Sunday, April 20, 2008

Intimidation for Breakfast - A Conversation With Web Sheriff (updated)



We received our first comment from Web Sheriff today!

WEB SHERIFF said...
WEB SHERIFF
Protecting Your Rights on the Internet
Tel 44-(0)208-323 8013
Fax 44-(0)208-323 8080
websheriff@websheriff.com
www.websheriff.com

Hi Blimpy,


On behalf of Big Life Management and Nul Recordings, many thanks for plugging "This is Not the World" (UK street date 26th May) ... .. and thanks, also, on behalf of the management / label and The Futureheads for not posting any pirate links although, if you / your readers want good quality, non-pirated, preview tracks, both “The Beginning of the Twist” and “Broke Up The Time” are available for fans and bloggers to post / host / share etc ... .. check-out www.thefutureheads.com and www.myspace.com/thefutureheads for details and the latest info on "This is Not the World" and the band's 2008 tour.

Regards,

WEB SHERIFF

Now, if anyone's not aware of what web sheriff does, I'll fill you in. They are employed by record companies to intimidate bloggers into removing mp3s or links that they deem illegal.

Had I posted the above track for download, the comment they left would have been nasty and threatening - instead of the faux-thankfulness and blatant marketing of the above.

I am of the view that us music bloggers do good for the bands we like to write about, and that mp3s that I've got from other blogs have only led me to buy (even) more records than I would do normally.

Web Sheriff, you really should be focussing your efforts elsewhere, music blogs help your clients immensely (even if they do include a few mp3 downloads for sampling purposes) and I don't like the subtext of intimidation that underlies your presence on our blog.



10 comments:
FP said...
Morning Blimpy, I read this post three times with interest. I wasn't actually aware of the existence of the Web Sheriff. Golly. How many people do they employ? Where do they get their information? Very interesting. I hope you don't mind if I take issue a bit over the way you've interpreted the message - which I also read three times. They are acting on behalf of the management of this band. I understood that they were applauding the fact that we have not posted any music for download (which is illegal) and offering for blogging good quality versions of the songs of the band from their own website. It strikes me that if I were a band's manager, I would want to bypass bad quality posts of stuff on youtube etc by making available good quality versions for bloggers on the band's website and via Myspace. This is what they are offering and I didn't actually read any veiled threat into that. Sorry. Interested to hear obviously your opinion and what the others think.
April 20, 2008 11:53 AM

Mnemonic said...
I'm with FP on this, I thought it was pretty civilised and that they understood that blogging is good for the band.
April 20, 2008 11:58 AM

ejaydee said...
I think Blimpy's problem is with the unnecessary (in my view) marketing plug.
And about that link, that's the second time in days!
April 20, 2008 2:39 PM


Blimpy said...
I understand what you're saying, but it's a cast iron fist in a velvet glove; judging by the way they have acted towards other music blogs previously.

Web Sheriff is putting their stall out and saying "you did okay this time son, but I've got my eye on you..."

It is progress that preview tracks are being offered up, and I don't have any problem with the futureheads themselves who release on their own indie label (which i fully support and wouldn't want to rip off).

But,as I've said above, i don't care for veiled threats especially by a company that purports to be some kind of authority ("sheriff" my arse) and also pretends to be empathetic and on my side.
April 20, 2008 4:11 PM

Blimpy said...
And I didn't like the marketing, i would have deleted it like any other spam comment left on our site, but i thought it was of interest to the rest of our community.
April 20, 2008 4:12 PM

Blimpy said...
(ejaydee - sorry about that link, it had to be done, plus that's the first time I've ever used it!)
April 20, 2008 4:14 PM

ejaydee said...
You've got to be careful these days...
(that should have read "second time in 2 days")

April 20, 2008 4:21 PM
WEB SHERIFF said...
WEB SHERIFF
Protecting Your Rights on the Internet
Tel 44-(0)208-323 8013
Fax 44-(0)208-323 8080
websheriff@websheriff.com
www.websheriff.com

Hi Blimpy, FP, Mnemonic & Ejaydee,

Many thanks for your posts (especially FP & Mnemonic for understanding where we're coming from) ... .. at the end of the day, the artist should have some say as to what's okay and what's not - it is their music after all !! - and we're simply relaying that message to bloggers (and many others) ... .. so maybe Blimpy is being a tad too cynical here, although - of course, that's Blimpy's prerogative and we're not, in any way, attempting to stifle opinions (whether people hate us or understand us).

Whilst writing, many thanks for highlighting the problem of Rick Astley videos on YouTube ... .. something should really be done to protect the innocent : )

All The Best (to all - incl. Blimpy !!),

WEB SHERIFF
April 20, 2008 5:16 PM


Blimpy said...
Hi Web Sheriff,

Thanks for taking the time to come back and follow on the debate, although you didn't really answer some of the points made above, so I'll recap:

1. Your first post amounted to a passive-aggressive warning not to post "illegal" mp3s or links in the future, did it not?

2. Do you think it's acceptable to add marketing for a paying client to a website that has not invited it?

3. A small band like The Futureheads probably relies to some extent on blogs like these for publicity of new material Our blog is run for the love of music over any commercial gain (we have an "ad free blog" logo on our sidebar) - would your resources not be better focussed on those sites that blatantly do make a living out of illegal filesharing?

4. I Rick-Rolled you! You just had to follow that link, eh?

Cheers,

Blimpy.
April 20, 2008 7:00 PM

WEB SHERIFF said...
WEB SHERIFF
Protecting Your Rights on the Internet
Tel 44-(0)208-323 8013
Fax 44-(0)208-323 8080
websheriff@websheriff.com
www.websheriff.com


"Thanks for taking the time to come back and follow on the debate, although you didn't really answer some of the points made above, so I'll recap" - THANKS FOR BEING SO CHILLED AND YOU'VE MADE A FAIR POINT, SO WE'LL ENDEAVOUR TO ANSWER (AS FOLLOWS) :-

1. Your first post amounted to a passive-aggressive warning not to post "illegal" mp3s or links in the future, did it not? - THE PRIMARY AIM IS TO INFORM FANS AND BLOGGERS OF WHAT THE 'POLICY' IS ON ANY GIVEN PRE-RELEASE (PARTICULARLY AS REGARDS WHICH TRACKS YOU'RE ABLE TO POST ETC) ALTHOUGH, ADMITTEDLY,PEOPLE KNOWING THAT WEB SHERIFF IS ON THE CASE FOR A GIVEN RELEASE ALSO SENDS OUT A MESSAGE (HOPEFULLY NOT TOO MUCH OF A HOSTILE ONE, AS WE'RE OFTEN THE ONES WHO ARRANGE FOR FREEBIE / PREVIEW / PROMO TRACKS TO BE PROVIDED TO FANS AS A - GENUINE - 'THANK YOU' FOR THEIR HELP AND UNDERSTANDING IN THE SOMETIMES LONG RUN-UP TO RELEASE).

2. Do you think it's acceptable to add marketing for a paying client to a website that has not invited it? - THAT'S ONE WAY OF LOOKING AT IT ... .. FOR OUR PART, WE'RE SIMPLY LETTING FANS KNOW WHAT THEY CAN LEGALLY POST AND WHERE THEY CAN GET IT.

3. A small band like The Futureheads probably relies to some extent on blogs like these for publicity of new material Our blog is run for the love of music over any commercial gain (we have an "ad free blog" logo on our sidebar) - would your resources not be better focussed on those sites that blatantly do make a living out of illegal filesharing? - V.GOOD POINT AND, FYI, WE CAN ASSURE YOU THAT WE ALSO DEAL WITH (AND TAKE A MUCH HARDER LINE AGAINST) COMMERCIAL PIRATE SITES, TORRENTS AND P2P ETC (AMONGST NUMEROUS OTHER FACETS) ... .. BLOGGERS AND FANS, ON THE OTHER HAND, ARE THE LIFE-BLOOD OF ANY ARTIST AND, AS SUCH, WE SIMPLY TRY TO GET INFO ACROSS AS TO WHAT'S OKAY AND WHAT'S NOT (IE. AS OPPOSED TO PERSECUTING THEM FOR THEIR MERE OVER-EXUBERANCE).

4. I Rick-Rolled you! You just had to follow that link, eh? - WE GOT SUCKERED !! :)

Cheers,
- BEST,

WEB SHERIFF
April 20, 2008 8:51 PM



blimpy said...
Hallo again Web Sheriff,

Thanks for the considered answers, it's a massive improvement on the way you guys acted when you first started up for business - so that can only be a good thing.

It's good to know that there is room for conversation and debate on the subject.

There's an interesting article in today's Observer about the relationship between the mp3 blogosphere and the record labels:

http://music.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,2274962,00.html

I wouldn't mind hearing what other members of The 'Spill think on the subject, before I post my next reply to teh Web Sheriff.

****I would also like to add that when this blog started, we took a vague vote, and decided not to post any music for download to folks' hard drives, only streams via deezer or podbean etc****


*Edit* Here's more from the comments, including more Web Sherrif responses:

April 20, 2008 9:19 PM

steenbeck said...
I think maybe Web Sheriff are wasting their energies on the wrong blog. I sincerely believe this is all for love of music. I'm sure that collectively the 'Spill team spend a ridiculously large amount of money on music. Would I have heard of the Futureheads if Blimpy hadn't posted about them? I would not. Did I check them out because Blimpy is the arbiter of all that's good in indie music? I did. They should be paying Blimpy, not scolding him!! But I'm guessing he wouldn't take the money.

April 20, 2008 9:46 PM
steenbeck said...
Wait, this whole thing started because you linked to a youTube video? A website where people can watch for free and volume of watchers is desirable? That's just silly.

April 20, 2008 9:56 PM
Blimpy said...
Exactly steenbeck (and thanks for saying such nice things too) - you've hid the nail on the head there; it's surreal indeed!

I'm sure there's a middle ground that we're heading to, from the initial insanities over napster, through a mother who's dl'ed nursery rhymes for her child getting sued for money she can't afford, to web sheriff with their all seeing eye.

At some point in the next couple of years, when all the silliness has settled down, there will be the middle ground where music and the internet and record labels co-exist happily -although no-one can find the right "business model" just now. And god knows, some of the current proposals are awful (ISPs having to pay a charge to labels? that then gets passed onto customers who don't use torrents? ridiculous! Or "renting" digital music, instead of buying it?!?! WTF! I have never paid for an mp3 in my life, but you should see the amount of vinyl and cds in my house...)

I can see both sides, the youngest generation of music listeners (let's say 11-16 years old at present ) have never had to pay for music (if they're web-savvy) and i would imagine will continue on in that vein for a long, long time.

Is this bad for the music industry, as stack of shitty Coldplay and Kooks records fester unsold in a warehouse somewhere?

Or will it force them to buck their ideas up a bit, and realise that their 600% CD markup scam has had its best days, and it's time to move on?

April 20, 2008 10:53 PM
CaroleBristol said...
I have to say that I absolutely hate the whole commercialisation of the internet and organisations like this Web Sherriff crap really annoy me.

The music business sucks, the people who run the internet just want to make obscene amounts of money and I think the whole lot deserve to burn for all eternity.

April 20, 2008 11:05 PM
WEB SHERIFF said...
WEB SHERIFF
Protecting Your Rights on the Internet
Tel 44-(0)208-323 8013
Fax 44-(0)208-323 8080
websheriff@websheriff.com
www.websheriff.com

Hi Blimpy - thanks for your further coments and the interesting article ... .. much to debate here, that's for sure ... .. in particular the difficult balance between blogger freedoms / the great promo that stems from blogs and the viral nature of music files / the damaging effects of runaway 'piracy'.

Hi Steenbeck - Thanks for your posts ... .. as a gesture to fans and bloggers the band have provided 2 freebie / preview tracks from this album, which - let's not forget - is unreleased. At the end if the day, surely they should have the final say on what people can share from their unreleased album ?!

Hi Carole - You are, of course, entitled to your views / hatred, but many artists - Futureheads included - are simply not in a position to ignore the damaging effects of unrestricted piracy.

Regards to All,

WEB SHERIFF

April 21, 2008 12:08 AM
steenbeck said...
Hi Web sheriff!! of course the band should have their say. but 1) if you put stuff on youTube that you don't earnestly and eagerly wish to be shared with anyone that will watch it..that's just foolish. And 2) they could dance naked around stonehenge, I still wouldn't know about it if Blimpy hadn't posted it. So, I'm glad they have 2 freebie tracks from their unreleased album, but...guess what? it would mean nothing to me if Blimpy hadn't drawn them to my attention, and you've done them no end of damage, because...I'm not going to get petty, I assume you're doing your job, and more power to you. I think you should take some time to look through this beautiful blog, and just be glad it exists, and look elsewhere for work.

April 21, 2008 12:49 AM
ejaydee said...
Those of you who want more, you can hear some nerds have an interesting conversation about the music "business model" and the internet here: http://www.twit.tv/mbw85
Goneforeign, you might like this podcast in general

April 21, 2008 2:04 AM
goneforeign said...
Ejay: I just wrote a response to this guy and then bit my tongue and I saved it. Thanks for the tip, I'm on my way over.

April 21, 2008 2:54 AM
DarceysDad said...
Evening all.

I've been watching this develop with some interest this evening (work avoidance on a Sunday night: how sad is THAT?!), and at Blimpy's behest, here's my tuppen'th -

Never heard of Web Sheriff before, though obviously knew the record companies, erm, took an interest (shall we say) in what appeared online.

As my first exposure to them, then, I have to say that this specific exchange of comments has looked fairly even-handed. For that, hats off to the individual sheriff involved for keeping it cordial. It's an achievement that the temperature in this 'room' hasn't shot off the scale (in either direction), because I think the whole basis for justifying their corporate existence is flawed and greed-based. I'm cynical/jaded enough to realise that we're being watched, in violation of our theoretical freedom, and admit I'm too lazy/impotent to do anything about it. But that doesn't mean I accept it ...

I'd be polite to a policeman if one pulled me over to claim I was travelling at 80mph on a clear, straight, dry, empty motorway. But that wouldn't stop me thinking that the pillock's bosses need shooting for believing that this is what they are for. Furthermore, if that traffic officer then used the fact that I was in front of them to try to sell me a specific brand of tyres which grip better at that speed, I'd be incandescent with fury at the 'System' that allowed such an abuse of position to be regarded as acceptable. Sorry WS, but that's how I see you: "whereas if you buy this..."

I find the pretence that they are primarily looking after the artistes' interests (as opposed to their own) abhorrent, and quite frankly would happily fiddle whilst most record companies burn.

The internet has been a revolutionary change in many fields; the music business needs to deal with the bigger issues.

I'm not defending piracy - though I also have a problem with that term - ,and I'm not naive enough to believe that I would have heard even a tenth of the music I did in the 70s without major business putting that art in front of me in physical form. But here's what I want to scream at the likes of Web Sheriff:
find a legitimate position in this new world first, and then if there is a policing job to be done, bloody well do it from the top down, however difficult that may be!

Somehow though, I expect this bullying or even criminalisation of individuals, from street level upwards (only as far as the first lawyer smart enough to stall you) will continue, and that depresses the hell out of me.

Music thrived for hundreds of years before little Nipper ever got his face stickered onto a piece of vinyl. How? By the enthusiastic spreading of a love for bands between friends. The only difference over those centuries is that we can now shout further to those friends. If you interfere with that, Web Sheriff, you cut off your own legs, and you will bleed to death where you lay while the world moves on past you.

So go ahead, continue to spy, I'm past caring, life's too short. Contribute occasionally, even, then at least you do us the courtesy of reminding us you are there. You never know, you might even be able to help us on a couple of thorny issues. But DON'T try to sell to us, don't patronise us, and most of all don't persecute us simply for wandering close to the blurred grey edges of what only you still see as a black & white border of legality.

Ach, now you see? You got me so cross, I'm still here when my alarm clock goes off in three hours!

Goodnight all, and yes WebSh, that means you too!

April 21, 2008 3:14 AM
goneforeign said...
Thank you DD, you said it all more eloquently than I ever could.

April 21, 2008 3:20 AM
CaroleBristol said...
Gosh, how wonderful to know that I am still entitled to hold my own views.

It interests me that this sanctimonious bullshit seems to ignore the fact that most music lovers are not "pirates" and sharing music actually spreads the work around.

Posting vids and tracks on a fan site like this isn't depriving anyone of any money. To suggest otherwise must require a severely warped world view.

As most people here know, I am a Deadhead. I have always admired the Dead ethos whereby they allowed fans to record their gigs and actually encouraged the bootleggers.

You can find thousands of hours of Dead music on the net - for free.

I would just like to point out to the Sherriff that I am not an illegal downloader, I buy CDs.

However, I see nothing wrong in people with less money than me sharing music. They aren't ripping anyone off. I rather doubt that they would buy the stuff they are sharing if that was the only alternative.

If the music industry actually cared about artists and music then maybe they should spend their money finding and promoting real talent, instead of the vile useless dross that they are wasting cash on at the moment.

I won't list out the usual suspects here but I know that other posters can fill the names in themselves.

April 21, 2008 7:14 AM
WEB SHERIFF said...
WEB SHERIFF
Protecting Your Rights on the Internet
Tel 44-(0)208-323 8013
Fax 44-(0)208-323 8080
websheriff@websheriff.com
www.websheriff.com

Hi Blimpy - Morning !! ... .. interesting debate that you've started here, with some very erudite comments ... .. out of respect to everyone at Spill, we'll try and respond to these observations, queries and criticisms ... .. thanks for the novel approach to the photo, btw, beats Deputy Dawg !!

Hi Again Steenbeck - Thanks again for your comments ... .. and we don't disagree with you ... .. the difficult problem - from the perspective of many artists and labels - is where to draw the line of what is okay (especially pre-release) ... .. leaving material on one blog (ie. other than preview tracks of course) means that it spreads to many others and then to p2p and then to the Russian sites, where commercial piracy is institutionalised - and so on and so forth ... .. so it's not that there are any principled objections to blogs like The 'Spill' - far from it - it's rather a question of trying to deal with the wider isues / the bigger picture.

Hi Ejaydee & GoneForeign - Thanks for your contributions and sorry if we're unable to provide lengthy replies to every post.

Hi DD - A very eloquent contribution (especially at that time of night !!) ... .. we'd effectively repeat what we've said to Steenbeck above ... .. this is a very difficult isue and, hopefully, new 'business models' shall develop that allow blogger freedoms to happily co-exist with artist rights - which, in our view, they can already, provided that everyone takes a reasonable line on things (ie. Web Sheriff securing agreement from relevant labels to provide as many freebie / preview tracks as possible - within reason ! - and blogs, for their part, not hosting / linking to full albums before release) ... .. using your historical analogy, the difference between the 'good old days' and the 20th & 21st centuries is the advent of fully fledged copyright and, without (we hope) sounding 'sanctimonious', this is something that we're all stuck with (at least for the forseeable future !!).

Hi Carole - Thanks for your further comments and, again, we're simply carying out the wishes of the artist / management / label ... .. having invested their time, money and, above all, creative input into this new album, it's their call as to which tracks / formats are freebies and which are not (and that's hardly unreasonable or a 'commercialisation of the internet' - is it ??).

Once Again, Best to All,

WEB SHERIFF

April 21, 2008 8:53 AM
CaroleBristol said...
Actually, WS, I do not agree with you on so many levels you simply wouldn't believe it.

At the very least I think you are being massively crass and heavy handed with a blog that is supported by Music Fans, i.e. the people that actually provide all that lovely money that record labels fritter away on useless rubbish like Sting, Phil Collins, James Blunt, Leona Lewis, Paolo Nutini and any number of other crap acts you care to mention.

WE are the people who, ultimately, are paying the salaries of everyone in the music biz, you included, and where would you all be if we voted with our wallets and simply stopped buying anything by artists who employed these heavy handed tactics against us?

And yes, organisations like yours are part of the commercialisation of the internet, but you clearly cannot see that.

I am not a fan of the Futureheads, they seem a bit derivative to my jaded old hippy/punk ears, but if I were I think I might reconsider if I'd be buying any of their stuff in the future.

You do realise that the kind of thing you are doing is massively counter productive?


April 21, 2008 9:37 AM
Blimpy said...
@DsD -great post, lots of very well made points there.

There's a couple more points I would like to make:

1. Most of my interests in indie/alternative/noise music  started from a mix-tape that a friend's older brother made in 1991 (which contained Ride, Sonic Youth, Manics etc- bands who have had more than a fair few quid outta me over the last 17 years)

Similarly, to this day, I know many many occasions where I've fired over an mp3 to a pal and they've ended up buying the album/going to shows etc. Any mp3s they haven't liked have been binned and forgotten about -they certainly aren't a "loss of a sale" as the music industry would have you believe.

2. Where does the law stand if I've downloaded an mp3 from, say, an American band who don't have a UK record label?

I've certainly done this before, as there's no way of obtaining said music otherwise - or am I supposed to wait in the hope that they get signed over here?

This has also led me to pay to get records imported from the states (actually cheaper than you would imagine, if you go straight to the band's label)

3. No one has mentioned the fact that a lot of labels will deliberately leak the album in order to build up pre-release buzz. Cake and eat it??

I would also like to add that I am very pleased that Web Sheriff has chosen to continue the conversations, and kept things in good humour, even when faced with rick-rolling and pictures of the Sherrif of Nottingham (who famously shouted in the film: "Cancel Christmas!!!").

April 21, 2008 9:57 AM



web sheriff said...
WEB SHERIFF
Protecting Your Rights on the Internet
Tel 44-(0)208-323 8013
Fax 44-(0)208-323 8080
websheriff@websheriff.com
www.websheriff.com

Hey Everyone,

Many thanks for all of the interesting / stimulating (and very valid) points ... .. we'd probably be debating here til the cows come home, so shall answer Blimby's queries, seeing as he's the one who 'started it' !!


"There's a couple more points I would like to make:" - REPLIES BELOW (IN CAPITALS) :

1. Most of my interests in indie/alternative/noise music  started from a mix-tape that a friend's older brother made in 1991 (which contained Ride, Sonic Youth, Manics etc- bands who have had more than a fair few quid outta me over the last 17 years)
Similarly, to this day, I know many many occasions where I've fired over an mp3 to a pal and they've ended up buying the album/going to shows etc. Any mp3s they haven't liked have been binned and forgotten about -they certainly aren't a "loss of a sale" as the music industry would have you believe. - GOOD POINT AND, AGAIN, WE THINK THAT A HEALTHY AND RESPECTFUL BALANCE (FOR BOTH BLOGGERS AND ARTISTS) IS FOR LABELS TO ROUTINELY PROVIDE MULTIPLE PREVIEW TRACKS, SO THAT EXISTING FANS AND POTENTIAL FANS ALIKE CAN SAMPLE, POST, HOST AND SWAP TRACKS ETC AS A WAY OF SPREADING THE WORD BUT WITHOUT UNDULY HARMING LEGITIMATE SALES (AGAIN, IF THE BALANCE IS RIGHT, THIS INCREASES SALES !!).

2. Where does the law stand if I've downloaded an mp3 from, say, an American band who don't have a UK record label?
I've certainly done this before, as there's no way of obtaining said music otherwise - or am I supposed to wait in the hope that they get signed over here?
This has also led me to pay to get records imported from the states (actually cheaper than you would imagine, if you go straight to the band's label). STRICTLY SPEAKING THE ONLY LEGAL MEANS WOULD BE IN BUYING AN IMPORT ALTHOUGH, IN THIS DAY-AND-AGE OF ON-LINE MP3 STORES (OFTEN VIA THE ARTIST'S OR LABEL'S SITE), YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO FIND A LEGITIMATE DOWNLOAD SOURCE ... .. FAILING THAT, MAILING THE LABEL OR THE BAND ... .. AGAIN THE 'PROBLEM' STEMS FROM THE FACT THAT THE MP3 IS PERMANENT, UNLIKE THE OLD DAYS, WHEN RADIO, BEING TRANSITORY - AS OPPOSED TO TRANSISTORY (SORRY,COULD RESIST THAT ONE !!) - WAS THE PRINCIPAL FORM OF PROMOTION AND DIDN'T CUT-ACROSS SALES ... .. UNLESS WE GET INTO HOME TAPING, BUT THAT'S A WHOLE, OTHER DEBATE !!

3. No one has mentioned the fact that a lot of labels will deliberately leak the album in order to build up pre-release buzz. Cake and eat it?? - SOME MAY DO BUT MOST DEFINITELY DON'T ... .. CERTAINLY A CASE OF LIVE-BY-THE-SWORD, DIE-BY-THE-SWORD.

I would also like to add that I am very pleased that Web Sheriff has chosen to continue the conversations, and kept things in good humour, even when faced with rick-rolling and pictures of the Sherrif of Nottingham (who famously shouted in the film: "Cancel Christmas!!!"). - WE DON'T WANT TO CANCEL XMAS, BUT MAYBE THE POSSE WILL RIDE OVER TO CAROLE'S FOR A SHOWDOWN ... .. THEN AGAIN, MAYBE NOT, AS SHE'D PROBABLY RIDE US OUT OF TOWN !!
:(

All The Best & Until We Meet Again,

WEB SHERIFF

April 21, 2008 9:03 PM

So there we go, make of it all what you will, personally speaking I have found it interesting to get continued debate from the W.Shf, although lot of points have been skirted around somewhat, but at least their general position is clear. 

To me, Web Sheriff is like the White Witch in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe - all smiles and offering Turkish Delight in one hand, but with a sword in the other, tucked away behind her back.

And to round off with a snippet from what DarceysDad said earlier:

"But DON'T try to sell to us, don't patronise us, and most of all don't persecute us simply for wandering close to the blurred grey edges of what only you still see as a black & white border of legality."







46 comments:

FP said...

Morning Blimpy, I read this post three times with interest. I wasn't actually aware of the existence of the Web Sheriff. Golly. How many people do they employ? Where do they get their information? Very interesting. I hope you don't mind if I take issue a bit over the way you've interpreted the message - which I also read three times. They are acting on behalf of the management of this band. I understood that they were applauding the fact that we have not posted any music for download (which is illegal) and offering for blogging good quality versions of the songs of the band from their own website. It strikes me that if I were a band's manager, I would want to bypass bad quality posts of stuff on youtube etc by making available good quality versions for bloggers on the band's website and via Myspace. This is what they are offering and I didn't actually read any veiled threat into that. Sorry. Interested to hear obviously your opinion and what the others think.

Mnemonic said...

I'm with FP on this, I thought it was pretty civilised and that they understood that blogging is good for the band.

ejaydee said...

I think Blimpy's problem is with the unnecessary (in my view) marketing plug.
And about that link, that's the second time in days!

Blimpy said...

I understand what you're saying, but it's a cast iron fist in a velvet glove; judging by the way they have acted towards other music blogs previously.

Web Sheriff is putting their stall out and saying "you did okay this time son, but I've got my eye on you..."

It is progress that preview tracks are being offered up, and I don't have any problem with the futureheads themselves who release on their own indie label (which i fully support and wouldn't want to rip off).

But,as I've said above, i don't care for veiled threats especially by a company that purports to be some kind of authority ("sheriff" my arse) and also pretends to be empathetic and on my side.

Blimpy said...

And I didn't like the marketing, i would have deleted it like any other spam comment left on our site, but i thought it was of interest to the rest of our community.

Blimpy said...

(ejaydee - sorry about that link, it had to be done, plus that's the first time I've ever used it!)

ejaydee said...

You've got to be careful these days...
(that should have read "second time in 2 days")

WEB SHERIFF said...

WEB SHERIFF
Protecting Your Rights on the Internet
Tel 44-(0)208-323 8013
Fax 44-(0)208-323 8080
websheriff@websheriff.com
www.websheriff.com

Hi Blimpy, FP, Mnemonic & Ejaydee,

Many thanks for your posts (especially FP & Mnemonic for understanding where we're coming from) ... .. at the end of the day, the artist should have some say as to what's okay and what's not - it is their music after all !! - and we're simply relaying that message to bloggers (and many others) ... .. so maybe Blimpy is being a tad too cynical here, although - of course, that's Blimpy's prerogative and we're not, in any way, attempting to stifle opinions (whether people hate us or understand us).

Whilst writing, many thanks for highlighting the problem of Rick Astley videos on YouTube ... .. something should really be done to protect the innocent : )

All The Best (to all - incl. Blimpy !!),

WEB SHERIFF

Blimpy said...

Hi Web Sheriff,

Thanks for taking the time to come back and follow on the debate, although you didn't really answer some of the points made above, so I'll recap:

1. Your first post amounted to a passive-aggressive warning not to post "illegal" mp3s or links in the future, did it not?

2. Do you think it's acceptable to add marketing for a paying client to a website that has not invited it?

3. A small band like The Futureheads probably relies to some extent on blogs like these for publicity of new material Our blog is run for the love of music over any commercial gain (we have an "ad free blog" logo on our sidebar) - would your resources not be better focussed on those sites that blatantly do make a living out of illegal filesharing?

4. I Rick-Rolled you! You just had to follow that link, eh?

Cheers,

Blimpy.

WEB SHERIFF said...

WEB SHERIFF
Protecting Your Rights on the Internet
Tel 44-(0)208-323 8013
Fax 44-(0)208-323 8080
websheriff@websheriff.com
www.websheriff.com

"Thanks for taking the time to come back and follow on the debate, although you didn't really answer some of the points made above, so I'll recap" - THANKS FOR BEING SO CHILLED AND YOU'VE MADE A FAIR POINT, SO WE'LL ENDEAVOUR TO ANSWER (AS FOLLOWS) :-

1. Your first post amounted to a passive-aggressive warning not to post "illegal" mp3s or links in the future, did it not? - THE PRIMARY AIM IS TO INFORM FANS AND BLOGGERS OF WHAT THE 'POLICY' IS ON ANY GIVEN PRE-RELEASE (PARTICULARLY AS REGARDS WHICH TRACKS YOU'RE ABLE TO POST ETC) ALTHOUGH, ADMITTEDLY,PEOPLE KNOWING THAT WEB SHERIFF IS ON THE CASE FOR A GIVEN RELEASE ALSO SENDS OUT A MESSAGE (HOPEFULLY NOT TOO MUCH OF A HOSTILE ONE, AS WE'RE OFTEN THE ONES WHO ARRANGE FOR FREEBIE / PREVIEW / PROMO TRACKS TO BE PROVIDED TO FANS AS A - GENUINE - 'THANK YOU' FOR THEIR HELP AND UNDERSTANDING IN THE SOMETIMES LONG RUN-UP TO RELEASE).

2. Do you think it's acceptable to add marketing for a paying client to a website that has not invited it? - THAT'S ONE WAY OF LOOKING AT IT ... .. FOR OUR PART, WE'RE SIMPLY LETTING FANS KNOW WHAT THEY CAN LEGALLY POST AND WHERE THEY CAN GET IT.

3. A small band like The Futureheads probably relies to some extent on blogs like these for publicity of new material Our blog is run for the love of music over any commercial gain (we have an "ad free blog" logo on our sidebar) - would your resources not be better focussed on those sites that blatantly do make a living out of illegal filesharing? - V.GOOD POINT AND, FYI, WE CAN ASSURE YOU THAT WE ALSO DEAL WITH (AND TAKE A MUCH HARDER LINE AGAINST) COMMERCIAL PIRATE SITES, TORRENTS AND P2P ETC (AMONGST NUMEROUS OTHER FACETS) ... .. BLOGGERS AND FANS, ON THE OTHER HAND, ARE THE LIFE-BLOOD OF ANY ARTIST AND, AS SUCH, WE SIMPLY TRY TO GET INFO ACROSS AS TO WHAT'S OKAY AND WHAT'S NOT (IE. AS OPPOSED TO PERSECUTING THEM FOR THEIR MERE OVER-EXUBERANCE).

4. I Rick-Rolled you! You just had to follow that link, eh? - WE GOT SUCKERED !! :)

Cheers, - BEST,

Blimpy - WEB SHERIFF

Blimpy said...

Hallo again Web Sheriff,

Thanks for the considered answers, it's a massive improvement on the way you guys acted when you first started up for business - so that can only be a good thing.

It's good to know that there is room for conversation and debate on the subject.

There's an interesting article in today's Observer about the relationship between the mp3 blogosphere and the record labels:

http://music.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,2274962,00.html

I wouldn't mind hearing what other members of The 'Spill think on the subject, before I post my next reply to teh Web Sheriff (although, being based in London -why aren't they called Web Filth, huh?)

steenbeck said...

I think maybe Web Sheriff are wasting their energies on the wrong blog. I sincerely believe this is all for love of music. I'm sure that collectively the 'Spill team spend a ridiculously large amount of money on music. Would I have heard of the Futureheads if Blimpy hadn't posted about them? I would not. Did I check them out because Blimpy is the arbiter of all that's good in indie music? I did. They should be paying Blimpy, not scolding him!! But I'm guessing he wouldn't take the money.

steenbeck said...

Wait, this whole thing started because you linked to a youTube video? A website where people can watch for free and volume of watchers is desirable? That's just silly.

Blimpy said...

Exactly steenbeck (and thanks for saying such nice things too) - you've hid the nail on the head there; it's surreal indeed!

I'm sure there's a middle ground that we're heading to, from the initial insanities over napster, through a mother who's dl'ed nursery rhymes for her child getting sued for money she can't afford, to web sheriff with their all seeing eye.

At some point in the next couple of years, when all the silliness has settled down, there will be the middle ground where music and the internet and record labels co-exist happily -although no-one can find the right "business model" just now. And god knows, some of the current proposals are awful (ISPs having to pay a charge to labels? that then gets passed onto customers who don't use torrents? ridiculous! Or "renting" digital music, instead of buying it?!?! WTF! I have never paid for an mp3 in my life, but you should see the amount of vinyl and cds in my house...)

I can see both sides, the youngest generation of music listeners (let's say 11-16 years old at present ) have never had to pay for music (if they're web-savvy) and i would imagine will continue on in that vein for a long, long time.

Is this bad for the music industry, as stack of shitty Coldplay and Kooks records fester unsold in a warehouse somewhere?

Or will it force them to buck their ideas up a bit, and realise that their 600% CD markup scam has had its best days, and it's time to move on?

CaroleBristol said...

I have to say that I absolutely hate the whole commercialisation of the internet and organisations like this Web Sherriff crap really annoy me.

The music business sucks, the people who run the internet just want to make obscene amounts of money and I think the whole lot deserve to burn for all eternity.

WEB SHERIFF said...

WEB SHERIFF
Protecting Your Rights on the Internet
Tel 44-(0)208-323 8013
Fax 44-(0)208-323 8080
websheriff@websheriff.com
www.websheriff.com

Hi Blimpy - thanks for your further coments and the interesting article ... .. much to debate here, that's for sure ... .. in particular the difficult balance between blogger freedoms / the great promo that stems from blogs and the viral nature of music files / the damaging effects of runaway 'piracy'.

Hi Steenbeck - Thanks for your posts ... .. as a gesture to fans and bloggers the band have provided 2 freebie / preview tracks from this album, which - let's not forget - is unreleased. At the end if the day, surely they should have the final say on what people can share from their unreleased album ?!

Hi Carole - You are, of course, entitled to your views / hatred, but many artists - Futureheads included - are simply not in a position to ignore the damaging effects of unrestricted piracy.

Regards to All,

WEB SHERIFF

steenbeck said...

Hi Web sheriff!! of course the band should have their say. but 1) if you put stuff on youTube that you don't earnestly and eagerly wish to be shared with anyone that will watch it..that's just foolish. And 2) they could dance naked around stonehenge, I still wouldn't know about it if Blimpy hadn't posted it. So, I'm glad they have 2 freebie tracks from their unreleased album, but...guess what? it would mean nothing to me if Blimpy hadn't drawn them to my attention, and you've done them no end of damage, because...I'm not going to get petty, I assume you're doing your job, and more power to you. I think you should take some time to look through this beautiful blog, and just be glad it exists, and look elsewhere for work.

ejaydee said...

Those of you who want more, you can hear some nerds have an interesting conversation about the music "business model" and the internet here: http://www.twit.tv/mbw85
Goneforeign, you might like this podcast in general

goneforeign said...

Ejay: I just wrote a response to this guy and then bit my tongue and I saved it. Thanks for the tip, I'm on my way over.

DarceysDad said...

Evening all.

I've been watching this develop with some interest this evening (work avoidance on a Sunday night: how sad is THAT?!), and at Blimpy's behest, here's my tuppen'th -

Never heard of Web Sheriff before, though obviously knew the record companies, erm, took an interest (shall we say) in what appeared online.

As my first exposure to them, then, I have to say that this specific exchange of comments has looked fairly even-handed. For that, hats off to the individual sheriff involved for keeping it cordial. It's an achievement that the temperature in this 'room' hasn't shot off the scale (in either direction), because I think the whole basis for justifying their corporate existence is flawed and greed-based. I'm cynical/jaded enough to realise that we're being watched, in violation of our theoretical freedom, and admit I'm too lazy/impotent to do anything about it. But that doesn't mean I accept it ...

I'd be polite to a policeman if one pulled me over to claim I was travelling at 80mph on a clear, straight, dry, empty motorway. But that wouldn't stop me thinking that the pillock's bosses need shooting for believing that this is what they are for. Furthermore, if that traffic officer then used the fact that I was in front of them to try to sell me a specific brand of tyres which grip better at that speed, I'd be incandescent with fury at the 'System' that allowed such an abuse of position to be regarded as acceptable. Sorry WS, but that's how I see you: "whereas if you buy this..."

I find the pretence that they are primarily looking after the artistes' interests (as opposed to their own) abhorrent, and quite frankly would happily fiddle whilst most record companies burn.

The internet has been a revolutionary change in many fields; the music business needs to deal with the bigger issues.

I'm not defending piracy - though I also have a problem with that term - ,and I'm not naive enough to believe that I would have heard even a tenth of the music I did in the 70s without major business putting that art in front of me in physical form. But here's what I want to scream at the likes of Web Sheriff:
find a legitimate position in this new world first, and then if there is a policing job to be done, bloody well do it from the top down, however difficult that may be!

Somehow though, I expect this bullying or even criminalisation of individuals, from street level upwards (only as far as the first lawyer smart enough to stall you) will continue, and that depresses the hell out of me.

Music thrived for hundreds of years before little Nipper ever got his face stickered onto a piece of vinyl. How? By the enthusiastic spreading of a love for bands between friends. The only difference over those centuries is that we can now shout further to those friends. If you interfere with that, Web Sheriff, you cut off your own legs, and you will bleed to death where you lay while the world moves on past you.

So go ahead, continue to spy, I'm past caring, life's too short. Contribute occasionally, even, then at least you do us the courtesy of reminding us you are there. You never know, you might even be able to help us on a couple of thorny issues. But DON'T try to sell to us, don't patronise us, and most of all don't persecute us simply for wandering close to the blurred grey edges of what only you still see as a black & white border of legality.

Ach, now you see? You got me so cross, I'm still here when my alarm clock goes off in three hours!

Goodnight all, and yes WebSh, that means you too!

goneforeign said...

Thank you DD, you said it all more eloquently than I ever could.

CaroleBristol said...

Gosh, how wonderful to know that I am still entitled to hold my own views.

It interests me that this sanctimonious bullshit seems to ignore the fact that most music lovers are not "pirates" and sharing music actually spreads the work around.

Posting vids and tracks on a fan site like this isn't depriving anyone of any money. To suggest otherwise must require a severely warped world view.

As most people here know, I am a Deadhead. I have always admired the Dead ethos whereby they allowed fans to record their gigs and actually encouraged the bootleggers.

You can find thousands of hours of Dead music on the net - for free.

I would just like to point out to the Sherriff that I am not an illegal downloader, I buy CDs.

However, I see nothing wrong in people with less money than me sharing music. They aren't ripping anyone off. I rather doubt that they would buy the stuff they are sharing if that was the only alternative.

If the music industry actually cared about artists and music then maybe they should spend their money finding and promoting real talent, instead of the vile useless dross that they are wasting cash on at the moment.

I won't list out the usual suspects here but I know that other posters can fill the names in themselves.

WEB SHERIFF said...

WEB SHERIFF
Protecting Your Rights on the Internet
Tel 44-(0)208-323 8013
Fax 44-(0)208-323 8080
websheriff@websheriff.com
www.websheriff.com

Hi Blimpy - Morning !! ... .. interesting debate that you've started here, with some very erudite comments ... .. out of respect to everyone at Spill, we'll try and respond to these observations, queries and criticisms ... .. thanks for the novel approach to the photo, btw, beats Deputy Dawg !!

Hi Again Steenbeck - Thanks again for your comments ... .. and we don't disagree with you ... .. the difficult problem - from the perspective of many artists and labels - is where to draw the line of what is okay (especially pre-release) ... .. leaving material on one blog (ie. other than preview tracks of course) means that it spreads to many others and then to p2p and then to the Russian sites, where commercial piracy is institutionalised - and so on and so forth ... .. so it's not that there are any principled objections to blogs like The 'Spill' - far from it - it's rather a question of trying to deal with the wider isues / the bigger picture.

Hi Ejaydee & GoneForeign - Thanks for your contributions and sorry if we're unable to provide lengthy replies to every post.

Hi DD - A very eloquent contribution (especially at that time of night !!) ... .. we'd effectively repeat what we've said to Steenbeck above ... .. this is a very difficult isue and, hopefully, new 'business models' shall develop that allow blogger freedoms to happily co-exist with artist rights - which, in our view, they can already, provided that everyone takes a reasonable line on things (ie. Web Sheriff securing agreement from relevant labels to provide as many freebie / preview tracks as possible - within reason ! - and blogs, for their part, not hosting / linking to full albums before release) ... .. using your historical analogy, the difference between the 'good old days' and the 20th & 21st centuries is the advent of fully fledged copyright and, without (we hope) sounding 'sanctimonious', this is something that we're all stuck with (at least for the forseeable future !!).

Hi Carole - Thanks for your further comments and, again, we're simply carying out the wishes of the artist / management / label ... .. having invested their time, money and, above all, creative input into this new album, it's their call as to which tracks / formats are freebies and which are not (and that's hardly unreasonable or a 'commercialisation of the internet' - is it ??).

Once Again, Best to All,

WEB SHERIFF

CaroleBristol said...

Actually, WS, I do not agree with you on so many levels you simply wouldn't believe it.

At the very least I think you are being massively crass and heavy handed with a blog that is supported by Music Fans, i.e. the people that actually provide all that lovely money that record labels fritter away on useless rubbish like Sting, Phil Collins, James Blunt, Leona Lewis, Paolo Nutini and any number of other crap acts you care to mention.

WE are the people who, ultimately, are paying the salaries of everyone in the music biz, you included, and where would you all be if we voted with our wallets and simply stopped buying anything by artists who employed these heavy handed tactics against us?

And yes, organisations like yours are part of the commercialisation of the internet, but you clearly cannot see that.

I am not a fan of the Futureheads, they seem a bit derivative to my jaded old hippy/punk ears, but if I were I think I might reconsider if I'd be buying any of their stuff in the future.

You do realise that the kind of thing you are doing is massively counter productive?

Blimpy said...

@DsD -great post, lots of very well made points there.

There's a couple more points I would like to make:

1. Most of my interests in indie/alternative/noise music we started from a mix-tape that a friend's older brother made in 1991 (which contained Ride, Sonic Youth, Manics etc- bands who have had more than a fair few quid outta me over the last 17 years)

Similarly, to this day, I know many many occasions where I've fired over an mp3 to a pal and they've ended up buying the album/going to shows etc. Any mp3s they haven't liked have been binned and forgotten about -they certainly aren't a "loss of a sale" as the music industry would have you believe.

2. Where does the law stand if I've downloaded an mp3 from, say, an American band who don't have a UK record label?

I've certainly done this before, as there's no way of obtaining said music otherwise - or am I supposed to wait in the hope that they get signed over here?

This has also led me to pay to get records imported from the states (actually cheaper than you would imagine, if you go straight to the band's label)

3. No one has mentioned the fact that a lot of labels will deliberately leak the album in order to build up pre-release buzz. Cake and eat it??

I would also like to add that I am very pleased that Web Sheriff has chosen to continue the conversations, and kept things in good humour, even when faced with rick-rolling and pictures of the Sherrif of Nottingham (who famously shouted in the film: "Cancel Christmas!!!").

Anonymous said...

Off topic, but

1. Deputy Dawg - Synchronicity! Guess what video had me nostalgic during a shelf-clearing yesterday ...? "Dagnabit, Muskie!"

2. Alan Rickman's Sheriff of Nottingham - one of the great, great, pantomime baddies. Compare and contrast with Ken Branagh's godawful turn in Wild Wild West on the TV over the weekend.

3. OK I give up: what's rick-rolling?

DsD

Blimpy said...

DsD- click the "click here for some tasty downloads" link in the post, and you'll see!

Once you've done that, I'll explain!

Anonymous said...

And ON topic:

Thanks for the reply WebSh, and roll on the day when this all does settle down, but I don't have your faith that any of us will be happy with the result.

I meant to say in my original post that I'm firmly in the Blimpy/steenbeck school of thought over my relative contribution to music purchasing. As a direct result of being able to get access to all this wonderful stuff, that never gets played on any radio station I find time to listen to, I am THOUSANDS of pounds poorer financially, but exponentially happier in my soul. I'd be a wreck without music in my life.

I hear you Carole, but the vitriol too is counter-productive, as is any definitive statements on musical merit of artists, much as I also loathe Blunt & Lewis.
Given some of the threads/comments on your own blog, the thought of what you might to to our Sheriff if you ever get alone in a room with them is scaring me!!

;o}

In the meantime, I'll leave this debate with the (friendly: I simply have too much work to do) warning for Web Sheriff not to start me or Carole about copyright. I believe one of the biggest crimes the commercial world has ever committed on the artistic one is to allow copyright to belong to anyone except the artist, and I'm fairly sure that goes for Ms.Bristol too. But seriously, let's all make a dignified withdrawal at this point, shall we?

Til next time ...

DsD

glasshalfempty said...

Wow, the 'ol sheriff sure picked the wrong tribe of injuns to get riled. Like others, I've never spent so much per week on legit music, until I discovered this - and other - music blogs. I'd have more sympathy for the 'industry' and its tools like WS, if:
1. I heard them also campaigning to repeal the ridiculous technical offence I commit every time I rip a CD I have bought, and put the songs on my iPod
2. They allowed downloading songs I already own physically. I don't feel good at the fact that I've bought some records three times already, on vinyl, cassette & now CD. And most of my cassettes won't play properly anymore (were we told this would happen?) And we all live in fear of CD rot...
3. I'm with Blimpy on foreign stuff the majors can't be bothered to sell over here. For example, Lykke Li, a stellar Swedish talent singing in English, is signed to EMI, who have only released her in Sweden. Duh...
4. And why is the 'biz' campaigning for longer copyright on music - longer than any other form of intellectual property. No, it couldn't possibly be blind greed could it?
Frankly, I can't wait for the collapse of the majors, under the weight of their own myopic stupidity. Nothing would be better for genuine creatives and their fans, because new and more democratic channels will become mainstream. Already I'm heartened by the many direct selling initiatives, such as Lulu, that by pass the fat cats in the biz.
Now, sheriff, take a puff on this here peace pipe...

steenbeck said...

I'm sorry, I know we're supposed to drop it now, but one small point--I understand that a very complex debate has been begun, and as a filmmaker I'm painfully aware of production costs that would ideally be offset after the product was completed by enthusiastic fans. Well, ideally ... I'm not going to get into that. I just want to say that the video Blimpy linked to was posted on youTube by Big Life Management--I'm guessing the management of the Futureheads. Surely they posted it on youTube hoping as many people as possible would see it. If, for some reason, they didn't want that, it IS possible to disable the "post-to-blog" html over on youTube. Just so they know...

CaroleBristol said...

I will leave this now, because I don't want to poke the stick any further into the hornet's nest.

I do agree 100% about copyright, DsD.

Hope you enjoyed my blog too. I know some of it is rather rude and quite eye wateringly excruciating in places! ;-)

Let's hope the WS is a broad minded chap (or chapette!).

Anonymous said...

Cheers, all. Carole, keep an eye on your blog's visitor count: if the rate rises significantly above your average, I'd say you should go and buy some leather chaps for your new frontier buddies - they're gonna come a-callin' with their pu...er...posse!!

DsD

WEB SHERIFF said...

WEB SHERIFF
Protecting Your Rights on the Internet
Tel 44-(0)208-323 8013
Fax 44-(0)208-323 8080
websheriff@websheriff.com
www.websheriff.com

Hey Everyone,

Many thanks for all of the interesting / stimulating (and very valid) points ... .. we'd probably be debating here til the cows come home, so shall answer Blimby's queries, seeing as he's the one who 'started it' !!

"There's a couple more points I would like to make:" - REPLIES BELOW (IN CAPITALS) :

1. Most of my interests in indie/alternative/noise music we started from a mix-tape that a friend's older brother made in 1991 (which contained Ride, Sonic Youth, Manics etc- bands who have had more than a fair few quid outta me over the last 17 years)
Similarly, to this day, I know many many occasions where I've fired over an mp3 to a pal and they've ended up buying the album/going to shows etc. Any mp3s they haven't liked have been binned and forgotten about -they certainly aren't a "loss of a sale" as the music industry would have you believe. - GOOD POINT AND, AGAIN, WE THINK THAT A HEALTHY AND RESPECTFUL BALANCE (FOR BOTH BLOGGERS AND ARTISTS) IS FOR LABELS TO ROUTINELY PROVIDE MULTIPLE PREVIEW TRACKS, SO THAT EXISTING FANS AND POTENTIAL FANS ALIKE CAN SAMPLE, POST, HOST AND SWAP TRACKS ETC AS A WAY OF SPREADING THE WORD BUT WITHOUT UNDULY HARMING LEGITIMATE SALES (AGAIN, IF THE BALANCE IS RIGHT, THIS INCREASES SALES !!).

2. Where does the law stand if I've downloaded an mp3 from, say, an American band who don't have a UK record label?
I've certainly done this before, as there's no way of obtaining said music otherwise - or am I supposed to wait in the hope that they get signed over here?
This has also led me to pay to get records imported from the states (actually cheaper than you would imagine, if you go straight to the band's label). STRICTLY SPEAKING THE ONLY LEGAL MEANS WOULD BE IN BUYING AN IMPORT ALTHOUGH, IN THIS DAY-AND-AGE OF ON-LINE MP3 STORES (OFTEN VIA THE ARTIST'S OR LABEL'S SITE), YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO FIND A LEGITIMATE DOWNLOAD SOURCE ... .. FAILING THAT, MAILING THE LABEL OR THE BAND ... .. AGAIN THE 'PROBLEM' STEMS FROM THE FACT THAT THE MP3 IS PERMANENT, UNLIKE THE OLD DAYS, WHEN RADIO, BEING TRANSITORY - AS OPPOSED TO TRANSISTORY (SORRY,COULD RESIST THAT ONE !!) - WAS THE PRINCIPAL FORM OF PROMOTION AND DIDN'T CUT-ACROSS SALES ... .. UNLESS WE GET INTO HOME TAPING, BUT THAT'S A WHOLE, OTHER DEBATE !!

3. No one has mentioned the fact that a lot of labels will deliberately leak the album in order to build up pre-release buzz. Cake and eat it?? - SOME MAY DO BUT MOST DEFINITELY DON'T ... .. CERTAINLY A CASE OF LIVE-BY-THE-SWORD, DIE-BY-THE-SWORD.

I would also like to add that I am very pleased that Web Sheriff has chosen to continue the conversations, and kept things in good humour, even when faced with rick-rolling and pictures of the Sherrif of Nottingham (who famously shouted in the film: "Cancel Christmas!!!"). - WE DON'T WANT TO CANCEL XMAS, BUT MAYBE THE POSSE WILL RIDE OVER TO CAROLE'S FOR A SHOWDOWN ... .. THEN AGAIN, MAYBE NOT, AS SHE'D PROBABLY RIDE US OUT OF TOWN !!
:(

All The Best & Until We Meet Again,

WEB SHERIFF

Blimpy said...

So there we go, make of it all what you will, personally speaking I have found it interesting to get continued debate from the W.Shf, although lot of points have been skirted around somewhat, but at least their general position is clear.

To me, Web Sheriff is like the White Witch in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe - all smiles and offering Turkish Delight in one hand, but with a sword in the other, tucked away behind her back.

And to round off with a snippet from what DarceysDad said earlier:

"But DON'T try to sell to us, don't patronise us, and most of all don't persecute us simply for wandering close to the blurred grey edges of what only you still see as a black & white border of legality.

WEB SHERIFF said...

WEB SHERIFF
Protecting Your Rights on the Internet
Tel 44-(0)208-323 8013
Fax 44-(0)208-323 8080
websheriff@websheriff.com
www.websheriff.com

Hi Again Blimpy,

By way if P.S. - and for the avoidance of dout - we didn't ask anyone to remove the link to Big Life's clip on YouTube ... .. linking to the official vid is fine and all we did was literally thank 'Spillers' for plugging the band and their upcoming album ... .. so please feel free to link to the vid (and / or the preview tracks). :)

V.Best,

WEB SHERIFF

d33pf1x said...

Not exactly on topic, but still part of the subject of the entertainment industry and the evils of piracy: one thing that bugs me is having to sit through the preachy anti piracy stuff at the start of the DVD before I get to enjoy another holywood movie glamourising gangsters and organised crime.

Blimpy said...

It's so annoying - you've bought a dvd, but still have to sit there and be labelled a criminal in your own home, and you can't skip the bloody thing either.

whatever happened to innocent til proven guilty!!!

ejaydee said...

exactly! What's the point of putting it at the beginning of a DVD which is going to be legally bought, unless you swiped the physical item, but then you're just regular thieving.

Blimpy said...

Also what annoys me about those ads is that the "pirate" videos they show look awful; terrible picture and sound - whereas I've seen loadsa "pirate" stuff that's practically dvd quality. Get with the times, eh what?!

ejaydee said...

Just read your email GF, maybe it's best you didn't post it after all, although it could have been interesting to see if our usually civilised group would have turned into blood-thirsty oafish barbarians.

ejaydee said...

Just read your email GF, maybe it's best you didn't post it after all, although it could have been interesting to see if our usually civilised group would have turned into blood-thirsty oafish barbarians.

ejaydee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blimpy said...

@ejaydee and gf - I would like to see the email, please! Pretty please?!

treefrogdemon said...

I'm getting very confused about all this. Surely all that happened was that Blimpy embedded in his post a Futureheads video which had been posted on YouTube by the band's own management? Had they wanted to they could have stopped people embedding it - but they didn't. No doubt what they did want was for people to share it with their mates, which is exactly what Blimpy did.

What is Web Sheriff's beef with us?

Blimpos MacFlossauges said...

They're letting us know that they've got their eye on us, just incase we decide to post up illegal mp3s, or links to them, in the future.

cauliflower said...

@ I like a couple of Paolo Nutini's songs... nothing wrong with the boy ;-)

But I wouldn't have known anything about him had I not followed links, seen YouTube stuff, and would thus never have bought anything. WebSheriff - the music business needs a new business model.. you guys shoring up the old one when the tide's already come and gone just looks unfair and silly.