By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Feb 24, 2005 at 5:37 AM

{image1}Local musical parody group Beatallica got a shock last week when its Internet Service Provider ThePlanet.com received a cease and desist order via e-mail and fax from Sony/ATV Music demanding the removal of the bulk of the band's Web site.

Sony/ATV, which administers the publishing of most of the Beatles' songs, accused the band's site of "willful copyright infringement" and claimed the Web site was "unlawfully using Sony/ATV Compositions or derivative works" without permission.

"Things are in somewhat of a holding pattern for now," says the band's Jaymz Lennfield (aka Michael "Tinker" Tierney). "We, as a band, are not getting sued, at least not yet. Our ISP can choose to pull the site. We have filed a counter claim saying we feel what we're doing is legal per our set up and under the rights of free speech.

"We have had legal counsel from the beginning and are organized as a business, not individuals."

The order included a list of 17 Beatles tunes that it claims the band has used without permission, including hits like "A Hard Day's Night" and "Ticket to Ride," as well as deeper album tracks like "Run for Your Life" and "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey."

The band and ThePlanet.com have complied by removing the content on its Web site beatallica.org and replacing it with a petition that it plans to forward to Sony Music.

Well over 2,000 people have already signed the petition, which was launched by U.K.-based Beatallica fan Sam Harris and asks, "We, the undersigned, request that Sony Music retract the Cease & Desist order placed on www.beatallica.org and www.beatallica.com and recognize the music of Beatallica as parody, which is legal in American law."

One fan who has made his support clear is Metallica's Lars Ulrich.

"Yes, Lars Ulrich from Metallica called me at home and we talked about the situation," says Lennfield. "He was very cool and the whole band has been extremely supportive. They're looking into how to best help us with the situation and any future situations. (Dream Theater drummer) Mike Portnoy started a forum on his site, too."

Lennfield says the actions aren't affecting the band's current status as a live act, and it isn't slowing down out of fear or cautiousness.

"In no way does all this crap affect live shows. We'll be bashing them out very soon. We look forward to 2005 as a fun year for us. We have a new tune ready to go; it's done and waiting for a secure home. We have material just waiting to be fleshed out and recorded for a follow up to "The Gray Album."

And in the meantime?

"Our e-mail list is growing because of it," says Lennfield. "(There have been) news articles from everywhere around the world and the solar system. The Beatallica site can direct folks to certain sites and links and give info on how to contact us in case the site does go down."

But, since the initial e-mail, Lennfield adds, there has been no further contact from Sony/ATV Music. Although the band expects that to come.

"We've received no further contact from Sony, but I'm sure we will or our ISP will. We've responded with our feelings, but it's up to the ISP to make a decision whether or not to keep us up. If they choose to disconnect service, we'll move to a new ISP. I'm sure Sony will follow. I have a feeling this is going to be somewhat of a duck duck goose game for a while. Rest assured, we feel we are entirely within our rights, don't do this for malice or as some sort of industry coup, and plan on continuing with the project for years to come."

Beatallica can be contacted at beatallica@sbcglobal.net.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.