Why I’m scared of James Blunt
Earlier this afternoon an envelope arrived on my desk containing the posh troubadour’s latest album ‘Some Kind of Trouble’. Not the best freebie in the world I know but the odd James Blunt album is kind of an occupational hazard for music writers.
Now, I’m not particularly interested in hearing what my esteemed colleague Larry Ryan described as “beige platitude-based inanities for people who don’t like music”, so I planned to do what I normally do with unwanted freebies – have a quick listen then take it to a charity shop or give it away to friends.
My plans were scuppered however, when, on closer inspection, I noticed the CD contained the “You’re Beautiful” of legal threats.
It started rather confusingly with a label/seal stating:
“By opening this packaging you agree to the terms stated on the CD inside”
Huh? You mean to say I have to open the CD in order to discover the terms I’ve agreed to by actually opening it? What if it says something really terrible? What if the terms read “By opening this CD you agree to listen to it on repeat for the rest of the month”. I don’t think I could take that much James Blunt. That’s it, I’m definitely not going to open it – just in case.
It struck me that to get rid of this CD in a charity shop I would have to keep the seal intact and ensure that the new owner fully understood they were taking on what is essentially the neediest album I’ve ever come across. That could mean a lot of hanging around though and, even if the shopkeeper didn’t boot me out for loitering, I’m pretty sure having a guy read out the T&C’s of purchase would put most customers off.
Turns out it didn’t matter anyway as, on flipping over the CD, I discovered part two of Blunt’s legal threat.
“The audio on this disk is uniquely watermarked and can be traced to the recipient. It is your responsibility to keep this disc safe. The copyright owner will take all appropriate legal action for damage or losses caused by misuse.”
What???? But I didn’t even ask for it? I have to keep this disc ’safe’? Do I have to keep it warm too??? And safe from what? Is this some kind of challenge where others are out to hurt or damage the CD and I’m rated on my skills of defence? What kind of world do we live in when someone can come into their office one morning and, through no fault or intention of their own, find they have legally adopted a James Blunt album???
So, here I am sat at my desk with the CD staring up at me. I’m too scared to open in case doing so signs me up for something awful, I can’t give it away and I don’t seem able to throw it away either. So what do I with it? Is it destined to sit ’safe’ and unopened on my desk for all eternity? Should I embrace that fact and transform it into some kind of modern desk art – or will that enrage the ‘copyright owner’? It’s a pretty lame album cover so I don’t really want to look at it anyway. Maybe I could use it as a coaster – cover it up with mugs of coffee and just forget it exists? Or in doing that am I risking prosecution for “causing damage” should the coffee spill?
It’s a minefield. I now feel like every James Blunt fan around the world should feel on a daily basis. I wish I’d never got that bloody CD….Tagged in: james blunt, legal, scared
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