Although they were filed in June, it wasn’t until earlier this week that it came to light that Century Media has filed lawsuits against 7,000 people that illegally downloaded albums by Iced Earth and Lacuna Coil. Century Media hasn’t issued an official statement on the lawsuits yet, they did tell us on Monday that no one in the U.S. office had any knowledge of the suit being filed. Iced Earth mastermind Jon Schaffer weighed in on the suits via a post on his Facebook page:
It has come to my attention that Century Media is suing fans over illegal downloads of (among others) our latest album Dystopia. I felt it was important to clarify that we had no knowledge of this motion and were, sadly, not asked permission.
We all know the music industry is changing. We have been adapting to this model by embracing legal streaming services such as Spotify and by bringing our music to places we have never played before by touring our proverbial asses off.
As much as we respect that the labels are having a harder time selling music, we feel this is a misguided effort and want to make sure our fans know we would have not given our consent would we have been asked.
It’s kind of a tough situation for Schaffer. Just ask Metallica or All Shall Perish how fans reacted when they were sued for downloading their material. If you take a hard line stance against people that illegally download music, you’re alienating a lot of people that might not otherwise hear your music. On the other hand, downloading music via file-sharing services is still illegal. If Century Media is just trying to get out-of-court settlements for a few thousand dollars from all 7,000 of these people, it’s doubtful that they’d share any of that with the artists. But while Schaffer and Iced Earth aren’t advocating people steal music, their wish to not prosecute their fans should be respected.