In 2008, Kevin “Skwerl” Cogill of website The Antiquiet was sent nine tracks from Guns N’ Roses’ long-in-the-works Chinese Democracy. He put the tracks, allegedly swiped from Interscope head Jimmy Iovine’s office by a courier a year prior, on the site. Three e-mails to several websites later, the site’s server crashed under all of the traffic, and the songs were gone. End of story, right? Wrong. An hour later, Cogill got a phone call, and within two weeks, he was being investigated by the FBI. While Cogill cooperated with everyone, 2 1/2 months later, he was arrested at his home by the FBI at gunpoint.
Cogill’s story is pretty amazing. While he wound up avoiding jail time, he was definitely dragged through the legal wringer, despite the fact that bootlegged versions of the album had been available for months, and the hype over his arrest led to spikes in interest of Guns N’ Roses and Chinese Democracy, which finally came out later that year. Five years after he first put up the files, bands are almost expected to “leak” a track via their label or management, and if a high-profile band like GN’R isn’t streaming their album the weekend before it comes out, it’s almost seen as a negative. Not that the RIAA or FBI wouldn’t get involved if a prominent record was leaked, but it seems like it would almost be viewed as part of the promotional campaign as an album. Cogill’s story seems like it might have taken place decades ago, but to see that it happened just five years ago is a bit eye-opening. The whole story can be viewed here.