Canadian Metallica cover band Sandman has recently been slapped with a nasty, 41-page cease and desist letter, forcing them to stop using their original logo, which stylistically resembled Metallica’s, lest they face serious legal action.
When Metallica went up against Napster, it ignited a huge debate, and rightfully so. Here was a legitimate issue involving copyright infringement and intellectual property being stolen from the band. Regardless of who was right or wrong, the conversations surrounding the debacle were important and necessary. But the multi-million dollar band picking on a a small Canadian cover band? Seems a lot less necessary from where I’m standing.
Here, one can clearly see what Metallica has become in its old age: a parody of itself, a colossal money and brand-making machine whose legal team scours the internet for cover bands and threatens them with serious legal action. If Metallica was a bit prudish before, they are a joke now. Sandman, “Canada’s best tribute to Metallica,” has less than 1,000 likes on Facebook. As a cover band, they most likely make very little money, and would have done nothing to detract from Metallica’s sizable coffers.
To Metallica and its legal team, however, this all matters very little. The group, at this point, resembles a bank more than it does a band. The virtues espoused by the young rebels who released Kill ‘Em All to spite the creative choke hold of the music industry which oversaw them seem to have gone that very same way themselves. Things change, after all, but it is, indeed, a shame to see a once very sincere band turn so far away from the ideals of community, populism, and rebellion which they once espoused, and which make Heavy Metal Music so potentially great.
Sandman have since changed their logo.