CASE AGAINST ALL SHALL PERISH DOWNLOADERS DROPPED AT BAND’S REQUEST; NUCLEAR BLAST COMMENTS
In April, World Digital, a Panamanian company that licenses All Shall Perish’s songs, filed a federal lawsuit against a eighty fans who illegally downloaded ASP’s most recent release, last year’s This is Where it Ends — despite protests from the band. Now, according to a new statement from ASP’s label, Nuclear Blast, the case is being dropped — although such cases will be pursued.
Here’s Nuclear Blast’s statement in its entirety:
“Nuclear Blast and SKP Enforcement UG, who are experienced in tracking illegal downloads and the file sharing of music, recently decided to cooperate with World Digital Rights to fight against file sharing piracy in the USA. In the United States, the providers are obligated by law to hand out the IP addresses of the computers from which the downloads / file shares were generated. By collecting this information these companies are also acting in the interest of our artists, which is essential to the future of both our bands and the label.
“To be able to recoup the investments both parties have made, is crucial in order to produce new music and to survive in this business. Nuclear Blast, SKP Enforcement, and World Digital Rights want people to be aware that the peer-to-peer file sharing is illegal and hurts the bands and record companies they love.
“That said, Nuclear Blast also respects bands such as ALL SHALL PERISH that do not wish to pursue file sharers. ALL SHALL PERISH was not consulted about this course of action and did not wish to participate in it whatsoever. When they learned about it, they immediately asked us to cease all legal action against their fans, file traders or otherwise, as soon as they learned this action had been taken in their name. Therefore Nuclear Blast and World Digital Rights decided recently to stop legal actions against the file sharing with songs from the band ALL SHALL PERISH.
“In all other cases, the parties involved pursue those violating copyright laws to avoid the financial loss they incur and to protect the value of their copyrights.
“Nuclear Blast counts on the loyal fans which have been supporting the label and our bands for over 20 years now. Every sale helps support metal and the people that work hard to bring metal to the masses. For those that continue to buy music legally, that is something every loyal fan can be proud of.”
What’s interesting about this is that when the story first broke, All Shall Perish’s manager, Ryan Downey from Artery Foundation, told Metal Insider that ”When I called our US label manager… he was with the label president and they were both surprised and had no idea about [World Digital Rights].” So obviously there’s some discrepancy, although the true source of that discrepancy remains unknown — this statement does make it sound like Nuclear Blast were acting 100% independently of All Shall Perish, and did not consult the band before enlisting the aid of World Digital Rights in whatever capacity.
What’s also interesting about this is what it means for Nuclear Blast and their artists. The label is obviously well within their rights to take action against illegal downloaders — but that doesn’t mean they may not suffer a backlash from consumers who seeing lawsuits against fans as a serious betrayal, pretty much no matter what the context (ask Lars Ulrich how battling Napster worked out for him). And now that the label has said that they “respect bands… that do not wish to pursue file sharers,” that backlash might extend to artists signed to NB — because there is going to be perception that they can stop any further lawsuits simply by picking up the phone and telling Nuclear Blast they’re not into it. In other words, the bands themselves will have to take responsibility if no one calls off the dogs.
And there’s the issue of how other labels will respond to consider, too! If this course of action proves successful for Nuclear Blast, well, I imagine we’ll see other extreme music labels follow suit (no pun intended) in no time.
So even though this conflict seems to be over for All Shall Perish and their fans, I’m not sure that these events won’t continue to have a large impact on the metal community. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.