Popular "mixtape" sharing site, Muxtape, has been temporarily shut down due to some conflict with music industry trade organization, the RIAA. The website now displays this message:
Muxtape will be unavailable for a brief period while we sort out a problem with the RIAA.
The popular site allowed users to make and share mixtapes of MP3s - using their own music - and included fans in many bands and record labels. The trade organization spoke to Rolling Stone about the problems with muxtape:
For the past several months, we have communicated our legal concerns with the site and repeatedly tried to work with them to have illegal content taken down. Muxtape was hosting copies of copyrighted sound recordings without authorization from the copyright owners. Making these recordings available for streaming playback also requires authorization from the copyright owners. Muxtape has not obtained authorization from our member companies to host or stream copies of their sound recordings.
According to the article, for the site to obtain the rights to stream the music, it would need to set up a licensing arrangement with record labels. Rolling Stone also spoke to some legal experts about the issue, Fred Von Lohmann, Electronic Frontier Foundation's senior intellectual property attorney noted:
I think they have a strong legal defense. The problem is if they might not have that money to go to court and take on the RIAA. But it's a measure of success to be sued by the RIAA. Once you're popular enough, that's when they come calling.
Update: Valley Wag has an update which suggests that problems may also stem from the high costs of running the site, which apparently could run as high as $30,000 per month. As the site only raised $95,000 in startup capital, this may also be a factor in the shutdown.