May 3, 2006

Red Hot Chili Peppers angered by Internet leak

By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Red Hot Chili Peppers have
lashed out at a music pirate who leaked the funk-rock band's
upcoming album onto the Internet, and urged fans not to
download it illegally.

The band's spokeswoman said on Wednesday the offender was
being tracked down. The group's highly anticipated first studio
album in four years, "Stadium Arcadium," is still on track to
go on sale on Tuesday via Warner Music Group Inc.s Warner Bros.
Records, she said.

In a rambling open letter, the band's bass player, Michael
"Flea" Balzary, said he and his colleagues would be heartbroken
if fans downloaded the album beforehand.

"For people to just steal a poor sound quality version of
it for free because some a--hole stole it and put it on the
internet is sad to me," he said.

"I can not put in words how much this record, 'Stadium
Arcadium,' means to us, how sacred the sound of it is to us,
and how many sleepless nights and hardworking days we all had
thinking about how to make it be the best sounding thing we
could and now, for someone to take it and put it out there with
this poor sound quality it is a painful pill for us to
swallow," Balzary added.

If caught, the leaker could face the same fate as two men
indicted by the U.S. government in March on allegations of
making parts of an album by rock singer Ryan Adams available on
the Internet before it was released.

Under a provision of the 2005 Family Entertainment and
Copyright Act, which makes it a separate crime to pirate music
and movies before their official release date, they each face
up to 11 years in prison if convicted.

The band's spokeswoman said she did not know how the album
was leaked. Warner Bros. often distributes advance copies of
albums to journalists in special envelopes that declare the
recipient responsible for any misuse of the CD once the seal is
broken. The discs are watermarked and bear the recipient's
name, which makes leaks easier to trace.

Leaks are sometimes also traced to recording studios and
post-production plants.