The Re-Tooling of Speaking Cohen

News about Leonard Cohen and his work, press, radio & TV programs etc.
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The Re-Tooling of Speaking Cohen

Post by MarieM » Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:14 am

Four weeks ago I shut down Speaking Cohen and removed all evidence of it from the Web, including saved pages on the Wayback Machine. Why? I received a letter from an attorney in the US representing a photographer in Europe demanding that I remove his photos from Speaking Cohen. No problem, I removed them. What came next changed everything. The attorney demand money, lots of money, for the alleged copyright infringement. This matter is not settled so I cannot speak of it specifically. However, anyone who has ever posted a photo on the Web that they didn't own should know about this. Google "copyright extortion." Or read, Ryan Healy's story:

Fair use is a defense to copyright infringement. I believe my site qualifies as fair use. It is non-commercial, not-for-profit. Folks who visit do so primarily because it is an educational resource where aspects of Leonard and his work can be researched. It has been cited in books as a Cohen resource. Unfortunately, the law about fair use is all over the place and there are no cases dealing directly with a site like Speaking Cohen.

What is more disturbing is the alternative. Without the fair use defense, Speaking Cohen could not see the light of day until Cass and Viva, Leonard's grandchildren, are Leonard's age. Then the material on Speaking Cohen would be in the public domain, all copyrights having expired. If someone at that time sought to collect the material I have on my site, it would be impossible. Much of it will be gone forever. I don't know about you, but I thought the Web was the answer to this, that everything would be forever preserved for future generations because we preserve it now. That was the entire point of my site.

Currently, I have opened a public face for Speaking Cohen:

This site only contains the latest news. I am feeding the news from Facebook onto my site because apparently Facebook's posting mechanism is considered fair use. It's not pretty but it is legal.

As to the future of the archives of Speaking Cohen, I am moving all the material to a new domain, and it will become a private archive. It will be password protected and members of this Forum will be able to obtain passwords. I will let you know when that part of the process is completed.

I am sorry about this. I can't describe how it broke my heart to close my site, but I am not prepared to give up either.
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Re: The Re-Tooling of Speaking Cohen

Post by astranger » Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:10 am

Does this have anything to do with why Allan closed his sites? His reasons seemed more personal but thus seems a little uncanny.
Jake.........Durham, NC 11-3-09; Brooklyn, NY 12-20-12
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Re: The Re-Tooling of Speaking Cohen

Post by Mabeanie1 » Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:30 pm

Oh Marie, I am so sorry to hear that you have had all this hassle. I haven't had a chance to read up on the background but it sounds like a heartbreaking situation for you and, indeed, anyone else who has built a valuable archive as a labour of love over a long period of time.

I wish you luck with the ongoing process and hope things work out for you and for the benefit of us all.

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Re: The Re-Tooling of Speaking Cohen

Post by mutti » Sat Feb 21, 2015 4:50 pm

Thank you Marie for explaining to us what has happened to Speaking Cohen. The loss of your site and Heck's so close to each other has been felt by so many of us. I too thought they both would be there preserved for the future and as an ongoing resource of Leonard's work. So many things I have wanted to go back to on a 'rainy day' or a day when there is more time to explore…
It is great to hear there will be a new site to look forward to. Sounds like Heck has stated he may do this too.
Thank you for all your years of devotion and dedication and I look forward to the new Speaking Cohen site. Thank you for not giving up!
In gratitude
Leslie (Mutti)
1988 Vancouver
2009 Victoria/Seattle/Almost Red Rocks/Las Vegas/San Jose.
2010 Sligo x 2/Victoria/Vancouver/Portland/Las Vegas x 2.
2012 Austin x 2/Seattle/Vancouver/Montreal x 2.
2013 Oakland x 2/New York City x 2/Winnipeg...
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Re: The Re-Tooling of Speaking Cohen

Post by musicmania » Sat Feb 21, 2015 5:18 pm

I am shocked and very saddened to read what you are going through Marie. It is appalling that you have to go through this. I really hope there can be a solution to this asap for you. Both yours and Allan's websites were a treasure trove of information for Leonard's fans and would have been even more valuable to future generations.

Thank you so much for all your hard work over the years. It has always been appreciated. I am very relieved that we will have access in the future via passwords. I can't imagine how much work there is involved in all this and wish there was a way for us to help you. I echo Leslie is thanking you for not giving up.
2009 Dublin 2010 Lissadell Katowice LV x2 2012 Ghent x2 Dublin x4 Montreal x2 Toronto x2 2013 New York x2 Brussels Dublin x2

Gwen's Leonard Cohen Journey:

"I did my best, it wasn't much"
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Re: The Re-Tooling of Speaking Cohen

Post by regensburg » Sat Feb 21, 2015 5:22 pm

Thank you Marie for explaining what is going on. This is really breaking my heart, both you and Allen are going thru the same thing I imagine. Thank you for not giving up and trying to find a way so we still be able to enjoy news and pictures about Leonard. This is so ridiculous. I wish you good luck with your new domain and I am sure we all will be on board.
Best wishes Jutta (regensburg)
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Re: The Re-Tooling of Speaking Cohen

Post by oblivion » Sat Feb 21, 2015 6:42 pm

"don´t let the bastards get you down" ( Kris Kristofferson)
dear Mary,
i´m happy that you start again and don´t dwell on what has passed away ((-;
very, very sad that obscure people try to make business out of everything,
but this is one of the dark sides of the internet,
on the other hand without the internet the leonard cohen forum wouldn´t excist
so let´s look forward
and thank you for all your serious passionate work over the years!!
frankfurt+munic 1976; nuremberg 1988; lörrach, berlin, frankfurt+london 2008;
new york, cologne, venice, istanbul, prague + barcelona 2009
sligo, berlin, ghent, wiesbaden, strasbourg, marseille, hannover, dortmund, warsaw, las vegas 2010
ghent, helsinki, berlin, dublin, verona, paris...2012
oberhausen, mannheim, bruxelles, lucca, hamburg, odense, amsterdam...2013
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Re: The Re-Tooling of Speaking Cohen

Post by AlexandraLaughing » Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:27 pm

I never found Speaking Cohen, but can appreciate what a great resource it was.

The whole question of worldwide copyright and intellectual property rights on the net is enormously complicated. LC himself is a good example of the moral problems attached, never mind the legal ones.

If I, as a new LC fan, want to listen to LC songs, what do I do?

What I have done is a mixture of look up the lyrics on line, look up and listen to the songs on Youtube, either live or from downloaded albums, and buy CDs. The rights of the CDs pre-Old Ideas are owned by Sony because Kelley Lynch sold them, allegedly without LC's permission, and they sell pretty cheaply. I also bought Old Ideas, Popular Problems and Live in Dublin, whose profits go to LC himself, at normal retail price, from record stores which actually pay UK taxes rather than Amazon, which doesn't. The ones on Youtube are presumably all technically illegal, but LC does not contest them, so they become fair use. He gets nothing for his artistic work in them, but on the other hand he gets new fans, a larger pool of 'ambassadors', and an addition of reputation. Also, as we know, this sort of internet fame was instrumental in his having such a successful tour, financially as well as in other ways. He may never tour again, but if he does, I'll certainly pay up for one concert at least, and probably more than one. However, if he doesn't, I have made no financial contribution at all to paying LC for his works of art over the years 1967-2004, works that not only cost him hours, days, weeks, months and years of the sweat of his brow, but that also took the kind of toll on him that a coal miner or a steelworker's work might take, i.e. a toll on his body and soul. However, he survived that part of his life, and arguably his artistic legacy and longer-term reputation are now more important to him than more money.

The photographer, who is trying to make a living, may realise that LC has now become hot property and one or two photographs taken years ago could potentially pay for years of starving in attics trying to make a go of it as a photographer. Marie constructed her website as a labour of love, but if these photos are freely available on the internet, the photographer can expect never to get royalties for them again, since protection of IPR partly depends on staking a claim to it. The photographer may have had no idea it existed until someone saw the opportunity to make money and, presumably, approached the photographer offering to protect the copyright. No-one (presumably) is paying Marie for her work, but her work would potentially deprive an artist of a partial source of income (though it might also give the artist some fame that could be further bartered for cash, e.g. by selling copies of the photograph for biographies). However, the loss of publicity due to her site being closed might mean the photographer ends up a net loser too, so in fact, everyone loses.

All this to say I'm sorry for what has happened to Marie's site, which I would love to have used, but there is more than one side to this story.
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Re: The Re-Tooling of Speaking Cohen

Post by holydove » Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:51 pm

Marie, it is indeed heartbreaking that you are made to suffer due to something you did with so much love & devotion, & which brought so much joy to so many of us. I have enjoyed your amazing website for a long time & I thank you for your great efforts & dedication, & I miss that wonderful treasure trove very much. How awful that you are being harassed like this, & that you have to deal with all those burdensome legal complications!! If there is any way we can help you, please let us know.

I'm very glad that you are not giving up & I admire your strength & determination, & I sincerely wish that this can be resolved without too much additional difficulty. Thank you for the public site which you have already posted, & if you choose to create a new domain, I eagerly look forward to it.
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Re: The Re-Tooling of Speaking Cohen

Post by Elvira » Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:03 am

Bewildered to hear Marie'´s story , just unbelievable.....thank you so much for the treasures you brought us. Your strenght and tenacity will be the best weapon to face adversity . I'll be on your side and your faithful reader in your future plans.
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Re: The Re-Tooling of Speaking Cohen

Post by lindyasimus » Sun Feb 22, 2015 5:32 pm

Hi Marie.

Such sad news about your site. I notice the link you posted to the 'extortion letter' article is from 2011. This looks like the scam is still going on and there is a relatively recent piece on it here from someone else in the same situation. Hope it helps. ... tment.html
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Re: The Re-Tooling of Speaking Cohen

Post by phillip » Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:57 pm

Am so sorry to hear your sad news Marie I loved your site too, of course I would love to be part of your new private site if possible????
I have been a Leonard Cohen fan for 28 years feel free to email me if you wish to keep in touch!
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Re: The Re-Tooling of Speaking Cohen

Post by ucblue » Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:52 pm

thank you so much for your explanation of what has been happening. anything i can do to help, pls ask.
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Re: The Re-Tooling of Speaking Cohen

Post by Olwen » Sun Feb 22, 2015 10:32 pm

I am very sad to learn that you have been forced off line by events beyond your control. It is a sorry time for you, Allan and LC fans. Hopefully we will have access to all your wonderful LC treasure trove in the future.
Best wishes
Plymouth 1976, Kilmainham Dublin 2008, 02 Dublin 2009, Lissadel Sligo 2010,
Kilmainham, Dublin 2012, 02 Dublin 2013, Leonard Cohen Dublin Event 2014.
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Re: The Re-Tooling of Speaking Cohen

Post by Hartmut » Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:37 am

the attorney demand money, lots of money, for the alleged copyright infringement. This matter is not settled so I cannot speak of it specifically.
Wouldn't it be a good idea to raise that money together on the forum, if necessary?

I mean if we were able to collect enough money to buy a bench as a present for our favourite millionaire, this should be possible, too.
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