A Message From United Mutations

Peter of United Mutations weighs in. Quick link and quote, in case the post were to be deleted (though it can’t happen there, can it?!):

Come on, ZFT, isn’t it possible to make your point of view clear without sending lawyers? Shouldn’t we be able to communicate in a friendly way? Don’t we have a common interest somewhere?

Dear ZFT, I do not like the way you’re handling this, and I think I’m not alone.

29 thoughts on “A Message From United Mutations”

  1. Maybe we should try to turn this is some sort of petition.
    Repeat the line in the message that says
    “Dear ZFT, I do not like the way you’re handling this, and I think I’m not alone.”
    plus my nickname
    and add your name to it.
    and so forth

    like make a list of people who are concerned, right over at the zappa.com forum?

    I’m sure that it would get their attention if the list were long enough.

    — UniMuta

  2. I would be be happy to write directly to the ZFT and to their lawyers pointing out what a mistake they are making, if that’s OK with you Barry?

  3. These days I dont have too much time, to write an elaborated post, but to have a letter, written together might be a good – though risky – idea. But is sould be a carefully wrote one, pointing out words like “collaboration”, “FZ’s music”, etc etc. The reason i wrote “risky” because after it GZ might attack ALL the fan pages she knows… Okay, that’s the pessimistic version.
    But writing this “open letter” (this sounds better than a “petition”: “for” and not “against” something), the aims should be clear. That could be the next thing to discuss in details. What to do with boots? What to do with FZ’s pics? etc. These pages have a kind of a power, a kind of a community (a few thousand guys worldwide), and a good thing would be to make a conversation, a bad one is that Z*T would control ALL these pages in some ways.
    (BTW: a new fan-community could be made, called Zappa Fans Together, with a logo showing not-at-all-the-same moustache?…) :-)
    That’s it for now, be back later!

  4. Okay, just a few more thoughts – a letter like this should contain:

    1st: collaboration. Quoting G’s letter: „My favourite idea is…” Emphasising the importantness of communizty, of how much effort this community had made – and WANTS to make, just for the music.

    2nd: ’bout the boots: it should be consodered how to deal with these. These AUD recordings are SO EXTREMELY VALUABLE in some points (Even Z*T used some of them….) So a suggestion should be made, what to do with them,. They are circulating, anyway, so… But no one wants to go against the law. So: SOME downloads, showing that „this is NOT an official recording. FZ wouldnt have released that. These are for fans only, for educational reasons! BUY the official albums!” Or something like that.

    3rd: Using FZ pics: (We were just banned (=not given permission) for using a picture on a book cover ( so we did not use). So that is for „asking permissoion (we did) we did NOT get. Though the photographer already said okay, but also said that „GZ does not allows me to do this”). But: how to do this: small pics on fan pages, small thimbnails from CDs are FOR the artist, FOR the business!

    4th „information is not knowledge” – but its REALLY important. The family should give much more informations to the fans (to fan sites?..) and infos would spread all over the world. This is GGOD for business. But its really hard to buy things if you dont know what is on it, who’s playing on it, what is the next, why this release was deleted, etc. Etc. So, once again: informations!

    5th and last: business. Fan pages are not for the money. Those are NOT for business reasons. So let us talk human ways – not through lawyers. We would HELP in all these things. Just let us live.

    Or something like that. With 1000 people signing it, maybe – and should be sent to Dwz, too. Hm?… (Sorry, it was made in a hurry, should be corrected, added, etc.)
    (Doesn’t anyone have a journalist friend in New York? Should write an article…)

  5. from the other thread:
    ‘I’M AT YOUR DISPOSAL’ . . .
    Find common ground with the ZFT by first submitting a proposal, to be able to use licensed, copyrighted, heck eventually maybe even exclusive written, audial, viewable material with proper licensed links to zappadotcom and barfkoswill as ultimate purveyors of these sorts of things. For both of yer acknowledged interests.
    Work out a click thru scheme with the zappadotcom/ZFT and barfkoswill so you both can benefit.

  6. The instant you give up your rights (in this case, fair use) you cannot easily, if ever, get them back. Gail Zappa, through her lawyers, has already told us that there is NO common ground here. It’s either her way, or the courts. Why do you thinks she wields litigation like a weapon over websites that can’t possibly hope to fight her financially in court? Is this the sort of individual you want to enter into a verbal or written agreement with? She has already broken agreements with others in the past. Ask yourselves, who do you think would benefit?

  7. punknaynowned,
    The idea of this site coming under the thumb of the ZFT just doesnt sit well. Dont know why, perhaps it’s a conflict of interest but I prefer fansites to be just that, fansites. Remember, there’s a fine line between kneeling down and bending over and the fine line between shill and devoted fan is one to be respected and understood.

  8. This is my favorite thread so far.

    Everyone, so far, is taking the time to
    cooperate in order to help fix this stupid situation.

    I guess it’s better this way than to
    wallow in rancor and bitter acrimony.
    What do those things solve?

  9. Paul Sempschi said: The idea of this site coming under the thumb of the ZFT just doesnt sit well.

    I understand. I only stated a bit of what might be done on either side. KUR or whoever can submit a proposal on what they want to do and zft can reply [” “] with what they would be willing to do with a license. And KUR can submit things as to how they want to continue this with aforesaid license and zft can say, ‘no, buf this is here than yes’ and so on. To go at anything saying from the get-go that ‘it’ll turn out as the worst possible outcome’ is already limiting one’s perceptions and possibilities. Complaining about the outcome without having tried seems really . . . sad. I know that many have tried to email gail and also know that the page with her e-address is down this week. But I see that Balint is working on something constructive. Huzzah!

    I’ll tell ya tho, when I saw the links to the 18 min burnt weeny sandwich video links with the stills up here, I knew, even after years of the friday boots that a line was probably crossed . . . I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

  10. BRAAAP.

    that was a belch. i’m sick of this shit, it gives me indigestion. or maybe it’s all the street drugs and vodka.


    okay, kur rules. friday boots ruled. zappa’s music continues, and will continue, to rule. lawyers and the aggressive litigious attitude of the zft suck. fuck all the rest.

    i’d sign a petition in a new york minute, but i doubt it’ll do much good. gail’s a vindictive bitch, and hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

    i’m glad zappa fucked around on her like crazy whilst a touring rock star. she deserved it. and his spawn are some of the most annoying of all the celebrity offspring brought forth in the last 35 years or so. fuck ’em all, let the blind idiot god sort ’em out.

    fridays boots will be missed and lamented. ’nuff said.

  11. FYI, this is the story:

    united-mutations (2007 12 23 – part one):
    Thomas Dippel, president of the Arf Society, has been summoned to court. He has to pay up for the CDs, DVDs and T-shirts that are made by the Arf Society; for the use of the name “Zappa” in “Zappanale”, and so on, and so on.
    Gail Zappa even wants the Bad Doberan statue of FZ to be removed…
    The ZAPPA Family Trust, 11848 Vose Street, CA 91605 North Hollywood, USA represented by Gail Zappa claims 150000,- Euro against Arf-Society e.V., represented by it’s chairman Thomas Dippel, for illegal use of the trademark “Zappanale” and the “Zappanale-logo”.
    For further use of the name Zappanale for the festival, on products like Cd’s or clothing the chairman of the Arf-Society, Thomas Dippel, has to pay up to 250000,- Euro or has to be sent to prison for 6 months up to 2 years.
    For further promotion for the Zappanale-festival on the domain http://www.zappanale.de the chairman of the Arf-Society, Thomas Dippel, has to pay up to 250000,- Euro or has to be sent to prison for 6 months up to 2 years.

  12. This is an instructive blog. Nowadays a cooperative effort. of many, many people. Paying – so to speak – on one single keybord.

    Ultimate proof of ” Music is the Best- partly because it announces the future, ahead of its time”.

    Recordings of ( early ) music for one piano played by 88 fingers, that’s Conlon Nancarrow. http://home.earthlink.net/~kgann/index2.html

    Ahead of their times, both.

  13. Now an exercice the other way around. Technology enabling new music.
    Idea is : New technologies lead to new music.
    The new music is disturbing.
    Result : deaf ears. The opposite of a fertilizer.
    “In 1930 Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra performed an orchestral transcription of Debussy’s La cathédrale engloutie with the bass line augmented by a theremin. But the low frequencies caused nausea in the back ranks of the string section and the experiment was not repeated. ”
    Source: http://www.overgrownpath.com/2007/12/almost-submerged-cathedral.html
    Thus #1: just listen to the world ( it’s something unlike analysing, reading, looking, etc.). You’ll hear something about the future. Just decode it.
    Thus #2: as for copyrights & patents that’s written things running behind.

  14. I’m not sure that entering into a dialogue with ZFT is a wise move. They currently hold all the cards, (with the exception of the law, but they’ve got a $$$ which trumps the law). The fan sites are far more vunrable then the ZFT.

    This whole fiasco has caused a bit of a stink in the Zappa fan community and I think the best we can hope for is that ZFT notice that they’ve made a cock up. If this happens the ZFT may see sense and start working with fans and not against them. However, I doubt that will happen.

    I think the best approach is to ignore the ZFT and their misguided legal crap. In short, don’t engage with a bully (even if that requires moving to Sweden).

  15. Benedict says:
    December 26th, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    I’m not sure that entering into a dialogue with ZFT is a wise move. They currently hold all the cards, (with the exception of the law, but they’ve got a $$$ which trumps the law). The fan sites are far more vunrable then the ZFT.

    What many fail to understand is that KUR does have the legal right to post images of FZ albums on it’s site. The reason it does not do so is exactly as Benedict says: they’ve got the money which trumps the law. One doesn’t seek permission for something they already have the right to do. The ZFT should leave the fansites to what they do best: promote the works and life of a great musician and composer. And the ZFT should stick to what it does best: produce and release CDs and DVDs of Frank Zappa. The two groups have had a synergetic relationship long before FZ’s passing in 1993, and will no doubt continue well into the future regardless of current ZFT buffoonery.

    P.S. Imagine, Barry, instead of the current statement to be found in the discography section, lets have a pic of Britney Spears along side such FZ classics as Apostrophe(‘), Hot Rats, Shiek Yerbouti, or Freak Out. The ZFT may come begging for KUR to post the actual CD pics. Just a thought (even if a far fetched one).

  16. Yep.

    Counterfactual in history. What might have happened if…

    In case FZ would now still be alive, one or another university would have taken him on board. Fixed revenue. You don’t have to care anymore about copyrights & the like. You’re enabled to do whatever you like, with students.
    Just have a look at so many jazz musicians.
    – Archie Shepp : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archie_Shepp . Now prof.
    – Roscoe Mitchell ( Art Ensemble of Chicago ): prof at Mills College. http://www.mills.edu/academics/graduate/mus/

  17. I agree with urbangraffito and Benedict, it’s useless to even think of trying to negotiate with a screwball party who’s prime interest is in total selfdestruction. The train has left the station a long time ago, and even with vicious treats claiming to have the law on their side — the one they wrote themself — they will be, and are, unable to turn back time.

    There are always ways around issues, and if it was up to me I’d re-gift the fruitcake and put an Elvis stamp on it (return to sender)! You’ve got an unethical law firm and a mental basketcase both with a LowCal attutude, work with it to your advantage ;-)

  18. Gotcha. Ohhhhhrrrrr and urbangraffito and Benedict are correct.

    Fuck it. Don’t even try to better the situation.

    “screwball party”…”total self-destruction”

    I guess so, whatever.

  19. Just a little update as to the legal side of things: KUR was requested to respond to the C&D letter within 14 days, which we have done — by means of an “official” response letter to Berger-Kahn, cc’ed to GZ, as well as by the removal of certain items (Frnk Zpp quotes, interviews, thumbnail imagery, …) deemed to infringe upon ZFT copyright by The Suits and GZ.

    Our removal of these items is of course by no means “an admission of guilt”. It’s simply a preemptive measure, taken to safeguard the continuation of this site; as we are not in the position to take this thing to court (something the ZFT may have been acutely aware of all along).

    So what I’m saying is: a written response has already been sent (on the 18th to be exact). I can only assume that GZ has read it by now, as well as (perhaps, some of) the 400+ comments made on recent posts here; and the various threads at the Zpp dot com forums.

    The ball is in “the other camp” now.

    I am all for, and look forward to a sensible, reasoned, non-hostile and positive dialogue with the ZFT — one where, as Peter suggests, our common interest can meet to the benefit of all.

    Whether that is going to happen though, I do not know.

    Do we need a petition, or an open letter; rather: would that amount to anything from a pragmatic point of view? Again: I have a couple of recent posts around here that have around 500 comments in total; and counting. There’s threads over at the Zpp dot com and other forums and weblogs worth another 200 or so comments.

    I think the ZFT by now knows what our point is, as well as what the message is that we’re trying to convey…

  20. I’d love to read the response you sent. I’m guessing there must be a reason why your not posting it, but I’m with you 110 %!!

  21. Petitions are what politicians use for toilet-paper.
    Negotiating with a bully is usually a ticket to a busted jaw to go with your black eye. Learn Karate – THAT works.
    I noticed that a certain website is no longer linked on this one.
    That’s a smart move – keep it up.

    The Year Of The Freak seems a good time for the FZ community to start FREELY sharing all that magnificent music with the world – it needs it now more than ever, & it’s always good to share.

    Is sharing a crime now?
    Go ahead, baby: sue me.
    I believe the “Blood From A Stone” doctrine will apply.

    When the checks stop coming in, maybe the dummy-up-light will come on. Hope springs eternal & all that jazz.

    Happy Boxing Day!

  22. I think that the way Frank fans are uniting and re-organizing all over in the face of Gail’s B.S. only goes to prove that Frank’s notion of “Absolutely Free” creative expression is a force to be reckoned with on this earth.

    No one and no thing can come between the man’s music and the fans.

    United we stand.

  23. Folks who might be interested in hearing from you, or from the websites & bands you’ve cited above:



    Just a thought – & to let you know, if you’re being subjected to legal bullying ( I think you are ), that there’re good people out there who are happy to give you a hand. Fair Use is a valid defense, & worthy of merit. Protecting some personal/mythical concept of an artist’s purity at its expense is not.

  24. i guess gail has superceded tipper gore as the mother of prevention. still, it is her prerogative to carry on with all this shit. it appears to me she is making a desperate pitch at keeping dweezil’s touring cash cow safe from harm. but what kills me is that when i saw zpz recently, the audience had lots of people who i see at the local zappa tribute band’s gigs (including ALL the band’s members). frank had his particular take on censorship, which seems way out of step with gail’s. btw, is she gonna start reimbursing boy george, the doors and all the other musicians her late husband borrowed musical phrases from in the name of quality entertainment? does humour belong in law? as an aside, she should reaslise that people like me who have spent – to date – over $2000 on fz cds, concert tickets and barking pumpkin junk will now start advocating other fz devotees to bootleg/pirate/whatever. i started recently by buying a great tshirt with frank’s image and NO COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL printed on the front from the local flea market. and i’m gonna make all my fz material accessible online. so should you, kids.

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