I’ve been a Metallica fan since I first discovered them in high school. Shameful as it may be my first Metallica album was ReLoad not one of their classics. But since then I’ve bought (Yes Lars, if you happen to read this, I legally bought my albums) pretty much every album they’ve released. Well, not every. I skipped Lulu like many smart Metallica fans did. And while I thought that was their lowest of lows as a band, I and the world was proven wrong as Metallica has filed a 41 page lawsuit to a Canadian covers band called Sandman. But let’s tackle that in a moment.
You see we ALL know this isn’t Metallica‘s first legal offensive against his fans. Let’s not forget when Lars went full on against Napster. We all thought he was against the fans. The difference of course is he knew what it would turn into. He somehow knew it would turn into the current crisis of the music industry where streaming services are getting away with paying only a percentage of a penny per play in royalties and fans are more inclined to stream a song or YouTube live concert video than buy an album or concert ticket. And I think if we know then what we know now we might’ve all joined them in the Napster fight.
But now let’s look at the legal action taken recently but Metallica. First thing is that Metallica did not actually sue the cover band Sandman. They essentially sent the a cease and desist order based up copyright infringement. In simple terms they are politely asking Sandman to stop using their logo because it’s based on artwork they have copyrighted. As long as Sandman changes its logo, which it has done, there is no lawsuit.
So the media hyped it up to sound like something that it really wasn’t, as per usual. But let’s be honest even this cease and desist order is pretty harsh. Metallica is one of the bands who made their money when people actual bought albums and concert tickets, are still getting residuals as their catalog still sells, and they’ve invested their money so that when the industry turned into what it is now they are comfortably living their lives financial.
Plus there is no way in hell Sandman is the only Metallica cover band using artwork that MIGHT be infringing on some copyrighted material. This is just something their legal beagles found and figured they’d earn a gold star for taking a small legal action.
Now everyone on Facebook is condemning Metallica and saying they’re done with the band. But if Metallica announced tomorrow that they’re releasing a new album next week followed by a full tour all those condemning fans would be going crazy and praising their name.
But in the end this LEGAL ACTION by Metallica was a smack in the face to their fans as the cover bands are the one keeping their music alive in the clubs until they decide to actual tour again. I’m not done as a fan of Metallica but I’ve definitely lost a bit of respect for them.