November 21, 2007 - Legal and Management
By Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.A Trent Reznor-sanctioned home for fan remixes of his music is on hold due to a pending lawsuit between Universal Music Group and Google and News Corp.UMG is the owner of the master files Reznor has made available on NIN.com for fans to manipulate as they wish. In its suit against YouTube.com owner Google and MySpace.com owner News Corp., the company alleges those sites do not have "safe harbor" under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act because their users have uploaded Universal-owned content without permission.As such, sanctioning NIN remixes that may include content not owned by Universal would open the company up "to the accusation that they are sponsoring the same technical violation of copyright they are suing these companies for," Reznor says on NIN.com.So, Universal told Reznor they will no longer host the remix site and is "insisting" that Nine Inch Nails host it."In exchange for this they will continue to let me upload my Universal masters and make them available to fans, BUT shift the liability of hosting them to me," he says. "Part of the arrangement is having user licenses that the fans sign (not unlike those on MySpace or YouTube) saying they will not use unauthorized materials. If they WERE to do such a thing, everybody sues everybody and the world abruptly ends.""We are challenged at the last second to find a way of bringing this idea to life without getting splashed by the urine as these media companies piss all over each other's feet," he concludes. "We have a cool and innovative site ready to launch but we're currently scratching our heads as to how to proceed."The Nine Inch Nails remix album, "Y34RZ3R0R3MIX3D," was released Nov. 20. It includes reworkings by members of New Order, Laydtron and the Faint, as well as some tracks created by fans.