Cease and Desist Mark 2: Beastles gets pulled by the blue meanies

Years ago, on a different host and a different URL I got a Cease and Desist from EMI via the MCPS-PRS for a mashup I did…interestingly I haven’t been hassled since then, til now.

I’m mirroring the Beastles ‘Ill Submarine’ and it seems the RIAA & Universal is leading an attack on it, despite the coverage in Boing Boing, LA Times, HuffPo, Slate and many other places – Columbian radio I hear! – it’s being pulled across the interwebs, including the Soundcloud. Unlike last time where I just went quietly into the dark night and pulled my hosting, things will play differently this time.

For a start, Dear RIAA, I will post all conversations here, there will be no ‘chilling effects’ here. You are wrong. Amazes me in 2013 with all the stuff about orphan works, Creative Commons, a rich remix culture and the fact that record companies are double-dealing with getting DJs to create unofficial remixes while publicly attacking them, same with the bloggers (one side is giving them tracks, the other side is threatening to take them down). The record companies and their copyright organisations know they need the promotion, but they don’t want the legal precedent, so thus they bite the PR hand that feeds them.

So here’s the nastygram – I’d appreciate any legal help (Fair Use is obvious as it’s a US host & US company, and also the non-commerciality, this is a bunch of mashups not a full album shared for fun not profit). Popehat? Cory Doctorow?

If it does go sour I’m happy to move host since after PRISM having a US-based host is less than ideal anyway (and Ramnode just got hacked, scarily enough), although ironically the ‘Land of the Free’ have more laws about parody, fair use and even guidelines over allowing video mashups than most places, but the might of the dollar and legal threats still hold sway.

The album? Still up, and will stay up, I won’t remove it unless given a very good reason to do so (vague internet legal threats don’t count).

June 20, 2013

RamNode LLC
2430 Carlton Way
Macon, GA 31204


Dear Sir or Madam:

I am contacting you on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of America, Inc. (RIAA) and its member record companies. The RIAA is a trade association whose member companies create, manufacture and distribute approximately eighty-five (85) percent of all legitimate sound recordings sold in the United States. Under penalty of perjury, we submit that the RIAA is authorized to act on behalf of its member companies on matters involving the infringement of their sound recordings, including enforcing their copyrights and common law rights on the Internet.

We believe your service is hosting the below-referenced file on its network. This file offers a sound recording for other users to download. We have a good faith belief that this activity is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law. We assert that the information in this notification is accurate, based upon the data available to us.

We are asking for your immediate assistance in stopping this unauthorized activity. Specifically, we request that you remove the infringing file from the system, or that you disable access to the infringing file, and that you inform the site operator of the illegality of his or her conduct.

You should understand that this letter constitutes notice to you that this site operator may be liable for the infringing activity occurring on your service. In addition, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, if you ignore this notice, you and/or your company may also be liable for any resulting infringement. This letter does not constitute a waiver of any right to recover damages incurred by virtue of any such unauthorized activities, and such rights as well as claims for other relief are expressly retained.

You may contact me at RIAA, 1025 F St. NW, Washington, DC, 20004, Tel. (202) 775-0101, or e-mail antipiracy@riaa.com, to discuss this notice. We await your response. Kind regards.

Traci Crippen
Online Anti-Piracy

http://www.radioclash.com/IllSub.zip The Beatles/Beastie Boys Ill Submarine

The NirGaGa Saga

I’ve been keeping tabs on the whole NirGaGa Saga, where DJ Lobsterdust‘s Nirvana vs Lady Gaga got a Cease and Desist recently from EMI, as well as Bootie for putting it on their Best of Bootie 2009 CD.

I’ll let DJ Lobsterdust describe the timeline in his own words:

september – Nirgaga (Nirvana vs. Lady Gaga) gets posted. GYBOers give it the thumbs down. several online blogs declare it is the worst mashup I’ve ever done. I move on.

a few months later Nirgaga gets played at bootie, the (drunk) punters love it. A+D declare Nirgaga is now a bootie anthem.

early December – the track is featured on the Best Of Bootie 2009 CD. The CD goes viral and gets mentioned in countless mainsteam outlets.

late December – Twitter & Youtube go gaga over the mashup, MTV and the Wall Street Journal mention Nirgaga on their websites. Twitterati claim it’s one of the greatest mashups ever, youtubers demand I be burned alive for making it.

early January – EMI sends me (and also A+D) a Cease and Desist letter, we pull the plug on Nirgaga. The saga ends (for now).

And most interestingly, EFF have now taken an interest – one of the first mashups to do that, if not the first. That is a very good sign.

Anyone who reads/listens to Radio Clash knows my hatred of EMI – long standing due to a C&D I got from them in 2004 for using an official acapella they released (how stupid is that?)…

I have to say (cos I tell it like it is, yes I know but it’s a package deal don’t look like that) the mash itself is merely OK, not a fave of mine for the reason that ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ has been mashed to death since it’s release, from Call It What You Want to Tin man and Smells Like Teen Booty and about 9,000 more of the suckers…’Smells…’ will go with most tracks and sadly has been (and I hate Lady Gaga) but if the likes of EFF want to fight EMI over it, I’d more than get behind that.

P.S. I wasn’t one of the GYBO thumbs down people Lobsterdust was talking about though, I like most people hadn’t heard the track until A&D started raving about it :-D Certainly as a mash it polarises opinion, which is a good thing – like the comments I get on the video I did for Earworm’s Radiohead vs Kanye mash, some people think certain acts are inviolate and should not be tarred with the pop brush – here’s some funny examples from NirGaGa’s YouTube page:

this is the worst that someone could do to a great song, fuck ugly lady gaga and her stupid talentless songs!!! The guy who made this should be burried alive


This is the worst thing I’ve ever heard. This should be removed on principal alone!!!


I can’t believe someone would do this to a great Nirvana song!!!!!

But don’t hold back, say what you think – did you like it? LOL.

For that Lobsterdust I salute you – it’s hard to get a true marmite reaction – and I have to say there are quite a few positive responses too…it does seem to be a total love/hate track. Certainly EMI seem to be in the latter category ;-)
Oh and EMI would hate for you to click on this link.

Things I Never Posted But Didn’t Get Round To It


Well last few months have been fairly busy until now, especially May which some of these date back to – well back in May saw the release of Foolklegs 2 – I LOVED the first one, the idea of taking Folk music and mashing it with modern music, mostly from French bootleggers, which also gave it another cultural twist.

Favourites from this is Granpamini’s Incantation-meets-East London ‘Dizzee goes Peru’ and my one to watch Elocnep who’s Darkness vs Lily Allen video I posted here and is also from this (not sure where the folk is in that, but anyway great tune) but he/she (?) must love Buraka Son Sistema as much as me as my favourite track from this whole collection is “Love kalemba or hate kalemba” which is Lady Sovereign vs that Angola/Portugese collective. Great stuff, and I expect great things from Elocnep – and will be featured on the next Radio Clash.


Now the next one again I came a little late to, and sadly the first I heard the compilation those nasty people at PRS (boo! hiss!) had Cease and Desisted it, and yes it’s our friends at EMI again, so boos all round. The compilation in question is Bootrospective, the Pet Shop Boys compilation produced by Dan Mei and Marc Johnce under the DMF collective with several other bootleggers. And it’s rather good, I think both of them are fairly new to mashups but do a great job here, as well as CjR who like Elocnep is definitely One To Watch, putting Heartbeat with Jacko as “Bad Heart” and making a funny if apparently rather unintentional comment on the death of MJ (and funnily enough a friend suggested a similar combo the day after Jacko’s death) – and Clive$ter & StabinCabin but mostly it’s a Dan Mei and Marc Johnce gig.

Best tracks as well as the CjR are “Did You See Me Moving Along” which obviously knows that Bloodhound Gang based their Discovery Channel on the b-side to West End Girls (that BBC Shopping theme) and matches it with another Pet Shop Boys track to good effect, “Unforgiven Rent” which marries Metallica with ver Boys and shouldn’t work but does and “Land Of Stupid” Genesis meets the Pet Shop Boys.

Where to get this as DMF and folks have pulled all links? Well I’ve poked around and found some kind soul has uploaded it to Mass Mirror and Mediafire. (And if the PRS or EMI are reading this, go fuck yourselves – I doubt Neil nor Chris are opposed to mashups from seeing their live shows and *ahem* other stuff I know, Chris I’ve heard especially liked DJ Magnet – Love Comes Running Up That Hill Quickly and these are of similar quality – maybe you should check with the artists FIRST before flexing your DMCA muscles?).

Lastly a new find via Soundcloud (I am on there as MutantPop and have started the Mashup group which seems surprisingly healthy, if rather odd in places!) but not odd is this great cutup track by musician and composer Neil Rosenberg in the vein of Dickie Goodman, The BranFlakes and Twink, cutting up kids records, preachers, auctioneers and old jazz records – recommended:

(and he liked my “Stripper Jackson” which for a musician to rate anything I do is a serious compliment for little old non-muso me :-D

Complete CONtrol; or how Glasvegas and Columbia need to get a clue

I’d like to think doing an own goal on the Net is known as doing a Metallica; like being Dooced, it’s where you go against your own fans (as with Metallica and Napster, and recently having a go at bloggers daring to write about them). But that’s restricted to aging non-technical metal leather blokes right? WRONG.

Let me tell you a story:

There’s an unsigned rock band in Scotland, they’ve got a buzz around them, mostly created around demos pushed around the internet with the band’s permission. They do an interview with a blogger, who posts some of the said demos with the band’s permission. The band becomes a hot ticket as part of all this attention, and signs with a major label. So everyone’s happy then? Band have got big deal, blogger and others who caught on early got the scoops, the fans got the demos and are likely to buy the LP to hear the final tracks and others. All butterflies, yellow brick roads, unicorns and fluffy kittens?


What actually happened was over a week ago the blogger, Ed from 17seconds got a DMCA takedown via Google/Blogger from Columbia, for an interview done before Glasvegas, the band, signed with them. The kicker? Well the tracks weren’t even available anymore. And originally were there with the band’s permission (implicit or otherwise, they were posted free at their site I think); when they owned all the rights, anyway, as they were then unsigned.

What this reveals is the utter stupidity (and doing a Metallica-ness, damn need to work on those verbs) of Google, Columbia (aka Sony BMG), Glasvegas and the DMCA. Google for pulling stuff without question – like Prince does with NPG Productions on YouTube, using the DMCA like confetti even when he doesn’t own the rights – Columbia for obviously doing a standard ‘buy everything’ deal with Glasvegas, and then strangely infuriating the fans and bloggers who put the band in the charts by regarding their initial promotional support as reason for litigation, Glasvegas for doing what bands like the Clash did before them and sign with $$$s in their eyes not realising probably what complete CONtrol means and probably not caring about the people who got them there, and DMCA evil piece of litigation that made this whole sad sorry state of affairs possible (apparently right or wrong the offending piece has to be taken down for 10-14 days? Is that true? If so, that is really a chilling effect).

Now where does it leave us? There seems to be one of the periodic crackdowns atm – Teenage Kicks have been threatened also, although that was the Baitles who tbh are like Prince litigious as feck. And no-one wants defends the rights to post ‘illegal music’ do they?

What tends to be less said is that these are less than ‘illegitimate’ bloggers in most cases, they’ve got the go-ahead, the contacts etc – and still get hassle even after being told it’s OK. So the official route is no less difficult, but ‘legit’ or not the record labels and their pluggers and marketers depend on these blogs in part to promote their music – they court them, as they do with DJs and remixers with acapellas and instrumentals, they lure them with the latest tracks. It’s no suprise, there isn’t a darkened back door where these ‘demo’ or pre-release MP3s are leaking out like fleeing rats; the record labels GIVE THEM to the blogs. Or the bands, or the marketing departments, or managers, or agents.

So hence irony of turning around and biting the hand that feeds you.

What to do? Well what about this – goto the Glasvegas Myspace page. Befriend them. Post a message pointing to 17seconds or the Don’t be Evil post. Then unfriend them ;-)

Tell your friends not to buy Glasvegas’s album and/or download or give them a copy until Ed or someone hears back. In fact fuck it boycott all Sony BMG if you want (who due to a contact I used to have used to be quite cool about all this, regularly releasing tracks for remix and review, unlike another frequent offender EMI who I’m glad to see are going down the pan May they rot in hell. They caused my own Cease and Desist – ooh remember them? How quaint they seem now – but anyway it’s sad to see Sony BMG join that cabal of stupidity).

Because I’m sure, Glasvegas being a Glaswegian band might not like being asked whether they are men or whether they are mice. Or that they are just now Columbia’s prison bitches…and might see these messages and respond. Doubtful, but one can try.

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