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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Selling stolen music

Today while more or less randomly browing the web, I came across another musician's web site. I started listening to the music tracks that he offers on his web site, and was completely gobsmacked to find MY track "The Next Step" posted on his web site under the name "Highlander".

As many of you will know, I composed the track "The Next Step" in 2002 and released it on CD in 2003 on my album "Power Liquids". This guy had simply taken the track straight from the CD, changed it's name, and posted it on his web site as his own music.

I can only assume that all the other music on his web site has also been stolen from other musicians.

What's wrong with some people? Have they NO shame? Has the internet become so big and so complex now, that people like this think that they can just steal what they want and SELL it -- because the chance of being found out amongs millions of other musicians, is so low?

It has to be said that when I confronted this guy about it, he removed the track from his web site, so in this particular case, the problem has been solved. But it's got to make me wonder; how many other "musicians" out there are selling my music as their own?

I mean, there's stealing and there's stealing. There's the guy who downloads my music album from some pirate or peer-to-peer network, to listen to it himself. I don't like it obviously, because afterall I'm trying to make a living on my music. But I'm willing to forgive this to some degree.

But when somebody starts SELLING my music, credited to themselves, that's when things get serious and it's time to involve lawyers.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's terrible..! It's not just the fact that this person is trying to make money from your hard work, but is also taking credit for it and possibly receiving undeserved praise for their "composing skills".

I've had the same thing happen, and I suspect being a non-mainstream composer plays a big part in this since it makes our music harder to identify (nobody would try to claim to have written a Beatles song, for example...) and therefore easier to hide what's being done.

On the site I discovered, I recognized the music of several other indie musicians on this person's site as well, all of whom I contacted immediately. The site was gone shortly thereafter, once we all started threatening this bozo with lawsuits.

I'm not even sure what can be done about this, except to increase public awareness and to do everything possible to ensure your music is widely recognized (not an easy task). Chances are good that the person you caught will at least leave your music alone from now on, but it brings to mind the question of how many others are doing this? You would think that it's just not worth it since if a person is caught doing this, all their credibility is gone and there is the potential for a huge damages lawsuit...!

February 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is absolutely true that as the Internet continues to grow, the odds of an individual discovering theft of their intellectual property diminishes, and even more so when they change the title of the work. For years I had been uploading writing to the website, but when I learned that people were going to the website and taking the writing there, and getting it published, I removed my account. There is a certain fringe group of people who have little talent of their own, but who desire the popularity and glory that comes with the creation of something beautiful. To these people, they do not care if they hurt someone by stealing their work, as long as the end result is beneficial to them.

So, needless to say, I understand where you're coming from, and I most definitely sympathize. There have been many times when I've considered involving lawyers, especially when these individuals claim that the work was originally their own. I have encountered numerous people who not only stole the work, but in the hopes of covering that up, claim in return that you were the one who stole it from them. Fortunately, this individual who took your work was honest enough to realize that he had been caught, and was quick to rectify that situation. The problem is, there are many other people who aren't that considerate. Even when caught, they refuse to do anything about it.

As the internet continues to grow, as does your popularity, it is inevitable that you are the victim of some sort of intellectual theft. The best you can do is hope that your fans are on the lookout for such theft, and as they see it, take the appropriate measures to fix the situation. After all, the internet is far too large for any single individual to patrol the entire thing.

Hopefully, as Matt stated above, the people who commit this sort of theft will find out that the risks of getting caught far outweigh the short lived benefits they got from fooling people into thinking the work was theirs, and they'll learn that it's best to just do the hard work themselves. After all, it isn't like the person they steal from just picked up a synth one day and made a masterpiece. Lazy people really can be the scourge of the artistic community sometimes...

February 15, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

This is really terrible. I'm positive that it can happen whether your music is well known or not. It is really worth surfing your own music from the web on weekly basis if this kind of stealing can happen. Nowadays the digital techniques makes it very easy to rip and convert audio cds to mp3 files but in this case also it's too easy for anyone to sell digital files in the www as well. Nobody asks the original production wav-files on some sites. That's a big shame.

I remember e-mailing Bjorn Lynne earlier about the Timbaland case where a finnish demoscene song "Acidjazzed Evening" by Janne Suni was ripped and used in Nelly Furtado's song. It's not originally been produced by Timbaland. This is a bit different way of stealing. The stolen melody was mixed with some hip-hop beats and new samples. The original melody and the ripped song with beats has exactly the same notes, theme and structure.
The first version was sold as a ringtone. Then later Jannes song was used in Nelly Furtado's Song "Do It".
Who is responsible of untechical producer that is working with a big major label like Geffen?

Where is the music industry going?

Read more:

February 23, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is indeed absolutely mind-boggling, and very sad. I would pity such people if they deserved anything but contempt.

Still, be sure to check out my new track 'Aurora Polaris', which contains the best keyboard riff in the universe if I do say so myself... ;-)

March 16, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

Unbelievable! It's like Dimmu Borgir stealing Tim Wright's (CoLD SToRAGE) Agony tune all over again! O_o

March 22, 2007  
Blogger Ryusennin said...

Yes, selling others' music under your own name is downright pathetic. And I heard Timbaland did it again with a rip-off from Squaresoft's Chrono Trigger (now he could be in deep sheet).

May 16, 2007  
Blogger Antherick said...

That is horrible news. I catch thieves at a chain of stores in town, and I'd love to catch this jerk for you, but I can only do so much at this very minimal level. Still, I like catching the bad guys, and this must be frustrating for you if it makes me feel that way.

May 18, 2007  
Blogger Royalty Free Music Blog said...

I also think this is terrible but hopefully not too widespread!

Not a solution, but a possible help… I use Google alerts to track certain text on the web. It searches the web and emails you a link to anything that contains the key phrase you are interested in. You can easily set the key phrase to the name of your track(s).

A pain that anyone would need to go to this length I know.

Lee Pritchard
Media Music Now

June 04, 2007  
Blogger Andrey Gayvoronsky said...

Hi! don't know where to post :)) I spot few your tracks in differ projects, one - online game Wizards World 2 (
I'm probably will hard to check it, because u don't know russian, but i remember that track :) From Colony or Beyond :)

June 04, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

that's awful yes, but is there a site or organization where the composers can register theibr works and get ownership rights for the same.


April 09, 2008  

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