…and once again, the fight is in Sweden.

by Duke

Universal Music – like any major label these days – is desperate for cash flow. So desperate that they are willing to make internationally public jackasses of themselves for the slightest scrap of a royalty.

As Techdirt reports, the former giant got a play shut down over the erroneous assumption that the theater owed them money. Apparently the company owns a record that plays in the background at one point in the play.

“De tre Mustket√∂rerna” (a play about a group of friends in the aftermath of a cancelled Simon & Garfunkel show in Riga) has already made the rounds in Europe and Canada, and not without critical acclaim.

Universal wants their piece of the action, since they obviously have a stake in whatever happens to the “Sounds of Silence.”

Now Paul Simon (via his media rep Eddie Simon) has thrown his hat in the ring. He was quick to point out that:

a) He had nothing to do with the move to cancel the play;

b) He is disappointed in the cancellation;

c) Universal does not represent him in theatre contracts.

Let me highlight that last one again. Universal Music made a copyright claim on something they don’t own.

Reminds me of the one about a guy who used an unlicensed Aretha Franklin sample on a demo he sent to Kanye West. When Kanye turned crawfist and used the exact same sample on one of his own tracks (after licensing it), the unknown artist in question asked his lawyer if they had a case against Kanye.

BTW, the lawyer laughed the guy out of his office.

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