Category Archives: controversy

Cease and desist update: A small victory

We appear to have reached an ending (a happy one, at that) on this matter.

After I wrote the IFPI last week, stating (among other things) that Travis singer Fran Healy, as one of the four copyright holders, gave me his blessing to post the song, J. Smith, I received this letter today via e-mail.

Dear Kevin,

IFPI was contacted by a member of the label who confirmed you were given permission to post the file on your site.

We were unaware of this agreement but now that it has been notified to us please feel free to upload the file.

Due to the volume of infringing content we find online there will be instances where legitimate files are picked up as infringing. We hope this matter shows that once we have the correct information we do not want to stop the promotion of music online.

Notices Department

There you have it. Quite a backhanded stab at an apology, eh?

Whatever, I feel fairly vindicated in this matter and I can’t thank Travis and singer Fran Healy enough for answering my MySpace message and giving me his permission to post this song. Please visit the band’s Web site or MySpace and show some love. I already considered myself a huge Travis fan; this situation only reinforced my faith in their music/message.

Lastly, take 30 seconds to download this track, not only for the satisfaction of this small victory but also because it’s another fine addition to the Travis catalog.


My First Official Cease and Desist

Well, it’s been approximately three years of writing this blog. In that time, I’ve gotten one friendly request from a label to take down an mp3 — and that’s been my closest run-in with the law.

That is, until a couple weeks ago. I got a beautifully impersonal letter from the IFPI in regards to a new Travis song I posted here.

A couple things to note: The letter says they sent me a previous notice on June 24. I never got it; you’d think I’d probably remember that. Also, the letter references the mp3 in question as a song by Hercules and Love Affair, a band about which I never ever have posted here. It was clearly a shoddy cut-and-paste job on the part of the IFPI.

I actually wrote Travis about this and singer Fran Healy responded. First, the letter in full:

01 July 2008
Ref: R25147

Dear Sir/Madam,

We are contacting you concerning the above-referenced site that we originally brought to your attention in our letter of 24 June 2008(please see attached e-mail). As you have been made aware, the IFPI is a trade association whose member companies are some 1,450 major and independent record companies in the US and internationally who create, manufacture and distribute sound recordings. Under penalty of perjury, we submit that the IFPI is authorized to act on behalf of its member companies in matters involving the infringement of their sound recordings, including enforcing their copyrights and common law rights on the Internet.

We have learned that your service is hosting the above files on its network. These files contain sound recordings by the artist known as Hercules and Love Affair. These sound recordings are owned by one of our member companies and have not been authorized for this kind of use. We have a good faith belief that the above-described activity is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law. We assert that the information in this notification is accurate, based upon the data available to us.

We are asking for your immediate assistance in stopping this unauthorized activity. Specifically, we request that you remove the infringing files from your system or that you disable access to the infringing files. In addition, please inform the site operator of the illegality of his or her conduct.

You should understand that this letter constitutes notice to you that this site operator may be liable for the infringing activity occurring on your service. In addition, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, if you ignore this notice, you and/or your company may also be liable for any resulting infringement. This letter does not constitute a waiver of any right to recover damages incurred by virtue of any such unauthorized activities, and such rights as well as claims for other relief are expressly retained.

You may contact me at IFPI Secretariat, 10 Piccadilly, London W1J 0DD, United Kingdom or email, to discuss this notice. We await your response.


(NAME REDACTED) [I just always wanted to do that.]
Head of Internet Anti-Piracy
10 Piccadilly
United Kingdom

I was slightly perturbed because Travis singer Fran Healy had encouraged sharing of the song on the band’s forum at its Web site.

So I sent a MySpace message to the band. Healy responded within a half-hour:

“I guess until they get the correct song you can keep on posting it. You definitely have my blessing as one of the 4 holders of the copyrights to that specific recording. I actually think this is bogus.
Anyways thanks for posting that on your site. It was lovely to see it out there doing the rounds. We didnt take it to radio so your helping with the pollenation of the nation.”

There you have it. Despite Healy’s blessing, I’m trigger-shy in reposting the song because I fear the next step will be the IFPI going after my site’s server host, thus shutting down this party.

I’m more baffled than angry, really. And I feel validated in posting the song in the first place after reading Healy’s response.

Anyway, I wanted to share. More music to come.

DJ Jazzy Jeff: Brand New Funk 2K7

I wrote a few weeks ago at Circa 45 about Brand New Funk, one of the many great tracks off He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper by DJ Jazzy Jeff (the DJ) and Fresh Prince (the rapper).

I praised the song’s production/sampling value and even gave props to Fresh Prince’s lyrical prowess (shocking, I know). Then last week, a comment was left by Ready Rock C (born Clarence Holmes), part of the production team who was pictured inside the liner notes for the album, a tip-off that he might have had a big hand in the album’s creation. There appears to be bad blood, from some cursory research.

Here’s what Ready Rock C had to say in the comment at Circa 45:

THe reason Jeff used the Original Bass Line and Beat is that He never did the original to begin with. So rather than be creative and make a new version He used the same track that I produced on the original Hes THe Dj Im the Rapper album. I am also behind the Lyrics Parent Just Dont Understand, The Music of ITS TIME TO CHILL, JUST ROCKIN, ROCK THE HOUSE, HUMAN VIDEO GAME, JUST ROCKIN, TAKING IT TO THE TOP, MY BUDDY, and a few more. I was discredited for alot of work that I performed and wrote. These guyz have particularly Will Smith has made it big time and never thought once to act on Helping me back in the music game. Its hard to get back in after being severely discredited. THier music simply has not been the same since my departure. Peace and Blessings to All.
Ready Rock C

Now as Jazzy Jeff reintroduces the track – Brand New Funk 2K7, though not really brand new because it’s mostly the same musical foundation – I’m not sure what to believe. If Ready Rock C lost his lawsuit for unpaid royalties (per Wikipedia), then maybe Jazzy Jeff has free reign on the catalog and would use it to spite Ready Rock? It’s weird, though these sorts of dealings likely are the norm for the music industry.

Of course, I meant no disrespect to Ready Rock C – if he is, in fact, the producer of the track, then the man deserves his credit. And I applaud him for commenting to speak his mind. (Somehow, I don’t think we’ll get Will Smith to weigh in on the issue.) The label on my vinyl copy of the album offers production credits to DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince, though that doesn’t mean Ready Rock C didn’t play a major role. Who knows?

In any event, Jazzy Jeff has revived Brand New Funk with lyrical stylings from Peedi Crack for his new album Return of the Magnificent. It’s not terrible, but it’s awkward to hear a familiar song coupled with an altogether different emcee and rhyming scheme. Jazzy Jeff seems to be making a play for the nostalgia factor while at the same time updating its relevance. I’d just hate for this version to somehow cheapen the value of the original, which I hold in high regard.

  • DJ Jazzy Jeff (feat. Peedi Crack) | Brand New Funk 2K7

The Killers “When You Were Young” (stream)

Whoa. Two posts in a row from Royce. Felt like I was on vacation for two days. And he’s got another lined up that is gonna be sweet. Hint: It involves the band Phoenix + remix. Look out!

By now, you might have heard a snippet or stream of The Killers’ new track When You Were Young. I created an mp3 from the stream, but because I enjoy my freedom and am really not interested in taking part in some Oz-like life courtesy of the RIAA, I’ll keep it to the stream here.

I’m hardly convinced this is a precursor to “one of the best albums in the past 20 years” (via Stereogum). In fact, the hook sounds more like a rip-off than anything – of another fairly mediocre song, no less. Listen to the guitar (or is that a synth?) line of When You Were Young, then listen to the snippet of the intro to Coldplay’s Talk. Eerily similar, I’d say.

[stream] The Killers | When You Were Young
Real Player or Windows Media

Coldplay | Talk (snippet)