Band That Told Fans To Pirate Its Tracks, Now Threatening Sites Via Web Sheriff

from the mixed-messages dept

TorrentFreak has the odd story of the band Franz Ferdinand, out of Scotland, who in the past has encouraged fans to use file sharing software to get access to various songs from the band. However, a bunch of websites were surprised to receive takedown notices from Web Sheriff concerning posts linking to tracks from Franz Ferdinand’s latest album. When those sites asked for clarification, rather than actually answering any of the questions raised, Web Sheriff ratcheted up the rhetoric into legal threats. Now, clearly, it’s within the legal rights of a band to encourage access to some songs, but not others, but that certainly gives fans (who are trying to promote the band) an incredibly mixed message.

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Comments on “Band That Told Fans To Pirate Its Tracks, Now Threatening Sites Via Web Sheriff”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: We love sheep

Ah. The Welsh… Good people.

Living in the USA, you learn of these types. A good friend of mine is 1/2 Welsh and 1/2 of the lineage of “The Guy who Persuaded Andrew Jackson that the Louisiana Purchase was a good deal.”

So I can agree with the 1/2 of “Louisiana Purchase was a good deal” I just wish I could more identify with the other half.. that Welsh part, that is so whiny all the time.

Ben says:

Band or the Label?

Hmm, there seems to be little evidence here that this has anything to do with the band. If you look at the copyright notice on the back of any CD you will find that the copyright is held by the record label. This is the case for 99.9% of record label releases, the label owns the copyright and the band does not. This often means the band has no more right to authorise distribution of THEIR recordings than you or I. Franz Ferdinand can encourage people to download its album all they want but if the record label wants to clamp down on it there is very little the band can do about it.

Jon Hartman (user link) says:


I was thinking the same thing. Gotta be the label. Although if the band signed a deal with the label and turned over certain intellectual property rights in exchange for money, then attempted to destroy the value of those rights by encouraging people to pirate the music, it would mean they suck for a reason apart from their music.

That’d be pretty slimy.

Lickity Split says:

Re: Label

Or they tried to increase the value of those rights by encouraging people to listen to there music and also created huge buzz (marketing) to point out that they had a new album out, genius if you ask me.. Additionally, as has been pointed out a number of times (millions I think) file sharing can have a positive impact on sales…But your probably right…

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: The whole story?

“being angry about fans pirating a leaked album is a little different than being angry about fans pirating their back catalog”


The operative word here is *fans*. People who are fanatic about FF’s music. People who will probably buy the album when it’s released. That’s actually the key point. The music’s already recorded and ready for release. The only reason it’s not released yet is because it’s being artificially withheld so that it can be marketed (a digital release would be trivial to do *right now*, cheap and easy). The essence of marketing is to make people want to buy something.

So, the label is withholding the music from fans who want to buy the music, so that the marketing can create a market for them to want to buy it. Not only that, but they’re willing to prosecute the fans who don’t want to wait.

Cunning plan. Thought it through they have not.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: Re:

Neither. You give away all(or most of the music) and let them pay for concerts, tshirts, special promo CDs, etc.

It’s VERY lucrative. I produce t-shirts for a couple of pennies more than it costs me for the blank shirt, then we resell them for $15. That’s about a $12 profit per shirt and we can print them just an hour before we need them.

Sandy says:

So how exactly did they end up being considered pro-pirate in the first place? I see a reference to the encouraging the downloading of a promo-type track and then they admitted to ripping cds to their iPods, which is apparently illegal in the UK. Is there more? I’m curious, because encouraging the download of a non-album track doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be happy when their album leaks.

Sandy says:

Believe it or not, most bands do still need labels. Or rather need labels that can pull everything together. Bands certainly can make money selling shirts, performing, etc . . . but pulling that all together, coordinating their press, promotion (both in physical and digital forms), sorting out the legalities and so forth takes someone who knows what they’re doing. If they labels start taking on what has traditionally been a source of band revenue then a whole new outcry will be heard.

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