Radiohead Angry Over Thief Theft; Label Takes Action

By | April 7, 2003 at 12:00 AM

When Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood found out last weekend that his band’s upcoming record, Hail to the Thief, had leaked online, he wasn’t terribly upset.

“Shame it’s not a package with the artwork and all,” he wrote at the time.

He’s since reconsidered his position. “We’re kind of pissed about it, to be honest,” he posted Thursday (April 3) on the Radiohead fan site At Ease.

Mostly, Greenwood and his bandmates are upset that the version of Hail to the Thief currently on the Net is composed of works in progress that were stolen in February while the band was mixing the disc.

“The leaked music is a stolen copy of early, unmixed edits and roughs,” he wrote. “We worked after this point until we were happy with them. We didn’t give up on them, and it’s just a shame that, to your ears, we did.”

Nigel Godrich, who produced the album, told the BBC, “It’s not really what I’d want the world to hear, frankly.”

Radiohead’s label, Capitol, is even more disgruntled. An attorney for parent company EMI has issued cease-and-desist orders to people hosting the pirated MP3s online. The letter demands that each violator provide EMI with: the CDs or MP3s containing the leaked material; the name, address, phone number and e-mail address of the person or company from which he or she received the songs; and a promise not to trade the files in the future.

The company threatened to take legal action against anyone who didn’t comply by 5 p.m. Wednesday. As of 4:30 p.m. a spokesperson for the company’s legal division said those who had been issued the letters have been “very cooperative.”

Hail to the Thief comes out June 10.

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