Filmtracks 403 Error:
Access Denied to Fox Employees
On March 28th, 2002, Twentieth Century Fox presented Filmtracks.com with a
cease and desist letter demanding the removal of select coverage of the
popular musical Moulin Rouge. That same day, after yielding to Fox's
demands, Filmtracks published the cease and desist letter and the
Filmtracks response for thousands of visitors to view. On April 1st,
Filmtracks removed this public reaction to the legal threat from its home
page and the Moulin Rouge coverage. This action was taken by request of
Craig Armstrong's (the composer's) promotional representatives.
Despite our attempts to contact the Fox Intellectual Property Department,
Fox has not responded to our inquiries. The attorney for Fox (from Keats,
McFarland & Wilson, LLP) admitted over a telephone conversation that the
circumstances of Fox's handling of the contact in this situation were not
ideal. Filmtracks takes that assertion a step further: Fox was offensive
and engaged in unprofessional conduct towards a site that has labored long
and hard to fight illegal bootlegs and MP3 clips of Fox film soundtracks
on the web. Until this week, Filmtracks has been vigilent in stopping the
spread of illegal music files and bootlegs between soundtrack fans.
Despite those helpful actions we have taken to protect Fox property, Fox
decided to threaten Filmtracks with legal action over four promotional
Real Audio samplings of 30 seconds or less. In addition, Fox failed to
recognize that Filmtracks is not a run of the mill amateur fan site. On
the contrary, Filmtracks is responsible for pushing sales of hundreds of
units of the Moulin Rouge albums for Interscope and Fox. The best interest
of the composers, record producers, labels, musicians, and studios is also
the interest of Filmtracks.
Thus, in sum, Fox's legal threat towards Filmtracks is not only
unwarranted, but exposes an ignorance on the part of Fox's Intellectual
Property Department about Filmtracks' mission and purpose, as well as the
functionality of soundtrack sites on the web. Before threatening a
soundtrack site next time, Fox should try the simple approach: e-mail! You might be surprised
how well it works with those of us who support you.
If Fox's Intellectual Property Department is willing to recognize
Filmtracks as something other than a non-complying criminal operation,
then you would discover that I am very willing to assist you in your
efforts by telling you what I know about the Moulin Rouge bootleg market
that is proliferating the Internet. Otherwise, Fox employees are no longer
welcome at Filmtracks.