Do I Sue Metallica? Or Do I Sue Harper?

I sorta feel like I could sue someone's pants off Napster style, but obviously I'm not going to try; because I like Harper and I like Metallica.

So let me explain.

I bought the new Metallica CD today - Death Magnetic. And once I got it, I immediately opened the CD up and started flipping through the coffin booklet... which sort of resembles a hairy vagina on the cover, but that's beside the point.

The Metallica - Death Magnetic Cover

There's a die-cut coffin through the entire booklet of album art and with each page, the coffin gets smaller and smaller. All of the pages have fancy, professional photos along with lyrics to the songs. It's really a great booklet. The album art is really well done.

Once you get to the last page - the bottom of the coffin - there's a bright blast of light with silhouettes of dudes holding up the rock/hang loose fists. That photo, the last photo of the coffin booklet, that BIG BANG photo - is a photo that I took with my Sony Clie.

  • The last page/bottom of the Death Magnetic Coffin
  • My original photo
  • Close up of my photo in the Metallica booklet

I am not even kidding. It was a super low-res, 640x480 pixel photo that I snapped from a box suite at the Allstate Arena in 2004. The Godsmack/Metallica tour.

This was my first time seeing Metallica live. I went to the show with my buddy Harper and some marketing ballers from Chicago (who may or may not have been a part of Vivid Entertainment) in an Escalade limo. It was an amazing show... enjoyed from box seats full of PBR and hot dogs.

After the show (and a bit of clubbing), Harper asked for my photos. I gave him my memory stick and he copied my pics and uploaded them to Flickr. No big deal, right?

Harper's credit in the Metallica booklet4 years later, my crappy photo winds up in the Metallica CD booklet and looks awesome. And the worst part is - Harper gets credit for it because it was on his Flickr account, hahaha. That photo appears to be the only photo in the entire booklet that isn't professionally shot. In fact, I didn't even upload it back in 04 because I thought the photo sucked. Man, was I wrong.

So yeah, some people might be pissed if they were in my situation, but I just can't be. A photo I took is part of Metallica's cover art. Who can say that? And so many people will have my photo on their desks, shelves, or in their cars and they don't even know it. ...and they never will, thanks to Harper's punk-ass credit. What a hilarious situation.

P.S. Death Magnetic is a great album. It's a lot like the older, heavier Metallica. If you're into that, you should pick it up.

Oh, and it'd be awesome if Metallica gave me tickets or put me on the guest list at the Des Moines show next month for using my photo - forget that Harper dude. ;)

Update: My photo became the cover art of the Judas Kiss single.

February 2009 update: Metallica won a 2009 grammy for Best Recording Package with their death magnetic album art. I've implicitly won my first grammy.

March 2012 update: Harper gave me a copy of the vinyl box set. A framed copy of my art is now hanging on my wall.

August 2013 update: My friend, Carol Davidsen wound up working on a project with Metallica's manager, Cliff Burnstein. She told him about this story. and straight up, Metallica's manager called me to bullshit for about an hour about Metallica, Iowa, my blog, and the haters in the comment section here. He also told me that my name was going to get added to the credits of the next printing of the album, I was gonna get something rad in the mail, and I should give him a call the next time that Metallica is in my area.

June 2017 update: Ashton Kutcher (an Iowa Native) talked Metallica into playing a show at the Iowa Speedway to support the Native Fund. I emailed Cliff back and asked him if he was still good on the offer to hit him up the next time Metallica was in town. Long story, short, he put me put me on Metallica's guest list and I ended up with 4 backstage, VIP tickets to the show. I, of course, invited Harper and also brought my wife and her dad along. We didn't meet the band, but we did get to see a good show and hang out with Ashton Kutcher.

you forgot to mention how i TOLD you about this. hahaha. i am awesome. and metallica is going to punch me.

harper posted

harper is right, there was a rumor that our photo might show up in this booklet.

but this blog was about my discovery of that photo and how hilarious it is to accidentally have a photo in a metallica booklet.

i'll post the prequel when i dig up the chat log at work on monday.

derek posted

I'm just happy that they decided to go away from St. Anger. I hated them for 3 years because of it.

Nathan posted

Metallica should go Unforgiven

r00 posted

wow thats real dope!

nael posted

The prequel to this blog - from June 25...

Harper Reed: hahahaha
Harper Reed:
Derek Brooks: haha
Derek Brooks: that was amazing
Harper Reed: did you take that picture or did i
Derek Brooks: i think i took them all with my clie
Derek Brooks: you kept hiding it for me
Harper Reed: hahahaha
Harper Reed: i just owned you
Harper Reed: metallica just called me and want to use this picture for their new record
Derek Brooks: you bitch
Derek Brooks: say yes
Harper Reed: of course
Derek Brooks: they called you?
Derek Brooks: or emailed
Harper Reed: called and emailed
Derek Brooks: haha

so there it is. metallica asked harper, harper remembered that i took the pic, asked me, and i gave him permission.

harper then switched the photo to creative commons with my permission and it got put into the booklet.

no one is really at fault here. but let it be known that it should be my name in that booklet.

derek posted

Givin the album cover I think they should have named the record 'Death Vagnetic.'

r00 posted

Although it is unfortunate that you got zero credit for your photo in the Metallica liner notes you should be extremely happy that your name was left out of anything to do with Metallica. Ever.

Mitchell posted

Makes me wonder if Harper is your friend OR out for Harper??? You need to pursue this as you are owed for this photo. Don't give in and say you are just happy it was in there. Go for what you deserve, it would be huge. And, despite what your friends say, Mettlica is awesome.
Just acknowledge that Metallica wants nothing to do with ghey slores from Iowa.


and the story continues... apparently metallica won the grammy for Best Recording Package with their death magnetic cover last night, haha.

a photo i took won a grammy cause harper gave it away, hahaha.

derek posted

I found this very interesting because I'm a communication design major at the University of North Texas and the person who designed that graduated from here in '07. I'm sure she meant no harm :)


David posted

interesting story but really, you shouldnt let the record industry steal from you like that. At the very least you should have gotten a free t-shirt or something.

Travis posted

In 2000, Metallica files a lawsuit against Napster in the US District Court, Central District of California, alleging that the company encourages piracy by enabling and allowing its users to trade copyrighted songs through its servers.

So apparently they are against the "theft" of their intellectual property.....but not anyone else's. Seems a tad bit hypocritical, doesn't it? I suppose they might try to argue that you were not given permission to take photos at their concert.

anonymous posted

Hey guys, I read this and here's my $0.02 which is all it's worth, if that.

Provided that this is true that Derek approved usage of the photo and that it was put into the wikimedia commons by Harper Reed - the only bone to pick here would be that the entry made into commons should have included the real owner/photograper who initially created the photo. Because Derek gave Harper the permission to do all that, he surrendered his rights. I'm sure if Metallica's camp knew (how would they? they simply took it from a source that is full of images for distribution - the wikimedia commons) that he was the original photograper, they would do SOMETHING for him, but really its his fault and moreso if it wasn't for Harper, this never would have made it in there. STILL - I wouldnt say that you 'owned' him, Harper, rather you kinda ripped off your buddy and took credit for his photo. Total asshole thing to do.

You should have listed him in the commons entry so that he got a photo credit as he TOOK the photo. Even if you rightfully OWNED it after he 'gave' you permission to have it, you still NEVER took the photo and for that you get a big thumbs down for being the culprit here - NOT Metallica and not anyone else. And you took credit for something you DID NOT DO. haha. (still you got your name in a metallica album which is awesome).

bottom line : Derek's fault for not properly following up on the use of HIS image. Harper's fault for putting his OWN name as photo taker into wikimedia commons.

next step: Harper should publicly send something to Metallica informing them that he used this image but it wasn't his and that the photo was credited incorrectly, offer them Derek's contact information and perhaps ask for them to 'hook him up with some Metallica swag or meet'n' greet tix' to make things all good, then send the bill to Harper! (as these things are expensive to manufacture/arrange) haha

I like to rant about Metallica stuff . Just heard about ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted getting 'injured by a falling bass' back in '06 - it wasn't news really but it made me laugh(not that he got hurt, but HOW he got hurt - victim Jason). Long live Trujillo! more on about that in the guitar tech blog.
for as much as metallica has cried in the past over people downloading there music you are just gonna let them have it? you are an idiot. and metallica are a bunch of babies and they shouldn't be allowed to get away with it just because they are famous if people couldn/t get away with taking a song of theres. i know its there art but the pic if in a way your art and you own it don't let them or you are just as bad as they are and actually a dumbass. so get some balls man.

alan posted

ian posted

Even if it is true, I don't think it is. Anyone could have taken that picture and it could have ended up in DM anyway and they would have been contracted. In which case, you have not been contacted about it. So yeah, it's a lie.

someone posted

ur dumb, letting him upload forfitted ur rights to the photo as ur own work given he claimed them AND u have no dated back-up....u got what u royalties for photo use....punk

poo posted

Thats very interesting indeed! You cant sue though. Anything uploaded to flickr is part of creative commons and therefore can be used by anyone , You can however sue your friend as you have copywrite on that image bieng the photographer!
Honestly? Seriously? Mrlargefoot, read your post. "You can sue your friend..."? Is that how low the moral value of society is dropping, that you'd even consider the possibility of suing a friend over something as trivial as this?

I like the photo (grainy though the original is, I think it's cool- great perspective), and it's neat it got put into the booklet. Kudos~ =D

Vilicious posted

sue metallica or the makers of the cd album or the riaa or something, just because it's america. your friend harper is pretty much innocent as long as he either shares any profit he gains or doesn't gain any at all.

jesus posted

Thanx for the story, enjoyed reading it. How bout this, you sue Metallica, I will upload their new album and let Harper have the pic bragging rights- see,,, we all will win.

LaKASkill posted

Sue them.

Metallica sucks.

sucks posted

You should sue them. Metallica sucks anyway. It's a shitty picture too. Way to go.

sucks posted

i would sue so for damages you could be like "I just want a guitar and drum sticks signed by ALL the members"

and the original picture is crappy but hey! Photoshop lol

chongor posted

you gave verbal consent...and ur pic is there...all these other assholes saying u should sue...fuck them...and for some of you guys to bring up the napster thing, go jerk off ur dogs, get over it...MetallicA FOR LIFE!!

Dallas posted

Man, after all of their screaming over music theft by downloading, you owe it to yourself to pursue this, even if nothing comes of it - they could at least give you some freebies. Major props for getting your picture into an award winning cover design. mate! But you really should get something for it.

CJ posted

Metallica sucks. Sue their ass!

Echoblast posted


chris posted

derek i just cummed in my own asshole.

harper posted

Thats cool that you have a photo in the package.

I would check Flickr's Terms Of Service and their Copyright Policy.

BTW.. I think Death Magnetic sux real hard. Worst album of 2008, crap production, uninspired unoriginal drivel. Lars keeps bashing his toy drum kit. I was at the Death Magnetic Launch Party at the O2 Arena in London, wasn't a bad show. Not great.

Zetan posted

Death Magnetic cannot be compared to older, heavier Metallica. Kill Em All, Ride the Lightning, and Master of Puppets are all masterpieces. I've heard garage band recordings that sound better than Death Magnetic. St Anger was 10x better than this dreck.

HellYeah posted

Could it be a Del Sol, maybe? The Miata is a bit smaller I think.

gerbil posted

hey guys, nobody cares about your fruity ass pic or this piece of shit album.

Brian Williams posted

Simple thought, if you and your friend did not give Metallica the rights to your pic, they would not have used it. That's it, game over, end of story for another scratchy pic lost in the abyss of flickr.

Like you said Derek, you though your pic sucked; it would have had absolutely no value without the marketing power and high demand of Metallica's music.

This is the beauty of creative commons: the sharing and distribution of thoughts and ideas to create something amazing. Bravo for not selling out, and bravo for not trying to get retribution for a garbage image turned to gold!

Ven posted

I think the "hairy vagina" is the only redeeming thing left to discuss here, point or not.

mark hendricks posted

frost posted

I stopped reading after you said, "I went and bought the new Metallica CD today - Death Magnetic."
some tourist took a blah pic of him in some industrial warehouse in asia and the top of it got professionally touched up and used as a background of a magazine cover in Iron Man. Hollywood and Rock bands

Alice posted

I think the worst part is having your photo in the metallica album and that you are this enthused over metallica.
Just....just awful music.

Lulz posted

Stumbled! Sue them, worth a try,

Brandon posted

sue the fuck out of metallica. cunts sue everyone else

matt posted

1). your buddy is a fag for taking the credit... you should punch him in the balls and spit in his face... but you wont cause your secretly in love with him and want to be him. So when you read his name in the photo creds you close your eyes and smile with false gratification.

2). you should sue metallica cause they are greedy fucks with more then enough to cover this... but you wont partly because of reasons from #1

tim posted

look it doesnt matter who has the rights to sue or whatever. metallica should just give u both credit for it and NEITHER SHOULD SUE ANYONE!!! ur both friends and dont listen to ppl saying sue metallica. metallica have done nothing wrong. what have u lost? did u soend thousands of pounds of camera equipment to take the pic? no, it was taken on a phone and since ur metallica fans, just be happy that the pic is in the booklet.

and who the fuck is the guy above who just wants to see two friends fall out and then watch u sue metallica for nothing

Tom posted

I am secretly in love with Harper and want to be him.

Secret Admirer posted

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