I was just going through my favorite pages and I came across a kind mention of my little project. My approach is to generally add a link when I write something about a band or find a cool music site. So I should have said something earlier about my links to the right under Some MP3 Blogs.
If you are not familiar, these are places where fans write about music and then put up a temporary Mp3 (usually one or two songs, not whole albums) so you can share the experience with them. There are many of them and they all link to each other. I've picked the three that I most enjoy and I'll add more as I come across them. Mystery and Misery brings out lots of hidden gems mostly from bands influenced by the great English indie pop explosion of the 80s and the 90s. Like an idiot, I dissed this music at the time and now regret it (I did the same thing about disco and turned on my 60's/70's rock icons as well). It's elegant and always full of surprises. I've learned since that there are incredible sounds everywhere and we should all try to pick them up when we can. Fluxblog is known as the grand-daddy of Mp3 blogs and probably first started it - the author has a good ear for stuff and goes all over the place in his selection. Finally, the site that introduced me to the phenom is Teaching the Indie Kids how to Dance. I like its enthusastic shambling style and its a pretty descriptive title of the music the author enjoys. So go check them out, try out a track or two and maybe find a new favorite band. A Small Victory which is linked under Some Others also puts up the occasional good tune but covers a much wider area (politics, pop culture, personal stuff) and is unbashedly pro-War on Terror (fore-warned). Michele is a one man machine organizing worthy charity drives (buying radio equipment for Iraq, helping a woman who cares for many handicapped children) and helping to maintain Command Post, a blogging collective that finds and links to stories regarding this war.
So enough about the other blogs: The question I ask is whether I should do something similar? However, I'm concerned about the legal issues (is it fair use or not?) involved, etc. Morally, I think it is fair use and much more so than the PtP networks. I have no problem downloading from Mp3 blogs because invariably if I like it I'll seek out some more from the artist or I will delete if I don't like it. I am being educated and as I understand it that is part of the reason for fair use -- but would it be fair to, say, do the same thing with authors and scan in a chapter from a book or a short story? Actually, I think it would be.
I think my general philosophy tilts towards trying to get the copyright holder's permission first or only hosting songs for a limited time and only if it can't be obtained elsewhere (99 cents for a song is not too much of a hardship after all). Barring that, it's best judgement and, as others do, state that you will immediately take something down if the copyright holder complains.
It's too bad there isn't some sort of exchange where artists/copyright holders can sign off on MP3 blogs and/or indicate whether the song is out there for free or sale. If the RIAA or BMI, etc. wanted to do something useful rather than sueing and intimidating their natural customer base, they would set something like this up.