Trent Reznor’s plans for an official Nine Inch Nails remix page have been put on hold. The page would have housed fan-made remixes and mash-ups of NIN songs, in coordination with today’s release of the Year Zero remix album, Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D. But Reznor’s old record label Universal put the brakes on the site. This wasn’t an act of revenge for Reznor leaving Interscope; there’s a digital-rights war going on, and Reznor found his remix site in the middle of it. “On Saturday morning I became aware of a legal hitch in our plans. My former record company and current owner of all these master files, Universal, is currently involved in a lawsuit with other media titans Google (YouTube) and News Corp (MySpace),” Reznor told fans on his official Web site. “Universal feels that if they host our remix site, they will be opening themselves up to the accusation that they are sponsoring the same technical violation of copyright they are suing these companies for.” The same technical violation Reznor refers to is the “mash-up,” or the use of samples outside of Universal’s catalog.
Reznor has been asked by the label to host the site himself and, “in exchange for this they will continue to let me upload my Universal masters and make them available to fans, BUT shift the liability of hosting them to me,” Reznor continues. “Part of the arrangement is having user licenses that the fans sign (not unlike those on MySpace or You Tube) saying they will not use unauthorized materials. If they WERE to do such a thing, everybody sues everybody and the world abruptly ends.” Maybe that’s what Year Zero is all about: a Big Bang-sized lawsuit that obliterates the galaxy. Meanwhile, the completed remix page remains in a holding pattern. “We have a cool and innovative site ready to launch,” Reznor said. “But we’re currently scratching our heads as to how to proceed.”