Fan sites in trouble with the law

Two stories this week about fan sites being sued. The first seems fairly clear cut. Fans who have been running an ABBA site in Australia for several years are being sued for selling ABBA bootlegs through their fan site. The argument of the guys running the site has its merits from a fan’s point of view:

Mr Read and Mr Whittingham deny distributes “pirated” music. There has been no suggestion that Abbamail has sold pirated versions of “official” commercial recordings.

“I’m sure that’s the view of most record companies, but the problem is that the kind of stuff that we’re selling is the stuff that they’ve refused to sell,” Mr Read said.

“Over the last 10-15 years Universal have just released the same kind of crap over and over and over again – Greatest Hits, Forever Gold, the Definitive Collection.”

Mr Read said Abbamail was trying to make available rare material that “hardcore” fans would willingly buy from Universal, if it was offered for sale.

They also claim on their site that their products are purchased by fans who have bought the official releases, that the site encourages rather than harming the sales of those releases, and that Universal Music itself has acknowledged their contribution to Abba’s enduring popularity. Ok. I can go along with all of that, but I have to go with the industry here:

“…these guys, no matter how fanatical they are about ABBA and the fan club, which I completely appreciate and understand, it still does not mean you can be selling pirate CDs or DVDs, in this case for commercial gain.”

On the other hand, I’d probably have a little trouble making this concession myself:

MIPI would consider the matter closed once all the bootleg recordings were removed, but only if Mr Read handed over his personal collection – which he has refused to do.

Meanwhile, in Ireland a webboard is being sued because of alleged defamatory statements made by its users:

MCD, Ireland’s biggest concert promoter, has discovered that controlling the internet is a lot harder than controlling live music events — and that’s tough enough. Just weeks after it tackled a website for publishing a comment criticising its Oxegen festival, another has been set up that will provide disgruntled fans with a dedicated forum for their grievances.MCD is taking legal action against the site for allegedly hosting a defamatory statement about Oxegen. The discussion forum was targeted by the Denis Desmond-owned music promotions company, after festival goers used it to complain about tent-burning and fighting at the festival in Kildare last month.

The article points out that:

Irish law covering defamation on the internet has not been tested in the courts. It is unclear if website owners can be held responsible for comments posted on their site by others. A source in MCD said it believed websites should be held as responsible as a newspaper.

If we’re gonna get all lawsuit happy, maybe the people running the James Bond franchise should think about suing this evil operation run by James Bond fans:

New James Bond reads Internet, discovers fans ‘hate me’
Associated Press

NEW YORK — Daniel Craig, the new James Bond, wants critics to give him a chance.

“If I went onto the Internet and started looking at what some people were saying about me — which, sadly, I have done — it would drive me insane,” the British actor says in an interview in Entertainment Weekly magazine, on newsstands Friday.

“They hate me. They don’t think I’m right for the role. It’s as simple as that. They’re passionate about it, which I understand, but I do wish they’d reserve judgment.”

A group of James Bond fans have launched a Web site,, to protest Craig replacing Pierce Brosnan in the 007 film franchise, and to boycott Casino Royale, slated for release Nov. 17.

I just don’t get the part about loving Pierce Brosnan in that role. But then, I liked Roger Moore as Bond so who am I to judge?

UPDATE: So much for irony, no longer seems to exist. If anyone knows the backstory on that one, please tell.

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