A band I work with is two weeks away from their release date. They've worked tirelessly to prepare for this release, hired an excellent publicist, shot videos, toured....they've done it all right and without fatigue. That record is the most valuable thing these people own. At this moment their careers are built around that record. There is a lovely buzz going on with the band, and many people are very excited to get the record - good old-fashioned buzz.

The band came to me in distress saying the album had been pirated by the website Plixid. This was a straight-up, unabashed, pre-release leak and theft of the band's most dear property. Presumedly a publicity copy of the record found its way into the hands of someone who was willing to leak it to Plixid.

We wrote a cease-and-desist letter and the letter worked. I am copying that letter here for anyone's use, and I encourage you all to make an effort to help advocacy and activism win the war against music pirates.

Plixid's email form: http://plixid.com/contact/

The letter that worked: "I am with the record label ___________ who is the copyright holder of the album _______ by ________. We need to either see that your free download of this album is removed from your website withing 24 hours (by 5pm EST Month Day, Year) or we will have to take legal action against you. Please email me with confirmation of the removal of this copyrighted material immediately."

I am convinced that the only way to win this same old war - the war that laws and lawsuits and all the other attempts have failed to end - is ultimately only gonig to change through advocacy and activism.


Tape Op is a free magazine exclusively devoted to
the art of record making.

Mon, Jul 6, 2015 - 2:55PM
Add your two cents to the discussion below:
Wed, Sep 26, 2012 - 2:19PM
Nathan G. said about this:


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 - 9:41PM
Mark said about this:

Typo. You can delete this post.

Mon, Oct 1, 2012 - 1:09AM
eso meta said about this:

While I sympathize with the band, it's their (or their labels') own fault for thinking you can send around promo copies before the release date and not expect it to get leaked. Sure, it's common practice to do this, but it is absolutely unnecessary. Just send out samples or watermarked versions. Piracy is not going to go away unless seriously draconian and totalitarian methods are put in to place to restrict the openness of the internet. This has far more overreaching consequences than those of us in the music community. I, for one, do not think that last bastion of free speech should be taken away because of kids downloading music. I would sooner stop making money off of music and find another way to pay the bills than to live in that world.

I see piracy as a way of culling the herd. If music is no longer as profitable as the corporate-major label model was (to those that didn't get screwed by it), than those that are left making music are the ones that are genuinely sincere about it.

Mon, Oct 1, 2012 - 6:05PM
Jason said about this:

It's not the labels fault for releasing promo copies, It the fault of a moron who has decided that the property of someone else is worth nothing. and the fault of a company who profits from giving away the rights of others.
That person has taken it upon themselves to decide on behalf of a band/ artist that they don't deserve to own or have any control of what they created.

I see that it works like this:
the band owns copyright, they paid good money to create and make a product or at the very least the right to control how that product is handled.
by handles and controlled i mean that maybe they don't want a fucking car add displayed before there song appears on you tube or maybe they don't want to be associated with some insurance company promo spot. if they do decide that they want to profit don't they deserve to be making the money from that association? and not someone like Google?

Someone/companies have simply taken the product or art that someone else has worked hard to create and decided to just give it away, with no consultation of what the original creator intended.
That persons rights have been stripped from them.

They only people who win/ profit in the current climate of "freedom" are large companies who specialize in giving away someone else's property.
Then people defend these companies as if defending free speech. C'mon? Really?

No one is taking the right to use the name "google" in any manner they see fit so why should companies be allowed to do it to the little guy?

I would also like to know how protecting an artists property/ copyright is going to destroy free speech?

And finally, artists have ALWAYS had the right to give their art away for free so don't try on the whole "art should be free" argument as it is redundant.
what you are suggesting is that strip away the artists right to choose.

Tue, Oct 2, 2012 - 1:05PM
John said about this:

Just a thought. The Grateful Dead encouraged bootlegging their stuff, and made millions on touring and merchandise.

For an unknown band, this may help them get heard. Sure, they aren't selling their album to the people who download it for free, but these probably wouldn't have bought it anyway.

Now, those same people may buy tickets to their show, the t-shirts, and maybe a bumper sticker. Who knows, they may even spring for a collectors cup and golf visor. Just saying, maybe their album getting released early might help spread the word.

Tue, Oct 2, 2012 - 1:16PM
eso meta said about this:

I think you are fundamentally missing my point, which is there is far more at stake than the music industry. Just because we are musicians, doesn't mean we aren't also part of society. Everyone should be concerned about what's going on in the world at large.

It is well known that the vast majority of media outlets are owned by a small handful of companies. This is true for many other fundamental aspects of life, such as the food industry. The running theme of our times is the amount of control corporations have over people. All major news outlets are essentially going to serve in their interests. The internet is really the only place where independent news has a shot. How does this relate to music? The debate over SOPA, PIPA & ACTA is a good place to start. While it is claimed that these laws are intended to tackle piracy, this is just an excuse. The result of these laws would just allow more corporate control over the internet and prioritize their data of those that have more money that others. This would result in an already poorly informed population to be even worse off. This is not just my opinion. Many scholars and academics with far more credentials than I have argued this.

In an ideal and sane world we would be able to eliminate intellectual property theft without destroying independent media. Unfortunately, we have to deal with reality. Torrents are simply impossible to squash without resorting to drastic measures. And if you think that corporations or governments can be given than power without abusing it, than I have a bridge to sell you...

It is absolutely untrue that the only people that profit are large companies. There are countless numbers of independent artists out there have profited far more with the help of the internet than they would have without it (I count myself as one of them). There are countless numbers of artists out there whose careers were built off of the exposure they got from the internet. I know tons of artists that are selling music all over the world to people that would never have heard of them if it wasn't for the internet. For many, many artists piracy is not a problem. The resurgence of vinyl is one indicator of this. There are plenty of people out there that still value good music and will spend their hard earned cash on it.

I don't think I ever said art should or should not be free. There are plenty of artists and musicians out there that are successfully making money off of their music. These artists are smart about how they spend their money, and make music that their fans value enough to spend money on. Almost all of these artist are not on major labels that spent lots of money pushing them. To me, this is a good thing.

Thu, Oct 4, 2012 - 12:20PM
no said about this:

"There are countless numbers of independent artists out there have profited far more with the help of the internet than they would have without it (I count myself as one of them)."

How would you know this? Were you failing and then the internet came around and you started profiting?

Unless you were actively making music in the early 90s before the popularization of the internet as we know it, and then saw a great surge due to the internet, you're just blowing smoke.

As for anecdotes: I know far more people who's economy was worsened due to the internet than those who are thriving due to it. The immediacy of media on the internet and accessibility has diminished the show-supporting, tour-supporting and music purchasing community. The internet makes up for it by giving you access to far more anonymous people as an offset.

The problem there is that this community of ghosts doesn't create a thriving "scene" for musicians. It creates a monolithic community of artists pseudo-supporting artists via a pyramid scheme folding on itself slowly.

You're frankly insane if you think more people are going to concerts today than 10 or 20 years ago, and since that's where artists make the most of their profit via exhibiting their talents and art, I'd say the internet has explicitly allowed those who don't need to thrive on communities to thrive.

Someone saying the net has allowed their band to flourish is explicitly speaking about access to an anonymous, non-communal marketplace that only major labels had access to before. The difference is when you scrape together funds for your 7 inch, noone goes to the show because noone goes to shows.

And your "many" and "tons" rhetoric is just that, rhetoric.

The truth of exposure these days is that the measurement systems of success and recognizability are even more vapid than they used to be. Klout and various social media ranking / scores / popularity is reduced to a number on a website. This is at complete odds with a space for NON-COMMERCIAL music, which has all but dried up in the world for the current crop of fame-before-content nonsense plaguing the vast majority of output.

Thu, Oct 4, 2012 - 12:21PM
no part 2 said about this:

All that said, I don't disagree that for the anonymous artist you get potentially more exposure via the world-database that is google than ever before. If you were commercially minded, you have plugins, apps, uploads, digicards, all sorts of ways to flex your capitalist chops. you have digital cameras that make studio quality shots and youtube vids on how to look cool in them. you have a level of recording, distro, and production quality that was unfathomable even a few years ago.

Where we disagree is that this adds up to a "good thing" in terms of what it does for/to music. On my end, where before you could use a few outlets consistently to find the tip of the iceberg, its now in everyone's best interests to have a content dump of the entire iceberg all the time. SNR has gone awry...

essentially, it isn't special anymore, which was a powerful illusion years ago. Could be my age, could be some kid really thinks magical things of some other kid's mediocre "totally self enabled" output.

But bash the corporate structure all you want, it still worked at smaller scales where there was a tastemaker at the helm curating and supporting, nurturing artists. Now who does that? It's unfiltered, and any filtration is seem as limiting.

Go make a band that isn't easily classifiable on itunes, spotify, etc and see how great the Internet Enabled Era necessarily is...

Mon, Oct 8, 2012 - 4:37PM
Ethan H. said about this:

The only way to curb leaks is to be the first to put your music out there. If you're sending out publicity copies, go ahead and leak it legitimately through BandCamp, your website, or whatever. If you don't want it to get leaked, don't give it to anybody that might leak it.

Mon, Oct 15, 2012 - 5:42AM
Ronald MC said about this:

"At this moment their careers are built around that record." Oh really?

Nobody needs your music.
With an attitude like this, your place is at burger-flipping stations.

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 - 8:29AM
Nick Sevilla said about this:

Next time, when dealing with publicity, try to have a controlled environment for a listening session of the album, if there are to be reviews and interviews before the release.
Making the Media sign a confidentiality agreement is also a good idea.
As to other parties leaking the album, same thing with the label, makes them sign a confidentiality agreement.
Most importantly, do not allow the band to keep reference copies of anything. They tend to lose stuff, which ends up in the wrong hands.

This is if the band wants this sort of thing from happening.

Thu, Oct 18, 2012 - 11:51AM
Spacious said about this:

I'm going to suggest a heresy here that may horrify the situation.

At the exact moment that the cash value of recorded music dropped to less than nothing, the expense of recording music dropped to the cost of having a train set in your basement.

But bands still insist on going into posh and expensive studios to create a glorious audio fantasia. That may make most of us that read Tape Op happy, but it's a damn stupid way to run a business.

If the cash value of recorded music ranges from Free to $0.99 a song, then it's time to start selling live soundboard recordings from your tour. It is already plain to all of us that the market for audiophile recordings was always grossly exaggerated.

Nirvana claimed to have recorded "Bleach" for $600 or something. I'm not rich, but if I spent a mere $600 on recording an album, I wouldn't give a damn if anyone pirated it. But that's just me. Thanks for reading.

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 - 4:15AM
Evert Taihuttu said about this:

This trend of music privacy should be stopped!!

Here is unfortunately another case.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 - 4:14PM
Allen Farmelo said about this:

It's sad to me how much negativity there can be toward people who want to uphold the value of their work. It really shows just how deeply engrained the devaluation of recorded music is.

The point of the post is simply this: pirating recordings is illegal; here's one way to stop it if it happens to you.

I hope some folks read this post and can make some use of it.

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