The Metal Minute Awarded 2009 Best Personal Blog By Metal Hammer Magazine

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Metal Minute Celebrates 100,000 Hits With a Threat of Infringement

Image courtesy of Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons

Normally I keep behind-the-scenes nonsense out of the public forum mostly out of professional respect for myself as well as the industry I serve, but this morning the gloves of courtesy must come off.

Without names or participants identified, The Metal Minute begins the day with a milestone 100,230 hits. Even at a scaled-back publication schedule, you readers have made this modest music site a monster success and I thank you as always for your support. For those of you I've neglected to respond to in email, I humbly apologize; my life is hardly my own these days. We will converse in due time.

Which leads me to an email received from a corporate entertainment attorney who issued The Metal Minute a cease and desist regarding a specific review conducted at the site, denoting copyright infringement as their platform for removal of the review.

At first I chuckled and shook my head. In a day and age where press of any sort for bands becomes key to survival in a deadly-fierce market that is already on the hair's edge of implosion due to format changeover and file hijacking, despite the potentially adverse effect of gaining an audience through piracy or otherwise legal audio feed, one would have to assume bands today could use all the help they can get from the press. In a modern music scene where there are very few megastars much less artists and bands who can muster 75,000-100,000 units sold, it is word-of-mouth and industry assistance that helps them survive.

Where my review of a particular album by an anonymous band should be constituted as copyright infringement, I really am at a loss. I've studied business law to certain degrees, but I'm no expert assuredly. What I would say is that I feel I've used my marketing degree in a way I don't always get to in my daily profession by writing up reviews and conducting interviews with bands and musicians who have been connected to me by record labels and publicists. In good faith, when I select an album to review (particularly one from an artist I respect and have identified demographically through my readership to be of public interest), I feel as if I am doing that artist and the label a service. Brand awareness and brand recognition, particularly in the infancy stage of a product life cycle is not only preferable, it's mandatory to the product's survival, much less its genesis.

I soon lost my sense of humor the longer I dwelled on this correspondence because I feel personally insulted that I should receive a notice of infringement pertaining to a standard album review. Perhaps this corporate huckster is offended by the inclusion of said review in an online format, but I feel it's a judgment call made by the limited space available to me (much less my peers) in the magazines, as well as through interaction with The Metal Minute's readership that this specific review was of particular interest to those reading this page.

What it boils down to is a matter of censorship, which is the prompt for my commentary here today. It would be justifiable from the position of this attorney if unauthorized streaming of the album existed here at The Metal Minute, however I've always taken a position in good faith to protect the investments of the artists and their record labels, thus only public domain and label-authorized videos have been featured here. When a state of confusion and gross overzealousness, however, leads to blatantly forced remotion of printed word, of course that is flirting with the constitutional rights our brothers and sisters overseas are spilling their blood in the name of.

What is freedom, but an overhyped trump card phrase utilized to rally people in the name of war, if its parameters are stretched to the point where an industry journalist faces threats in light of acting as reputably as possible to the representatives he or she serves?

Suffice it to say, The Metal Minute acts in the best interests of its readers in addition to the promotional efforts of the musicians and record labels who generously supply materials to sustain this venue. We all feed on each other, but when an intermediary steps in with Stalin-like mandates and edicts, then we might as well consider ourselves starved at that point.


pcsolotto said...

I agree with you about these. Well someday Ill create a blog to compete you! lolz.

DPTH International said...

Congrats on your 100,000 hits benchmark! and I'm sorry to hear about the infringement suit.

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

PC, by all means get started, my friend, it's a global society full of voices waiting to be heard!

Dpth, thanks, and there's no suit involved, and I'm happy to report that the label in question has backed me on this and it turns out the infringement was derived against a commenter here instead of my personal being...a regrettable situation, so in hindsight, this is perhaps a lot of bullhorning on my part, but I'll leave it stand and move on from it

dschalek said...

fucking bullshit

rene said...

Yes, totaly bullshit. Were are in 2008 and we can say what we like. Keep this blog alive and fuck that e-mail(not literaly of course hahaha)

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

hahaha, good one, Rene!

David Amulet said...

Seriously ... a commenter?!? How can they reasonably threaten legal action against any free speech of the kind I've seen here in response to your posts? Color me confused.

Sorry to hear about your stress over this.

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

no worries, David, the issue has basically been resolved and I'm washing my hands clean of this...suffice it to say the attorney in question was a bit steadfast in their actions and we have here a case of hasty miswording on their part...what's done is done

rene said...

Thanks and take care Ray.