Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Grace Maxwell - Never Met a Girl Like You Before

The issue of file-sharing continue as Grace Maxwell, Edwyn Collins wife and manager, once again waxes lyrical on the problems of record companies making and breaking their own rules and stealing from artists they claim to be fighting for.

On the techdirt.com website Grace's recent comments have been repeated with more comment from the lady herself and Brendan Brown from Wheatus.

With many posters urging Grace to seek legal redress on Edwyn's behalf, and, at the very least issue, a cease and desist letter to Warners, so beloved of the RIAA, Grace said:

"Good evening folks, I'm the author of this post. It's true we could sue and it may have to come to that. I wouldn't spend a penny on it. Edwyn (who had a stroke in 2005 and has some speech and language issues) could authorise me to bring a case on his behalf as litigant in person in the British courts. The last time I had to threaten a major with this, in 1994, after six fruitless years of correspondence exchange/stalling, they admitted liability and settled in full. In that case, as I believe in this, the company was not malicious, just rubbish at knowing what it does and doesn't own. They own so much, you see, they assume they own everything and attach ISRC codes will nilly. This particular infringement comes from our having licensed the track on a non exclusive basis to be used on a Charlie's Angels soundtrack. Even the business affairs guy at Warner UK whom I have been dealing with seems powerless to wrest the track from the system. Like I say, not evil, just slack and hidebound. We're not bitter or furious, we know our industry well. Edwyn's career spans thirty years. It simply amuses me to hear them wail about copyright theft. I think the word is hubris.

Edwyn is hail and hearty and after four years hard graft, performing and recording again. These days we don't much sweat the small stuff. And small stuff is an increasingly accurate description of the old behemoth record companies as they flail around desperately trying to protect their "property.""

One poster "Anonymous Coward" asked where Warners came into the equation and Grace clarified things for him/her:

"Hi there Coward...to satiate your curiosity, a little background. Edwyn was the main man in an eighties band called Orange Juice who never troubled the charts in the US but did rather well here in the UK. He nonetheless has some very loyal followers over your way, partly because in addition to being a rather glorious songwriter (biased) he was something of a trail blazer, forming an influential and truly independent label with others in 1979 called Postcard Records of Scotland. This spirit has informed his career throughout; unwilling to sign his life away, he now owns most of his copyrights. We're not that territorial about them. Enthusiastic admirers spreading the word? We're all for it. Grist to the mill."

Brendan from Wheatus: "As an former major label artist, this fish flopping just gets more embarrassing with every cheese lip lame ass "statement".

Dear Other Artists,

If you don't want your music leaked then don't give it to anyone you think might leak it. If your "record deal" stipulates you must then grow a pair and try to get out of it...you are in the life you chose and chastising the working people who made it all possible for you is some spoiled brat bullshit.

Home taping didn't kill music in the late 70'early 80's, it helped it. So does piracy help the cream rise to the top today. The artificial market place you were used to is being replaced by a real one.

Dear Techdirt Thinkers,

Making music and selling it for a REASONABLE profit on the internet are not as complicated as my defunct 78 page agreement with a certain Major Label or the RIAA would have you believe. Licensing IP to outlets who seek to profit from it is even easier. Any ML artists who talk down to you are trying to protect an unsustainable and corrupt system that has failed upward for decades and can no longer afford to hold up the weight at the top. The plan, as always, is to make you pay more for less. Resist!

Go True Indie Music Only,
brendan b brown

He continued: "Some of us have managed to pry our revenue streams from the white knuckled hands of the titans in the towers. Your taste not withstanding, at wheatus.com we are doing exactly what you would love to see your favorite artists doing (donwnload free or donate). It's not hard it's not expensive, and it IS equitable.

Hang in there...these Majors will be gone soon and when they finally give up the ghost new musical and youth culture movements will be born."

To which Grace replied: "Dear Brendan from Wheatus, good points well made......go true indie now..."

Would you donate money to help Grace take on the majors on Edwyn's behalf? In the RIAA trial versus Jammie Thomas-Rasset the RIAA charged each illegal download at the rate of $80,000 each, which, in her case, totalled $1.92million. With a song as popular as "A Girl Like You" Edwyn/Grace would stand to make a pretty penny although, I imagine, they'd give some of it away to good causes. I'm surprised lawyers aren't banging down their door to help out.

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