We all know about the Daily Variety suit that plagues the Vandals, but yesteday bassist Joe Escalante published a column over at Huffington Post that talks about SOPA and how it bodes ill for the Internet...using their case as an example. Read an excerpt after the jump. (That case, by the way, is now set for trial in Federal Court on April 12.)
First filed in 2004, the case [of Daily Variety vs. the Vandals] is now set for trial in Federal Court on April 3, 2012 where the Daily Variety will claim in front of a jury, presumably with a straight face, that mere "links" to a site that posted artwork from a discontinued CD displaying an "infringing parody" should result in the four members of the Vandals paying Daily Variety and their lawyers at Fulbright & Jaworski upwards of a million dollars.
If the fear is that under SOPA, the media companies will take advantage of a legal anomaly that will permit them to shut down entire web sites, with the burden of proving innocence placed on the defendant, based on trumped up claims and theories, I can tell you, it's not paranoia. It is a real world certainty.
During a deposition in the Variety case. Variety's lawyer from the 900 member firm of Fulbright and Jaworsky accused me of having an image of the Vandals album depicting the notorious "infringing parody" of Variety's logo on the Vandals' Myspace page.
When it was pointed out to him that it was part of News Corp's mp3 retail store and outside the control of the Vandals he signaled the theory he will present at trial to squash us. "If you had no control over the image in the retail store, why didn't you shut down your entire Myspace Page immediately so that no one could see the infringing parody?"
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I laughed out loud, but then realized he was serious. This evidently passes as logical in a giant law firm representing a giant media company with 30,000 plus employees. He didn't care about this country's treasured protections provided by the First Amendment for artistic speech. He didn't care about the Copyright Act's "Fair Use Doctrine" which protects punk bands' parodies as it does every parody created on Saturday Night Live or Mad Magazine. He didn't care that if he won his case, four musicians would lose their homes, and everything they'd worked for during their modest 30-year career as a band. He only cared about scorched earth litigation to get his way.
If you want to read more of our coverage on the Daily Variety vs. the Vandals, read these stories:
- Painful Parody: In the battle of the Vandals vs the Daily Variety, there seems to be no end in sight
Before Going to the Vandals' Benefit Tonight, Read Joe Escalante's Uncut, Expanded OC Weekly Interview