Universal Threatens Abba Fansite With Legal Action
The Universal record label has threatened an ABBA website based in Australia with legal action over "illegal" live recordings distributed or purchased by fans. The website Abbamail.com - which is owned by GRAEME READ and GRANT WITTINGHAM, who founded the Australian Abba fan club in 1976 - has been operating for nine years and, until recently, sold bootleg material directly. Universal has asked Australia's Music Industry Piracy Investigations - the Australian music industry's legal body - to force Read and Wittingham to hand over "illegal" material and identify those who supplied it. But the two fansite founders blame the music industry giant for the bootlegs, because executives refuse to release the rare material themselves. Read and Wittingham have set up the website Universalgreed.com in response to the record company's stance. Read says, "This is just about giving the people the opportunity to see stuff that they won't release as otherwise they could never see or hear it. "Fans have been saying for years, we've already bought all the (official) stuff that you've put out over and over and over again. Can we now have some stuff that's unreleased, that's rare. And (ABBA's record label Universal) basically said, 'No, we're not going to do it.'"