TORONTO - A concert DVD of a legendary rock-and-roll duo has been pulled from two of Canada's major retail stores this week after lawyers for one of the stars declared it a bootleg.
HMV and Best Buy confirmed that copies of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page: Live in Japan 1996 are being removed from the shelves of their stores coast to coast after a lawyer for one of the aging ex-Led Zeppelin band members declared it a pirated DVD of a show the duo had done almost 20 years ago.
"It is a bootleg," confirmed lawyer George Fearon in an e-mail two days after QMI Agency brought the DVD to his attention.
"HMV Canada is ... removing both titles from our shelves until we have proof of their legitimacy," HMV spokeswoman Elyssa Macri said Friday.
Prior to that decision, company president Nick Williams said that the supplier of the Live in Japan 1996 DVD, Koch Entertainment, had told HMV that the product is legitimate and it could be sold legally in Canada.
Koch Entertainment could not be reached for comment.
"This is not something that we or our vendor partners were aware of but we are now removing these titles from our stores," Best Buy's Danielle Jang said.
After being approached by QMI Agenc, Fearon, a lawyer for guitarist Page, said he planned to approach authorities in the music business about the sale of the DVD.
Richard Pfohl of Music Canada said his organization approached the Canadian distributor of the Live in Japan DVD in July with concerns around its authenticity after receiving a complaint from a consumer.
Pfohl said he was "not at liberty" to confirm the name of the distributor, but that "they dropped it immediately" from their catalogue and stopped distributing it in Canada.
"My understanding is the retailers don't necessarily return all of those copies, so there may be copies on the shelves that are still for sale," Pfohl said.
Terry Stephenson, a Led Zeppelin fan who attended Page and Plant concerts around the world in the mid-90s, claims to have been the one who recorded the 1996 show in Tokyo.
The San Diego resident said in an e-mail that he had the band's permission to record the show and that he shared VHS copies with the band, fellow fans and collectors.
At no point, he said, was it meant to be for sale, but reckons that it was copied by bootleggers at some point.
PAGE FIGHTING FOR HIS RIGHT
Being an aging multi-millionaire rock 'n' roll icon hasn't stopped Jimmy Page from fighting for his right to protect what he has created.
It was back in July of 2007 that the former Led Zeppelin guitarist was the star witness in the Glasgow trial of Robert Langley, a long-time Zeppelin fan accused of selling bootleg CDs and DVDs of live performances by the band.
Langley, who was ultimately convicted of trademark and copyright infringements, had been caught selling the items at a popular Scottish music fair, according to reports by the BBC.
"The legitimate part is where fans trade music, but once you start packaging it up and you do not know what you are getting, you are breaking the rules legally and morally," Page, now 69, reportedly told the court. "If you have something like this that appears legitimate, then it is just not right."
At the time, an official from the British Phonographic Industry called Langley, then 58, a "notorious" music pirate who had once dominated the small-time bootlegging scene.
Page's lawyer, George Fearon, told QMI Agency this week Page remains steadfast in protecting the Led Zeppelin brand and its music, as well as his own solo work and collaborations.
"(Page has) worked very hard over the years to develop a reputation in this business, and he wants to do what he can, when he can, to help enforce and protect the rights of himself and his colleagues," Fearon said from his office in New York.
"Jimmy is very meticulous about the quality of both audio and audio-visual recordings that represent his work."