Reddit Responds to Atlantic Records Subpoena over 'Suicide Squad' Song Leak
The internet discussion machine says the label has undertaken little more than a "fishing expedition."
Reddit has responded forcefully to a subpoena issued on July 27 by Atlantic Records over the leak of a single -- Twenty One Pilots' "Heathens" -- from the now-No. 1 Suicide Squad soundtrack album.
Atlantic was seeking the IP address of the Reddit user who posted a link to file locker service Dropfile.to, where the leaked file was being stored. The leak prompted Atlantic to rush its marketing campaign for the single -- which had included securing "prominent promotional placement on the iTunes and Spotify platforms" -- which it began selling the day after the song appeared on Reddit, according to the company's initial filing in New York Supreme Court, handicapping the promotional campaign it had prepared behind the song.
However, Reddit says Atlantic is undertaking little more than a "fishing expedition," according to the response it filed late last week.
In its subpoena, Atlantic writes that whoever uploaded the file, or whoever had given the uploader the song, was in breach of contract and fiduciary duty with and to the company. Reddit's lawyers counter in their response that Atlantic doesn't know the identity of the leaker or uploader, and thus their claims of breach don't qualify for pre-action disclosure. Reddit also writes that Atlantic did not make clear in its filing whether, if a contract does exist between the leaker and the label, uploading the song actually constitutes a breach of contract. To wit, Reddit's response says it is seeking pre-action discovery "to determine if it has a plausible claim for breach of contract or breach of fiduciary duty against the Reddit user and not as a means to match an existing, meritorious claim to an individual." Reddit concludes by writing that, if the disclosure is granted by the court, that any information Reddit is compelled to disclose be limited to the specific username, not the IP address of the user at the time, since IP addresses only reliably identify networks, not individuals.
The site issued a supplementary statement to Billboard describing its policy to "only share information in response to a request for information if we believe disclosure is in accordance with, or required by, any applicable law, regulation, legal process or governmental request," saying that Atlantic's request doesn't meet that standard.
Updated, 3:57 p.m., Aug. 15 with a statement from Reddit.
Updated, 12:40 p.m., Aug. 16: A representative from Atlantic declined to comment for this story.