Update, 3:08 p.m.: Ms. Osegueda tells us by e-mail that “Warner Bros. confirms that the song is covered by a blanket license and no sync license is necessary.” Put another way — there is no basis for Circle Song Music LLC’s claim. Expect Womanowar’s video to be back up on YouTube soon!
I have never been able to fathom why bands sometimes make life difficult for tribute bands. You’d think they’d be flattered and recognize, via the use of the word “tribute,” that these projects a) really look up to them and b) in no way pose a competitive threat. And yet, from time to time, we get a story like this one:
Circle Song Music LLC — which is owned by Manowar’s Joey DeMaio — recently issued a YouTube takedown notice (below) to Womanowar, the self-proclaimed “feminist Manowar tribute band” featuring three-fourths of the group A Sound of Thunder (including vocalist Nina Osegueda, who performs in Womanowar as ‘Erica Madams’). The group — or at least DeMaio — apparently did not approve of Womanowar’s cover of the song “Manowar” itself. Whether this is because DeMaio and company fancy themselves the manliest metal band ever to bare their chest hair and they object to a woman reinterpreting their music, or just because they’re d-bags in general, is not currently clear.
It’s worth noting that there are services which constantly scrub YouTube for instances of possible infringement, so there is a chance that DeMaio isn’t actively aware of this takedown notice. This could even be a Metallica-esque case of an “overzealous attorney” acting on his own without consulting the band.
That being said, I have a hard time believing DeMaio knows how to use a smart phone, let alone that he can hire someone to monitor this stuff on Manowar’s behalf. This seems especially unlikely given that Manowar don’t actually own the publishing on “Manowar” — which isn’t uncommon, plenty of bands don’t own their publishing — but it does call into question whether or not they even have the legal right to issue this takedown. I’m not sure any such service hired by the band would even track potential infringement on a song for which they don’t own the publishing.
In any case, it doesn’t seem like such a stretch that DeMaio is sitting in his ‘office’ (read: the childhood bedroom in which he still resides) and taking care of this kind of shit himself. Given that Manowar are set to break up at the end of this year, he will soon have much more time to monitor these kinds of things. Tribute bands across the globe could potentially be costing him pennies in licensing and royalty commissions. PENNIES! You can’t just let that shit slide. The work of two or three hundred tribute bands can add up to real money eventually.