Beatport has deleted most of the tracks released by FLOD, the alias of Italian electronic music producer and serial plagiarist Flavio Lodetti after investigations revealed that most of them had been stolen from other producers.
Lodetti had manufactured a 10 year long career of releasing stolen music swiped from previously released material as well as having his name added as co-producer on tracks made by others. He was publicly exposed after submitting several stolen tracks as demos to the producer that had actually created them.
Last week, the artist page for “FLOD” disappeared from Beatport, and most of the tracks flagged for being stolen have been withdrawn.
And just like that – poof – he’s gone.
While some of these deletions were requests from the labels that were duped into releasing FLOD’s stolen material, 5 Mag has learned that shortly after FLOD had been publicly shamed, he began a quiet campaign to have his pending music releases – presumably, also stolen – pulled before they could be released.
Lodetti “emailed us 3 times” within a day of the first public revelations of Lodetti’s theft, the owner of one label told us. “I looked at it again and I guess it was probably a copy/paste job and he sent it to a lot of us. He just asked us to pull the tracks, no explanation, and we did.”
But Why Were They On Beatport To Begin With?
Beatport’s actions (if they took any, other than responding to requests from labels and perhaps FLOD himself) came amid questions about why the platform doesn’t have a “content ID” system in place to scan upcoming tracks for obvious incidents of copyright infringement.
In fact, many if not most of the tracks taken down by Beatport in the last week were identified as stolen material by scanning FLOD’s releases through these very systems – a combination of Shazam and YouTube’s native Content ID.
Beatport’s press department stopped replying to me back when I was reporting on the company during the SFX days and Robert X. Sillerman’s reign of errors, but I suppose they would point out that content ID scans are still pretty rudimentary, they flag a lot of false positives and they could be a nightmare with music which is based largely (though not entirely) on sampling. (Content scans are also abused by a cadre of notorious copyright trolls, such as the ones who tried to claim copyright over an audio researcher’s 10 hour upload of generated white noise.)
YouTube’s Content ID system, for instance, pre-emptively excludes tracks that contain audio elements and samples that the artist doesn’t have exclusive rights to use. It’s been speculated that this is because its algorithm has no way of distinguishing whether a sample is licensed or not, and so YouTube simply disqualifies a broad swathe of music using identifiable elements from monetization and avoids the problem entirely.
But the sample question also feels like a dodge. Lodetti wasn’t lifting loops or beats. His tracks were note-for-note, totally unedited copies of tracks that already existed in Beatport’s database under different names. He wasn’t a master criminal: he was a shoplifter jamming candy bars down his undies. It doesn’t seem like the technology would need to be very expensive or finely tuned to match two identical tracks – iTunes already does it. (The compilation issue is a dodge too. Every label has paperwork for licenses for those.) The technology certainly exists, Beatport just chooses not to implement it.
Perhaps this means I can download Michael Jackson’s Thriller from iTunes, rename it Terry Matthew’s Chiller and release it on Beatport, completely undetected. I don’t have the guts to try (I still fear the wrath of the late Joe Jackson) but someone should give it a shot.