Battle of the Bands


| August 4, 2003


Garage bands of the world, beware: the chords of E and F could soon cost you millions in licensing fees. According to an MTV.com report, Metallica is suing Canadian indie rock band Unfaith for trademark infringement due to their 'unsanctioned usage' of the chords E and F. 'We're not saying we own those two chords, individually,' Metallica's Lars Ulrich assures. 'We're just saying that in that specific order, people have grown to associate E, F with our music.' The band is not requesting a cease and desist -- merely to receive credit when the chords appear, and 50 percent of all revenues from any songs utilizing them. Ulrich declared his intention 'to enforce our rights with any band intending to use Metallica-branded chords in the future.'

Okay, okay, so none of this really happened. But we had you there for a minute, right? This clever hoax, engineered by Montreal singer/songwriter Erik Ashley, had us believing, too, briefly. And we weren't the only ones. In an explanation on the Unfaith website, Ashley says that within 24 hours after the hoax went live on July 15, the story was reported as fact by such venerable news outlets as CNN, MSNBC, and Rolling Stone. Even ABC's Jimmy Kimmel mentioned it on his late night TV talk show. Perhaps most bizarre, says Ashley, was the way the story took on a life of its own. 'Even as we exposed the prank on our own website, fans continued to write in and argue that the story had to be real, because they heard it on the radio and saw it on TV.'

We're sorry to burst anyone's bubble. We wanted to believe it was true, too. We have heard, however, that the news of the Metallica suit prompted lawyers for the Children's Television Workshop -- owner of the Sesame Street franchise -- to issue a statement vowing strict enforcement of its copyright on the letters L and M and the number 12.
-- Erin Ferdinand and Leif Utne

Go there>>Metallica Sue Canadian Band over E, F Chords

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