Band and label president had no idea copyright trolls were suing on their behalf

The heavy metal band All Shall Perish and the president of their label, Nuclear Blast, were horrified to discover that a copyright troll called World Digital Rights had filed a suit against 180 music fans accused of sharing an ASP album online. The band and the label's president said that they had no knowledge a relationship with World Digital Rights and had not authorized the trolls to take legal action on their behalf. World Digital Rights is asking a Florida court to give it the names and addresses of 80 John Doe defendants. World Digital Rights, a Panama-based company, filed papers saying that the label signed over an "exclusive license" to the band's album "This is Where it Ends." They are seeking $150,000 from each of the fans named in the suit. More at TorrentFreak:

Downey, who told us that the band were totally blindsided by the revelations, describes this action against fans as “awful” and has promised to stay in touch with developments. Ideally these lawsuits will get withdrawn, not only for the sake of the Does but for the sake of the band. But if Nuclear Blast and World Digital Rights persist with this ridiculous project, All Shall Perish might have no choice but to personally intervene – their reputation could rely on it.

Copyright Troll Causes Chaos By Suing Fans Without Band’s Permission


  1. So why doesn’t the band just offer to represent each of the people sued if the trolls make it to court. I’m sure the Judge(s) of the case(s) will find it hilarious, and my hilarious I mean find in favor of the fans.

    1. because they don’t have a degree in law so they would end up breaking the law if they did that. It’s 2012 not the 1930’s if you try doing a doctor or a lawyers or any high paying job without the proper degrees you get jail time. You could represent yourself. But The artist aren’t the one’s on trial. The best they could do is give a written statement or testify which if it takes place in different courts it would be close to impossible. 

      1.  You do realize I meant the band should hire lawyers on their dime to do the representing, right?

  2. Is this for money? Or is this to make people more afraid? I always ask that question.

    It’s almost always about money.

    1. I assumed the same thing, and wondered, if the copyright trolls are doing this without the band’s knowledge were they planning to hand over any money they received if their lawsuit was successful?

      It could be very lucrative to file lawsuits on behalf of plaintiffs who don’t know about the suit and then pocket the money, even if it’s very likely there’s a law against that.

  3. Someone files a false document in court, and we get to wonder if the cases will go through, not how many years in prison the representatives of WDR have coming to them????? Something is not right here.

    1.  The linked article doesn’t claim that it’s a false court filing:

      According to the lawsuit, on March 12, 2012, Nuclear Blast signed over the rights to “This Is Where It Ends” to World Digital Rights, Inc., an act that made the Panama-based company the “exclusive licensee” of the album. Along with that came the right to sue and it seems the company are now making the most of that right.

      If that’s true, then they sold the rights to a copyright troll and now the troll is doing exactly what they paid the record label a chunk of change to be able to do.  If that’s the case, the record label is basically pulling a Captain Renault act on the band.

    2. I doubt if it’s as fake as it sounds. If there’s a question over whether the label would intervene, it could be that “no knowledge [presumably ‘of’] a relationship” and that they had not authorized the case leaves them an out, or at least points to the possibility of a relationship actually existing.

  4. Since the culprits are known to the court (due to their filing papers there), why doesn’t the court simply charge them with fraud and/or extortion…?

  5. The problem appears to be that the band do not own the copyright on their own songs.  And neither does their record label.

    Ethically, transferable copyright makes about as much sense as a chocolate bicycle.

    1. If artists are unable to sell their copyrights, how do you propose they should monetize their creations – how should they make a living, feed their families, provide for their heirs? I’m not sure they could get the same money from nonexclusive licenses, and in digital formats (audio, film, much of modern photography) it’s only the copyright than can commands significant sum, as any instance of the work is identical to potentially uncounted numbers of others. And if you don’t have transferable copyright, what happens if the artist dies immediately after completing the artwork? It must be transferable to their heirs, and it has value – they may have to pay taxes on it, and may have to sell some copyrights. Your whole notion of abolishing the sale of coprights seems a dangerous overreaction to genuine abuse.

      Even in analog photography, there was a story a week or three back in The New York Times about wealthy patrons of art-photography outraged and suing because although they had purchased expensive valuable limited-edition prints the photographer (who retained the copyright) was now producing a new edition of the same image, from the same negative (in a different size), potentially diluting the value of the collectors’ prints. I’m glad it was the artist benefiting in that case, but the logical consequence could be for patrons not to pay as much to buy art if they fear later dilution.

      1. Really?  I think your answer is buried in your own post.   “I’m not sure they could get the same money” “it has value” “purchased”.  Just because the artist is required to retain the copyright, does not mean he can’t sell the creation.

        If I make a recording and sell it, I can make money.  If I make a recording and sell the copyright, I probably can’t do that anymore.  So I think perhaps you have it backwards.

        1. (1) No. You could get a few bucks for selling a copy of the recording. You could potentially get big money from selling the copyright, or selling the only copy. Obviously, you don’t sell the rights for the price of a single copy – but just as obviously if you can’t sell the rights the most you can make from any sale is the price of a single copy. Yes, having sold the copyright you can’t sell it again; you have to make a good deal the first time, and not sell it cheap.

          (2) You don’t at all address the important question of what happens if the artist dies.

          Look: there’s lots of abuse of copyright, targeting consumers and targeting artists. Whole generations of artists – poor Black musicians especially – signed away their copyright for a pittance, or even for nothing at all (some of these practices were so abusive they didn’t hold up in court). Protections, regulations, and reform seem desirable. Perhaps we shouldn’t have completely transferable ownership – I can imagine for example nontransferable “silent partner” partial ownership remaining with the artist. But your absolutist rejection of transferable ownership causes problems and ignores some of the possible advantages of transferable ownership, and I think it would not be a good move.

          1. There is a case for having copyright transfer to the estate on death. There is a case for copyright expiring, too, which you surely must be aware of. The question is, what is the greater purpose to society of copyright? If it’s to encourage creativity, then you want shorter copyrights that cease on death.
            But all of this is just detail. My original point was that non-transferable copyrights would rule out a whole raft of unethical practices. It sounds as if you agree. Of course a real law would have to cover more corner cases.
            —– Original message —–

          2. The question is, what is the greater purpose to society of copyright? If it’s to encourage creativity, then you want shorter copyrights that cease on death. 

            This is not the case. Take my example of an artist dying soon after a work is created – better yet, an artist knowing they are soon to die, but wanting to provide for their heirs or their favorite cause. If the copyright dies with them, they can do nothing, and are indeed discouraged from investing their remaining time in creation. Even an artist in good health and receiving good money from their creative work would have to fear that a body of work that was providing them with a continuing and sufficient income would be immediately rendered commercially worthless and would not provide for their heirs in case of calamity. Sure, they could buy life insurance, but why should they have to buy insurance just because they’re an artist, when a similarly strenuous and similarly compensated accumulation or creation of conventional assets would have an enduring value?

            Yes, copyrights should expire. I’d be perfectly happy with x years or y years after the death of the artist, whichever is greater (or indeed whichever is less) for a reasonable x and y. Our current system, in which terms are absurdly long and are extended as necessary to protect Disney, is not right. But I still don’t like your prescription.

            Also, speaking of Disney, what about corporately created art, work-for-hire, and the like? Surely there are cases like that where the copyright rightly belongs with a nonhuman entity, potentially engaged in an undertaking of vast scale like a $37 million movie production, that’s not an artist nor a readily comprehensible collection of artists, but has created an artistic (or “artistic”) work worthy of protection and ripe for commercial exploitation. Twilight may by all accounts be a truly dreadful film, but surely Summit Entertainment has paid for and deserves the copyright?

    2. I could be about to make a hash of this, and if I do please somebody correct me, but as I understand it there is copyright and then there is moral right. It some jurisdictions there is little to no difference between the two — like, I suppose, the US — while at the other extreme you have places where copyright is transferable but moral right is not. As I understand it, in the latter case, the copyright holder earns the money while the moral right holder makes the decisions about who gets to do what with the copyright.

      In a case like this one, if you have non-transferable moral right, then the band holds the moral right no matter who gets the copyright. Then even if a troll buys up the copyright and tries to sue, the band can say, “Nope, we allow our fans to torrent our songs,” and the copyright holder no longer has the right to make money by suing the downloaders.

      But as I said, I might have just made a big hash of that….

  6. As with nearly ALL copyright troll cases in the US currently, next to none of the accused will ever see the inside of a courtroom. 
    Infact if you try to get your day in court, they will dismiss you from the case.
    All of these IP address captures are done with questionable tech, a fact they do not want shown in court.
    They will tell you your on the hook for $150,000 and your name will be ruined.  But for this small settlement (less than getting legal representation for yourself would cost) no one will ever need know.
    You have USCG doing this for films by Uwe Bolle (google it) and Voltage Pictures (The Hurt Locker). 
    You have Marc Randazza, champion of free speech rights, suing over the gay porn classic “Down on the Farm”.  (But its ok if they out kids to their parents, an “expert” told him they wouldn’t hurt themselves.) 
    John Steele, divorce lawyer, representing some porn studios… should it matter that the copyright registration is fraudulent?  They recut a movie and got a new copyright on it skipping over the rules requiring it to be listed differently.
    A lawyer in Louisiana suing on behalf of a Seychelles business for a porn that is on file sharing networks, a porn that no one can actually find for sale at retail.

    They all use scare tactics, they threaten to ruin your good name, they threaten to talk to your neighbors about the gay porn you allegedly downloaded.  (Stay Classy Marc.)  They send scary letters, make creepy phonecalls all in a hope you will say something that they can leverage into an admission.  Randazza demands $10,ooo if your router is open or has less than perfect security, sadly for him a Judge in Hawaii dismissed that from a lawsuit filed there.  Have roommates and blame it on them?  No problem they will seek settlements from both of you.

    This is dirty pool at its finest, this is why people hate lawyers.

    If you want to learn more…   
    Run by Sophisticated Jane Done.  A former target in one of these shakedowns who was innocent and fought back.
    Run by DieTrollDie.  Another target who is working on exposing the seedy side of these cases.  How the rules are being bent to make some lawyers rich.

    Over 250,000 “Does” (and counting) have been targeted in the US with this shakedown.

    If your still not sure how scammy it is…  Look at the sad case of Evan Stone.  Loud defender of these poor companies against the evil evil pirates stealing money from them.  Violating court orders, violating basic requirements of lawyers, and filing to late appeals against charges against him breaking the law.

    1. (insert joke here about people taking on risk to see a Uwe Boll film …)

      Jokes aside, you are of course correct about the trolls.

      1. Its the only way his films make money, suing people dumb enough to maybe have downloaded them.

    2.  Ohai TAC, thanks for the shout-out. Will save your comment for posterity. I like when you allow your blood boil just a little bit :)

      1.  OHAI SJD!
        I wish sometimes I could just write a letter to every Judge in these cases.  I’d do my best to behave, but very clearly layout that this is just them getting the names of several thousand people for a $350 filing fee that will never see the inside of a courtroom to defend themselves against these allegations.
        That the supersecret tech being used to capture IP addresses is the same tech that identified a laser printer as sharing files on P2P networks… (The Matrix… maybe it was sharing it frame by frame?)
        That Steele & Co. have filed around 118 cases, and served 0 Does.
        That this is a pure and simple extortion game being played using the courts to get names to shakedown.
        That a letter signed by an expert who is getting a cut of settlements shouldn’t be considered as unbiased, and having to prove the tech before turning peoples lives upside down should be a requirement.

  7. When contacted, a spokesperson for World Digital Rights said, “Hey, remember, there’s only one letter of difference between ‘awful’ and ‘lawful’.”  The president of World Digital Rights was surprised by this statement, saying that he had no knowledge of a relationship between WDR and this spokesperson. Saint Thomas More, patron saint of lawyers, was heard to chuckle, “NOW all shall perish.”

  8. This post really is terrible selective quoting from the article, resulting in predictable comments from readers who assume the post reflects even an initial impression of the whole story. As has been referenced repeatedly in the comments, the article you link goes on to say that the band and the label, supposedly so upset over this development, made money by licensing the album to these copyright trolls, who proceeded to do what copyright trolls do. I’d not be surprised if the band was unaware, but if the head of the record label didn’t know he should either fire the person who made the deal, or resign as an incompetent. And while everyone should call copyright trolls nasty names on general principle, the band and especially their record label should be apologizing for their own action, not proclaiming their innocence and denouncing the trolls they got into bed with.

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