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This is my original capsule summary and the Debristream e-mail response:"My Own Private Waco": Debristream, Eden to Eden. An MP3.com song from a political metal band. The name of the album, "Eden to Eden," is the title of a poem by David Koresh, and also the name of another track on the album. http://www.toluene-recordings.com/index.html
Subject: Legal infringement upon
representation and reputation. Warning 1 of 1.
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001 07:26:05 +0000
hi fuck head(wacocult@yahoo.***),
1- you listed our band(Debristream) as being 'political'. REMOVE THAT NOW
2- you linked what you claimed was a debristream song to an
on mp3.com. REMOVE THAT NOW ASSHOLE(wacocult@yahoo.***).
when I told you that you could use material from our site,
i never gave you
permission to mis-represent or make false pretense to what Debristream is
about or to misdirect people to other artists while using our band name and
either fix your bullshit statements and links or lose your
fucking site and
the right to use the fucking internet.
ft:this electronic transmission has been submitted to our
representative and has been entered and notorized as a legal document.
I'll talk about the link first. Yes, I made an honest mistake, and linked to another song I was adding at the time. All individual song pages on MP3.com have the title, "MP3.com - Song Detail," which can make it hard to keep them straight when several are bookmarked. I thought I was being careful, but obviously not careful enough. A polite note alerting me to my error would have sufficed to get the problem fixed.
However, I do not appreciate being talked to as if I were deliberately "misdirecting people." Further, if visitors proceeded to MP3.com, they would see that the song title, band name, album name, and musical genre were all different from the song they came for. True, the unobservant might just click on the audio file without noticing. But why would I want to sabotage a band I had never heard of before, to benefit another band I had never heard of before? Plus, I also had a link to their own homepage besides the MP3.com link, whereas for most entries I have only one. If I wanted to "misdirect" people, why would I provide a good link as well as a bad link?
Now for the second matter, which is more complicated. Did I make a mistake in thinking they were a "political" band? Could be. My search for ever more obscure songs to add to my list has put me in situations where I have to rely on very limited information. For example, let's say I find a review in the "Smalltown Gazette Online" that says, "Hometownboyz, the local punk band, brought the house down with 'Waco Song,' their song on the 1993 Branch Davidian siege." I'd go back to the search engine and look for more information on Hometownboyz and their song. If it turns out there are no other results for the Hometownboyz, then my entry will probably mention that they are a punk band, even if that is actually not how most people see them and not how they see themselves.
Debristream is one of those cases where I was operating on limited information. I freely admit that I did not familiarize myself with their every album before drawing my conclusion. With all the bands that are on the list, I don't have the time or the money to do that for each listing. And since I am focusing on Waco songs, I don't even particularly care to listen to all of Debristream's albums, especially now. So, I could have made a mistake.
But now that I know Debristream takes issue with being called "political," I should consider the matter settled, right? Well, not necessarily. Just because someone does not agree with someone else's perception of them does not mean that that perception is untrue or groundless. For instance, if I were to say that "Bill Clinton is a liar," I am sure he would disagree with my assessment. However, if he were to send me an e-mail saying, "hi fuck head, you called me a 'liar', REMOVE THAT NOW ASSHOLE," I would not take that as the definitive word on whether or not he was a liar. I would have the right to my opinion.
So, if Mr. Kubit denies that his band is "political," that doesn't automatically mean that it isn't. Let me lay out what it was that led to my conclusion in the first place.
At first, all I had was the title of the song. It might be a reference to the Waco siege, but not necessarily. When I proceeded to the band's page on MP3.com, I found that the song was on an album called "Eden to Eden." This was the same title as a poem written by David Koresh, which made it seem even more likely that the song was inspired by the 1993 tragedy.
I then went to the band/label site, and there on their main page, was a famous quote from Benjamin Franklin (since removed), about those who would trade liberty for security. (There is also an image of Koresh's skull, though I didn't know it was his until later.)
This made it seem even more likely that the song was siege-inspired, but I sent an e-mail inquiry to make sure. Mr. Kubit confirmed my belief, and added this second message:
Subject: Re: Debristream
Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2001 08:45:36 +0000
just another quick note alex. if you think that Waco was the
be all / end
all of corrupt practices in this country, then I strongly suggest that you
begin placing the critical magnifying glass you seem to have for Waco,
against the events happening TODAY. it is more relevant and far more
important. I think that the outpouring of inspired songs from 1993-94 was
simply a prelude and perhaps a premonition of what we might (currently will)
face. just some food for thought.
Also, our record label is called Toluene not 'Tuolene'.
So, I had a band that names one of its albums after a David Koresh poem, quotes Ben Franklin on liberty, and sends me an e-mail aside implying that this nation is riddled with "corrupt practices," and "strongly suggesting" that I should be concerned about the "relevant" and "important" "events happening TODAY." This certainly left me with the impression that the band had political concerns.
[I planned to add more text to this section, but this is turning out to be more effort than it's worth right now. Plus, this is also proving more time-consuming than I expected, and I feel a duty to my visitors, if not the obnoxious Mr. Kubit, to provide them with an accurate link as soon as possible. So I'll hold off for now, and see how things go.]
In further response to what I said, some changes were made to the Debristream
site. The Ben Franklin quote was removed, and this paragraph was added
to the "News" page:
First, he speaks in the plural, of "reviewers" and "imbeciles." This implies that someone else reached the same conclusion I did, which supports the idea that there were grounds for thinking this. I should note that after his angry e-mail, I went looking for more information on Debristream, and didn't find ANY reviews of the band.
Second, I don't consider myself to be "reviewing" these songs, but "listing" them. I haven't even heard most of them, and I have avoided passing judgment even on the few I have heard, with one exception. I am simply trying to compile songs, and provide a little bit of background information on the song or band so people can decide whether they want to look further. This could change, but right now I am not trying to "review" these songs.
Third, I think his comment about "retarded imbeciles" only serves to make himself look foolish, but someone so concerned with "misrepresentation" shouldn't be making a statement like this which isn't literally true. It seems worse to call someone a "retarded imbecile" than "political" (though not as bad as calling them a "fuck head" or "asshole"). Maybe I should threaten to take away his "fucking site" and "right to use the fucking internet" unless he stops this "misrepresentation?"
[I planned to add more text here as well.]
One final point. Some people might say that I'm only playing into his hands by making this dispute public. There is an old saw, "all publicity is good publicity." There are many songs in my list, and it is easy to get lost in the crowd. They might say that I'm helping Debristream to stand out, which will redound to his benefit. Well, it might get him noticed, but if it actually makes people more eager to buy his wares, I can only feel sorry for those people. But I suspect that even if his short fuse perversely plays to his advantage in this case, that it cannot fail to catch up to him in the long run. This sort of obnoxiousness will make itself felt in hostile club owners, frosty reviewers, alienated fans, and disgruntled bandmates. Indeed, this may already be affecting the group. In trying to dig up more information on Debristream, I was unable to find any fan sites or any reviews online. There could be many explanations for this, but I wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Kubit's attitude were one of them.
Back to Waco Songs
Not surprisingly, Debristream was not placated. I received the following e-mail:
From: "toluene recordings" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 03 Mar 2002 08:18:49 +0000
Sorry if Steve Kubit's emails offended you. Please notice that we
used your name, likeness or website on our site. You are not the only
lunatic that we have had to deal with. To answer your insane ramblings, No
we dont have band problems, club owner problems or any other problem. We do
however run into self-rightous nut cases quite often. We do not consider you
to be any authority whatsoever in the music business and our only real
problem is you making disparaging statements to the public. I think you
should become aware of some very specific terms here that might wind you up
in a very sticky legal situation. Defamation of character is a serious
infraction and it's pretty clear that that is what you are attempting to do
with one of our Artists. Please be aware that we will be filing suit against
you, your website and anyone else involved with your seemingly delusional
attacks on character of our artists. Obnoxiousness is not a legal
infringement and frankly we encourage our Artists to speak thier minds
whenever possible. However we have never endorsed public slander of any
individual, group or organization. It is clear that you are attempting to
draw more people to your site by using these very practices. It will be made
perfectly clear to you in the next few weeks that we take these type of
attacks very seriously. Also, changes to our website are not based on your
opinion or anyone elses. The world does orbit you sir. You may want to spend
some time getting a life and stop obsessing about music you think you
Toluene Recordings Legal Advisor
This electronic transmission has been notorized as a legal document.
As I prepared to reply to this e-mail, I decided I should see if their
news page had anything more about this dispute. I found that they had deleted
their December entry calling me a "retarded imbecile," and added this one:
Naturally, I'm not pleased with their latest attacks. I will post my reply when I write it, but needless to say, the idea that I am a child pornographer and wanted sex criminal is ridiculous, and this new tactic shows that they know they don't have a legitimate case against me.
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