As reported here on Friday, a lawsuit filed April 20th in the US District Court For The Middle District of Florida is targeting fans of American metal band All Shall Perish.
Up to a point it’s a familiar story. A total of 80 IP addresses are listed having been harvested from a BitTorrent swarm sharing the album “This Is Where It Ends”. The plaintiff, a company called World Digital Rights, wants to discover the real-life identities of the alleged file-sharers so they can be hauled into court or, as is almost guaranteed, settled with for a few thousand dollars instead.
After the news broke, predictably the band started to receive negative feedback. But according to All Shall Perish’s manager, Ryan Downey, neither he nor the band know anything about the legal action.
“The band wasn’t consulted whatsoever and none of us have ever heard of this company,” Downey told TorrentFreak. “I spoke to the US label manager and German label president who both are as confused as we are. We are digging deeper and looking into the legality of it all. We are thinking it’s perhaps a sublicensor or some digital aggregator or something?!”
In reality the answer seems more straightforward. All Shall Perish’s German label are Nuclear Blast who according to their site are “the largest independent heavy metal label in the world.” Even if Nuclear Blast’s president is confused by the lawsuit, people working for him are definitely fully in the picture.
According to the lawsuit, on March 12, 2012, Nuclear Blast signed over the rights to “This Is Where It Ends” to World Digital Rights, Inc., an act that made the Panama-based company the “exclusive licensee” of the album. Along with that came the right to sue and it seems the company are now making the most of that right. After conducting another search of court documents today, it appears that World Digital Rights actually filed two lawsuits against alleged sharers of the album, one against 80 Does and another against a further 100.
In both cases World Digital Rights demands that each defendant is held “jointly and severally liable for the direct infringement of each other defendant” and held liable for statutory damages of $150,000.
Downey, who told us that the band were totally blindsided by the revelations, describes this action against fans as “awful” and has promised to stay in touch with developments. Ideally these lawsuits will get withdrawn, not only for the sake of the Does but for the sake of the band. But if Nuclear Blast and World Digital Rights persist with this ridiculous project, All Shall Perish might have no choice but to personally intervene – their reputation could rely on it.