I have a pair of used Burning Spear LPs for sale on my website and listed on a couple of websites that specialized in used music. I've owned these albums for about a decade and simply don't like them enough to keep them. They're both pretty common , mainstream releases. I found them at yard sales, but with a little bit of effort, anyone could find a copy with 10 or 20 minutes of research.
Anyhow, out of the blue I got this threatening email from the artist:
Burning Spear Copyright and Trademark Infringement Notice.
Re : Cease And Desist - Burning Spear - Catalog.
To Whom It May Concern,
This office of Winston Rodney professional known as “Burning Spear’ It has come to our
attention that Bad Cat Record (You) are currently distributing and other wise exploiting
Burning Spear entire catalog on your websitehttp:Musicstaack. The work including many
unauthorizes releases Burning Spear People Of The World and other illegally manufactures
singles. Please be advised that Mr Rodney at no time granted any entity, including you, the
rights to create is entire Catalog (or any other physical reproduction) of any of his work you
have listed. Accordingly ,you, your designees and affiliates have no right whatsoever to
exploit the Work in any manner. Your exploitation of the work constitutes an infringement of
Burning Spear rights, including copyright infringement under Title 17 of the United States
Code and appropriation of Burning Spear Likeness in violation of his rights under the law
Base on the foregoing. Burning Spear demand that you immediately cease & desist from any
further exploitation or other use of the work. Demand is further made that you account to us
for all sales of the Work and provide the name (s) and contact information for third party
distributor (s) that have utilized to distributor the Work.
If you fail to comply with the aforesaid demands, then please be advised that Burning Spear
will take any and all action necessary or appropriate in the circumstances to vigorously
enforce his rights and remedies at law or in equity. Without limiting the foregoing, to the
extent you have knowledge of the facts set forth herein and fail to comply with the demands
set forth herein we intend to seek any and all punitive damages available as the result of
your actions undertaken in bad faith in connection with this matter.
Nothing contained herein or omitted here from shall constitute an admission of any facts or
a waiver of any of Burning Spear rights or remedies, whether at law or in equity, all of which
are hereby expressly reserved. See you and your illegal partners in Courts all over the world.
Artist have rights too.
Very truly Yours
Winston Rodney Aka Burning Spear
So what to make of it? I guess I can understand an artist wanting to protect their rights. On the other hand, we're talking about a pair of $10 used LPs. These are not bootlegs, nor am I pressing and releasing illegal copies of the man's work. While I'm not a lawyer,I'm pretty sure that I'm protected by the first use doctrine. You also have to wonder if any lawyer would really waste their time and effort going after $20? You can only hope they have bigger fish to fry.