Copyright trolls sue fans of band without permission

Copyright is a big deal in every modern industry now, and people love to be able to make use of their copyrights to profit. What happens if they want to make use of these copyrights, but the people these copyrights actually relate to have no idea about it?

This is the reality of the situation faced by the American metal band All Shall Perish. The band's manager spoke to Torrent Freak, expressing their surprise at the situation and how they are "gutted" to hear the news. In the snappily-named U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, the lawsuit against the band's fans was lodged on April 20th. The story is a well run one, and won't be winning any awards for its creativity. The lawsuit is targeted at 80 IP addresses harvested from BitTorrent for sharing the album "This is Where It Ends". The plaintiff is World Digital Rights, who seek the real-world identities of those who acquired the album.

If they get their way, the owners of those IP addresses will be hauled into court to stand trial. More likely though is an out-of-court settlement, in which things will all be smoothed over for some money. The band began to receive a backlash from its fans for handling copyright in such a heavy-handed manner. The band manager, Ryan Downey, insists they had no knowledge of the lawsuit being filed. He said the following about the situation:

The band wasn’t consulted whatsoever and none of us have ever heard of this company. I spoke to the US label manager and German label president who both are as confused as we are. We are digging deeper and looking into the legality of it all. We are thinking it’s perhaps a sublicensor or some digital aggregator or something?!

The lawsuit suggests that All Shall Perish's copyright holder, Nuclear Blast, signed the rights to the album's marketing over to World Digital Rights, on March 12, 2012. This passing over of the copyright resulted in World Digital Rights, who are based in Panama, holding the only copyright to the album. The company also received the right to sue, so it would seem they're definitely relishing that part of the agreement. The band's manager described the copyright claim as being "awful", and promised to keep fans updated on developments. The band themselves could have to intervene on the side of the fans, should World Digital Rights not withdraw the lawsuit upon the band's request.

There aren't many musicians who would oppose their own copyright holders, but All Shall Perish might be forced to do so due to their manager's remarks made to Torrent Freak. Furthermore, the band's songs are known for being politically based, so it would be immensely hypocritical for them to let the groups they oppose lead their musical direction. While the band themselves don't really have a say in copyright disputes like these normally, the reaction that came from their manager seems to suggest they do not approve of the situation. Speaking to a site such as Torrent Freak could imply that the band has less of a focus on cracking down on piracy than World Digital Rights, since the band attitude has not been one of outrage at piracy of their musical wares.

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