I've always wondered about the Web Sheriff. Is he/she a real person, aided by incredible technology in an everlasting search to make the information super-highway safe for copyright law/intellectual property rights, a lá VR Troopers? Or, is Web Sheriff a computer program like Mr. Smith from The Matrix, determined to keep us "asleep" and prevent us from going "down the rabbit hole" and finding a sustainable, realistic solution to the concerns of labels, artists, and fans? Oh well, whatever Web Sheriff is, they have brought the brunt of their digital nightstick down on Grizzly Bear.
The internet was all a-frenzy when "Brother Sport," the final track from Animal Collective's upcoming Merriweather Post-Pavillion, leaked online, and many blogs took the track and ran with it. The band Grizzly Bear has just one of those blogs that posted the track, but in Web Sheriff's threatening of the world wide music-loving interwebs, he credited them with being the "global-leak-source" of the track:
This is to inform you that, currently your relevant artist’s web-site is acting as the global-leak-source of the track, “Brother Sport”, by our aforementioned client,Animal Collective, which track is not due for release by Domino untilJanuary 2009 (please see http://www.grizzly-bear.net/media/brothersport.mp3 ). As such, both the individuals collectively trading / performing as “Grizzly Bear” and, indeed, yourself are personally liable to our said clients for all commercial and other losses arising from this blatant act of piracy.
In all of the circumstances, we must insist that you now A. removethis pirated file / track without further delay and that you also B. publish the following apology on the Home Page of the Grizzly Bear web-site :-
Animal Collective – Apology
Following contact from Web Sheriff, we can confirm that Grizzly Bear
has withdrawn its stream of unreleased material by the Domino Records artist Animal Collective :
Grizzly Bear wish to apologize to Animal Collective, Domino and Web Sheriff
for the disruption caused to their marketing and release plans by this leak.
This apology must be published for a minimum period of 7 days.
As you will appreciate, this is no laughing matter and, as such, should you refuse or otherwise fail to comply with the above request, we would ask you, in the alternative, to simply provide us with the details of the US attorneys, UK solicitors, French advocats and German advocats whom you would instruct in relation to the service of such multi-jurisdictional proceedings as shall ensue.
Web Sheriff does not play.