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RATM fans banned on Napster, against will of Band

By reshippie in News
Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 03:15:53 PM EST
Tags: Music (all tags)

I came across this article on ZDnet news. It states that, like users who make Metallica songs available on Napster, those who make songs by Rage Against the Machine available will be banned.

Now I wouldn't expect people to think that this is a big deal, except for the reaction of the band.

They fully support Napster, and are outraged that their fans have been banned for trading thier songs. They contacted their management, and Sony (who distributes their music), but have not received any explaination.

One of the main arguements against Napster, is that the band does not get any royalties from the copying of their music. Rage has explicity stated that they are fine with this, but somebody has asked Napster to ban people who distribute Rage's music anyway.

This reminds me of Courtney Love's request for a portion of the settlement from the mp3.com case. I haven't heard anything about the outcome of that, but it's the same basic idea-Record copanies do something in the name of the musicians they represent, but then turn around and ignore them.


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RATM fans banned on Napster, against will of Band | 19 comments (19 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
RATM signed the contract (4.00 / 11) (#1)
by Delirium on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 02:13:35 PM EST

I'm sorry, but I don't support RATM on this one. They signed a contract with Sony explicitly giving Sony exclusive rights to control how RATM music is distributed. They can't turn around now and complain about how it's their label's fault, not theirs, after taking the millions of dollars in royalty checks from Sony and enjoying the label's widespread promotion of the band. If they wanted control over their music's distribution (including the right to grant fans rights to distribute it for free over Napster) they should've done so instead of selling that control. Now they're saying that even though they sold the rights to their music to Sony (and made quite a bit of money in the process) they should retain those rights. That doesn't seem to make sense.

New court arguments (5.00 / 3) (#2)
by jesterzog on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 02:20:10 PM EST

Normally I would agree, and I do agree that Sony has a perfectly legitimate right to do what it's doing.

As pointed out in the story though, I think the more relevant thing to this story is that one of the main arguments the distribution companies are using is that bands don't get compensation when people trade their music like on Napster.

This case could potentially lead to a strong argument against the music companies in their justification that they're attacking Napster et al to protect the artists.

jesterzog Fight the light

[ Parent ]
Disclaimer-I only know what I've heard (4.25 / 4) (#3)
by reshippie on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 02:20:49 PM EST

But they really didn't have any choice. On just about every CD you own, I bet it says that the music is copyrighted by the label, or some corporations. In order to get their music released, musicians have to give up almost all of the rights that they have to their music.

They are also supposed to pay back all of their recording costs. Musicians make next to nothing in royalties unless their album sells a million copies or something. And the worst part is, it's the pop crap like those prissy girls, and the dumb boy bands that do make any money. The really talented artists are doomed to obscurity and mediocrity.

Those who don't know me, probably shouldn't trust me. Those who do DEFINITELY shouldn't trust me. :-)
[ Parent ]

so don't sign the contract (4.40 / 5) (#5)
by Delirium on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 02:29:11 PM EST

But they really didn't have any choice. On just about every CD you own, I bet it says that the music is copyrighted by the label, or some corporations. In order to get their music released, musicians have to give up almost all of the rights that they have to their music.

Sure they had a choice - there is no rule saying that a band has to sign to a major (corporate) label to get their music released. The majority of the CDs I own are released on labels not affiliated with the RIAA or major corporations, and these offer much more amenable copyright terms to the artists. Sure, most of them retain the copyrights and thus you as an artist cannot give away your music on Napster, but if you want to do so you can work that out in the contract. Plus you could always self-release your music. My point is that if you signed a contract giving exclusive control to a label, that's your fault for doing so. You're trading your rights for fame and fortune, so after taking those millions of dollars profit it's hypocritical to turn around and complain about giving up your rights. You can't have it both ways - either retain freedom and make less money or give up freedom and make money. You don't get paid for nothing.

[ Parent ]

You've pointed out more of a flaw.... (4.50 / 4) (#8)
by Wah on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 03:21:00 PM EST

...in the current system than anything else. A band makes music, a label promotes it, the fans listen to it. The band wants fans to listen to music, and promote it, the label doesn't.

I'm not really arguing, they signed the contract, and the RIAA has written the laws, so the lawful character has no choice but to comply. I just think this points even more the fundamental flaws with our current IP system.

Control over digital distrubution is a big battle, and since it is completely us vs. them, I really hope we win.
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]

WooHoo (3.33 / 6) (#4)
by Devil Ducky on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 02:23:30 PM EST

I fully agree that sharing MP3s for free on IRC or Napster or Gnutella etc. rips off the artists. It is the artists work, art, blood, sweat, and tears that we are trading for free. I believe that they should get compensated for that effort (and in the case of some current bands, that non-effort).

I also believe that the if I pay Sony or some other RIAA company money for a MP3 that the artist won't recieve anything. When I buy a CD I am not paying for it so that I can support Sony and their advertising campaign, I pay that money with the hope that the artist recieve some compensation.

If the companies aren't going to give the artist their fair share, why should I give the companies anything?

Everyone buy Beatles music, at least that way artists make the money (Apple Records -> Beatles & Yoko Ono, Rights -> Michael Jackson). That is if you think Michael Jackson is an artist...

Devil Ducky

Immune to the Forces of Duct Tape
Day trading at it's Funnest
Well said, and completely offtopic (none / 0) (#17)
by THEWeirdo on Thu Dec 14, 2000 at 11:42:48 PM EST

This article is not about whether Napster is good for the artists; it's about the artists' publishers flaunting their powers (perhaps) a bit more than they ought.

But, since we're on this subject, I'll offer my thoughts on it. Personally, I've bought more music since I started listening to MP3s than I had before or would have afterwards. I haven't paid for every song I have an MP3 of (I will eventually, though, really!) but I have given artists (or their publishers, be that as it may) more money than I would have otherwise.

IOW, I may be immoral, but my actions certainly have not hurt any body.

Oh, and I love the Beatles. :-)

  - THEWeirdo

"Better paranoid than sorry" -- Me
[ Parent ]

Common problems (4.20 / 5) (#6)
by smartbomb on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 03:11:08 PM EST

This seems to be a common problem in the music industry. Aritsts don't seem to realize what they're signing away when they hand over their copyrights to the label. It reminds me of a few years ago when Microsoft used a Chemical Brothers track (I think.. or was it the Verve? I can't remember). The band first became aware of it when they saw the ad on TV. Shocked, they got on the phone trying to find out how this could happen, and then later realized that there was basically nothing they could do about it -- the label had the right to sell the song to advertisers; it was in the contract.

So now Rage realizes they don't have the autority to, well, authorize trading of their song on Napster.

It kind of makes me wonder. Are all these guys totally stoned when they sign on the dotted line? I mean it may not be very rock and roll to have a lawyer look at a contract, but one might be interested in knowing what they're giving away.

In this day and age (4.50 / 4) (#9)
by Wah on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 04:19:19 PM EST

I would hope any band would want to have a lawyer present when signing over control of their blood, sweat, and tears. However, with someone flashing so much money and potential fame in your face (you'll have to pay it back, but you know your music is good so...) it becomes hard to quibble over the fine print...like a label owning your URL is perpetuity.

Considering the often political nature of RATM's music, could this be seen as somewhat of a politcal censorship issue? I don't think so, but could someone who knows more than me elucidate on the subject? (probably not since this didn't get front page status)
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]

Whine Against the Machine (4.00 / 4) (#12)
by smartbomb on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 08:27:37 PM EST

However, with someone flashing so much money and potential fame in your face (you'll have to pay it back, but you know your music is good so...) it becomes hard to quibble over the fine print...like a label owning your URL is perpetuity.

Ironically I worked on some promo creative for a music website. The guy building the website actually told the artist that he should register his own domain name before the label did. The guy simply couldn't be bothered. Now the label owns his domain.

Considering the often political nature of RATM's music, could this be seen as somewhat of a politcal censorship issue?

Forget the band's message (even Britney Spears has a message). Language is very malliable, so yes you could say that it's a form of censorship. But if Rage were truly anti-corporate, they never would have signed with one; they gagged themselves.

If they wanted to be true to their name, they'd drop their label, say "fuck you" and release everything onto the internet for free from now on. But I suspect they'll content themselves with whining against the machine.

[ Parent ]
Regarding the CNET article (none / 0) (#19)
by THEWeirdo on Fri Dec 15, 2000 at 12:18:34 AM EST

That's a very interesting article you linked to. I'm surprised there hasn't been a story on Kuro5hin about it yet. (Or has there? I don't spend as much time on Kuro5hin as I'd like...)

One thing that stood out to me was the `any variations' bit. What if, for example KMFDM had signed such a contract? When they reformed as MDFMK, would they have been able to get their new URI? What if a band has a name similar to that of another band (or other organisation)? And so on.

Needless to say (so why do I?), the perpetuity aspect also is rather ridiculous.

  - THEWeirdo

"Better paranoid than sorry" -- Me
[ Parent ]

How sweet it is... (1.21 / 19) (#7)
by daystar on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 03:14:20 PM EST

I think RATM is a great band. VERY talented. Amazing live performers. I also think they're whining communists who would happily butcher millions of people to get the "freedom" they want.

Of course, that's just my OPINION. I'm probably wrong. What is NOT my opinion, but a clear fact is that they are tools of corporate music and long ago gave up any rights to bitch about it.

Heh heh.... I haven't seen anything THAT funny since famine in communist countries.

There is no God, and I am his prophet.
Regarding communism (none / 0) (#18)
by THEWeirdo on Fri Dec 15, 2000 at 12:06:03 AM EST

And just what's so terrible about communism?

  - THEWeirdo

"Better paranoid than sorry" -- Me
[ Parent ]

Some corrections (4.37 / 8) (#10)
by mbell on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 04:41:31 PM EST

Ok, if you guys want to see the actual statement by Tom Morello (guitarist), its available on this messageboard. Fans were not kicked off for just having any Rage songs, but only for having songs from the new, as of now, unreleased album, Renegades. Its pretty much the last Rage album ever too because Zack (vocalist) recently left the band. Tom Morello is a really smart guy and the band was not (as someone here said) "totally stoned when they signed on the dotted line". Morello has a PhD from Harvard I believe.

Anyway, these copywrite issues are probably not the most important thing on the band's collective mind. Just getting their music heard is probably what they want the most and getting across their message. Rage is a "socially conscious" band. They have supported many good causes (including Tibetian Freedom and the Zapahistas (sp?)). I actually know a lot of people who have really gotten into some of these causes because of their music. I think this was all a simple mistake by the band's new management firm and they are doing everything they can to fix it now. They even provided info on how to get around the napster ban.


Not stoned, drunk (4.40 / 5) (#11)
by Wah on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 07:58:10 PM EST

This link provides a little more info on what seemed to be the last straw for Zach...The MTV Video Music Awards.

Personally I think they'll get back together, maybe under a new name with a different label, but what can I say, I'm an optimist. Either way, I doubt it's the last we'll hear from them.
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]

interesting theory (3.66 / 3) (#13)
by joeyo on Fri Dec 08, 2000 at 11:18:19 PM EST

They break up so they can reform without their record company. I wish it was true. I don't think the band can survive without Zach and even if they do get another singer it won't quite be the same

I'm sure Zach can make it on his own. His style has changed alot since Rage's first album and I think its more suited now for some solo albums. I really hope Tom can make it on his own. I don't know if he can even sing but *man* can he play the guitar!

"Give me enough variables to work with, and I can probably do away with the notion of human free will." -- demi
[ Parent ]

Rage never owned this music anyway! (3.00 / 4) (#14)
by Toojays on Sat Dec 09, 2000 at 04:11:00 AM EST

The Renegades album which has been banned from Napster is not original music written by Rage Against the Machine. It is an album of covers -- RATM played the music, but they didn't write any of it. I think this is why they don't have the right to say who can and can't distribute it.

Re: Rage never owned this music anyway! (4.00 / 2) (#15)
by mbell on Sat Dec 09, 2000 at 02:40:12 PM EST

Just because it is an album of covers does not mean that they don't have the rights to these recordings. First, I'm sure that they have all the legal permissions that they needed in order to do these covers. Secondly, I have heard some of these songs (a few songs like The Ghost of Tom Joads, a Springsteen cover, have been previously released) and they are very loose interpretations of the original songs. It takes a lot of work to come up with a good cover.


[ Parent ]

Royalties (3.50 / 2) (#16)
by bitwise on Sat Dec 09, 2000 at 03:26:51 PM EST

Generally speaking, royalties need to be paid on any cover while it's still under copyright. Some artists are more lax about it than others, but the people who enforce it are the record companies.

I suspect the main reason the RATM stuff was banned was due to this. Recently in Australia we had a change of tax system, and there was a big furor over that as the ads to convince us the government were doing the right thing cost us 400,000au$ alone in royalty payments for the artist whos song was used in the ads. although this might signal an incompetent government more so than my original point ;o)

eschew obfuscation ;)
[ Parent ]

RATM fans banned on Napster, against will of Band | 19 comments (19 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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