MySpace.com, under pressure from musician Billy Bragg, has changed its terms and conditions to allow musicians and artists to retain ownership of material they post.
The left-wing troubadour pulled his own tracks from his MySpace site when he became convinced that the terms and conditions gave the rights to new music posted on the site to MySpace's owners – Murdoch's News Corporation. He started a campaign to get the terms changed.
According to OUT-LAW.com, the company now says that this interpretation was incorrect, but it decided to change the rules anyway to assuage musicians' concerns.
The old rules said that a user would "grant to MySpace.com a non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free, worldwide license… to use, copy, modify, adapt, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, store, reproduce, transmit, and distribute such Content on and through the Services."
The new terms, however, state: "MySpace.com does not claim any ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, or any other materials (collectively, 'Content') that you post to the MySpace Services. After posting your Content to the MySpace Services, you continue to retain all ownership rights in such Content, and you continue to have the right to use your Content in any way you choose."
A jubilant Bragg said: "The principle of the right of the producer of the material to ownership and the right to exploit their material seems to have been established on the largest internet community site of them all, which is MySpace, and that's really what I was most importantly trying to do.
"I want this to be an industry standard now," he added. "The last thing we want is for people posting on their sites to have to have a lawyer sitting beside them."
And let's face it, no-one wants a lawyer sitting next to them.
So another drama in the relationship of the internet and law ends. Web democracy is safeguarded, sheep may safely graze, and terrible bands are once more free to inflict their teenage musings on an unsuspecting world.