Music Business

Skinny Puppy Sues The US Government Over Use Of Songs During Torture

Skinny-puppy-tortureBy Bobby Owsinski on Music Industry Blog 

When the spooks at the CIA were interrogating their terrorist captives at the prison at Guantanamo Bay Cuba in 2002, one of their techniques was to play songs at a very high volume from the industrial band Skinny Puppy for 6 to 12 hours straight. Tipped off by a prison guard who happened to be a fan, the band is now suing the US Department of Defense for $666,000 (an interesting amount) for the unlicensed use of their songs.

Having your songs used as a torture device isn't exactly a badge of honor for any artist, and the band can't even be faulted for being "un-American" since they're from Canada, but the suit probably has more value for its promotional merits than its legal ones. Since the band's CD was played in a private setting by the owner (presumably the CIA) of the CD, you can't call it a public performance, so the suit most likely has no legal basis. That said, there may be some legal precedent that we're unaware of, so you never know how a judge might rule, or even if the DoD might settle to make the whole thing go away.

You still have to wonder if 12 hours of very loud Bon Jovi, Britney Spears, or Iggy Azalia might have the same effect though. Thankfully, most of us will never know.


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