Is Slash the New Lars Ulrich?

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From Rolling Stone's Rock&Roll Daily blog comes word that a judge condemmed Kevin Cogill's arrest as "excessive":

In his hearing this week, a judge questioned the necessity of arresting Guns N' Roses leaker Kevin Cogill, calling it unnecessary. The man who posted nine songs from the previously unheard sessions for the forever-in-production Chinese Democracy was shown some leniency by the court as the presiding judge felt the proposed $50,000 bail was excessive and noted that a court summons would have been sufficient. Instead, as Cogill's girlfriend Shana told Rolling Stone, "They put him in handcuffs. They let me get him a shirt, and shoes without any laces before they took him away." Cogill has a preliminary hearing scheduled for September 17, and if he's found guilty of violating federal copyright law, he faces up to five years in prison. 

It must be difficult for rockstars to act indignant over these kinds of incidents while simultaneously subverting culture—either they suffer some internal angst over blurring the line between suits and rebels, or they're experts at compartmentalizing their artistic credos and business interests. Slash seems to have no such qualms about bitching over leaked tracks, and went so far as to hate on Cogill to the L.A. Times, officially surpassing Lars Ulrich of Metallica for the title of Biggest Copyright Douchebag:

"I hope he rots in jail…It's going to affect the sales of the record, and it's not fair. The Internet is what it is, and you have to deal with it accordingly, but I think if someone goes and steals something, it's theft."

Question for the commenters: We're all gonna want a piece of C.D. when it comes out. Any thoughts on whether or not your average GN'R fan will pay for it?

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  1. Theft: OK when Guns N Roses were living on Skid Row. Not OK afterwards.

  2. Heck no. In fact, I’m going to download it illegally as many times as possible, just to really make them lose money.

  3. GnR put out one decent record in Appetite For Destruction. Since then, I wouldn’t steal their shit if you paid me.

  4. Heck no. In fact, I’m going to download it illegally as many times as possible, just to really make them lose money.

    I think they’re going to lose money without your assistance. But why are people surprised that a guy who wears a top hat would act this way? What, the lack of a monocle confused you?

  5. This just proves my point that the number one thing reducing Guns’N’Roses record sales is Guns’N’Roses.

  6. “Chinese Democracy” has been a punchline for a decade.

    If illegally downloading it will it out of it’s misery..it’s a kindness.

  7. Just to officially include myself out of those with any interest whatsoever in the output of these miserably inept poseurs. Despite your pseudo-pundits assertion to the contrary.
    GNR? bleeyachchch

    no hugs for thugs,
    Shirley Knott

  8. I’m going to buy the album just BECAUSE they understand the value of intellectual PROPERTY rights.

    Geez people. Get over it.

    Just because you LIKE stealing, doesn’t make it okay. Stop pretending that people don’t have a right to the fruits of their labor because its a sound rather than an object.

  9. My favorite part of the Lars Ulrich copyright douchebaggery is when he talked glowingly about being part of a cassette tape copying and distribution program that operated through the US mail when he was a kid on Behind the Music. I guess the statute of limitations makes everything just peachy keen.

  10. The most newsworthy aspect of this whole situation is the shocking revelation that Guns n’ Roses is still hanging around.

    *fires up “Appetite” and rocks out for a few minutes, then gets back to work*

  11. Why does Slash give a damn about Chinese Democracy’s sales anyway? He was kicked out well over 10 years ago!

  12. “…a cassette tape copying and distribution program that operated through the US mail when he was a kid on Behind the Music.”

    Wait, so let me get this straight: Lars Ulrich appeared on “Behind the Music” as a child, and while he was doing this, a distribution program operated through the U.S. mail?

  13. It made sense in my head. Maybe you’re just stupid.

  14. I’m going to buy the album just BECAUSE they understand the value of intellectual PROPERTY rights.

    Dude, if you need an organization to invade other people’s property (their homes, places of business) in order to “protect” your “property”, it ain’t property…

    A melody for a tune is not a piece of land, or a car. Stop trying to pretend it is.

  15. I just can’t consider “Chinese Democracy” to be a Guns and Roses album.

    It’s a solo album that Axl Rose has been dicking around with for the past fifteen years.

    And, other than a mild curiosity, I have little interest in it. I’m definitely not going to be waiting in late to get it. Maybe… maybe… I’ll buy it at a later date if it’s particularly brilliant. I’ll have to wait for one of my friends to get it, then listen to it, before I make a judgment. (Or borrowing a CD now considered “stealing” as well?)

  16. A melody for a tune is not a piece of land, or a car. Stop trying to pretend it is.

    Stop trying to pretend its yours to take just because it exists.

  17. Just as a point of reference, Slash hasn’t been in GNR for years. The only remaining member of GNR is, I believe, Axl himself.

    Yes, he’s quoted in the article, but he’s quoted as a “former guitarist”. I don’t think he has any decision-making authority in the way this proceeds.

  18. Pedant Guy slaps self on own wrist.

    “It’s.” Not “its.”

  19. It seems, at least on IP, that Axl and Slash have finally reconciled. Maybe there’s a royalty agreement for future works that’s been kept under wraps though I doubt it since that’s one of the reasons that led to the initial breakup. Otherwise, it’s difficult to see why Slash, Duff, Izzy or any other former GNR member would give two craps about what happens to Axl’s new record, especially after he replaced them with the likes of buckethead. As a friend of mine is fond of saying in a perfect “VH1 Behind the Music” narrator impression: “In 1988 Guns ‘N Roses was on top of the metal world, but backstage things were falling apart.”

  20. I think this is an issue if he stole the IP from the record company or not. Seems different that the Ulrich issue.

  21. tarran,

    Dude, if you need an organization to invade other people’s property (their homes, places of business) in order to “protect” your “property”, it ain’t property…

    So if I steal your laptop and manage to get back to my house with it, it’s no longer property? Your car parked in my garage dissolves property rights? The police can’t come onto my property to return stolen property to you?

  22. Have a look at what’s hanging off Slash’s “but” there, dumb newish dude.

    The record’s unreleased and the arrested guy didn’t make it, so somewhere between its coming into existence and his posting the files, there was some non-metaphorical stealing involved, to which he made himself an evident party.

    Slash is not the prosecutor. He’s stating his objection to what happened/i>, not stupidly charging that moron with incriminating himself.

    Drink.

  23. Tarran,

    “…A melody for a tune is not a piece of land”

    Holy crap! Have you ever written an original melody? My guess is no. It’s rather hard to do. In fact we celebrate those who are able to because it’s so difficult.

  24. Maybe if Axel got off of his lazy ass and had finished the record sometime in the last 10 years, he wouldn’t have had this problem. This is the most overhyped record since Smile. I suspect G&R would be better off not releasing it and letting people imagine how good it is rather than releasing it and having people be disapointed.

  25. I still can’t believe this same argument continues to circle the drain every time IP comes up.

    It doesn’t fucking matter whether IP is real property or not. It can be copied infinitely for free, and the only ways to stop it are liberty killers and don’t even work anyway.

    Technology has changed the way IP has to be treated. Get used to it.

  26. “…the only ways to stop it are liberty killers and don’t even work anyway.”

    Seems like they used the tried and true method of arresting the thief.

  27. Prediction: Chinese Democracy won’t get a legitimate release til after Axl dies.

  28. “””Why does Slash give a damn about Chinese Democracy’s sales anyway? He was kicked out well over 10 years ago!”””

    Maybe Axl owes him money.

    “””It doesn’t fucking matter whether IP is real property or not. It can be copied infinitely for free, and the only ways to stop it are liberty killers and don’t even work anyway.”””

    Just because someone can, doesn’t mean it should be legal. I have a feeling one day IP will change technology, once they figure out a decent way to do DRM. This doesn’t affect just music, it affects, movies and video games too. My guess is that one day, you’ll never own them, you will pay for a monthy service to listen, or possibly, you’ll have to login to the company’s website while you listen if you do buy it.

    Why would Libertarians be against musicians making money from the music they compose?

  29. Why would Libertarians be against musicians making money from the music they compose?

    I’m not. But you can never do DRM well. It’s just not possible to control the copying of bits. You just. Can’t. Do. It.

  30. “””Technology has changed the way IP has to be treated. Get used to it.”””

    Technology has changed the way privacy has to be treated. Get used to it.

    Technology has changed the way government kicks your door down. Get used to it.

    There are a lot of things technology is changing, I’m not sure that get used to it is the proper answer.

  31. Slash? Isn’t he that guy who plays Antonio Tony DiMarco Thunderbottom?

  32. I dunno… from hearing the leaks so far, I might be more likely to buy it now than before.

    Just sayin’.

  33. “””I’m not. But you can never do DRM well. It’s just not possible to control the copying of bits. You just. Can’t. Do. It.”””

    Ah come on, a man of your intelligence, you know not to say never. 🙂 Granted all attempts so far have been lame, but one day they will figure something out. Currently with videos, and games it’s oneupsmanship between the industry and hackers. This will continue until they come up with something unhackable, that’s a long shot, or come up with a method that prevents the actual ownership.

    However it gets resolved, as libertarians, we want it to work out so the songwriters get paid for their work. Or is fuck them suppose to be the mantra on this issue?

  34. Or is fuck them suppose to be the mantra on this issue?

    The mantra is “come up with a new business model to allow the creators to profit because IP is fucked as it stands now”.

  35. Sammy Candynose Twinskins is here to tell you:

    If it can be played, it can be copied. If it can be copied, it can be traded. Unless you plan on banning all cameras and microphones too. You can lock a song down in chains; as soon as a legitimate buyer lines up a mic next to the speaker, or a camera on the screen, its blown wide open.

    DRM is futile. You can only keep secrets if you only give access to people who also want to keep it a secret. You can’t have a secret you want to sell for $15 a copy to everyone with the cash.

    Now, this guy going to jail is pretty much ok with me. He stole it. Fair enough. But its about as meaningful as tossing some guy in the clink cause he had a kilo of crank in his trunk. Also a crime. But it ain’t stopping shit on the long term.

  36. “This will continue until they come up with something unhackable, that’s a long shot, or come up with a method that prevents the actual ownership.”

    Prevents actual ownership? Yeah, that is a hell of a business model. They will never perfect DRL without making their product completely undesirable. They only way they can compete is to make their product so cheap that it is not worth stealing it. That is pretty much what Itunes did. Why bother stealing the song and risking getting a virus or a lousy copy, when you can just buy the damn thing for a buck? Face reality, the days of making gazillions selling records are over. Times change.

  37. I think this is the one of a few instances of IP infringement I agree is infringement.

    The only way to keep intellectual property YOUR property is to never release a copy of it. Since “Chinese Democracy” was apparently never intended to be released…

  38. We’re all gonna want a piece of C.D. when it comes out

    Is that the “royal we“? Anyway, crap property is still property.
    Thieves don’t get the concept. They never will.

  39. I take issue with the question as phrased:

    We’re all gonna want a piece of C.D. when it comes out.

    Not those of us who don’t think G’n’R or Slash has recorded anything worthwhile since Use Your Illusion, you know? Velvet Revolver really ain’t all that. G’n’R was of it’s time and the time has passed.

  40. “””Prevents actual ownership? Yeah, that is a hell of a business model.”””

    If you can access it for a monthly fee, you don’t need to purchase it, and you could have access to everything at a much lower price. That may be the buisness model of many things media in the future.

    “”””They only way they can compete is to make their product so cheap that it is not worth stealing it. “””

    John, they could sell CDs for a buck a piece, people will still copy them as long as they can. Stealing is always worth it to people who want something for nothing, unless they get caught by the man.

  41. Your right Episiarch, they do need a new buisness model, but the oneupsmanship between companies and hackers may result in a model that excludes actual possession someday.

  42. The purpose of property rights is to resolve conflicts over who gets to say how something is used.

    For example consider a toothbrush. Both I and pedant cannot simultaneously use the toothbrush. The toothbrush can only be held and operated by one person at a time.

    In the absence of property rights, you get the situation where whoever is actually holding the thing is deciding how it gets used. Inevitably, if two or more people covet the toothbrush they will argue over it, and perhaps fight over it (the opening scenes of The Gods Must be Crazy illustrate this perfectly).

    A property right is a way of preemptively deciding who gets to say how the toothbrush is used, and we call the person with this right of control the “owner”.

    Property rights arise in response to economic scarcity. We don’t argue about who owns the air in a room, or who owns the noise coming out of a TV, for example, since there is no scarcity – as everyone who wants to enjoy those things can be simultaneously accommodated. And, and this is very important, property rights do not require a state to enforce. People can enforce their control by themselves, keeping their tootbrushes locked in a case handcuffed to their wrist for example.

    Intellectual property, on the other hand does require a state, since it is the attempt to ape physical objects by artificially creating economic scarcity.

    The lack of real scarcity is obvious: if I hum a tune, I in no way prevent you from simultaneously humming the same tune. There is no scarcity at all. Please note the difficulty in conceiving new patterns is irrelevant at this point, I will address that later.

    So how is scarcity artificially created? By having some organization that prevents people from making use of certain patterns. Let’s again turn to the guy humming a tune. Ho can we prevent him from enjoying a tune? We can threaten to hurt him if he does hum the tune, or demand that he pay a fine (or else we will hurt him) if we find out after the fact that he hummed a tune.

    If he is humming the tune on his own land, we must invade his land to seize him and stop him. If he is manufacturing CD’s in a factory, we must seize the CD’s, etc.

    In order to honor the “intellectual property” rules, we must override real property rules. If I were to buy a computer, printer, and paper, everyone would agree that I owned these things. If I were to type out a story on the keyboard, and print out 100 copies, according to physical property rules, the resulting printed paper would belong to me. Under the scheme of “intellectual property” rules, the paper might become the property of JK Rowling if it turns out that I had typed out a pattern called “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince”.

    OK, but if we don’t create the artificial scarcity, what incentive is there for pattern makers? Like eminent domain, and taxing people to produce notable works like “Piss Christ”, isn’t intellectual property one of those ways we violate private property rights for the good of society?

    Not really because
    1) It is quite possible to have private copyright: don’t sell your books or perform your music in front of anyone who won’t sign a contract agreeing to copy your patterns. Then, if they should make copies, you have them for violating their contract.

    2) The incentive is there to produce patterns, because people get the benefits of them. An example is the Linux and BSD-Unix operating systems, which in effect are free to copy, yet robust and cutting edge, people worked on these patterns because there were other benefits than those that accrue to a copyright holder who sells copies.

    Granted, absent the distortion of patent laws and government copyright the pattern producing industries would be very differently set up – and some might not exist at all. But the people producing those patterns would not vanish of the face of the earth; they would be working on something to put bread on the table.

    However it gets resolved, as libertarians, we want it to work out so the songwriters get paid for their work. Or is fuck them suppose to be the mantra on this issue?

    Kind of like fair trade coffee right? Seriously, as attractive as the labor theory of value is, the idea should not be that just because someone worked hard making something, they are owed some guaranteed price for it.

    If musicians privately demanded people agree to forego copying music and enforced these contracts out of their own pockets, I would not have a problem with that.

    It is the demand that tax-payers enforce copyrights, and the automatic granting of copyrights to anything under the sun, and the criminal penalties even for inadvertently producing a similar pattern that gets my dander up.

  43. “”””””Prevents actual ownership? Yeah, that is a hell of a business model.”””””

    It’s made Microsoft Billions. You don’t own any MS product. Most software for that matter. You are licensed to use it only if you agree to certain conditions. And if MS revokes your license, you will not be able to use that for which you paid decent money.

  44. “Slash seems to have no such qualms about bitching over leaked tracks, and went so far as to hate on Cogill to the L.A. Times, officially surpassing Lars Ulrich of Metallica for the title of Biggest Copyright Douchebag”

    So protecting your livelihood and protesting the theft of your intellectual property makes you a douchebag? How about I take some of your “work” and post it on a website and claim it as my own. I wonder how long it would take you to threaten me with some sort of legal repercussions, you stupid asshole.

  45. “They put him in handcuffs.”

    That is generally what they do with people who break the law.

  46. “They put him in handcuffs.”

    That is generally what they do with people who break the law.

    Yeah, like that black man and white woman who got married in Virginia in the 50’s. And those assholes who were caught hiding escaped slaves 100 years earlier.

    Fuckers had it coming, right B?

  47. Rock’n’roll — trivial music for trivial minds.

    They’re only important because the credulous masses worship them.

    And what would we lose if all rock music disappeared tomorrow?

  48. “Yeah, like that black man and white woman who got married in Virginia in the 50’s. And those assholes who were caught hiding escaped slaves 100 years earlier.

    Fuckers had it coming, right B?”

    Firstly, I am curious, how should a person who is arrested be treated? Should he have not been handcuffed by the police. Secondly, comparing someone being arrested and handcuffed for theft to slavery is just plain retarded.

  49. Yeah, what a douchbag. Me, I’m going all the way. I’m going to steal the computer I’ll use to download the songs, steal the CDs I’ll burn them onto, steal the iPod I’ll transfer the stolen songs to, etc. Dell and Apple are a bunch of rich douchebags anyway. They can afford it.

    In fact, I do not believe I should have to pay for anything that is the result of someone else’s hard work. You wrote a book? Give it to me for free. You made a movie, give it to me for free. You have no right to make a living or, God forbid, turn a profit, on anything produced from your talent or skills. Douchebag!

  50. “So protecting your livelihood and protesting the theft of your intellectual property makes you a douchebag?”

    No. It’s the hoping that somebody rots in jail for such a minor offense that makes Slash a douchebag. See, he’s “protecting his livelihood” while hoping that somebody else loses their livelihood, freedom and tight bunghole all because that person may or may not have created a more lucrative buzz for the album. That is why he’s a douchebag.

    Yeah, I know, it’s the same as stealing, robbery, burlarly, theft, kidnapping, piracy, hijacking, carjacking, etc.

  51. “You wrote a book? Give it to me for free.”

    What if I check it out of the library, then copy the book in my own handwriting, using my own paper and my own pen? Do I go to jail? Is it stealing? Did I ruin your livelihood?

    In fact…..libraries should be made illegal. Physical copies should be done away with. In the future you won’t purchase a copy. You’ll purchase a license to view certain media within a specified time. I gotta hand it to Jack Valenti and Sonny Boner. They really changed the understanding of copyright law. And by “understanding” of course, I mean calling it by any number of other unrelated crimes.

  52. B, you would know retarded. I’ve told you over and over- Never go full retard- but you never listen.

  53. Re: handcuffs: “That is generally what they do with people who break the law.”

    It’s a little bizarre because copyright infringement has only recently become a “crime” (though the bootlegging version of copyright infringement has been a crime for awhile) because of lobbyist cash. So it’s a little weird thinking that what has always been a civil liability issue now results in the cops cuffing you and throwing you in the sodomy pen.

  54. I’m surprised no one has said it yet:

    You can have anything you want, but you better not take it from me.

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