R.E.M. Blog Shut Down After Questionable Copyright Claim from Universal

R.E.M. Blog Shut Down After Questionable Copyright Claim from Universal
Major record labels have been known to be a little over-exuberant with their copyright claims and shutdown notices, and you might remember the time that Atlas Sound's Bradford Cox had his own music deleted due to a mysterious copyright claim from Sony. This time, Universal has allegedly crossed the line by issuing a takedown notice to an R.E.M. blog that hadn't posted material actually owned by the label.

As Rolling Stone reports, the recipient of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act notice was Analog Loyalist, a blogger/sound engineer who also runs the site The Power of Independent Trucking. His new blog R.E.M.cycle was to be the latest instalment in his project of restoring old material from classic acts (previous blogs focused on New Order/Joy Division and the Smiths). His first post was a cleaned-up version of R.E.M.'s Cassette Set demo from 1981, but the file was removed from MediaFire, where it was hosted.

In a subsequent update, Analog Loyalist noted that the tape includes "demos freely given away by the band." He asked, "Tell me, what role does the IFPI (of which Universal is obviously a member) have to do with unreleased material recorded when the band had no record contract?"

As he admits, Universal owns R.E.M.'s catalogue from their time on IRS Records, so presumably the label is claiming that it owns the songs "Radio Free Europe," "Sitting Still" and "White Tornado," which appear on the demo.

In any case, Analog Loyalist notes that he's "very hesitant to move forward with this blog" in light of this shutdown. Read more about Cassette Set here, and check out the DMCA shutdown notice here.