At 05:52 AM 1/23/00 -0800, you wrote:
>The ECC situation is ridiculous. I wrote the following reply of support if
>you care to forward it to him. (I have not.)
I just wanted to drop you a line to give you a specific thanks for
your writings... I did forward your complete message along with my own to
Atty. Kryle with, predictably, no relevant response. I also excerpted parts
of it to use in our press release (below) and had it originally credited to
you, though Mark H. suggested I just credit it to Negativland in general to
avoid confusion. I've updated the web site with info about the whole thing;
the general web traveller gets to see:
...but feel free to look through the press-only site too:
Eerie Materials has gotten written threat of legal action now (not
just in email), though I haven't, so I'm going to continue selling and
promoting the song until they tell me to stop...which probably won't be too
long from now, since people have already started writing to CBS in support
Thanks again... be seeing you...
- Mark G.
The Evolution Control Committee (Contact: Mark Gunderson)
voice: 614-268-6859 / 614-262-0654
Eerie Materials (Contact: Mark Seilhamer)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27th, 2000
CBS THREATENS EERIE & ECC -- "STOP SAMPLING OR WE SUE!"
San Francisco-based music label Eerie Materials and Columbus, Ohio-based
musical group The Evolution Control Committee have received a threat of
legal action by CBS
Corporation over "Rocked By Rape", a musical critique and parody of
violence in network
television news, featuring samples of CBS Evening News anchorman Dan Rather.
The song "Rocked By Rape" was formerly available only as a 7" single vinyl
record. The lyrics
(including the title) are an audio collage of violent words and phrases
spoken by Dan Rather on
the CBS Evening News. This collage is mixed with a bed of music samples
from AC/DC's song
"Back In Black".
Eerie Materials and The Evolution Control Committee must cease all
distribution of the record or
face "appropriate action", according to Sanford I. Kryle, Associate General
Counsel for CBS. In a
January 19th 2000 communication to Eerie Materials Kryle warned, "Your use
of (Dan Rather's
voice) significantly infringes upon the copyrights owned by CBS."
"Frankly, I am outraged," wrote ECC's Mark Gunderson in a strongly worded
copyright law itself allows for people to make "fair use" of copyrighted
materials for purposes of
parody. `Rocked By Rape' is nothing if not parody."
"The title itself, `Rocked By Rape', is not the result of some clever
editing trick on our part but was
actually spoken by Rather during one broadcast," Gunderson explains. "While
the context of that
phrase and others we included in our piece may differ from the original, we
feel that these `shock
phrases' are often all that remain in a viewer's mind after each broadcast.
Our critique -- our
parody -- makes this point plainly."
Although Eerie Materials and The ECC would like to defend their rights in
court, both admit they
haven't the resources to pursue it. Larger corporations frequently escape
potential court losses
and the resulting negative publicity by prolonging pre-trial preparations.
The battle then becomes
a war of attrition, fought with mounting legal fees -- a burden which
organizations cannot bear.
"I was under the impression that the mainstream media considered vinyl to
be a dead format,"
states Eerie Materials' Mark Seilhamer. "When a corporate giant such as
CBS goes to the trouble
to have their legal flunkies make threats of litigation over a 7" vinyl
single pressed in miniscule
quantities, you know it's simply bullying for bullying's sake."
Although The ECC sampled Dan Rather's voice and the theme music to the CBS
doing so is legal for use in a parody. In a 1993 US Supreme Court case the
rap group 2 Live Crew
successfully defended their right to sample Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman"
without permission for
their parody of his song. However, Kryle claims that "to copy, record,
perform, exhibit, exploit, or
otherwise use (Rather's words) constitutes a serious infringement of CBS's
exclusive rights in
Commenting on the legal threat against The Evolution Control Committee,
Negativland, a musical
group who appeared in court multiple times to defend their legal rights as
musicians, writes, "Such a usage as is found in `Rocked By Rape' is clearly
an example of Fair
Use as allowed by copyright law. This is art as parody, and as social
`commentary and criticism,'
and is precisely why copyright ownership is not an `exclusive' right."
"The most surprising phrase in all of copyright law is where it says that
the laws are intended to
encourage new work to be created," Negativland writes. "Nowhere does it say
that they can or
should be used to censor and inhibit new work."
What can you do to help? A polite email, phone call, or letter to CBS in
support of The ECC and
Eerie Materials can make a difference. Tell CBS to drop their legal
threats. Concerned readers
are encouraged to express their opinions to:
Mr. Sanford Kryle
CBS Legal Department
CBS Evening News
CBS Public Relations
CBS Evening News with Dan Rather
524 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System)
51 W. 52 St.
New York, NY 10019
The Evolution Control Committee is an experimental multimedia band with a
13 year history of
audio collage and sonic exploration. Previous releases have received
positive reviews in Spin,
The CMJ (College Music Journal), Magnet, and other national press. The ECC
their own label, Evolution Controlled Creations, with a CD compilation
entitled "Party Like It's Only
Eerie Materials is an independent San Francisco based record label
specializing in music that
defies categorization in the industry's prescribed genres. Since 1991
Eerie Materials has released
records for a diverse array of bands including The Evolution Control
Committee, Man or
Astroman?, Kingdom Scum, Negativland, and Caroliner Rainbow Hernia Milkqueen.
The Evolution Control Committee
P.O. Box 10391
Columbus, OH 43201
voice: 614-268-6859 / 614-262-0654
web: http://evolution-control.com ("Rocked By Rape" can be heard at
this web site)
Press web page: http://evolution-control.com/press
P.O. Box 420816
San Francisco, CA 94142-0816
-- eccATpobox.com The Evolution Control Committee >>> WWWeb: http://evolution-control.com (newly redecorated!) <<< _____________________________________________________________________ | | CBS THREATENS EERIE & ECC: "STOP SAMPLING OR WE SUE!" | "Rocked By Rape" in danger of extinction! Check our web site for more! | | Brand new comp CD!! Hear samples from PARTY LIKE IT'S ONLY $19.99: | http://evolution-control.com/1999 | | Leave a STRANGE SOUND for The ECC to use! Just call toll-free and | put it on our voicemail: Dial 1-UP-RAGE-REPAY (aka 1-877-243-7372) | | Tune in the ele_mental Shoutcast featuring DJ Pantshead of the ECC! | Open WinAmp to: >>> 18.104.22.168:8000 <<< 24 hours a day |_____________________________________________________________________
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