirements of copyright.