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Is a third creative commons-licensed Nine Inch Nails album forthcoming?

By J. DeVoy

Something’s happening at the official Nine Inch Nails website.

In the past, such pictures portended the release of Ghosts I-IV and The Slip (available for free download).  Both of those albums were released under a creative commons license, a move praised by Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig.

The band’s move to creative commons licensing and self-distribution isn’t particularly shocking.  In 2007, Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor told fans all around the world to steal copyrighted music distributed by his then-label, Interscope, rather than buy it.


The band has also taken a particularly open approach to its live concerts, securing permissive recording device policies at a number of venues.  Additionally, the band released HD footage from its 2009 tour for fans to remix into a tour DVD.  This has resulted in a fan-made live DVD of the 2009 Lights In The Sky Tour and The Downward Spiral Live, a DVD of the band playing its 1994 release from start to finish.  Generally, recording live performances is prohibited for copyright reasons, and the recorded presentation of concerts are released, for profit, by a distributor.  Nine Inch Nails previously released concert DVDs under that regime, but no more. 

Then again, whether an album is released remains to be seen.  Reznor is notorious for refusing to release his material, even after it’s done — especially music videos.

Nine Inch Nails is the kind of band that everyone seems to like, but few follow.  The amount of music that the group has released since 2005 is staggering.  It’s refreshing, though, to see someone like Trent Reznor bring attention to technology and copyright issues.

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