Def Leppard Covers Its Own Songs With 'Forgeries' To Fight Back Against Universal Music

from the well,-that's-one-way-to-do-things dept

As we recently noted, there are compulsory licenses for doing cover song recordings, such that you don't need to ask for permission. It appears that the band Def Leppard is now taking advantage of that in an attempt to fight back against Universal Music (who they feel owe them royalties) by re-recording their entire back catalog (sent in by a bunch of you) and re-releasing them. They're referring to their own re-recordings as "forgeries."
With newly recorded "forgeries" of "Pour Some Sugar on Me" and "Rock of Ages" now available, the quintet has begun a series of re-recordings of its catalog material and "wrestled control of our career back" from the Universal Music Group, which frontman Joe Elliott says the band refuses to deal with "until we come up with some kind of arrangement" over compensation, especially for digital downloads.

"When you're at loggerheads with an ex-record label who...is not prepared to pay you a fair amount of money and we have the right to say, 'Well, you're not doing it,' that's the way it's going to be," Elliott tells Billboard.com. "Our contract is such that they can't do anything with our music without our permission, not a thing. So we just sent them a letter saying, 'No matter what you want, you are going to get "no" as an answer, so don't ask.' That's the way we've left it. We'll just replace our back catalog with brand new, exact same versions of what we did."
Of course, you'd have to imagine that someone else still holds the publishing rights, but if the new "forgeries" -- which apparently take quite some time to get exactly right -- sell well, the band could end up keeping a much larger share of the money. Either way, this seems like yet another story in a very, very long line of such stories, of bands reporting on the many ways in which the major labels have screwed them over. Makes you wonder if there are any acts who feel they weren't screwed over by their major label...


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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 7:12am

    Either way, this seems like yet another story in a very, very long line of such stories, of bands reporting on the many ways in which the major labels have screwed them over. Makes you wonder if there are any acts who feel they weren't screwed over by their major label...

    Yeah, "screwed over" so badly by a contract that they willingly entered into and benefited from. God, you're such a whiner.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 7:16am

      Re:

      A contract in which neither party had any intention of ever honoring.

       

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      Anonymous Coward With A Unique Writing Style, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 7:19am

      Re:

      "God, you're such a whiner."

      The irony in your statement is lost on you I bet. You continue to come in, article after article, to say Mike is a whiner, yet all you do yourself is whine about Mike whining. Here's what I suggest you do: Go find a new site to visit daily. One where there is no "whiner" like Mike. If that's the problem, the reasonable thing to do is quit visiting the site. Problem solved.

      Or you lose the right to bitch about Mike and his whining. Be an adult and make a decision. Quit bitching or go elsewhere. It's as simple as that. Otherwise, you're acting like an idiot.

      We'll also overlook the fact that even in the best of contracts, the labels still attempt to cheat artists at every turn. Or do we need to point out the recent case where the judge essentially flipped out over the labels attempts to cheat Eminem and pull a fast one on the judge? And that's ignoring that they already have a contract with him, which they're failing to honor.

       

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        Mike42 (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 8:04am

        Re: Re:

        Hell NO! He's the color guy. A dialog makes it entertaining. We don't need a site of yes men.

        It's fascinating to watch someone's argument be trounced from my perspective, yet from their own feel that they have done the trouncing. There is a basic dicotomy in ethics and values in the world today, and each side needs to learn about the other, rather than just shouting at each other.

         

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          Anonymous Coward With A Unique Writing Style, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 8:57am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'll agree we don't need a site of "yes" men, but we already have that. There are plenty on here who disagree with Mike or other people posting, and do so without resorting to ad homs or just bitching about Mike/Techdirt in general. It's those who I would prefer go elsewhere if this site truly is as big a joke/stupid as they claim it is. If they're being here has no meaningful change on anyone's behavior and they hate it so much (as they claim to), then wouldn't it be best for all parties that they go?

          Honestly, the one person who I fall back to pointing out is Hmmm in a recent article (forget which). Didn't agree with the article or most of us posting, but debated their point of view anyway and was willing to acknowledge differences of opinion in a respectful manner. Posters like that we need more of. Not "oh look at Mike whining again".

           

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        Hephaestus (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 8:40am

        Re: Re:

        He should go visit the RIAA site. Oh wait they do not allow commenting, just their BS press releases.

         

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        hmm (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 3:30pm

        Re: Re:

        He's not ALLOWED to just visit some other site when he's paid to try to derail music-label related comments into various sub-categories.

         

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      PaulT (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 7:30am

      Re:

      Well, at least you've stopped pretending you care about the artists, I'll hand that to you guys. Anything else is OK as long as you tricked them into signing on the dotted line, right?

       

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      E. Zachary Knight (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 7:32am

      Re:

      Yeah, "screwed over" so badly by a contract that they willingly entered into and benefited from.

      A contract that 1) He had no alternative too other than to get the same contract from a different label. 2) A Contract that has not kept up with the shift in the way that music is distributed or consumed. 3) A Contract that is weighted more heavily in favor of the label.

      So, yes, they "willingly" signed the contract.

       

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      Zakida Paul (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 7:58am

      Re:

      Don't forget that when Def Leppard were starting out bands had no choice but to 'voluntarily' sign up to the record labels. If they had not, no one would have heard their music. Nowadays it is different with the Internet but Def Leppard had no other choice.

      Anyway, this is why I want copyright reform so that control can be taken from labels and given to the artist.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 8:46pm

        Re: Re:

        No copyright reform is required for that to happen. Talented artists merely have to stop signing abusive contracts presented to them by labels. If the label finds that nobody talented will sign an abusive contract then they will change the contract, or face the risk of having only uncompetitive new material. Exactly that is happening, but the labels are suffering from "too little, too late" syndrome.

        Artists are finding that they can disintermediate the labels, using the internet. The labels that stick to abusive contracts (which apparently includes all the majors) are doomed. That is the famous "creative destruction" working just the way it is supposed to. Labels that choose to write non-abusive contracts have a chance to survive, provided they can execute well.

         

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          Cynyr (profile), Jul 7th, 2012 @ 6:06am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If there was a clause that "the copyright could not be transfered and it had to be the position of the flesh and blood person or persons who did the creating. The only allowed transferal of a right shall be the right to distribution and shall not be forcibly exclusive to the party granted that right and for a period of no more than 3 years between renewals". It would probably help out the artists, they could still by gentleman's agreement allow exclusive distribution, but if something new or better comes along they could extend distribution rights to that new something.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 8:01am

      Re:

      "Yeah, "screwed over" so badly by a contract that they willingly entered into and benefited from. God, you're such a whiner"

      You nailed it. They gladly rode the elevator to the top, took the ride all the way, and now that it isn't paying them off quite in the same manner as they use to, well, off they go getting all pissy.

      Apparently Mike is no fan of contract law.

       

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        techflaws (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 8:35am

        Re: Re:

        And you're not of the artists. Go figure.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 8:52am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I am a huge supporter of artists. But I am also a huge supporter of the concept that a deal is a deal. They signed up and took the big money, took the big promotional support, and became superstars on someone else's nickle. Now that they are in the sunset years of their careers, they are wondering why there isn't more money coming in. Perhaps it's because they are at this point just another classic rock act covering themselves?

          Anyway, in the end, they signed the deal, they need to stick with it.

           

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            G Thompson (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 9:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Stating that "a deal is a deal" shows even more so that you definitely do not in the slightest understand contract law at its basic elements.

            My comment below was spot on

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 9:17am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You're talking nonsense. Your entire argument revolves around not violating their deal. Well they are not, yet you've still got a problem with them.

            Sucks to be lying dishonest you. Amirite?

             

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            DogBreath, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 9:19am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Anyway, in the end, they signed the deal, they need to stick with it.

            Def Leppard is sticking with it, but the one getting stuck at the bad end of the contract in this case is the label. Universal Music shouldn't have signed such a bad contract if they didn't want to, now should they? Anyway, in the end, they signed the deal, they need to stick with it.

             

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            maclypse (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 4:09pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You are all missing the point. The label may be (at least) mostly staying within the bounds of the contract, but duh, so are Def Leppard! DF is NOT violating the contract. They are releasing new covers, legally, while using their contractual rights to block their label at every turn.

            I'm sure DF didn't enter into the contract, realising that as sales became electronic their royalties would fade and place them in permanent debt. I'm equally sure that the label didn't expect the band to forbid them from doing anything when they signed the contract. BUT, there you go; shit happens. While neither party is in breach of contract, at least DF has one good argument on their side: the Internet is not "new media" and hasn't been for a frickin long time, and as such it should pay the same royalties as CDs. The problem is that the label would rather screw the artist, than get with the times.

            This time the artist has found a way to fight the contract without breaking the contract. The artist has found a way to do something that usually only the labels get to do: screw the other party over without actually violating the letter of the contract.

            I find it hard to sympathise with the label and say that Def should follow the intention of the contract, when the label has been ignoring the intention of the contract for years. Poor label. Boo-frickin-hoo.

             

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        G Thompson (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 9:04am

        Re: Re:

        Apparently Mike is no fan of contract law.

        It seems neither are you since you refuse to acknowledge things like; Misrepresentation and misleading or deceptive conduct, unconscionable conduct (including such gems as economic duress), frustration, consideration, or my favourite estoppel.

         

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          btr1701 (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 11:01am

          Re: Re: Re:

          > you refuse to acknowledge things like;
          > Misrepresentation and misleading or
          > deceptive conduct, unconscionable
          > conduct (including such gems as economic
          > duress), frustration, consideration,
          > or my favourite estoppel.

          I'm normally the first to join the anti-RIAA chorus, but in this case, I'm leaning toward the 'deal-is-a-deal' side.

          If UMG committed all those offenses you listed above, then Def Leppard should take them to court and have the contract voided. That's what people in every other industry do when one party misrepresents or deceives in a contract.

          On the other hand, if Del Leppard has found a legal way around their woes by re-recording their stuff, I have no problem with that, either.

           

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            G Thompson (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 12:58pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            What I meant by listing those element to voiding any contract (other than consideration which is an element of contract creation.. part of the 4 phase test) is that any of those can and are used if provable to void contracts.

            From what I have read Def Lepard have a good case of frustration and maybe deceptive conduct, though taking that to a court to prove breach is costly and fraught with standard dangers of any civil case ie: a gamble.

            Personally I agree with you that if they can use another legal way and not have to bear the expense (all types) of going to court then good on them, its a great form of ADR. Also for UMG to try to initiate some sort of C&D or legal trickery would mean that UMG could be placed in the position of having to defend against interference plus instantly show to a court that the contract is being forfeitured by UMG under frustration of Def Lepard not receiving just consideration

            Win Win for Def. Lose lose PR nightmare for UMG no matter what! ;)

             

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            JEDIDIAH, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 1:21pm

            Doctor of Contracts

            Contract law is a little more complex than that. You make it sound like the domain of kindergarten students when it's not quite that simple.

            Perhaps you should consider that there's good reason that there are guys with doctorate degrees involved in the process.

             

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              btr1701 (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 6:41pm

              Re: Doctor of Contracts

              > Contract law is a little more complex than that.

              Than what?

              > You make it sound like the domain of kindergarten
              > students when it's not quite that simple.

              Says the guy who apparently thinks there's some kind of 'doctor of contracts' degree. No, I described what actually happens when people have legal contractual disputes. They either settle, mediate them, or take them to court and get a verdict.

              > Perhaps you should consider that there's good reason that
              > there are guys with doctorate degrees involved in the process.

              I have one of those degrees myself, skippy. Passed the bar in 1993. Where did you go to law school?

               

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                G Thompson (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 11:24pm

                Re: Re: Doctor of Contracts

                some kind of 'doctor of contracts' degree

                maybe he's confusing Doctorates with doctors and thinks the law of Contracts is all there is and wants to have an 'assignment' of drugs for his consideration..

                though if I had to choose between the different areas of law I think I'd pick neg.. then I could be a Doctor of Snails! ;)

                For those that don't get the joke you probably don't have an LLB or JD and it's just a load of smoking balls (carbolic ones at that)


                *goes to sit in the corner now*

                 

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            John Fenderson (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 3:32pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            If UMG committed all those offenses you listed above, then Def Leppard should take them to court and have the contract voided. That's what people in every other industry do when one party misrepresents or deceives in a contract


            In theory, this is so. In practice, not so much.

            Let me illustrate with personal experience. In my own business, I have twice been burned by companies who did not honor their terms of a contract with me. In one, I lost 5 figures and in the other, 6.

            In neither case did I sue for breach of contract even though I would have won easily. The reason I didn't sue was basic economics: once all of expenses (including lost productivity) were added up, I simply couldn't afford to do anything about it. Sure, I should have sued on principle, but it often takes a bankroll to have the luxury of doing such a thing.

            It's easy to say that someone should just sue, but unless you have a warchest available that is often not an option, regardless of the merits of your case.

             

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              btr1701 (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 6:45pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              > In theory, this is so. In practice, not so much.

              My point is that they don't get some special consideration for being celebrities or musicians or artists. They're in the same boat as everyone else when it comes to the courts and contractual disputes.

              Yes, it's an expensive, time-consuming pain in the ass to involve the legal system, but it's an expensive, time-consuming pain in the ass for everyone else, too. It's just the way it is.

              > It's easy to say that someone should just sue, but unless
              > you have a warchest available that is often not an option,
              > regardless of the merits of your case.

              But that doesn't change the fact that a deal truly is a deal. The fact that it's unpleasant and expensive to assert ones rights under that deal in court isn't an excuse to pretend the deal isn't real and valid in the first place.

               

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                Cynyr (profile), Jul 7th, 2012 @ 6:14am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                from what i have read neither party is violating the contract (not that any of us have a copy of that). If the contract is written to allow DF to block all activity by UMG then they are within the contract (strictly speaking). They may not be honoring the spirit of that clause, as it may have been put there more for things like UMG wanting to license it to a group of nutters that are trying to take over the world and enslave the rest of us to use as their theme song, but hey if the contract doesn't specify conditions under which that clause can be used seems like it would be fair game to me.

                IANAL

                 

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 9:14am

        Re: Re:

        Sounds like the record labels.

        Catch a ride on a temporary market condition then get pissy, buy governments to alienate them from the will and service of their people in order to atttack everyone's rights in a massive hissy fit combined with an attempt to keep their stagnant, outdated and transitory business model going.

        These people should move on or go away now.

         

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      bigpicture, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 8:34am

      Re: Contracts

      Do you even know what a contract is? Do you know anything about contract law? A contract is an "AGREEMENT" in which presumably both parties UNDERSTAND their respective commitments.

      If the contract is "silent" or "unclear" about any fundamental issues then any legal interpretation of that is usually in favor of the party that DID NOT WRITE the document. It was the weasel recording companies that wrote all the documents.

      The recording companies have also been found to use confusing financial terminology, and to categorize revenues differently than defined in their contracts, and just plain hide and launder money the same way as drug dealers.

       

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        arcan, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 12:54pm

        Re: Re: Contracts

        like everyone reads and understands EULA's? or how i bought something i own it. no you don't you are just licensing it from us. or how they right things in such vague language that they can do anything they want with it? or how the artists when they signed generally had no choice in the matter if they actually wanted to pursue a music career.

         

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      G Thompson (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 8:59am

      Re:

      You do realise that you are confusing 'free will' with duress don't you?

       

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      John Stag, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 9:04am

      Re:

      Yeah, "screwed over" so badly by a contract that they willingly entered into and benefited from. God, you're such a whiner.


      If you read the article it says something about the record labels not paying royalties. In what universe should the band not be angry over this?

       

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      Jeff Rivett (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 9:32am

      Re: (AC neglected to enter a subject)

      Willingly, true, but at the time there was no other way to achieve 'success'. Yes, the band no doubt benefited: being such a big act, they surely recouped and made some money. But if you compared the amount made by the band with what the label (and their cronies) made from the band, you'd rethink your statement.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 10:23am

      Re:

      Yeah, "screwed over" so badly by a contract that they willingly entered into and benefited from. God, you're such a whiner.


      I love how the standard defense is "well, they were stupid enough to sign our crazy deals..."

      Great industry.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 7:16am

    But... but... major label Good! Downloading Bad!

     

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      Al Bert (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 1:12pm

      Re:

      What? Oh man, I got those mixed up. Crap. I should have known something was wrong when I was discovering a wealth of new music that I actually enjoy through independent artists and netlabels! How could I be so blind?

       

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    Miles Barnett (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 7:17am

    This has been going on a long time

    In the early days of emusic.com, you could find albums of older acts (BJ Thomas and John Prine come to mind) that were actually re-recordings of their old hits. Sometimes they were better than the originals, sometimes not.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 7:19am

    makes me wonder why the hell it is that governments the world over keep going along with (i use that term rather than say believe) what these lying music labels say? is the amount being paid to 'encourage' the governments so great that it makes it worth the industries while, rather than to wake up, smell the coffee and get into serving customers what they want, in the digital age?

     

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    Blatant Coward (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 7:23am

    Don Henley seems pretty happy with the way he keeps pounding the big label RAH RAH drum.

    Now is that because he's done well, or because he hasn't looked closely at the books?

     

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    GMacGuffin (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 7:37am

    I just immediately went and bought them on GPlay. And, no, I haven't cared about Def Leppard since I was covering them in 1981... But Solidarnosc!

     

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      GMacGuffin (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 7:53am

      Re:

      HaHa, I totally forgot. I sampled the snare from "Pour Some Sugar..." last year because it has people going "Hey!" mixed in, and sounds awesome in a goofy home-video soundtrack I did.

      So I suppose I'll be commenting from jail now.

       

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    Lowestofthekeys (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 7:37am

    This is good news. I have yet to hear a single that so eloquently describes getting a BJ in this day and age.

    Rock on Def Leppard!

    On the flip side, as more and more bands come out in the open about the church-related, monetary sodomy meted out by the labels, we're bound to see more and more dirt surface.

    Even more fuel for people to do DIY.

     

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    Berenerd (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 7:41am

    Lars Ulrich didn't get screwed...that he knows of....

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 8:01am

    By the way, Classic Rock Magazine broke this story weeks ago :p

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2012 @ 7:59am

      Re:

      Were you under the impression that this was some sort of cutting edge "we break the news as it happens!" news organ? Like CNN or Fox News? :P

       

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    Minimum Wage Shill, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 8:06am

    "bands reporting on the many ways in which the major labels have screwed them over."

    Well, how else am I going to get paid. The labels aren't 'screwing over' the bands, the labels are simply investing the money that would otherwise go towards the bands into shills like myself. This way I can defend artist rights and ensure that they get paid!! Otherwise artists will have no rights and they won't get paid anything. So what's better?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 8:10am

    Good for you guys! Stick it to them labels! I will be looking and buying ALL the albums you release this way!

    Outstanding!

     

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      Zakida Paul (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 8:15am

      Re:

      Same here. I was going to buy their entire catalogue on CD but after reading about the dispute I decided not to as I don't want the label to get anything for it.

       

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    Fan 2.0, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 8:21am

    This is the reason why apps like fandalism and reflectnow.com are going to be huge soon!

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 8:40am

    For the past few years I have been saying, bands should re record their albums to remove all profit from the labels. If Eminem did this he would be making an additional 35% on the sale price of his music from iTunes.

    iTunes 30%, record label 35%, artist 35%, if the labels pay the artists.

     

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    DogBreath, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 9:41am

    Another epic "Star Wars" battle is on the way

    Life Experience: No more training do you require. Already know you, that which you need.

    Contractually Shafted Band: Then I am a Independent Recording Artist.

    Life Experience: No. Not yet. One thing remains. The company who still holds your contract. You must confront the company who still holds your contract. Then, only then, an Independent Recording Artist will you be. And confront them you will.



    Def Leppard: I've been waiting for you, Universal Music. We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner; now *I* am the master.

    Universal Music: Only a master of evil, Def.
    [contract lawyers begin arguing]



    and to all other bands able to do the same thing in their contracts:

    Universal Music: Impressive. Most impressive. Def Leppard has taught you well. You have rerecorded your music. Now, release your forgeries. Only your covers of your own songs can destroy me.

     

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    Glen, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 10:03am

    Do we know yet where they will be releasing their "forgeries"? I'd love to support them just to spite the label.

     

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    172pilot (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 10:14am

    I'm torn....

    ... On the one hand, the labels are definitely trying to squeeze the artist for every possible penny, but on the other side, when the artist signed the deal with the label, the label had what the artist needed to succeed - The relationships with the radio stations, the concert venues, the recording studios, etc.. And so, the artist signed a deal for what they felt was fair. Now that technology has "evened the playing field" and anyone can have a recording studio in their basement for $2000 and a facebook page for promotion, it seems that the artists are breaking contracts illegally..

    It's a shame - The only people who are going to make any money are the lawyers.

     

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      khory, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 10:29am

      Re: I'm torn....

      They may have signed the deal and they may have felt it was fair, but that all depends on whether or not Universal has made its payments to the band fairly.

      The labels tend to be creative with the books so that there is hardly anything left to distribute for royalties. They also tend to classify things that may not have been covered in the original contract however they feel is in their favor. I doubt that digital downloads were covered much in the Def Leppard's original contract.

       

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        BeeAitch (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 7:16pm

        Re: Re: I'm torn....

        "The labels tend to be creative with the books so that there is hardly anything left to distribute for royalties. They also tend to classify things that may not have been covered in the original contract however they feel is in their favor. I doubt that digital downloads were covered much in the Def Leppard's original contract."

        I realize you're being polite, but 'tend to' really should be replaced with 'in the majority of cases' or something along those lines. :)

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2012 @ 7:56am

      Re: I'm torn....

      One of my favorite bands of the mid-90s was October Project. They had a three-CD deal with a small record company that Sony purchased during that period of time in the mid-to-late 90s when they and other mega-corps were gobbling up smaller record companies, which near-monopolized the industry. OP had put out two amazing CDs that were pretty popular, though their music wasn't mainstream or pop-sounding. Just a mid-level weird and talented band that was slowly growing in popularity over time.

      When it came time to make their third CD, per their contract, the Sony execs called them in to inform them that nobody in the band was young or sexy enough to be featured in a music video (music vids being the thing back then), so Sony was cutting them loose, entirely contrary to the signed and legal contract they'd purchased when they bought the smaller record company. If OP didn't like it, they could sue Sony... and never work another day in the biz due to the black-listing they'd get, plus Sony would have unleashed a legal team against them that have dragged out the suit out for decades (business as usual.) OP walked away with nothing despite a contract that said the record company owed them another CD or a legally-mandated buy-out of the contract, which would have helped them to self-record if they chose to continue. The band broke up under the strain and we fans never got our third OP CD. (Today someone would probably start a Kickstarter project for them.)

      I know the mega-corp that Def Leppard is taking on isn't Sony, it's Universal, but this is the way each & every one of the mega-corporations maintain their huge profits: screw the artists out of every penny, illegally if necessary AND EVERYONE KNOWS IT. Universal did exactly the same thing Sony did to OP to other small and mid-level bands whenever they purchased other small record companies. This is only the tip of the iceberg of these corporations' illegal and near-illegal activities against the artists.

      I find it difficult to be torn when it comes to any tiny, beaten-down David overcoming any over-blown, money-choked, mega-Goliath.

      And as it happens, consider that what Def Leppard is doing is entirely legal and within the contract Universal signed, and you can bet Universal had an eagle-eyed legal team write that contract. Hoist by their own petard. So that takes away another barrier to your being torn: everything is open and above-board here, no legal team necessary, move along.

       

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    RD, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 10:36am

    Dear Douchetards...RTFA

    Dear Colossal Douchetards,

    Please RTFA, and understand what this issue is about. This is NOT about "we signed a contract but we just want more" this is "We signed a contract and the label IS NOT LIVING UP TO IT'S END OF THE AGREEMENT."

    When you can actually grasp this concept and understand it, then you are qualified to comment on the situation. Otherwise, you just look like an "attack Mike/Techdirt at any cost" Douchetard.

    Sincerely,

    Disgusted Techdirt Reader

     

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      Digitari, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 12:26pm

      Re: Dear Douchetards...RTFA

      But But Pirates...............


      "think of the Artist's"..


      ...........Freetards



      (it's IP an intellectual Phallacy) :)

       

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    Hypnosis Blogger, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 11:22am

    Please don't be idiots...

    Please don't be idiots... the people who say "they entered a contract and now they're not getting enough... blah... blah... blah..."

    Look at their complaints. We all know the recording industry could care less about the artists, except for how they can benefit FROM them.

    Like the music industry, they all engage in "creative accounting" where one part pays another part which pays another part... until in the movie industry, you have a Top Grossing movie that barely makes money according to their accounting.

    Look at how they call iTunes a SALE in some instances and a LICENSE in other issues (much like ObamaCare - it's tax, no it's a penalty, no... it's a tax) - whatever benefits them in their current situation.

    So, yeah... alot of artist are getting screwed over big time because of this - and many of them are sick of it.

    Sure, they signed the contracts in good faith - but there is no good faith in the MPAA or RIAA.

     

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    Johnny5k (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 3:19pm

    Universal claims digital sales are not considered 'licenses,' but rather 'sales' - which means they're able to deduct the costs associated with manufacturing, shipping, and selling physical copies of media at retail locations. That includes, for example, a 'breakage' cost to account for the percent of vinyl records & cd's that break before they reach the customer. 

    So it's not just Def Leppard crying that they want different contract terms - Universal is manipulating the terms of their pre-digital distribution contract to keep more of Def Leppard's royalties for themselves. 

    Maybe the guys in Def Leppard would rather spend extra months/years in the studio re-recording, than in the courtroom fighting over the definition of 'sale' vs 'license.' 

    More info on some other lawsuits:

    http://www.fortherechord.com/royalties-reallocation-rock-stars-sue-umg-over-digital-dis tribution-dollars/

     

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    hmm (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 3:35pm

    well

    Ever think just how hilarious it is that the RIAA got screwed over by a technicality when thats their primary meaning of making cash?

    Just like the Natwest fiasco, when they unfairly sacked all their ca-7 programmers (using a technicality in their contract to say they'd missed a tiny programming item that wasn't even on an active system), then 6months later the system fell over and they had to shell out several hundred thousand dollars to EACH programmer to get them to come back and fix it?

    Sometimes the universe has a very cool sense of humor....

     

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    Robert (profile), Dec 18th, 2012 @ 6:17pm

    Power to Def Lepard

    I like this. The alternative rock band Def Lepard refuses to be controlled creatively by the corporate music big shots who take the fun out of music. Let the bands have creative domain and earn the majority of the money. I still don't understand when these record companies take the majority of a band's money when they do nothing but kill the mood.

     

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