Copyright Violation Squad

THE Copyright Violation Squad (CVS) was formed in 1992 in an effort
to make publicly available certain cultural works which have been
suppressed because they theoretically violated copyright law. It is our
view at the CVS that, in spite of the questionable legal nature of these
releases, they are nonetheless valid products of cultural work —
ethically valid in their own right — and as such, deserve to be
heard by those who are interested in them.

Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2002 21:12:01 +0100
From: matthew fuller  


During the course of our ongoing research, members of the Copyright
Violation Squad were highly amused when they spotted the slogans "Don't
Steal Music" and "Don't Steal Content" in the small print of recent
advertisments for a well known, fruit- flavoured computer manufacturer.
Being mischievous, pesky types, they couldn't resist subtly altering
these somewhat negative admonishments to something much more positive,
and here's what they came up with: 
Steal Music Steal Content
To enable you to spread these messages among your contacts and collaborators, the Copyright Violation Squad have thoughtfully reproduced these two slogans on button badges, which we are making available at cost price. For 100 STEAL MUSIC & STEAL CONTENT 25mm/1 inch Button Badges send; 7.50 UK------12.00 euros/$12.00 EUROPE------$14.00 USA to; M.Pawson, P.O.Box 664, London, E3 4QR, UK

Three titles were originally put into redistribution by the
CVS. “All of these works are again legally available and are no longer
distributed by the CVS.”These were:
1. The CD Plunderphonic, made by Toronto’s
Mystery Labs (a.k.a. composer John Oswald). This recording was
threatened by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA),
apparently on behalf of Michael Jackson, for violation of copyright.
Oswald was forced to turn over the master tapes and all undistributed
copies of the disc were destroyed, in spite of the fact that he was
giving them away and had them pressed with money from his own pocket.

VISIT the Vacuvox website to find out more about this work.

2. The third title redistributed by CVS is John
Oswald’s CD Rubaiyát, which was an application
of the Plunderphonic concept to Elektra Record’s back catalog of
releases. Elektra got wind of Oswald’s row with the CRIA and
decided to commission Oswald to make a work commemorating the 40th
anniversary of Elektra records. The promo-only CD EP was withdrawn from
circulation by Elektra (someone at the Doors’ estate didn’t
like it) and Oswald requested that CVS add it to its roster. 

VISIT the Vacuvox website to find out more about this work.

3. The single U2 by Negativland.  Although it is
unclear what the members of U2 think, they allowed their management to
file suit against Negativland and SST Records, and rack up some $70,000
in legal fees. Once again, the master tapes were turned over to the
plaintiff and all remaining copies of the single in all formats were
destroyed. In addition, the copyright, which was held by Negativland/SST
was turned over to Island, making them the “owner” of the
recorded work.

VISIT the Negativland website.

How to Get Your Copy
All of the works mentioned on this page are currently available on
line as Mp3 sound files. Many more similar works are also available at 

VISIT the Detritus Archive.

CVS Bulletin
A spin-off from this activity was the release in 1993 of the first
and only issue of “The Bulletin of the Copyright Violation
Squad”. It presents a variety of views surrounding the issue of
copyright, particularly as it pertains to music. Features include
countering views from Negativland and their former record lable SST, as
well as essays by Luke McGuff and Fortner Anderson. 
You can download and read the “CVS Bulletin, first dispatch” in PDF

READ the CVS Bulletin [PDF, 1 MB].

N© 20020502 [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] 2001-10-01