This is word for word the email I received from Jim Griffin of
Geffen Records on the day they began contacting authorities and ISP
owners to cease-and-desist offering free Mp3 downloads.
The MP3 world is an exciting opportunity to welcome the future of
digital audio, and we embrace its potential. We at Geffen were the
to use digital audio to release a full-length song (Aerosmith's Head
First in 1994) and the first to install its own web server (also 1994),
so we look forward to the day that we can use digital distribution on
behalf of our artists.
However, because we oppose censorship in all its forms, Geffen,
together with the rest of the recording industry, intends to stop those
the work of our artists and redistribute it without permission. If you
decide to substitute your judgment for that of our artists and
distribute their full-length songs without so much as asking, we will
take appropriate steps to stop you. Universities and Internet Service
Providers everywhere share our desire to ensure respect for
intellectual property rights, and we will work closely with them, along
enforcement authorities where necessary, to achieve respect for our
Taking an artist's work over their objection and using it for your
own purposes is as wrong or worse than silencing an artist; both are
illegal, immoral and repugnant to any free society, and the recent
strengthening of copyright laws reflects these basic principles.
Please don't assume we can't or won't take the time to identify you
(traceroute and whois are wonderful tools) and enforce the law -- it
insults us and only serves to ensure that if you are a student you will
face severe sanctions from your school, or that if you operate a site
will be shut down by an angry internet service provider, or worse (if
the problem persists, we will see the law enforced). Please don't
we are ignorant to the possibilities of digital audio -- we have the
same profit motive we've always had, and we want and need exposure for
our artists and can imagine as well as you can the possibilities for
selling and marketing music on-line.
Clearly there will be a transition, but it will happen only when
artists' rights are respected and there is some order to digital
commerce in intellectual property. Any other expectation is unrealistic
and prolongs the delay as we wait for a future that promises a
renaissance of creative expression fostered by an unlimited lifespan
for art, and a world where new art can come to life that might not
have seen the light of day.