A copy of the declaration from Century Media Records‘ European Label Manager Antje Lange that was included with the lawsuit filed by a New Jersey attorney on behalf of the label that collectively targets more than 4,000 people for allegedly using peer-to-peer networks to unlawfully distribute “Dystopia”, the most recent album by the U.S. metal band ICED EARTH, can be found below. The label has also filed a similar lawsuit against thousands of individuals who have allegedly illegally downloaded “Dark Adrenaline”, the 2012 album from the Italian band LACUNA COIL, according to NorthJersey.com.
The declaration reads, in part: “I, Antje Lange, declare, under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United Kingdom, as follows:
“I am the European Label Manager of Century Media Ltd. (‘Century Media‘), the Plaintiff in the within action. I make this Declaration in support of this application for a preliminary injunction restraining the unauthorized distribution by Defendants of the copyrighted record album ‘Dystopia’ via a torrent network on the Internet.
“Century Media is a record label. One of our artists is the band ICED EARTH. We promote and distribute the works of ICED EARTH, including ‘Dystopia’. Century Media holds the exclusive right to distribute ‘Dystopia’ worldwide.
“‘Dystopia’ was first published in the United Kingdom in October 2011, selling approximately 6,000 copies in the first week and earning a spot on Billboard‘s Top 200 chart in its first week of sales. ‘Dystopia’ is the subject of a valid copyright registration in the United States Copyright Office. ‘Dystopia’ is the subject of a valid copyright registration in the United States Copyright Office.
“At no time has Century Media authorized the distribution of ‘Dystopia’ on the Internet via peer-to-peer networks. Each of the Defendants in this action that has distributed the work has done so without the permission of Century Media and in violation of our exclusive rights of distribution.”
In a typical illegal-downloading case, a lawyer hires a company to search for Internet protocol (IP) addresses associated with the use of file-sharing software such as BitTorrent. Once the IP addresses have been harvested, the lawyer’s clients file suit naming defendants as John Doe. They then seek to have mass subpoenas issued for the Internet providers associated with the harvested IP addresses in order to obtain the name and address of the owner of the IP address on the date it was harvested. Once identified, an Internet account holder typically faces the prospect of settling the case for a few thousand dollars or hiring a lawyer to fight the charges.
Shortly after learning of the lawsuit, ICED EARTH guitarist/mainman Jon Schaffer issued a statement distancing himself from the action, saying, “We all know the music industry is changing. We have been adapting to this model by embracing legal streaming services such as Spotify and by bringing our music to places we have never played before by touring our proverbial asses off.
“As much as we respect that the labels are having a harder time selling music, we feel this is a misguided effort and want to make sure our fans know we would have not given our consent would we have been asked.”
Nuclear Blast Records made headlines earlier in the year when it filed a lawsuit against 80 users of the BitTorrent network over illegal music downloads of an album by Oakland, California-based extreme metallers ALL SHALL PERISH. The lawsuit was not only brought without the band’s permission, but also without their knowledge.
After members of ALL SHALL PERISH made it clear that they did not want to participate in the legal proceedings, Nuclear Blast voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit without prejudice.
“It’s tough. If you get one of these letters you’ve been put in a difficult and unfair spot,” said Rebecca Jeschke, a spokeswoman for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based civil-liberties group, referring to the notices that go out once a John Doe has been identified.
“In many of these situations,” she added to NorthJersey.com, “the goal doesn’t seem to be to fight infringement; it seems to be to get settlements. That’s where the money-making is.”
In December 2008, the Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA) abandoned its litigation campaign against file sharers after having targeted some 18,000 individuals, usually naming dozens or hundreds of defendants per suit.
Most of the defendants settled out of court for a few thousand dollars rather than risk Copyright Act fines of up to $150,000 per purloined music track.