Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Still Here!

If any of my faithful readers have been curious as to my whereabouts the last few weeks, I want to assure you that Soundological is still here and let you know this hiatus has been due to a variety of reasons. Although you may be well aware of the technical difficulties I encountered not long ago, other events were transpiring in the background and I was waiting to see how they would play out. It's not often an over-zealous and under-educated record label executive threatens to close down Soundological and since it was implied that my behaviour would have a direct effect on other bloggers, I chose to lay low and see what happened. As expected, nothing.

In case you're interested in the nitty-gritty details of the issue, I am publishing the full and complete correspondence between myself and a certain James Hardge, Jr. (who claims to be the owner of the Black Jazz Records catalogue) for your edutainment. Note that the emails are unedited (except for a few URLs which have been truncated) and appear exactly as written by both parties for maximum comedy value.


from James H
reply-to James H
to soundological@gmail.com
date Thu, Feb 12, 2009 at 1:45 PM
subject Black Jazz
mailed-by earthlink.net
signed-by earthlink.net

Please remove the links and art work to Black Jazz Catalog
there is a guy how is linked to you El Goog Ja. Has the black Jazz
catalog and mp3 links up to its site. Tell him to remove the art
work from the site and the links. Im contacting Googles piracy dept
about this problem also. Thanks James Hardge CEO Black Jazz 5510 452 5299


from Cheeba
to James H
date Thu, Feb 12, 2009 at 5:51 PM
subject Re: Black Jazz
mailed-by gmail.com

Dear Mr. Hardge,

I would like to say "thank you" for your correspondence but unfortunately I am taken somewhat aback by your aggressive tone and lack of politesse. However, I do find it very encouraging that you would at least attempt to contact a blogger directly to air your concerns so I will do my utmost to assist you in resolving your complaint as best I can.

To whit, I have no Black Jazz links on my site: I host no Black Jazz label material (neither artwork nor music) nor do I have direct links to same (i.e., download links or artwork links) ergo I have no material to remove from my blog and must consider your complaint against me, as well as your ensuing demands pertaining to same, null, void and entirely without merit. If I have overlooked something, please reply and list the blog post(s) containing Black Jazz material on soundological.blogspot.com then I will gladly comply and immediately remove/amend them accordingly. Failing receipt of such information from you, I will consider the issue closed. Any further communication directing me to take action of any sort on behalf of Black Jazz records without first naming the offending material would then be met with the appropriate legal response from my advocate in the form of a cease & desist order.

Pursuant to that point, please bear in mind I am not responsible for material that does not originate on my blog. I do not personally know El Goog Ja nor do I have a method of communicating with him other than in the form of blog comments. I will not "tell" him (or anyone else) anything on your behalf, let alone direct him to take action of any shape or form regarding his personal blog. I will not request his link (or anyone else's) to my site be removed at your behest. Most importantly, I do not police others' Intellectual Property rights unless they provide a PO# allowing me to bill my time for same at the rate of $500 CDN per hour or portion thereof. Furthermore, I will not remove my link to El Goog Ja's blog either since it is not Black Jazz's IP and I technically link only to his RSS feed, not the Black Jazz catalogue on his site.

Please feel free to exercise your right to contact Google's "piracy" department, that is why they exist. However, I would suggest you continue your respectable attempts to contact bloggers directly regarding misuse of your IP as you will generally find them an agreeable bunch - even more so if you employ a polite and respectful tone in your communication with them. This would ultimately be to your advantage since sending a DMCA complaint to Google's Blogger service will mean the post is removed altogether thus reducing the visibility of the Black Jazz brand and its products. Dealing with the blog author(s) directly will usually mean that only a download link is removed or (even more advantageous to you) replaced by a link to somewhere a reader may obtain the material directly from the record company (unfortunately your www.blackjazz.com domain has expired so this is not really an option at present).


Cheeba @ Soundological


from James H
reply-to James H
to Cheeba
date Fri, Feb 13, 2009 at 10:27 AM
subject Black Jazz
mailed-by earthlink.net
signed-by earthlink.net

Remove all links pretaining to Black Jazz from you site. My website being down has nothing to do with you and your blog associates putting up free mp3's and my album covers up. It is straight up piracy. I like your site but your site is doing the same thing to other record companies,in which I am in contact with. It does not matter rather they are albums or in print or out of print you have no right to put art work and mp3's of record companies up without their consent don't believe me I will prove it within 5 working days. And let you and your crew explain it to Google and the record companies. You opened an can of worms,I was being nice. But if you think you can put up a blog of free music,, rather they are from lps's converted to mp'3s then you are out of your mine.

You think my tone is bad wait until you here Google & the Record Companies tone. Im drafting up certiefied lettes & emailing Google Blogs pircacy Meadia Fire, Rapid Share etc. What's so funny you believe you have the right to put up copy right art work and the logo and the music for free. And when the record comapany ask you to take it down you get affended that the comany is trying to stop you from taking food out of their childrens mouth by giving free music. If itunes pulled that the record comapnies will shut them down!!!!!!!!

It's always on hard headed blogger like you that will piss one record company off,that will spearhead a movemnet that will effect all the other music blogs. So you be the judge take the music and the links down within 4 days and contact all of your bloggers and have them remove black jazz logos and likeness. If not then I will spearhead a movement to remove blogs that have no right to put free music up via rapidshare and media fire etc....

No need to respond my staff will monitor your site and other to see if the changes took place.

James Hardge CEO Black Jazz Records 510 452 5299

P.S I no alot of the Artist on your site. And they are not happy your are giving a way the music. You bloggers believe because the album is out of print or our you riped it from a lp you have rights. Why don't you rip the ablum and keep for yourself. No one else.


from James H
reply-to James H
to Cheeba
date Fri, Feb 13, 2009 at 11:05 AM
subject Black Jazz
mailed-by earthlink.net
signed-by earthlink.net

Okay let me get this straight you have the approval from ECM and EMI IMPULSE FLYINGDUTCHMAN etc.... to put their copy written album art up and the mp3's

Oh I get it you justify it by saying it's out of print or you ripped it from the lp's so that not piracy. And to ge paid you just put a paypal Donate buttom up. That way your not selling nothing. Okay Im contacting these record comanines today. As well as rapid share Media fire etc... and google blog pircacy dept. And see if you are playing by the millineum copy right act. James Hardge Black Jazz Records 510 452 5299 I will personaly shut your blog down within 5 days. I live in the bay area google is 5 miles from where i live. I told you, you onpened a can a worms messing with Black Jazz.


from Cheeba
to James H
date Sat, Feb 14, 2009 at 5:11 PM
subject Re: Black Jazz
mailed-by gmail.com

OK let me get this straight: you're willing to sign a sworn statement that you own or legally represent the copyrights to EMI, IMPULSE, FLYING DUTCHMAN, etc. material under penalty of perjury, notwithstanding the fact that Black Jazz is not a registered member of the RIAA? You go right ahead and do so Mr. Hardge. I, and my advocate, will be eagerly awaiting your next step and will respond accordingly.

Just so you know, here's some info you'll need:
To file a notice of infringement with us, you must provide a written communication (by fax or regular mail -- not by email, except by prior agreement) that sets forth the items specified below. Please note that you will be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys' fees) if you materially misrepresent that a product or activity is infringing your copyrights. Indeed, in a recent case, a company that sent an infringement notification seeking removal of online materials that were protected by the fair use doctrine was ordered to pay such costs and attorneys fees. The company agreed to pay over $100,000. Accordingly, if you are not sure whether material available online infringes your copyright, we suggest that you first contact an attorney.

To expedite our ability to process your request, please use the following format (including section numbers):

1.Identify in sufficient detail the copyrighted work that you believe has been infringed upon. This post must include identification of the specific posts, as opposed to entire sites. Posts must be referenced by the permalink of the post. For example, "The copyrighted work at issue is the text that appears on http://example.com/test/2006_01_01.html#2106.

5. Include the following statement: "I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed."

Plus, some other info you might find useful should you proceed with any legal action:
General Information About the Copyright Notice

In investigating the copyright status of works first published before January 1, 1978, the most important thing to look for is the notice of copyright. As a general rule under the previous law, copyright protection was lost permanently if the notice was omitted from the first authorized published edition of a work or if it appeared in the wrong form or position. The form and position of the copyright notice for various types of works were specified in the copyright statute. Some courts were liberal in overlooking relatively minor departures from the statutory requirements, but a basic failure to comply with the notice provisions forfeited copyright protection and put the work into the public domain in this country.

Absence of Copyright Notice

For works first published before 1978, the complete absence of a copyright notice from a published copy generally indicates that the work is not protected by copyright. For works first published before March 1, 1989, the copyright notice is mandatory, but omission could have been cured by registration before or within 5 years of publication and by adding the notice to copies published in the United States after discovery of the omission. Some works may contain a notice, others may not. The absence of a notice in works published on or after March 1, 1989, does not necessarily indicate that the work is in the public domain.

Sound Recordings • Reproductions of sound recordings usually contain two different types of creative works: the underlying musical, dramatic, or literary work that is being performed or read and the fixation of the actual sounds embodying the performance or reading. For protection of the underlying musical or literary work embodied in a recording, it is not necessary that a copyright notice covering this material appear on the phonograph records or tapes on which the recording is reproduced. As noted above, a special notice is required for protection of the recording of a series of musical, spoken, or other sounds that were fixed on or after February 15, 1972. Sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, are not eligible for federal copyright protection. The Sound Recording Act of 1971, the present copyright law, and the Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988 cannot be applied or be construed to provide any retroactive protection for sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972. Such works, however, may be protected by various state laws or doctrines of common law.

My guess is you've probably seen that the original sound recordings of Black Jazz records were not affixed with a copyright notice.

I also found this highly educational:
In the early 1990s the label and its catalog were purchased by James Hardge. While only one new album by Doud Carn was released, the entire catalog was reissued on CD. While for a time the label maintained a website and purported to offer items for sale, there were numerous problems with customers not receiving their merchandise. Evidence of this can be found in complaints submitted to complaints.com, ripoffreport.com and other websites. As of January 2009, the Black Jazz website is no longer active.

www.ripoffreport.com complaint
www.complaints.com complaint
www.organissimo.org forum feedback
ebay feedback

Seems like your time and energy would be better spent elsewhere - like fulfilling orders for which you've taken funds or at least answering emails and phone calls asking why they have not been fulfilled. I'm pretty sure there are statutes regarding failure to do so. You might even want to expend some into updating your web presence or properly mastering your product:
my vinyl reissue was (fucking bizarrely) re-mastered from CD, and not just any CD, but one that skips; these skips happen twice on this album.

this album is oddly mastered from CD, which becomes apparent at one or two points in the playback.

Should I be so inclined to purchase more Black Jazz product in the future, I will spend the money on the original pressings or obtain digitally from P-Vine, who have exceptional quality control. It will be well worth the money I would have otherwise squandered on your apparently inferior product - if it actually arrived at all, which seems doubtful based on your recent eBay ratings and shuttered website. Since I spend upwards of $10K per year on hard copies of music (that's a conservative estimate and in line with what DJs, music journalists and record collectors expend - I happen to fall under all 3 categories for the past 15 years) the extra few dollars it may cost is of little consequence to me overall. This will also be my recommedation when I receive emails from my blog/newspaper readers, when I receive phone calls while DJing jazz on the radio or when people come up to me while I'm DJing at my jazz night asking where to buy Black Jazz material.

Please note I am terminating my personal correspondence with you effective immediately. You have been duly notified in good faith that I have no materials related to your alleged copyright and any further attempts to contact me regarding same constitutes harrassment. All further messages sent by you will remain unanswered and will be forwarded to my advocate for review. I also reserve the right to publish in whole or in part any correspondence addressed to me, past, present or future, as it is my property once received.

Good day, sir


from James H
reply-to James H
to soundological@gmail.com
date Sun, Feb 15, 2009 at 12:21 PM
subject Black Jazz
mailed-by earthlink.net
signed-by earthlink.net

Wrong: I will forward your blog to the labels CEO's. Also if your not a member of the RIAA it gives bloggers & bootlegers the right to give your music away and steal your art work? Wow you are a Idiot. You don't own nothing on your site. A matter a fact the site is provided by google for free.

You don't have a leg to stand on. I cant beleive that some one who has no label is trying to justify a childish ass blog. You will be removed real easy. Google will do it watch. I told you 4 days.

PS. Why would someone put their collection up on a blog for free. I have 15,000 cds and 35,000 albums.
Now why would I started putting albums up that I bought when I was 8 yrs old on a blog for free. That shit is alot of work. Bloggers do that shit to jackoff and make themselves apart of the music in which they don't even own. Unbeleviable. It's not enough to enjoy your collection. You have to violate record companies album artwork & music. To feel good amoung another bloggers, unbeilveble. Why dont you start a legit real record label?. Oh I forgot that takes money, you love blogs.

Dont worry I will close your blog. I told you it's personal you think that you are within your right
I just want to prove to you. That you are not.


I said "good day, sir!"

Well, a total of 10 days has passed since this exchange and I watched and I waited as Mr. Hardge said to do and here's what I saw: no posts have been removed, no other requests to remove material have come my way and - whaddaya know - Soundological is still standing.

I'll leave it at that for now since making fun of this jerk is like shooting giant squid in a bucket.

BTW I don't have any objection to removing any copyrighted material if requested to do so by the copyright owners...although they will still have to eventually explain how the material available here, replicated in inferior quality, competes with their product. In fact, if they would claim that even their "digital download" revenue is threatened by material here, it would be a tacit admission that a vinyl rip is of superior quality than their crap mp3 and it wouldn't be worth spending money on in the first place.

Obviously, as a published journalist, radio/club DJ, and artist in my own right, the issue of intellectual property holds great interest for me. If you're also interested in your rights and how to fight greed-ridden corporations (or just plain assholes) who use copyright laws as a cudgel for censorship and mind control, here are a smattering of further resources for you to peruse:

Matt Mason, "The Pirate's Dilemma: How Youth Culture Reinvented Capitalism" found here
Cory Doctorow, "Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright and the Future of the Future" found here
Lawrence Lessig, "Free Culture" found here
Duke University, "Bound By Law" comic book found here
Appropriation Art, "51st State" comic book found here

Appropriation Art
Creative Commons
Stanford Prof Lawrence Lessig's Blog
University of Ottawa Prof Michael Geist's Blog
Duke University's Center for the Study of Public Domain
University of Amsterdam's Institute for Information Law
Recording Industry vs. The People
Slashdot's Your Rights Online
US Copyright Office
Anarchist Librarians Web
RIAA Radar
Courtney Love's Piracy in the Music Business speech
How Music Royalties Work
RIAA/MPAA Make Edison's Mistakes at Boing Boing
Torrentfreak has the best coverage going of The Pirate Bay trial

Alrighty then! That's it for the first real rant here at Soundological. Believe me, there will likely be more in the future but for now S.I. will be gettin' back on track with the wax. Stay tuned the next day or two for some more out of print music that doesn't deserve to languish in limbo even though greedy assholes who have no way to actually capitalise on them may disagree.


DaveX said...

That was great-- I'm really glad you chose to share these e-mails. I think its odd he chose to be so vehement with you, especially given the fact that there was no Black Jazz material on your site (am I understanding that right?)

As a fellow DJ (10 years doing experimental radio!) I'm also very interested in the edge of intellectual property law/ethics... on one hand, I can truly see the obvious benefits to sharing, but I also have to acknowledge that doing so may not be my choice to make. It's obviously a very nuanced issue, and the Black Jazz guy was not prepared to paint with anything but broad, misspelled strokes. Playing devil's advocate for a moment, though-- why take down anything, even with a request? How do the ethics and benefits of the situation change upon receiving such a request (assuming it to be properly submitted)?

Anonymous said...

Coisa de loco
roba da matti
crazay kiddish thing

free bones said...

See, I wouldn't even respond to the initial e-mail. It was clearly a hoax or someone trying to extort something from you. A record label executive knows how to spell and use grammar.

JAZZYPIER ♪ said...


cheers ....
shooting the sheriff?

cheeba said...

Hey DaveX, thanks very much for your thought-provoking coomment. Your understanding is correct - at no point have I posted any Black Jazz material in any way shape or form. At most, an incidental link may have appeared in the blogroll on the sidebar at one point or another.

I am not sure of his motivation but it probably has something to do with the broad stokes you mention. Being involved with experimental radio you obviously understand the grey area involved and as you say, sharing may not always be my choice to make - depending on the medium.

Although I have a fairly rigorous standard and try to ensure everything here falls within the bounds of fair play (if not exactly fair use), I must admit that I have taken some liberties with the grey area...poked about here, pulled a bit there and maybe even damned the torpedoes and went full speed ahead once in a while. That's why I'd acquiesce without much protest if the request passed the "reasonable" test.

I think the benefits and ethics need to be judged on a case-by-case basis, exactly because it's a very nuanced issue as you pointed out. For me to resist a well-reasoned plea that met my ethical and legal thresholds would make me a bit of a hypocrite at best and condemn me to spend eternity in the 8th Circle of Hell at worst. Of course, once there I'd be able to debate it endlessly with all the RIAA and MPAA lawyers who ever existed :)

Besides, if I didn't honour a request that withstood that type of scrutiny then any energy I'd spend fighting it "on principle" would be wasted when Google removes it for me with no questions asked and no notification. And like that, it's gone. That's the current power of a "properly submitted" request regardless of whether it actually has a leg to stand on; legal, moral or otherwise. That's the dracorwellian aspect of the DMCA.

However, the most compelling reason for me to comply with a reasonable request is to positively reinforce a desired behaviour: civilised discourse between human beings. Why would one expect rights owners to act reasonably if they try but are not responded to in the same manner? How would flat refusal without consideration create an atmosphere where solutions beyond form letters are to be sought?

cheeba said...

@free bones,

I wasn't sure how to take it at first but upon some quick research (mailer headers, whois lookup, google hits on the phone #) I could verify he was who he said he was. Still can't verify his claim to ownership of the catalogue but his cred was good enough for Soul Jazz to pull the second pressing of their compilation of Black Jazz material.

And to be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of record execs were downright illiterate since most of them are obviously morons.

cheeba said...


I know you you know what I'm talkin' about! How you like the new neighbourhood? Looks comfy over there!

icastico said...

Silly really.

Empirical research would indicate this guy should be trying to get blogs to share his records.

Only big named, well-known, popular artists lose money due to sharing. Smaller artists benefit through greater exposure.

He's being penny-wise, pound foolish...

cheeba said...

icastico, have to say you're bang on with that well-supported observation! Thanks for following too!

BTW, anyone interested in some of the empirical evidence to which icastico is referring should check out the green paper at the Institue for Information Law link at the end of the post.

InnaSoul said...

Good on ya cheeba, a victory of brains over brawn, the bully got pasted.
Thge first thing I would recommend to James H is if you are trying to come across with authority 'learn how to spell' !!!
Reading his replies I got the mental image the man you were dealing with bore a strong resemblence to the A-Team's Mr T.
I too spend thousands a year on records and don't see the problem in downloading the odd out of print album, if I like it it's in the memory bank and one day I may come across it in a crate. It's already worked out like that with a few albums, the last one being Afrique's Soul Makossa.
Best of luck with your excellent blog, much love and respect.


E-mile said...

Cheba, shame you have to put up with all of this ( and the energy it sux right out of you) and I'm glad to see you fight with pride:-)
Intersting reading material nevertheless, and yeah, maybe the switch to is an option for future times...like Pier mentioned.
for now all the best & PEACE,

JAZZYPIER ♪ said...

Oh yes dear friend...many thanks to Google for the past, but this new ''location'' is very good......lol
Peace & blessings!
Keep it up!

ish said...

Mr. Hardge's litigiousness is really self-defeating.

Years ago when I bought the Soul Jazz UK Black Jazz compilation it was like an explosion in my head. This music was so amazing I couldn't believe I had never heard of it before... I thought they must have made it up. I started spending way too much money to track down these records: first on original used vinyl and then on some super-expensive Japanese imports.

When Hardge started reissuing the catalogue in the US I was ecstatic (despite the ugly and amateurish cover sketches he used to replace the original uniform but familiar covers). But it was IMPOSSIBLE to find them. Almost immediately he got in a fight with Dustygroove over them selling the Soul Jazz comp and the PVine reissues. In so doing shot himself completely in the foot because Dustygroove could pretty much have acted as the prime distributor for Black Jazz because their customer base is his audience exactly. I have seen some of his reissues in exactly one store (now closed), and occasionally on Amazon, and bought many of them. But I'm pretty disturbed at all this, and with the reports of people being ripped off on Wikipedia I would think twice before buying anything from him directly. It's really a disservice he has done to Black Jazz's roster of artists (does he pay them royalties on his reissues? Most of them are still alive).

I probably wouldn't post Black Jazz on my own blog since it is theoretically in print: I have deleted links to things I have posted that later got reissued. But it's not hard to imagine how a creative owner of a small reissue label might interact with the thousands of people in the blog world to cultivate an audience that could be then coaxed to spend actual money. Hardge should be begging SoulJazz UK to redo its compilation: it was the best advertisement for Black Jazz EVER.

Having lost my own music biz job due to the current economical/technological climate I empathize with Mr. Hardge's frustration with the state of the marketplace. But hating on people only makes them hate you back. That's pretty basic.

Anyway, glad to see you're still around Cheeba. Keep up the great work.

DaveX said...

"...the most compelling reason for me to comply with a reasonable request is to positively reinforce a desired behaviour: civilised discourse between human beings."

That's a kick-ass answer, seriously. At times, it seems like the copyright law itself is to blame for these absurd situations. What works legally for someone like a high-profile pop star just doesn't make sense for a no-name experimental musician's stuff that's long out of print. And then you have situations where some random person now owns another person's old work-- it's just too weird-- I guess you're right; the only thing that can be done is to go case-by-case.

Hanimex 3000 said...

yep I also thought about kinda hoax. His argumentation is too confused to be real. Maybe this guy is about to buy rights for one or several black jazz albums and would like to start a reissue label or stg? But I rather think he has nothing better to do than annoying people. Music business' got enough suckers... Anyway. Glad you're still there, Cheeba.


Djalma said...

Man, I read all those e-mail and laughed my ass off! That guy obviously had some time to kill and he decided to mess with some bloggers... I wouldn't pay too much attention to it bro... Hope to see you posting back real soon, word...

cheeba said...

Wow! Some excellent thoughts shared here!

@InnaSoul, sounds like you feel me on that point! It's like the old days when a pal would tape a record for me. Most often I would end up purchasing records I would have passed on rather than take a chance. Home taping did not kill music because who would choose a TDK D-90 over actual product, LP or cassette or CD, with professionally printed artwork, liner notes, etc? Taping actually increased my desire to purchase music legitimately!

@E-mile, thanks for the moral support! Just happy I could state my case unlike you, who had posts deleted by nameless accusers without advance notice.

@ish, thanks for the excellent anecdote. I also couldn't wrap my head around the business decisions taken with Soul Jazz. From what I understand, SJ did sign an agreement with Hardge & one other person in the mid 90s but did not renew before re-issuing the comp in early 00s. However, rather than securing royalty payments for the reissue Hardge appears to have demanded SJ recall what he labeled a "bootleg." Not only did he reduce visibility of his label, he seems to have cut off a perfectly viable revenue stream!

I also empathise with Mr Hardge on many levels but I'd have to say his modus operandi is counter-productive to his goals.

@DaveX, I have to 100% agree with you that the current US copyright structure is absurd. It's not so surprising when you consider that most of it revolves around protecting Disney which built its empire on public domain material.

I also agree with your observation on random people owning back catalogues. That also ties into ish's question as to whether the artists even get royalties in a situation like that...look at the shady history of Armen Boladian and Bridgeport publishing to see how it's clear the artists often don't get a slice at all and how claims of ownership of back catalogue material can be totally suspect.

cheeba said...

Hanimex & Djalma, thanks a lot for your encouragement as always!

I think ish is right and this was likely brought about by frustration with his current circumstance, so I'm not sure it was just about having nothing better to do or just bugging bloggers. However, have to fully agree that his strategy and style sure makes it seem that way!

il angelo said...

Unbelievable, I have learned quite a lot today. Excellent Mr. Cheeba.

cheeba said...

@il angelo, glad you could learn something from this exchange! I myself learned a lot about the royalty process and situation as a result of this correspondence.

As much as entertainment and some cheap laughs were part of the reason for posting this, it was mostly done with hopes to educate and stimulate discussion on this issue as it seems to be coming to a head across the globe.

Greg said...

Good job I can't really say anything more than that as much has already been expressed by ish etal. Except on an intellectual level it's like an ant trying to swat an elephant!

Hey James,

Where's my fucking Product i ordered? on second thoughts don't bother -- the true crook here is you, taking payment and not delivering is basic theft but I guess you obviously need the money more than I do...

If you don't like that or consider it slander or similar then fucking sue me...

Cheeba has taught you a lot here and you're ass has well and truly been kicked... Here's a marketing 101 rule for you:

1.find and engage with influencers/evangalists and leverage that advantage to build your brand...

Good day sir!

JAZZYPIER ♪ said...

Look at here:

very gorgeus!

d3lta said...

His dubious business practices notwithstanding, I think I can understand Mr. Hardge's frustration. What I can't understand though is his lamentable manners. I received a series of similar emails from a record company executive for material posted on my blog. They were very polite, learned and businesslike. After a gentleman's exchange I withdrew the material, noblesse oblige as the French say. Interestingly, I was one of the parties involved in a similar situation with YouTube where I maintained a jazz channel before DMCA and corporate greed reared their ugly heads, anyone interested can read all about it here and here, it makes for interesting reading (I think). Cheeba, you have my sympathy and support, blogs like yours are good for music and humankind.

Franco said...

Right on brother !

alex said...

nice one cheeba!
still pissing my self laughing over here in England!!!!
as we say over here WHAT A FUCKING WANKER!!!

Anonymous said...

what is it with these people?,i've got a channel on youtube and they keep blocking artists no-one has ever heard of from getting exposure,they want everyone to buy the same old rubbish,don't let them win

Wishy said...

Lesson for Hardge - Luv n Haight - Deja Vu compilation album. I ripped this fine album from a blog site over 2 years ago. From there I hunted down info on L&H from there to Ubiquity & on. Since that one download & falling in luv with all things L&H, I have purchased all the still in print L&H CD's from Ubiquity & purchased 2nd hand copies of the ones not, from ebay & Amazon, some at quite a cost but well worth it for now I own all the L&H issues!
If it had not been for that blogsite posting the Deja vu album I may not have discovered L&H & paid Ubiquity loads of money for the other albums.
I already have the Black Jazz reissues from Soul Jazz (Don't worry Hardge, I paid money for them - wouldn't want to rip you off!) but imagine how many people have bought (well paid for but may not have received) your product due to coming across your product on a blogsite similar to this! Man you are one extreme fool! Shame on you.
As for Cheeba, keep on keepin on, you doin one fine job of edjucatin the masses. (Well, except for one obvious knucklehead!)
Also see you have the L&H "What It Is" download. Its your duty to put the others up you own & spread the L^H word!! cheers man!

Greg said...

here's another satisfied customer:



cheeba said...

More great feedback from readers!

@Greg, re: marketing 101... what do you think this is? The 21st century? :D That's a pretty interesting link you pout up there too, thanks for passing it along!

@d3lta, really appreciate the story and the links. Very interesting how it seems no one can even confirm who ASKED for the removal of those videos in the first place. To me, that's when copyright enforcement becomes flat out censorship.

@alex & franco - cheers for the support!

@Wishy, that's EXACTLY why the current legal situation is so absurd. I don't think it takes a rocket surgeon to figure out how FREE ADVERTISING works for the record companies and artists. It's also why calling sharing "piracy" or "bootlegging" misses the whole point! As for the L&H stuff, check the comments on the What It Is post for links to a goldmine of their OOP comps.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this exchange, Cheeba, it was brilliant. As I've said on other blogs, I've learned more about jazz and other music from blogs like yours, in the past couple of years, than all of my previous 40+ years of record collecting. I've bought about 15,000 recordings in my life, many hundreds of books and magazines and the internet blog exchange of info and sounds just knocks the hell out of all of that.
I've also read all too many accounts of asshole record company owners ripping off recording artists (especially our Black heroes) to ever believe that honest record label owners are the exception rather than the rule. Don't know anything about this fool with Black Jazz but as for many others that "own" artists work I'd say most of them should be charged with receiving stolen property. It's mostly too late for the old guys but the new model is for artists to take control over their own hard work. amen.
-Jack the Bellboy

soulbrotha said...

Cheeba, you're my hero.

Steve said...

Damn.. Reading these e-mails and most of the comments, it seems to me like this guy has been doing everything in his power to piss off everyone who is essentially working as the promotional department of his company. Plus getting in dustygrooves face for selling reissues that was.. I don't even know what he was mad about there..

He asked me to remove my black jazz material from my blog and I did. But I don't get why he would want to have the covers and entire posts removed. All it does is get people hyped to buy black jazz reissues, should he ever make them easily accessible.

Hmmm.. He just doesn't make much sense to me...

Anonymous said...

i've personally been fucked about by this guy in the past. i purchased a low bitrate 128download of cleveland eaton's lp. the links never arrived.

i asked black jazz what had happened. i was told to pick out an additional album for free.

neither materialised. i asked what had happened to the purchased lp, and the free lp.

i then received an e-mail saying saying the free link was out of good grace, and that i should be more fucking grateful.

this guy is a fucking shithead.
that's not slander, thats fact.

holdinsome2 said...

Thank you for sharing this experience. Your attempts to use what is essentially a sad situation as way to educate and promote worthwhile discourse is commendable!

I had all the same experiences as others regarding business with the 'revived' Black Jazz label; inferior product which not only cost me money, but also required considerable effort after payment to receive.

Unfortunately this sad mans world view seems to be summed up in this tantrum.
"PS. Why would someone put their collection up on a blog for free. I have 15,000 cds and 35,000 albums. Now why would I started putting albums up that I bought when I was 8 yrs old on a blog for free. That shit is alot of work."
Seriously, why would any one care enough about something they love to go out of there way share that experience with other humans? You have some nerve turning me on to so many great LP's I eventually find and spend money on.

I would love to get some of the Black Jazz artists take on this mess. Any tool can own a copy write, but this music is actually some peoples legacy. I just hope this fellows poor taste, manners, and business practices don't tarnish that.

Keep up the great work!

Dannie said...

Keep on rocking brother! This is the right thing! Out of print music should be spread all around the world!

Lafayette said...

Wow! Thanks for the courageous and time consuming effort, Cheeba...a real interesting read, and a great plot expansion...elegant too in your way of handling the response to his rantings! I would never have that kind of calm to handle things this politely!


Anonymous said...

You Sir, are Champion of Humanity. I throw flower petals at your feet.

free bones said...

I just thought of something funny. No matter how legitimate he is, and no matter how much he follows through on his threats, he can never shut you down because he can't write properly. Legally, it would be possible go through those letters and claim that he wasn't even talking to you at certain points. I'm not a lawyer, but I had a law professor at my school look at the exchange, since I found it so funny. He said you could probably decently sue him for harassment if you wanted.

I bought a Sun Ra collection from a website awhile ago, and it never showed up. I called the company phone number... and someone answered in what I think was Japanese. I do not speak Japanese. So... I canceled that credit card.

Music execs are digging their own graves. Why wouldn't we turn to the friendly and free community of music blogs, where we all treat each other respectfully and nicely?

Will you be continuing to post in the future? I think you should find some Black Jazz recordings. They are sorely under-represented online anyway. ;)

el goog said...

Hi Cheeba
Sorry for late. but you know what i think. I am on your side.

Hanimex 3000 said...

I know I should be in my bed, but...

I suppose our wanker(*) could NOT be the guy who started the aforementioned blackjazz blog...



(*) or "primate", without misrepect to our monkee brothers... hehehe
yep, it's late.

mel said...

I think by now we have explored this argument in full (I'm absolutely on your side, cheeba) but don't you think it's time to move on and post some new stuff?

Anonymous said...

That fellow was a tad out of line. I love this site and the work you do, and I join many here in raising my metaphorical middle finger to the sky, in tribute to that clown.

I think it was Cicero who said it best (and understand that I am merely quoting the master with these sentiments)...

"Mande merdam et morrere"

That about sums up what I think of your detractor.

B. Graff said...

This was a very interesting exchange. Looks like Black Jazz played himself.

I did want to comment on the idea that blogs/mp3s aren't a substitute for owning the actual music. That may be true of hardcore collectors and audiophiles, but to the average listener, blogs are plenty sufficient for their needs.

I think the comparison with cassette taping is inaccurate unless you are talking about posting up low quality mp3s like 96kbs. But no repsectable blog is going to do that.

For most sites, their high quality control does eliminate the need to go to the record store, especially if the poster is including the artwork and liner notes.

It's a difficult situation for music companies because I don't think they can turn back technology to suit their old distribution model.

free bones said...

I forgot in my original comments to say this, and I think I speak for many:

We appreciate you guys for all the hard work you put into your blogs. I am 21, for example, and never had the chance to hear most of this stuff in its heyday. I love free jazz and jazz funk and all that stuff, and it's really a shame that someone who is just trying to share in a hobby with others has to take such crap.

So thanks for all you do.

Simon666 said...

hey cheeba,
can't imagine how I missed out on this post for so long - i think it's because I'm back at uni and have no time/life anymore ...
ANYWAY thanks for putting it all down here, Hardge seems to have vanished non?

I'll just add my dealings with Hardge.

- He emailed me asking for my help in getting other people to take down their Black Jazz posts, I think at this stage he'd noticed my link to the BJ discography at another blog.

- He then obviously noticed my Henry Franklin post, sent me another email threatening me (but he posted it on my Blogwatch blog, which doesn't have music).

- Then he posted a threat on a Herbie Hancock thread on my actual blog.

- I took down the Franklin post, emailed him and told him I'd removed it.

- He thanked me and offered to send me some free Black Jazz CDs (?!?)

- He emailed me again and asked for my help in googling blogs and asking sites to take down Black Jazz releases.

- Told him I didn't know of any apart from the ones he'd threatened.

- He emailed again and said it was "the least I could do". Ignored that. End.

I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it. It was you, Charley ...


swboy said...

For me it comes down to this:
He is threatening to do things he can't possibly follow through on. Its like Don Quixote or something-a complete waste of his time and energy. Awful PR for a company which relies on a "captive audience" (ie. us) for sales. You'd think a businessman would engage in due diligence. In this case, identifying the correct blog owner and asking for Black Jazz files to be removed. Easy to do.

InnaSoul said...

you cool Cheeba man ?

flageolette said...

Cultural heritage/Sharing Information has nothing to do with any right to begin with..

Even the owners of this "copy-right" cannot even publish copies of some great jam,album or fantastic and inspired recordings at their own will-due to sell out Contracts-..it's a waste of material resources anyway(in my opinion) and now the Record companies finally start to find re-releases to be expensive;read non-profitable any longer..

Blogosphere is only a natural resource to get informed on any matter.

Life is still a Gift,

And thanks for many great Uploads!


I'm more kind of a Copy-Left bliko..:)

Vincent the Soul Chef said...

I regret that I have only visited your blog a handful of times, but I must say that this was a very compelling read... informative, and VERY entertaining. I must admit, after blogging for only about 2 years now, I myself have just had a couple of links removed, three at the most, but no threats from big bad record execs. In fact, just as I'm sure you have, I've received comments from actual musicians appreciating the fact that I am keeping the memory of their music alive. Personally, I think it's all hit or miss and since most bloggers comply with any legalities (simply to keep from paying astronomical sums in legal fees that the artists won't see penny the first of anyway), it's really not worth the time to waste your breath on people such as this James H. Besides, he could sure use a few lessons in spelling.

In any event, I applaud you for your hard work and dedication. I will definitely have a look at the timely information you provided in those links. They could definitely be of use to me as well as the rest of this wonderful community. Keep on fighting the good fight. You have my support!

Peace and blessing.

shyster J. Hardge said...

It is a promo.

Simon666 said...

You have a lovely name shyster

The Irate Pirate said...

just came across this. great entry. great comments. it's funny too, because I had a record company contact me to THANK me for what I had written about Dan Hicks, and ask if they could include some of my comments in an upcoming CD. They're not all assholes out there, it's just the assholes who make the most noise.

i've only had one anonymous DMCA takedown, and after that I removed my posts from google's automatic indexing and the situation has been fine ever since

Anonymous said...

B. Graff said...
It's a difficult situation for music companies because I don't think they can turn back technology to suit their old distribution model.

^The old distribution model is dead. Its been a corpse since at least '05 when brick records stores started folding. To hell with all of them. They were not competitive in today's marketplace so they are gone. When the record companies were on top they screwed the ppl and the artists, so F()CK them!
Cheeba, love your work, I hope u will continue on your mission to spread this beautiful music all over the internet!

Simone said...

So if I buy a Black Jazz reissue I'll be giving money to THAT guy? I like the albums on that label - which I discovered through blogs -, but now I really don't feel like buying them anymore.

Bill said...

Great blog! I read your correspondence with interest and you can certainly handle yourself.
An illiterate record exec??
You are doing what`s on the tin at the top of your blog....Dustin` off sounds,etc.Please keep on keepin` on. Thanks for all your hard work.

Anonymous said...

I would hate to say it..but that guy is the owner of Black Jazz Records (he's located in Oakland, Ca). He owns the rights and forwards royalties to the surviving artists. Now that the catalog has been reissued, I think it's only fair that you pull the posts down.

ish said...

Hey anonymous, I think you're missing the point. Cheeba has never posted Black Jazz in the first place!

I'd love to see proof that Hardge is paying royalties to the BJ artists. Judging by his record and his attitude, seems pretty doubtful that he's organized or honest enough to do that. Anyway, everybody has agreed that if somebody asks you to take something down, you take it down. That's not the point either. The point is that Hardge has just ruined the reputation of a very fine label and made unnecessary attempts to sow discord in an otherwise mellow sharing community. Eff him.

PS to Cheeba, come back to blogworld, we miss you! More posts please.

Simon666 said...

Yes I'm missing you too Cheeba, hope all is OK ...

Anonymous said...

Hey ish, I guess I misunderstood the whole controversy! Yeah, the Black Jazz guy isn't the friendliest, so I assumed he was ragging on the Cheeb. Oh well, another day in the blogsphere!

Newk said...

For those near DC:

Also, Blackbyrds reunion show at the end of the month, which might interest some.

Anonymous said...

Cheeba, get over it already!

Another Anonymous

Simon666 said...

Why are you calling yoerself "Another anonymous" ? Are you trying to suggest that you have an identity?

free bones said...

@ another anonymous:

how rude! do you share your time and work on here for us to enjoy? if not, then relax! and if so, then have the fortitude to use your real blogger ID.


cheeba, you take as much time as you need. i just hope you're doing alright!

Anonymous said...

mr. hardge is clearly mentally ill. i hope he will seek out the help that he needs. it's never too late. i truly wish him the best. but let this be a positive lesson for you: don't even try to engage with the mentally ill, you can never have a conversation with them and you will only feel exhausted.

that being said, long live these amazing music blogs, yours being one of my favorites. it's as fun to scour these as it is too scour the used record bins.

and please, keep up the great work. great selections and i think these vinyl rips often sound better than the digital music files (but that comes from someone who loves vinyl, anyway).

was there ever such a big commotion made about selling 2nd hand record, casettes, or cds at any time in history?

all the best,


Anonymous said...

Wow. Mentally ill would be the only thing I could think of also.
Well, that or unable to understand the world around him. Whoops, same thing. To be sure no one hears of this great music he should insist any magazines with reviews of it be burned and that no one should ever, ever play it for a friend. I would guess that if any artists on the label are aware of this "business" conducted by mr. hardge, they would be very sad.
I have a very scratched copy of "The Second Coming" and once in a while I look around the 'net for a new copy. I hope some bright person takes over the catalog and promotes it instead of trying to hide it.
Thanks Cheeba (and all bloggers who help us find non-mainstream music that might be forgotten without efforts by like-minded benefactors), hope all is well with you.

IR e L a IXI said...

"Why don't you rip the ablum and keep for yourself. No one else."

Its 2009 and alot of the songs out these days are F@#King crap! I am grateful for bloggers like you exposing these forgotten artist.

In addition, with the majority of music being out of print, i believe by sharing these forgotten talents creates a vast audience Doesn't that in way supports an artist?

Shit, putting hip hop sampler heads aside, i hope one day in the future younger kids can learn how to appreciate from the old and take it as inspiration to create bands that will be as innovative as they were!

Anonymous said...

LOL The guy cant even spell correctly...Bogus!!!

Anonymous said...

If it were not for these Jazz Blogs I can think of several eBay Businesses along with online sellers such as Dusty Groove, Amazon etc that would not get a lot of cash from buyers such as myself. These complainers (Black Jazz- He is a real flake to buy from buy the way, not to mention his attack site) would not get the real advertisement FOR THEM! Even though bloggers are ODing our Ipods, people still buy and where does one find out about THE GREAT BLACK MUSIC? ANSWER "THE BLOGS"!!! and I am glad to see that people who do not get the cash are getting the music anyway. The revolution is here. THANK YOU BLOGGERS for educating us-the radio don't.

free bones said...

cheeba, i grow worried.

perhaps a comment just letting us all know you're fine?

hoping for the best,


cheeba said...

free bonbes, I appreciate the support and concern! Sorry for being incommunicado the last few months but have been swampoed with contract work... My absence has little to do with the Black Jazz issue, more to do with feeding the family and as a freelance consultant, I gotta make hjay while the sun shines.

Things have quieted down and I have some goodies to bring in the next week...

To all the others who have commented on the blog recently, I apologise for the gap but hopefully Ish, Simon, Jazzy P, Greg, Reza, Emile, Arkadin, Flageolette and many other of our friends have been able to keep you stocked up with the best sounds around. I know I'll be playing catch up as well the next few weeks, so see you all soon in the blogosphere!!!

I'll be catching up as

Goofy said...

Cheeba, have you stopped posting altogether? I hope not. Btw, I saw your name on another blog yesterday mentioning adding a link to a pretty good album on that site. When will we see new posts??

cheeba said...


Looks like my comment was truncated...I meant to let y'all know I'll be doing some maintenance on old discography posts, plus adding some new ones over the coming week.

I've not stopped posting, just a matter of my hiatus being longer than expected.

I appreciate the check-in tho!

Simon666 said...

If you haven't got this track, you damn well need it :


bravo juju said...

Fascinating stuff. I've had some sharing problems myself but never faced such a lunatic.
Glad you shared those letters.

Moes Lake said...

Hey cheeba brother!

I am a newcomer and very well impressed by your AMAZING sharings. My head is gonna explode from your tasty sounds! You are an oasis in the messy web. Whenever you recover from your troubled status quo, please come back to your following! And let those weirdies ranting to your hand. Have a good time!