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"All-Inclusive Dixie Chicks" In The News

The nature of the Web is transitory... here today, gone tomorrow. On this page, I will archive online news articles related to my site, starting with reports on the events following my "Cease And Desist" letter from the Dixie Chicks' lawyers.

Angie McIsaac, Nashville Insider Report (11/98)


~~Robert Brooks, long time fan and operator of "The Unofficial All-Inclusive Dixie Chicks Website", the longest running site dedicated to the band, has been threatened by lawyers representing the Chicks. Apparently, the attorneys informed Brooks that his use of former Dixie Chicks hits, on his "sounds" page were in violation of the Dixie Chicks' right to control their artwork. The sounds, to which they are referring, are from the early days, before Natalie (lead singer) joined the group. These albums are out of print and therefore can not be purchased by anyone. Being a financially limited fan, like everyone else, Brooks issued this statement. "While I do not agree that the sound samples presented on my "Sounds" page violate the Dixie Chicks' right to control their artwork, I do not have the resources to contest the issue." Robert Brooks is not a threat to The Dixie Chicks. The man has been a huge fan of the group, since their days on Dallas street corners. So much so, that he has constructed a webpage in their honor. I went to Brooks myself, for information, when researching the group! He has never had any ulterior motive behind his endearment of the group. He never made any money from the wav samples provided on the website. Even now, he remains a fan. His only comment to me, on this situation was; "Actually, it's a perverse sort of honor... some lawyer making $100 an hour, spent a lot of time scouring my site. And besides, you could take all the sounds and pictures off and it's still the same site -- I've always preferred useful text over pretty pictures." The wav samples have been removed and Brooks has issued a public statement.

[Fact Check: I can't take credit for being the first Dixie Chicks fan site... Nici gets that honor.]

Stacy Harris, Stacy's Music Row Report (11/98)


ROBERT BROOKS has received a phone call followed by a "cease and desist" letter from an attorneys representing THE DIXIE CHICKS' management. The lawyers' very specific demands were that the talented Web page designer remove sound samples from the Chicks' previous releases from his site, while "nobody with 'New Chicks' sound samples is being told to take them down. They didn't even go after my .mp3 copy of a .wav file that was on the Nashville Summer Lights '97 site (and has been copied to several other fan sites)."

When I advised Robert "You may not have to cease and desist doing anything, but it may be too costly to find out, " Robert agreed: "Yep... my legal defense fund is limited to the change caught between the cushions of the sofa!"

Brooks understands the lawyers' position. He appreciates their meticulous scouring of his site and understands that TDC's management is doing its job of protecting what it sees as TDC's interests and is therefore "begrudgingly happy to comply, [but] would it be paranoid to wonder whether someone in marketing is actively trying to make it difficult to let people know about the 'Old Chicks' ' sound? Or are the lawyers just making sure they don't upset their new fans, including the 14-year-old owner of their 'blessed' New Chicks fan site? She's got RealAudio samples of every track on 'Wide Open Spaces.'"

The Dallas Observer (12/10/1998)


When my legal troubles caught the attention of the Observer, music reporter Zac Crain interviewed me about the situation for the better part of an hour. I expected maybe a small blurb about the letter, or maybe a few paragraphs in the Street Beat column. Instead, Crain wrote five full-length columns spread over three pages, dedicating the to what he saw as the Dixie Chicks' rejection of their history... with the legal attack on my site as merely a symptom of a larger problem.

Click the link above to view the article. It's too long to reproduce here... and the Observer's archive is more or less permanent (and free).

Katie Pruitt, Young Country 105.3 (12/98)


The Dallas Observer contains an interesting article by Zac Crain on the Dixie Chicks.... actually, a web site about the Dixie Chicks.

According to Crain, Robert Brooks, a 31-year-old computer programmer, posted a web site dedicated to the band that goes all the way back to the band's beginning. At issue is his inclusion of sound files in MP3 format. Lawyers for the Chicks say it's not fair for someone who does not own the music to post it. "They're the ones who sweated to make this music and, you know, they have the right to decide what to do with it," a lawyer from the Nashville law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips is quoted in the article as saying.

Crain postulates that Brooks is being targetted by lawyers, however, because his web site -- unlike many other Dixie Chicks websites that also include unauthorized sound clips -- contains clips of old Dixie Chicks songs. Songs that were recorded with previous band members Laura Lynch and Robin Macy. Crain's theory is that the band is trying to "erase" the previous history of the Dixie Chicks; that the band's bio now excises the contributions of Macy and Lynch. As the article puts it, "the Dixie Chicks have become the country version of Menudo, hiring and firing based on age."

Brooks tells the Dallas Observer that he wanted to show Dixie Chicks fans some of the extraordinary fiddle and banjo playing on the earlier albums, a mix of traditional country and bluegrass. He says he wanted to demonstrate how good the band members are as musicians.

Does a guy who put together a not-for-profit web site that includes unauthorized sound clips deserve a cease-and-desist letter from an attorney? That question isn't easy to answer. There are good arguments to be made either way. But you can check out what's left of Robert Brooks' website at http://www.dallas.net/~totoro/dixiechicks

[Note: the address is now dixiechicks.com].

CMT Canada (12/98)

A fan on the Dixie Chicks discussion list says that CMT Canada mentioned my situation, on or around December 16, 1998. I've compiled the information he gave me below:

From: "Waterloo Dark"
To: dixiechicks@egroups.com
Subject: [dixiechicks] Robert Brooks

Well for all those who do not live in Canada, CMT Canada mentioned your name, Robert, on CMT Beat. They were talking about how your page had a song file on the page and that the lawyers made you take it off. Just thought it was interesting that CMT Canada mentioned your name.

It went something like, "The Chicks' lawyers have been busy. They came into a legal case recently with a fan, Robert Brooks who had placed a full-length version of a single on his webpage. After being notified of his infraction, the file was removed and no further action is suspected."

...or something like that. It was only a 3-minute "CMT Beat" news break, so it was the same size as the other 5 or 6 stories. They didn't mention the site's addy.

kewl huh?!


CountryNow.com "Fan Sites" (1/28/99)


The Secret History of the Dixie Chicks

You knew the Dixie Chicks had been around long before "Wide Open Spaces" and "I Can Love You Better," didn't you? You didn't? Well, you will after you visit the All-Inclusive Dixie Chicks Page.

Robert Brooks, the site's webmaster, has dedicated himself to telling the entire story of the Chicks -- which includes several independent recordings and former members. Find out what happened to founding member Robin Lynn Macy after she left the band. Read five years' worth of Dixie Chicks newsletters. Check out an incredibly detailed discography that tracks the band from 1990's Thank Heavens for Dale Evans to their cover of "Stand by Your Man" on last year's Tribute to Tradition collection. You could even hear samples of some of the out-of-print records until the Chicks' lawyers asked Robert to take them off the site; that story is recounted in detail in Robert's Cease and Desist section.

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Last update: 01/28/1999 by Robert Brooks
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