Bryan Adams Sends Copyright Bullies After Fan Sites

from the how-anti-fan-can-you-be? dept

One of Prince’s more absurd moments of fan abuse came when he threatened various fansites for hosting photos of him and including images of album covers on their sites. Yes, these were fansites, promoting Prince and his music… and Prince threatened them. It appears that musician Bryan Adams is now doing the same, hiring WebSheriff (one of the companies that tries to track down file sharing) to bully and threaten Bryan Adams’ fansites for daring to help promote Adams. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Bryan Adams has fansites? But, beyond that, it does seem like WebSheriff is going beyond legal boundaries in its threats. Its big complaint seems to be that some of these sites link to unauthorized versions of Adams’ music. But linking isn’t illegal in most places, so it’s difficult to see what sort of legal leg they have to stand on. If I ran a fansite helping to promote a musician for free, and then started receiving legal threats over it, my instincts would be to simply stop helping promote that musician’s work for free — and let the musician know that if they wanted me to continue promoting his work, he should pay up.

Filed Under: , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Bryan Adams Sends Copyright Bullies After Fan Sites”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
50 Comments
MikeDoesntGetIt says:

Copyright Lawyers 1: Masnick: 0

Mike:

For a guy writing a legal blog, you sure don’t seem to understand the law. Patent, trademark and copyright laws protect the owners of ideas against businesses–generally larger ones–from stealing from them and not paying consequences.

If a patent, trademark or copyright isn’t strong enough, it loses in court. If it is, it prevails.

Simple as that.

We get the Ron Paul-esque of the blog. But your view clearly is in the minority. And from what I’ve read, isn’t legally sound in any way whatsoever.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Copyright Lawyers 1: Masnick: 0

“If a patent, trademark or copyright isn’t strong enough, it loses in court. If it is, it prevails.”

Thanks for pointing out one of the biggest flaws in the system. Yes, *if* it loses in court, but these sites are usually run as hobbies by ordinary people who don’t have the time and/or resources to fight multinational corporations in court, especially over something as relatively trivial as some music they like. Even if they’re ultimately right, they can’t afford to prove it.

Besides, as ever, you prove again that you are the one who doesn’t “get it”. Mike has not said a word about the legal aspects, but rather about the business and common sense aspects. What sense does it make to sue your own fans? People who have put their own time and resources into creating free advertising and a community based around your music? It makes little sense, and is guaranteed to lose both existing fans and a new resource for bringing fans old and new together. Yet, the claim is that this is to “help” the artist?

Whether or not it’s legally correct, it’s extremely stupid and counter-productive. That’s what’s being criticised here. Feel free if you disagree, but try and at least attack the point being discussed.

Jim says:

Re: Copyright Lawyers 1: Masnick: 0

@MikeDoesntGetIt:
Whereas:
Patents protect inventions.

Trademarks protect signs or indicia.

Copyrights protect original works.

Nothing protects ideas.

Further, it doesn’t seem to me that Mike says that Bryan Adams doesn’t have a legal claim or argument — just that at face-value it seems counter-productive.

Its unclear what you mean by “if a trademark… isn’t strong enough it loses in court” but you are probably referencing (poorly) the concept of dilution. In this case, there is no dilution as using pictures of Bryan Adams or of his album covers do not lessen their uniqueness.

Therefore, be it resolved: you are an idiot. QED.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Copyright Lawyers 1: Masnick: 0

Personally here is what I think:
Copyright Lawyers 1, Masnick 1, Bryan Adams 0

I admit freely that I cant stand Bryan Adams (Ever since my Radio Days, listening to that awful “Everything I Do” song). Stop a minute and think what is going on here. How come we dont see people who are very successful in music (at the present time anyway) do much of this same thing? Prince, Bryan Adams? They fell off the map years ago.

Bad press is still press. These guys are exploiting the court system to get press from it. Even if it may be bad press. Bryan Adams is taking time to personally attack the handful of people who still care about his songs? It dont make sense unless you see what the real motive is.

This of course is a huge waste of taxpayer money by going to court over absolute absurd motives with a very weak legal leg to stand on…

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Copyright Lawyers 1: Masnick: 0

For a guy writing a legal blog, you sure don’t seem to understand the law.

For a guy reading a business blog, you sure don’t seem to understand business.

Patent, trademark and copyright laws protect the owners of ideas against businesses–generally larger ones–from stealing from them and not paying consequences.

Actually, that’s incorrect, both in the law and in reality. Patent and copyright laws are designed to encourage the creation of new inventions and creative works. They’re supposed to be about incentives to create, not about protectionism.

Trademarks are entirely different and are based around consumer protection, to avoid confusion.

If a patent, trademark or copyright isn’t strong enough, it loses in court. If it is, it prevails.

The post itself had nothing to do with the legal issues, but was focused on why this was a dumb *business* move by Adams.

But you knew that, right?

Simple as that.

Not quite. But you can rest assured that when someone says “simple as that” it’s usually because they don’t understand the complexity of what they’re talking about.

We get the Ron Paul-esque of the blog

I have no idea what that means.

But your view clearly is in the minority.

This isn’t a popularity contest. I’d rather be correct and in the minority than wrong and in the majority. My point is to highlight the actual issues — none of which you responded to.

And from what I’ve read, isn’t legally sound in any way whatsoever.

It’s not legally sound to suggest business practices that might make you more money, as opposed to pissing off your fans and shrinking your market?

You live in a weird legal world.

KJ says:

not sure their really "fan" sites....

If you go to Bryan Adam’s website you can listen to over 60 tracks for free and make your own playlist. Seems to me a true fan site would encourage people to do that…

I just don’t buy the whole argument that these sites are innocently promoting the artist. It sounds to me like they’re using Bryan Adam’s name to drive traffic to a site with little valuable content of their own, and in doing so are making a profit without adding any value to the true fans that would look for a site like that. I’m pretty sure that’s called leaching.

The other thing that’s mentioned in the register article is something about “illegal aps” I’m not sure what this refers to as there is no clarification of what that means, but if there were aps on there that were potentially crapware or spyware…perhaps Bryan Adams didn’t want to be associated with them, and was protecting his brand? just a thought, although you didn’t mention the aps either…

nasch says:

Re: not sure their really

The other thing that’s mentioned in the register article is something about “illegal aps” I’m not sure what this refers to as there is no clarification of what that means, but if there were aps on there that were potentially crapware or spyware…perhaps Bryan Adams didn’t want to be associated with them, and was protecting his brand?

IANAL but I hope we don’t need permission from anybody to mention a famous (OK Bryan Adams jokes aside) person and also host applications on the same web site. If I decide to write about Bryan Adams or Prince, then they get to decide what software I can and cannot have on my site? Screw that.

KJ says:

Re: Re: not sure their really

If the site could be construed as being run by, or officially sanctioned by Brian Adams, I believe that he may have legal rights, at very least he needs to be very careful. It’s easy for you to say “screw that” but if I put up a site that said it was an official Mike Masnick Fan club page and it installed spyware on your computer…I’m betting Mike might consider taking action against it..

Bryan Adams also has a charitable foundation and so he’s doubly under the microscope. Torrent sites aren’t exactly known for being “family friendly” either…which was probably part of his concern in linking to them. It wasn’t discussed but I wouldn’t be surprised…

nasch says:

Re: Re: Re: not sure their really

It’s easy for you to say “screw that” but if I put up a site that said it was an official Mike Masnick Fan club page and it installed spyware on your computer…I’m betting Mike might consider taking action against it..

Rose is right on, but I’m sure you mean legal action. On what grounds? Defamation? Libel? That would seem like a tough case to prove, at best. Maybe if you claimed to actually be Mike Masnick, but I don’t know how the law would view that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: not sure their really "fan" sites....

I just don’t buy the whole argument that these sites are innocently promoting the artist. It sounds to me like they’re using Bryan Adam’s name to drive traffic to a site with little valuable content of their own, and in doing so are making a profit without adding any value to the true fans that would look for a site like that. I’m pretty sure that’s called leaching.

KJ, Adams is going after his own tribute bands. To quote Masnick, “Bryan Adams has a tribute band”? Yup… He sure does. Called the The Bryan Adams experience.. Yeah they sell junk, But how else is a band going to make money? I mean musicians have to eat to right? You can’t compliment someone any more then dedicating every piece of music you do to an artist. But Bryan Adams choose to take em to court. Come on.. What a joke..

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: not sure their really "fan" sites....

I’ll concede you have a valid point driving traffic to his main site if he has over 60 songs for free.

I think you’ve went off the deep end when you say “It sounds to me like they’re using Bryan Adam’s name to drive traffic to a site with little valuable content of their own.

Honestly? HONESTLY? In less than a minute I could probably name dozens of artists that would be more viable than Bryan Adams.

As for the rest of it, I’d like to see the exact content of these sites rather than pass judgment and immediately say all 3 of them are in the wrong. Unfortunately it seems they’ve already shutdown.

Curious says:

Jim thinks lawsuit is counter productive?

Fair enough, Jim. You believe the lawsuit is counter productive.

Obviously, the Bryan Adams people don’t feel the same way. And since there is no “Jim The Paint Guy From Home Depot” fan website–at least at the moment–let’s allow the affected parties in question to hammer it out.

Which, of course, is entirely the point behind owning a patent, copyright, or trademark. Right?

It’s a rhetorical question, simp.

Tell you what, Jim: When you become king of the world, you can decide what is counter-productive and what is not.

Until then, let the legal system handle it.

Thanks, pal. Now back to your XBox.

GrandpaDied says:

Jim: Is my Grandma's Wrongful Dealth lawsuit counter productive?

Hey Jim:

Since you and Mike have the best perspective of which lawsuits are relevant and which ones aren’t, I’d figure I’d ask you about my Grandma’s Wrongful Death lawsuit is of merit–at least in your eyes, Jim.

I would provide details for you, Jim, but that would only get in the way of your profound opinions regarding others.
And no one wants to get in the way of Jim.

Except, perhaps, his employers at Home Depot.

JimKnowsBest says:

Jim: my baby was poisoned. Should I sue drug company?

Hello Jim:

My baby was poisoned by a drug company that encourages to promote its blood thinner off label to pediatricians, claiming it can help with certain disorders.

Mind you, the FDA prohibits off label marketing of the drug. I didn’t know that, as I trusted the doctor and drug company.

My baby was poisened. Now all it does is read so-called legal technology blogs written by non-attorneys. Her condition is terminal. She will not have a social life whatsoever.

Jim: shall I sue the drug company for off label marketing fraud? Or is it not counter-productive.

I value your opinion, Jim. As you know all things legal.

Anonymous Coward says:

WoW, Jim must have really pissed off some intertard stalker! Three posts under three separate names, same pseudo-jibberish and within minutes of each other?? Watch out Jim, sounds like this guy is having a really bad day.

Wagers anyone? When he gets home is he going to;

a) Beat his wife.

b) Beat his kid.

c) Post more under a new name.

d) All of the above.

Dosquatch says:

Abra Cadabra

Since the courts have recently established that “sucks” sites are just peachy and acceptable, maybe the best answer is to directly convert. That seems to be what Adams desires, after all.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: Bryan Adams has fansites?

Hey, ‘Reckless’ is still a damn good album. So what if it’s 25 years old?

MikeMyBiographer says:

Must be nice to constantly respond to people criticizing your crappy blog

Mike:

One can see why you’re a blogger and not a “real journalist.”

I love a guy who comes out of the woodwork to constantly defend his poorly written legal positions. Kinda like taking numerous mulligans to improve your golf score, wouldn’t you say?

Looking forward to your half-baked thoughts to this post as well, small change.

And another thing…

Oh yeah…what I meant was…

You are wrong because…

Whatever Mike.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Must be nice to constantly respond to people criticizing your crappy blog

Must be nice to constantly respond to people criticizing your crappy blog

You would prefer that I not discuss my views and not explain the logic behind them to folks such as yourself who seem unable to understand basic concepts?

Why?

I love a guy who comes out of the woodwork to constantly defend his poorly written legal positions

Which part of the fact that these are business and economic discussions do you not understand?

Kinda like taking numerous mulligans to improve your golf score, wouldn’t you say?

Um. No.

Pointing out logical inconsistencies or outright falsehoods spread by critics is hardly asking for a do-over.

Oh yeah…what I meant was…

You are wrong because…

Whatever Mike.

Ah, proving that you have no argument at all.

Very cute.

Bryan Adams' Fan says:

Bryan is just trying to reclaim his name

To paraphrase Bryan, it’s happening now because aside from the mess at YouTube (someone had registered his name at YouTube), which will soon be sorted, he has made a decision after having to struggle to get his name back from MySpace and YouTube, that he’s going to get it back whereever he can, and if all goes well, the fan sites will remain active.

Bryan has also said he can’t stop bootlegging or file trading and has never even tried to, he can, however, try and make a better page on YouTube so all of this stuff ends up in one place – that is the plan.

He has also said what isn’t acceptable is for someone to take someone’s name, trade on it, sell advertising, etc., without even asking.

Bryan is not trying to stop the internet, nor does he think he can stop illegal file trading, but the rights to an artist ultimately belongs to the artist, not the general public and he owns his name.

Pure and simple: Bryan is just trying to reclaim his name.

Ima Fish (profile) says:

Re: Bryan is just trying to reclaim his name

Bryan is just trying to reclaim his name.

Bryan does not own his name anymore than I own my name. Or anymore that Apple Computers owns the name “Apple.”

Let’s say you’re a fan of Bryan Adams. You want to honor him so you decide to create a myspace fan page. You notice that the name Byran Adams is not taken. So of course that’s the name you use. If Bryan wanted it for himself, he should have got it sooner.

Waking Up The Fans says:

I’m not buying this “reclaim his name”-Story. I heard he keep repeating this when people asking him in his Message Board. Oh and of course there was this lovely chat a few days ago. Where he told his own fans that it ain’t their business that he’s shutting down fanpages. Wasn’t this lovely from him ? I never thought that there would be a day, that I actually feel ashame to once being a Bryan Adams – Fan. But i now do. Hey, maybe you can ask Bryan when he decides to talk to his fans outside his “To-Pay-For-Page” ? I’m sure some people would love to hear from him personally. But somehow i have the feeling this will not happen. He would have done this days ago already. And now most fans are pissed. Way to go, Bryan !

Oh and when he is not trying to stop illegal file trading, why i’m hearing about disappearing Bryan Adams files from miniova.org ? This sounds like an illegal source. Way more illegal then the contents of the Pages the Web Sheriff shut down. The Ooh so evil bryanadams.nu-Page mostly hosted rare audio & video files. Nothing official. Now it’s lost for everyone, but most of his former Fans maybe not caring about that loss any more.

Waking Up The Fans says:

quote:

———————————————————
I just don’t buy the whole argument that these sites are innocently promoting the artist. It sounds to me like they’re using Bryan Adam’s name to drive traffic to a site with little valuable content of their own, and in doing so are making a profit without adding any value to the true fans that would look for a site like that. I’m pretty sure that’s called leaching.
————————————————————

I hope, you’re not serious with this. Maybe you want to talk to some of the (former) fans about the value of the now closed pages ? If people really thought these pages had no value, no one would have noticed them disappear.

NetwrkElf says:

Bryan Adams has fans?

I find that surprising, as I’ve always found him as close to talent free as one can get without being Tiny Tim or Madonna. Anyone professing to be his fan should probably be picked up in a large butterfly net and heavily medicated.

Are you sure that these sites are serious and not the result of another series of senseless drinking and web publishing incidents?

Waking Up The "TRUE" Fans says:

If his fans really still would matter to him Bryan ASKED the fans to put down whatever he want. But instead he send the “Copyright Bullies.” (Nice one. I hope i’m not getting sued over using this here ? Just kidding, of course)I can’t respect him, for how he handled this. He should have learned from the Prince debabcle, instead he had the brilliant idea to hire the very same people that worked for Prince back then. When thinking & writing like this, not making me a “TRUE fan”, then i’m proud of not being one. At least, i have an own opinion. Not like some other people that changing their “opinions” whenever Bryan does.

Anon Cow says:

Surfin’ the web this evening
I coulda sworn we had it all worked out
You had this boy believin’
Way beyond the shadow of a doubt

Then I heard it on the street
I heard you mighta posted a new fansite
Well I called the sheriff baby – Web Sheriff Baby
When the takedown comes, what are you gonna do.

I took it all for granted
But how was I to know
That you’d be stealing from me!

Copyright cuts like a knife
But it feels so right
It cuts like a knife
But it feels so right

Waking Up The Fans says:

You know with words like “sabatogers” it’s not easy taking you serious. But maybe this wasn’t your intent at all.

It seems to be true that none of the fanpage owners is allowed to speak about this topic. Because fact is: Nobody does and this all started 5 or 6 weeks ago, AFAIK. One fanpage was shut down by the owner claiming it had nothing to do with the Websheriff. It was just for “personal reasons”. Uhuh.

I guess this procedure is what the Websheriff calling “need to play ball”. Or was it “very fair and straightforward guidelines that the sites and artists can live by.” ?

truerespectfulandsanefan says:

Bryan, Prince and other who have to go after 'fan' sites

Maybe you should learn more about what’s called “righs of personality.” Fans are just that FANS! They do not own the celebrity simply because they buy the CD, video, movie etc and decide to put up a fansite for them. A true fan would RESPECT that artist and their legal rights! Too many nobodies out there making fansite and then expecting to get pat on the back or get some sort of special favors. Maybe some of those web admin need to get lives of their own instead of spending 24/7 living vicariously through those celebrities.

Jman99 (profile) says:

Clarification On This Thing

Hey guys,
I’m a Bryan Adams fan and I was really surprised when I heard about this recently. Your blog has been informative in clarifying some of what happened, but I have a question for you guys. I understand Adams or any other artist wanting to shut down a site that is blatantly selling bootlegs or similar copyrighted material. But how far exactly, are they taking this? I mean, if I want to create a Bryan Adams fansite where I’m NOT selling anything, not making money on his hard work, then I wouldn’t think this websherif would have much of a leg to stand on, right?

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »