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Atlantic attempting to force Reddit to reveal identity of Twenty One Pilots leaker

By | Published on Tuesday 2 August 2016

Twenty One Pilots

Warner division Atlantic Records is attempting to push Reddit into releasing the IP address of a user who leaked new Twenty One Pilots single ‘Heathens’ before its official release date. The company apparently suspects a member of staff of being involved in the leak.

The single, taken from the soundtrack of ‘Suicide Squad’, was released early in June, after it was made available illegally. The record company had originally planned to release the track on 24 Jun, coinciding with the launch of pre-orders for ‘Suicide Squad: The Album’, which is due out this Friday.

“Prior to 15 Jun 2016 [when the track leaked], Atlantic had provided access to a digital copy of ‘Heathens’ only to an extremely limited number of individuals”, the company says in a recent legal filing. “These individuals included members of Twenty One Pilots, their manager, Atlantic and Fueled By Ramen executives, and members of Atlantic’s radio field staff. In each such case, the individual was barred from distributing the recording until the scheduled release date of 24 Jun 2016”.

After attempts to slow the unofficial distribution of the song online through takedowns failed – the legal letter goes on – the label took the decision to release the song early on 16 Jun. This meant that prominent placing on services such as iTunes and Spotify, which had been arranged for the official release date, was lost. This, combined with having to ditch the scheduled marketing plan, arguably meant that the single did not perform as well as had been expected.

The music firm is now trying to track down the source of the leak, but says it is “unable to ascertain that information from any source other than Reddit”.

Confirming its suspicions, the letter goes on: “If the poster is an Atlantic employee, he or she was a contractual and/or fiduciary duty to Atlantic not to distribute the recording to the public without Atlantic’s authorisation. By distributing the recording as described above, he or she would have breached his or her contract and/or fiduciary duties to Atlantic”.

“If the poster is not an Atlantic employee”, it continues, “then he or she likely obtained the recording from an Atlantic employee, who would have breached his or her contract and/or fiduciary duties to Atlantic by providing the poster access to the recording”.

Read the legal letter in full here.