Three Years Later, Who Owns The Rights To Radiohead's In Rainbows?

Famous rock band Radiohead released an album a few years ago called In Rainbows. The band initially released the album online for free. Well, not for “free,” per se, but you were given the option to pay whatever you wanted. That promotion only lasted a little while, as the band later teamed up with traditional record labels (like Warner and Sony) to release a physical album.

Here we are, almost three years later (good God, three years…), and the RIAA and IFPI are now issuing takedown requests to sites that are offering the album online for free. Think Blogger sites and the like.

The question becomes, how does the RIAA and IFPI know that the editions of the album being offered online for free today are the editions that they own the rights to? What if some enterprising youngster downloaded the album for free back in 2007, and now wants to offer it on his or her blog for all the world to download?

How would that even work in court, I wonder? “Your honor, I downloaded the album for free, legally, and then put a copy of it on my Web site. Is that a crime?”

Maybe, I don’t know. I don’t remember the terms under which Radiohead released the album online.

It’s basically a question of, is the RIAA (and IFPI) trying to protect something it doesn’t even have the rights to?