Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Update and thoughts...

Thank you all for being patient so far.

I have been having some second thoughts about this endeavour.  Namely, that R.E.M.'s IRS-controlled catalog is itself controlled by Universal, notorious for slapping down blogs and posts without mercy.

Today, I received the following DMCA takedown notice for - get this - the band's Cassette Set.

Tell me, what role does the IFPI (of which Universal is obviously a member) have to do with *unreleased* material recorded when the band had no record contract?

These were demos *freely* given away by the band.  On low-fi C45 cassettes.  And the IFPI thinks it's their business how?

It's possible they were so...err...frightened that "White Tornado" (which admittedly did see release, unmodified from the Cassette Set version, as a B-side and later on via Dead Letter Office) is - gasp - freely available they had to use the nuclear option.

So you can see why I'm very hesitant to move forward with this blog, only because I don't want to see my efforts as a writer/archivist/engineer wasted.

Please discuss.

The file "" has been suspended 

Dear MediaFire User:

MediaFire has received notification under the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") that your usage of a file is allegedly infringing on the file creator's copyright protection.
The file named is identified by the key (14zk3yvi31mj3g5).
As a result of this notice, pursuant to Section 512(c)(1)(C) of the DMCA, we have suspended access to the file.
The reason for suspension was:
Under penalty of perjury, we submit that we are authorized to act on behalf of the IFPI Represented Companies in matters involving the infringement of their sound recordings, including enforcing their copyrights and common law rights on the Internet.
Information about the party that filed the report:
Company Name: IFPI
Contact Address: 10 Piccadilly London W1J 0DD United Kingdom
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
Copyright infringement violates MediaFire's Terms of Service. MediaFire accounts that experience multiple incidents of alleged copyright infringement without viable counterclaims may be terminated.
If you feel this suspension was in error, please submit a counterclaim by following the process below.


  1. Don't give up! What Universal is doing is absolutely ridiculous. Is there any way to contact the members of R.E.M. themselves and get their opinion on any of this?

  2. The only possible reason I can see this happening is if these demos are planned to be "officially" released in the long talked about box set that has been in the works for a while now. Other than that, this looks like a prime example of legal bullying.

  3. I wish I had some advice, but I'm not that savvy.

    I bet even if you *had* consent from the band, you would *still* be bullied. Hasn't Universal taken down youtube clips from some bands own sites? Not cool.

    I'm curious, purely for selfish reasons of course, if you were thinking of working on the fan club singles too. I know most (or all?) were past the IRS timeline, but wouldn't you have less to worry about from "the man"? I realize they may not be as ideal, but try as I might - and growing up in the ATL - I *still* can't find great versions of those early singles... Just my two cents.

    Thanks for the update, and I hope everything works out.

  4. this is ridiculous, and i'd be gutted if you quit due to some bullying from universal. blog or no, your hard work can be distributed through other means. there's a huge network of people who would help.

  5. Well first thing you could do is contact band managment get permission from them i dont think stipe would care very much but you never know.. Second is only reason why mediafire picked it up is beacuse the naming of the file and or somebody tipped off mediafire via disgrunted fan.Third reason is the site was sitting for about 6 momths and people were keeping a very close eye on it.If the band freely gave them away back in the day. but since The Digital Copyright act alot of things have changed on the transference of music.But The Biggest Thing to consider is this your making people nervious putting people out of work and im not saying this in bad way either your doing what these record exces are failing to do the singles restoration the correct and caring way instead of milking fans with some remasters here and there which takes years for them to release you guys are doing in 8 to 12 months and for free i might add with all the artwork and stuff to make a premium boxset. which i can see making people jumpy at he labels now these recycle prodjects are brillent and should not be stop banned or sued in any such matter you are only doing what the an artistic rendention of what you would want out of a decent boxset.. if this continues next thing youll be reading is people getting sued for copyright infringemnt on tatoos of band logos and cover art.

  6. Drew, its Ethan. Send me what you have. Fuck IFPI takedowns and I'll host it on Murmurs. That'd be funny to get a DMCA on there. Email me at ethankap [@]

  7. I would think that at the very least you would have sought the band's permission before embarking on this project. Even if they did give the material away on piss-poor cassettes so long ago, that doesn't mean they *now* want it distributed to the world via the net. And as someone alluded to, perhaps there's a commercial project underway that includes this material.

  8. Isn't this about Mediafire and not your blog?

  9. Good point in the Rolling Stone article comments - this is probably something that is automated and spammed to any site containing particular keywords.

    Similar to 'libel chill' used on journalists. IMHO get permission from R.E.M. themselves and you should be good. I've been a fan since the early 80s back when they played the club circuits and I'm sure they'd love what you're doing.

  10. If this falls through, hopefully you can get back to the new order "recycle" project to finish the companion/extra tracks. Patiently waiting...