Dienstag, 8. Februar 2011

January 31, 2011 -- a date which will live in infamy ....

Almost all posts in this blog have been previously made available on bobdylanroots.com/bobdylanroots.de, a former fan-website dedicated to research about the musical roots and influences of the former artist (now "registered trademark") Bob Dylan (Robert Allen Zimmerman).

Nothing on that site was intended as an infringement of copyright (in fact, every single page stated so), the website was quoted in scholarly publications, like The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, or The Formative Dylan (to name but two) and for considerably more than a decade known to and endorsed by Bob Dylan's record company who regularly contacted the webmaster and asked for promotion of new releases, etc.

On January 31, 2011 -- a date which will live in infamy --, someone calling himself "Web Sheriff" demanded (among other things):

(a) you transfer legal ownership of the Domains to Special Rider (who would keep them pointed at your sites and who would provide you with free usage) and (b) you incorporate a reasonably prominent trademark / courtesy credit at the bottom of the home page of the Sites (along the lines of “The BobDylanRoots.com and BobDylanRoots.de domain names are the property of Bob Dylan and are used by kind courtesy of Special Rider.”).   

I consider this an attempt of a "hostile take-over" with no legal basis whatsoever (the site registered in my name is NOT "bobdylan.com", but "bobdylanROOTS.com" -- I wonder if dylanhotel.com received a similar demand), and even though Jeff Rosen confirmed to me that the demands were/are excessive ("I have talked to the Web Sheriff and asked him to not request transfer of the domain name, which I agree was excessive."), I have taken bobdylanroots.com down, because I will no longer support an artist who employs people like the "Web Sheriff" to harrass his most loyal fans.

This blog is solely intended to make available some of the pages for those who used them as they were intended -- for independent research which is at stake whenever a "registered trademark" intends to control each and everything despite court decisions like New Kids on the Block v. News America Publishing, Inc., 971 F.2d 302 (9th Cir. 1992).

Oops - almost forgot the demanded "reasonably prominent trademark / courtesy credit":

bobdylanroots.com and bobdylanroots.de are registered and legally owned by Manfred Helfert and NOT the property of Bob Dylan™  nor Special Rider™.

bobdylanroots.blogspot.com is legally owned by Google and kindly provided for posting independent research in accordance with 17 U.S.C. § 107.

Special Rider™ (Blues)  is the title of a song by Nehemiah "Skip" James (and other early blues artists) who probably did not have the money (nor saw the need) to register a commonplace "floating" expression as a trademark for maximum monetary exploitation and harrassment of formerly loyal fans.

How Copyright Law Talks to Fans
"Without fans, there would be no music industry. Most people in the music industry understand this -- certainly the artists do. But apparently not the lawyers who work for them....
The law treats fans as if they are to be cattle-prodded into line, as if the fan should be grateful for the privilege of being a fan, a privilege granted at the sufferance of copyright law.
That's completely, utterly, obviously, precisely backward...."


Any copyrighted items are included here for "nonprofit educational purposes" (one of the criteria of "fair use", Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 107) only.

ADDENDUM, Feb 10, 2011:

On Feb 09, 2011, the webmaster of bobdylanroots.com/bobdylanroots.de received (and accepted) an apology from Web Sheriff . 
The site will be up again asa I find the necessary time to revamp it -- however, I decided to continue this blog as well.

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