Century Media Files Lawsuit Against 7,500 Iced Earth And Lacuna Coil Pirates

If you've pirated music from Lacuna Coil or Iced Earth, you could be one of the 7,500 people facing fines from their label Century Media. Find out more about the lawsuit here.

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Following Tuesday's news that 7,500 people who illegally pirated music by Lacuna Coil and Iced Earth will be sued by their label Century Media, the lawsuit has been posted online.

While the lawsuit does not identify the fans by name, their IP addresses have been logged and could be used to find out their names and addresses so the label can issue fines - even if they didn't mean to share the material online.

There's a good chance that some UG readers will be affected, so let's explain exactly how some people accidentally shared music without realising.

Music that is 'torrented' is essentially downloaded straight from other people's computers around the world, rather than from a 'server' which is where online files are usually stored. When you complete the torrent download, it continues 'seeding' (where other people download the album from you).

The problem is, many people don't realise that they're technically sharing the music to other people, and that the IP address is publicly available while they do so.

What will happen next? It seems that the label will try to convince the court that the people behind these IP addresses need to be identified. If so, the pirates will be sent a letter which could fine them thousands of dollars - unless they want to fight the charges, but lawyers don't come cheap either.

"It's tough. If you get one of these letters you've been put in a difficult and unfair spot," said Rebecca Jeschke, a spokeswoman for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "In many of these situations, the goal doesn't seem to be to fight infringement; it seems to be to get settlements. That's where the money-making is."

You can read through the lawsuit here:

Century Media Ltd v Does 1 944 No 12 Cv 3868 (DNJ)

The lesson is, don't pirate music. There are plenty of ways to access music legally and for free. Try Spotify, Toma.hk or Rdio.

Of course, you can still support the labels and buy direct from them too - though Century Media could easily face a backlash for taking their fans to court.

Do you know anyone who has been affected? Are Century Media doing the right thing? Let us know your opinion in the comments.

137 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    Abacus11
    Well, I've never downloaded Lacuna Coil or Iced Earth so I guess I'm good.
    iommi600
    This. Now I'll just open a bottle of wine and celebrate for the many dollars that I won't have to spend.
    IlikeMetal
    All I can say is I'm glad it's only their latest respective albums which were targeted.
    irnmdn2000
    Because if this is at all successful there is no way any other record, movie, book, etc., company will follow suit right? Pun intended.
    Hamburger89
    I still prefer downloading an album before buying it. If it's good enough I'll buy it and maybe even go to a concert. Without the internet I would still be listening to pop music.
    Shortround
    Youtube, iTunes, Soundcloud, CDbaby, Spotify, and Pandora are all great ways to sample music without ripping off the artist. Other online media that post reviews and news such as Pitchfork, UG (a bit), Gigwise, NPR, and Metacritic allow anyone who could download from torrents to discover new music. Any artist whose music can't be found online to sample legally is probably retarded, I mean, even myspace had legal streaming features. So if you think illegally downloading is the only way to expand your musical horizons, then you are narrow-minded and/or lazy.
    Wininacan
    bullshit, youre still getting the music for free, theyre just sueing because they want money. If they didnt just want the money then they wouldnt care about the torrenting, because the goal of free distribution on places like spotify is to get the bands name out there, torrenting does the same thing, but they CAN sue so they do
    Shortround
    They don't JUST care about the money, but when bands record on million dollar consoles like an SSL 9000, and the label pays through the nose for a producer, engineers, and mastering engineers, they're in the hole and can't fund the next band's project until they make money back on the record. A dinky little home studio just won't give the same quality as a professional top dollar studio. Ripping off the labels isn't sticking it to the man, the execs are businessmen, they'll turn a profit at the artists' expense. If a label isn't making enough, they don't cut back exec pay, they don't sign bands, which means no one has the money to pay for studios, which means the entire industry suffers, quality included. Back to the main argument, It's the difference between looking at blueprints and stealing blueprints, if you don't value intelectual property, then you don't respect the time and effort put into creating anything, whether it be educational programs, inventions, music, or other information. Essentially, you don't value time, effort, and the human mind.
    MrDC
    The industry needs to change and adapt to the internet. Rather than trying to scare us into buying a likey-to-be-obsolete-soon product. Maybe Mega-Box will turn out decent..
    Dannystrumpop
    I really don't understand the need to torrent this stuff anymore. The article hit the nail on the head really. If you want a physical copy, buy it. Can't afford it? Try something like amazon or itunes, it tends to be cheaper. Can't afford that? Use a streaming service for the time being until you can. Times aren't just tough for the consumer and whether or not you think the record companies and distributors are evil they are still people who need their jobs just like we do. In comparison, I remember years ago when the Xbox 360 came out and I couldn't immediately afford it even though I was dying for it. I saved up for a few weeks and bought it after working weekends at a crummy factory job putting envelopes in bags (yeah, seriously). I didn't smash the windows of GAME and walk on out with one.
    tompac5
    I knew i shouldn't have downloaded that 15 terabytes of porn today
    hudsonstradlin
    I think that technically they are doing the "right" thing, but it's still a shitty move. Just like technically correcting someone's grammar during a conversation is "right," you're still kind of a douchebag hehe.
    dewitt
    It's not 'right' to correct someone's grammar in a conversation. 9 times out of 10, they either know they're saying it wrong and don't care (or they prefer to say it that way), or they don't know and don't care. Either way, they don't care, and it has no effect other than to make you seem like you think you're better than them, as well as sometimes killing the conversation. This lawsuit is also not the 'right' thing to do, because they're essentially punishing a large number of people who have an interest in their product. Sure, they're not interested enough to pay for the music, but they went out of their way to be able to hear it. The 'right' thing to do would be: a) get a court order to identify the owners of the IP addresses and bill them directly with standard CD prices; b) get a court order to bill the IPs (a reasonable amount) anonymously through their ISPs; or, my personal favorite, c) suck it up, accept their 'losses' (i.e., 'potential' money lost), and get their material out on every streaming service available, as to maximize their listeners/profit through advertising, etc. Oh, but I forgot... streaming services "aren't the way forward" for Century Media, although they can be a great way to get your product heard, while getting paid for each listen. However, apparently, they're 'better' than that, yet not above taking their potential/pseudo fans to court and taking what will likely be more than a year's salary, potentially and effectively destroying a few lives along the way. Sure, it wasn't 'right' to download the albums, either, but so far, nobody is right here.
    plindqui
    One of the big problems with that plan is it simply costs the music industry too much to "get a court order." You have to hire lawyers, pay legal fees and go through the lengthy process of litigating a case to get this sort of order. Just charging for the price of the CD doesn't cover all these costs, so the industry has to try for more damages to cover these costs. Plus, some of the money is punitive - it doesn't go to the industry, it goes to the court as a means to punish illegal downloads and dissuade future illegal downloads Is it a shitty situation? Of course - for everyone involved. Recording artists and labels have a right to protect their copyrighted property. But it's expensive to so. A few downloads here and there may not have much effect on the record label, but they're still entitled to protect their property and have to expend so much to do so. And people charged are lawbreakers and liable for the (even miniscule) damage they have caused. But the damage amounts and number of cases for illegal downloading are ridiculously high.
    dewitt
    That is all correct, which is why the choice I listed for C was my favorite. There doesn't have to be a loser in this situation. Everyone can win, but Century Media is making themselves out to be a greedy company that has no interest in the livelihood of their potential customers. Also, I read somewhere that even prolific artists are making more money through streaming than through album sales these days, anyway. I can understand Century Media's stance on the lawsuit and not wanting to have their stuff streaming, but at the same time, you can't bully the music world into working the way you want it to (unless you're Apple). You could/would (theoretically) make more money through album sales, but that doesn't mean you will .
    plindqui
    You're right that record companies can't just bully the music world into working the way they want it to, but they can take measures to prevent the music world from working in a way that's harmful to them. It may not be as harmful as they make it seem (Not every illegally downloaded song = a song that would have been paid for legally). But music piracy is harmful to the recording industry, and even joining forces with legal and free streaming services won't stop that
    plindqui
    My point is more that what this lawsuit represents is a sad reality about the legal copyright system in its current state - it hasn't adapted to the rapidly changing technology that has made possible the mass music piracy we are currently faced with. The current system promotes an inefficient means for artists/record companies to protect their work and levies unreasonable punishment on those people charged with music piracy. Although the whole situation would be better if no one pirated or illegally shared music, we are better off shaping a new system to deal with the issue than trying to eradicate it or "bully" it into submission
    LesThanPaul
    I think the first poster is using 'right' as in legally correct, which it is. These people, whether intentional or not, stole a product or assisted in it. "Sure, they're not interested enough to pay for the music, but they went out of their way to be able to hear it" This is what's wrong with the whole piracy mindset. What makes you think you're entitled to this music that the band spent a lot of time making?
    dewitt
    Actually, they didn't technically steal anything. For something to be stolen, the victim must have lost possession of their property. They made and distributed illegal copies. This is more along the lines of going home and programming a computer to build a few Fords out of your own parts that are a perfect replica, without Ford seeing a dime for it, keeping one for your own use and handing out the others to a few other people. It's a copyright infringement, not a theft. Also, I never said that I condone the fact that anyone feels entitled to other people's hard work for free. I said that they are targeting 7,000-8,000 people who have at least a slight interest in the product that they have to offer. I could be wrong, but I don't see Iced Earth or Lacuna Coil having huge fanbases, and they're taking a large portion of them to court in a frivolous lawsuit. I agree that it's shitty that people feel entitled to free music, but you can't really stop them, and making a point to pull all of your material from streaming services leaves them only two options if they want to hear it: buy it or download it. If they can't afford it, yet still want to hear it, they're going to download it. If the record label would maybe be less big-headed about it, a large portion of the offenders would likely stream the music in Spotify or something similar, allowing for advertising to pay for their listens.
    mutex77
    Interesting analogy about making Ford parts at home. Many 60s Shebly Mustangs I see are actually regular mustangs that people put shelbys parts on. All those musclecar parts are being made by other people now. Many of those hot rods you see arent original 32 fords, they're fiberglass kit cars or custom made. I havent seen a "real" 65-67 cobra since the 70s aside from magazines. Ive never heard of Ford or GM doing anything about any of this, despite owning the trademarks and having a legal right aside from 2 lawsuits involving 6 figure prototype cars. Thats not something the average joe brings to the local car show. Im guessing they assume the backlash would be worse than the paldry sums they'd end up with suing the average person thats already in debt to 10k. Its too band there wasnt some huge metal band that tried this but then suffered a backlash from fans to show how little a company really gains from doing this....oh wait..
    limpidgreen345
    It is theft. Copyright infringement is theft of intellectual property. When you purchase a CD, you simply own a means by which you can listen to content but you don't own the content itself. At no point do you have the right to distribute the content. It's exactly like most commercial software if you read through a EULA sometime. You own a license to use the software but you don't actually own the software. The defendants in this lawsuit aren't there because they downloaded music - they are there because they distributed the music through the "seeding" process.
    dewitt
    Also, I'd like to add that there's really no way to say that each one of the offenders here didn't purchase the album after downloading. If that is the case for any one of them, they're not suing potential customers; they're suing actual customers for making an informed purchase, as opposed to a blind purchase. It really sounds to me as though Century Media has no confidence in their product. After pulling their material from the streaming services, it kind of sounds like they're scared that no one will want to buy their stuff if they're allowed to sample it. I'm not saying they're wrong in thinking that (I wouldn't pay to hear that stuff; actually I'd pay someone to turn it off), but you've got to believe in your own product before you can expect anyone else to.
    LesThanPaul
    I agree with a lot of what you're saying. I don't know how that would work out if someone who received this lawsuit was able to prove that they bought the record as well. But either way, the record companies are out of sync with how people are consuming their music. A lot of people like the free previews, such as a stream before they spend money on the actual album or a concert. That being said, I still don't like people who use that as a justification for piracy. And getting technical about how it's not actually stealing still doesn't make it right either. Yes, you didn't actually go and steal the master recordings, but the what it comes down to is that you own something that you didn't properly pay for. Intellectual property still deserves protection.
    plindqui
    "I agree with a lot of what you're saying. I don't know how that would work out if someone who received this lawsuit was able to prove that they bought the record as well." It's not just about ownership of the stuff that's being pirated. You are allowed to make multiple copies of a record that you own (i.e. Burn CDs for your car, rip it to iTunes). What's illegal is distributing those copies to others. A person can be guilty of such distribution if they download the music then seed it for others to torrent. It's probably why so many people are involved in the lawsuit - it's hard to tell who downloaded what and who seeded what, but all their IP addresses are attached to the pirated music.
    LesThanPaul
    Ya, I get the multiple copies thing. I was more referring to the situation what if you bought the record and lost it, then torrented it? I personally don't really see anything wrong with that, but I don't know how that's viewed by the law.
    plindqui
    Legally, it's probably wrong. By torrenting, you're not making a copy of something you actually own - you're getting a copy of something owned by someone else. Even though you once owned it, you've lost/destroyed it and no longer have the ability to make copies of it.
    limpidgreen345
    Exactly. If you've ever used BitTorrent it's very easy to tell who is distributing actually - I'm sure Century Media found and downloaded their own copyrighted material and simply recorded the IP addresses of the seeders they were getting it from.
    SOADplayer2
    All these types of stories make me nervous. I used to use Limewire 5 or so years ago when I was about 15. I didn't know any better and file sharing wasn't policed at all. To think that I could be fined thousands of pounds for what I did 5 years ago as an ignorant child is pretty scary...
    zalant
    I see this as a cautionary tale to people to educate themselves on what programs do. Presumably, these people willingly chose to download and install the torrent software. If they didn't realize that they were sharing the music on their computers, that's negligence. I admit that I've used BitTorrent a few times, but when I first installed it, I checked out all that it was capable of, then disabled the outbound abilities, both within the program and via my firewall. I'm not saying that doing that will necessarily protect anyone from future traces on what you might/might not download, but it's a start. Please do not misunderstand; this isn't some "I'm smarter than those people" post. I'm trying to point out the need for everyone who uses computers to take more control of their own lives/situations by knowing what is going on behind the screen, keyboard, and mouse. Don't be a slave to technology -- be the master.
    Pagan_Poetry
    That document... tl;dr also because I didn't have to read it, but nonetheless I feel sorry for those of you who have to, not just because of how freaking long it is but also because of how shitty your situation is.
    Northernmight
    As long as i can still watch the same home-made pictureslide/video on youtube of Iced Earth's "Dracula" that i've been watching since i was 15, then i'm fine.
    dewitt
    ...which is essentially the same thing as what they're suing over. They're not likely to see a single red cent for many of the user-uploaded YouTube videos, but they're not concerned with that. That may be a different record label altogether, but you're listening to their music without paying, creating a copy of it that is stored on your computer temporarily (easily copied so it's there permanently), and somebody's not getting paid for the music you're listening to. It's the same thing, but they're not interested in pursuing that.
    plindqui
    It's actually very different - YouTube has started to track when copyrighted material is posted by its users. In some cases, YouTube pays royalties to the owner of the copyrights so their users' material can stay online. But YouTube also informs its users when they post material that has been copyrighted and inform them that they may be asked by the owner of the copyright to take it down. And YouTube usually complies with such requests to avoid legal issues. It is - again - an inefficient system, but it at least gives copyright/music owners some amount of control over their creative work. This is of course as compared to torrenting and filesharing where copyright owners generally have no control or idea what's being done with their property
    Prog_Metal_Head
    This dead horse has had the shit beat out of a it a million times over by now. The whole downloading issue, "are the labels right?" etc has been argued to death. At the end of the day, whether you think it's right or not, the people who do illegal downloading know that what they're doing is wrong, and have to accept the risk that comes with it. I have no problem if other people want to download, but too many people do so thinking they'll never be one of the "unlucky ones" who get caught.
    AcdcTXfan
    "Of course, you can still support the labels and buy direct from them too - though Century Media could easily face a backlash for taking their fans to court." I think the second part of this sentence says it all.
    qrEE
    I know that my opinion is probably worthless to other readers, but here's my take on it - After record labels make all of their money by stealing it from the artists, how can they then turn around and steal money from the FANS for stealing the material where the proceeds SHOULD have gone to the band but went to the label anyways? In other words, fans aren't stealing from the bands, fans are stealing from the labels, who are themselves stealing from the bands. Record contracts are designed to screw over the bands, to the point that the only way they can make money is through touring. So not buying the record isn't THAT bad, but in order to give people what they DESERVE, pay the BANDS by going to their shows, and buying merch. The labels don't need to screw over the bands and the fans in order to make their money. They need to NEGOTIATE. Because this kind of thing is going to lead to MORE pirating, as a result of people not wanting to pay for albums where the proceeds go to the people that tried to sue them.
    broken ipod
    of course the bands make the decision to sign with the labels, unfair at the necessity for it, maybe, but at the same time its not stealing. this is like someone agreeing to to work for 7.50 at a store then feeling cheated for his hard work. He then allows his friends to come in and steal from the store under his watch because he feels he getting his "stolen" time and money back
    qrEE
    You have to consider that contracts are not too clear about what happens, and the companies can change the contract without your knowledge. They can screw you over in ways you couldn't imagine. They tell you all of the good things and then forget all of the bad things. It's like being told that you'll work for 7.50 an hour, and then they deduct 5 bucks out of every hour. You have to be REALLY careful to NOT get screwed over. And what's even worse is that they make it feel like even if you know you're getting screwed, there is no other option, and they'd be partially right... DIY is very hard to make money off of.
    J-Dawg158
    It doesn't matter if a contract is clear or not. If you agree to it then no matter how ridiculous its terms are you are bound to it. Most contracts stipulate that the holder can change the terms whenever they like and if you agree to that then you have no right to bitch. Don't like the terms, don't sign it.
    limpidgreen345
    Yes, you do have to be really careful. Pay attention. Not everybody out there has your back. Welcome to the real world.