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

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Tim B Written by:


  1. Cody Duncan
    June 21

    Is this the only letter you have received? This looks more like a “you have something that wholly belongs to us, take it down” anti-piracy notice than a complaint that your creation is an infringement.

    • June 21

      Yes this is the first and only notice. Having had these before this is what they look like, they don’t take any prisoners or make any friends.

  2. Freetard
    June 21

    I will happily host it on my Canadian-located server; this very clearly meets non-infringing standards included in our new Copyright Act here, so RIAA can get stuffed if they try to nuke it.

    • June 22

      So is Canada quite mashup friendly now? Looking for a backup host for Radio Clash…

  3. June 23

    My host unplugged both of my sites on the 20th over this. Multiple calls, I’ve been told my case has been escalated, site’s still down days later…. I was mirror 1, 2 and “complete beastles”..

    Beastiemixes turned 7 a few months ago, and I’d not had a single complaint until now.

    I started the site to be a living archive of Beastie Boys remixes, where people could come at any time and find them in one place instead of being scattered all over the internet, or worse, not found anymore. That archive is currently dead…

    • June 24

      Sad to hear that…but I doubt they’d go for other things, although you might find your relationship to your host changes (mine did, so had to switch back in 2004 when I got my first C&D). Interestingly hosts are more mashup friendly nowadays, sad to hear yours pulled first and asked questions later, might has been surprisingly good and laid back about this.

      I’d not let yourself be scared though, I was after my first, but now I’m like, whatever. They can’t take your house away (what house? I have nothing!), they can’t usually prove damages (I don’t even have advertising – they could pay me back for all the free promotion I do on their shit though), mashups are in a legal grey area – only grey because the labels refuse to honour fair use and parody laws in the U.S. but they are also scared of case law being generated.

      So they and their organisations act like petulant bouncers and throw legals at you, but I doubt they’d actually want to fight. Difference is in Switzerland and Germany they are more litigious, but given the US law is actually already partly mashup & parody friendly they don’t want to push it too far. Just they act like they have the law on their side, but unless there are provable damages – and in the free mashup/remix world of people doing it for fun and helping promote their products for them – or even being paid on the sly to do so by same labels – they don’t really have a case. And I doubt they’d want to start one.

      I’d take down the infringing files for a short while then put them back up. They move onto something else quickly. Or fight as I have with the EFF and ORG I’ve requested legal advice from, and the Boing Boing coverage. They hate press & legal involvement like that. Make a lot of noise, you are not alone.

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