Re: [rumori] Wow! My first cease & desist!

The Evolution Control Committee (
Sun, 30 Jan 2000 23:15:53 -0500

At 07:44 PM 1/30/00 -0500, you wrote:

> 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:

     FARG. One of these days I'll learn to watch my replies to postings
from Rumori. Sigh...

     I was going to write a list-wide communication later to letchall know
where things are, but I guess I might as well write it now:

     Eerie Materials has actually received a written version of the email
threat they received, so things on their end are final -- they're no longer
selling it. However, The ECC has not received a warning either by email or
writing -- we're just seen the ones addressed to Eerie. So, we're presuming
that we can continue selling the single. I'm sure CBS will "correct" us
soon enough on that point though, especially once people start writing into
them (which they already have... thank you for those who've done so).

     Our web site is now totally done over since about a week ago and has a
nice big section about the CBS threats, put up around 1/28/00. I just
updated it today and toned down some confrontational phrases in it,
presuming that CBS will probably be reading it bright and early Monday
morning (tomorrow). On our pages, we are offering "full previews of the
single in MP3" -- i.e., the full contents of it in MP3, as well as a "Dan
'n' Bass" mix called "Rocked By Rave" that was going to go on the next
full-length CD. We encourage everyone to spread 'em far and wide.

     We have written a press release about the whole thing which I believe
will be going out within the next week, hopefully quite soon. In it we
encourage people to write and call CBS to tell them what they think. If
you're that kind of person, check below for the full release with
addresses/phone number/email addresses. You may spread this press release
to some extent, but since it has phone numbers to contact us I'd rather
that it mainly goes to media types. The press release and related materials
(correspondence with CBS, etc.) can be seen at our press-only page:

     If you're not press-worthy but want to get in on the fun, tune into
the public page at:

     Lastly, we just sent out a mass email (The Evolution Controlled
Creations Journal 01.2000) to everyone on our emailing list. If you didn't
get one, you're not on it. Wanna be? Write back to me (DON'T HIT REPLY
<grin>) and ask to be added, or fill out the web form at:

     Thank you!

- Mark G.


The Evolution Control Committee (Contact: Mark Gunderson)
voice: 614-268-6859 / 614-262-0654
fax: 614-268-6859

Eerie Materials (Contact: Mark Seilhamer)
voice: 415-441-2438
fax: 415-673-2522

January 27th, 2000


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
reaction. "The
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
cash-strapped smaller
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
Evening News,
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
such material."

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
         phone: 212-975-4601

         Dan Rather
         CBS Evening News
         phone: 212-975-3691

         Kim Akhtar
         CBS Public Relations
         phone: 212-975-4296

         CBS Evening News with Dan Rather
         524 West 57th Street
         New York, NY 10019
         phone: 212-975-3247

         CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System)
         51 W. 52 St.
         New York, NY 10019
         phone: 212-975-4321

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
recently launched
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
fax: 614-268-6859
web: ("Rocked By Rape" can be heard at
this web site)
Press web page:

Eerie Materials
P.O. Box 420816
San Francisco, CA 94142-0816
voice: 415-441-2438
fax: 415-673-2522

--                                      The Evolution Control 
    >>> WWWeb:    (newly redecorated!) <<<
     |  "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:
     | 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:    >>>  <<<      24 hours a day

---------------------------------------------------- Rumori, the Discussion List to unsubscribe, send mail to with "unsubscribe rumori" in the message body. ---------------------------------------------------- Rumori list archives & other information are at ----------------------------------------------------

Home | Detrivores | Rhizome | Archive | Projects | Contact | Help | Text Index

[an error occurred while processing this directive] N© Sharerights extended to all.