Black Metal band Enslaved have started downloading sheep

Free-grazing sheep in the Norwegian mountains make a fitting analogy to “orphaned” music on the internet.

Enslaved 2005 foto: / Asle Birkeland

This has happened:
To national merriment two members of internationally renowned Norwegian Black Metal outfit Enslaved in a televised stunt stole a free-grazing sheep in the mountains of western Norway. The animal was the property of politician and leader of the Liberal Party Lars Sponheim. The two long- haired and tattooed musicians out hunting for ingredients for a nice autumn meal was a hilarious clip, as was the two’s eloquent justification for the hunt: free-grazing mountain sheep go where they please, they argued, no physical boundaries stop anyone from catching one, and legally one should thus be entitled to; it is a perfect parallel to songs that are roaming free on the internet.

Sponheim’s Liberal Party has been advocating a legalization of all illicit internet downloading. The argument is that the music is already freely accessible and therefore legal practice should adapt to reality and downloading should be legalized. Sponheim is himself a farmer by trade, and his sheep roam freely in the countryside, as is customary in Norway in the mild seasons.
Generally Sponheim’s party has been a strong defender of small businesses and has made it a chief concern to ensure the economy of such.
Enslaved argue (in the clip, while motoring up into the hills looking for sheep with the Sponheim-tag) that bands are just such small businesses and legalizing free downloading is counter to everything the liberal party claims to stand for.

For the record:
The stunt was staged as a part of the wider campaign against downloading called Piracy Kills Music, which has been initiated by a common body of Norwegian music industry and artists’ organisations. Sponheim was not around when the theft took place, and thus oblivious to his property being “downloaded,” just like musicians are. Further: the animal was not consumed, for unlike the liberal party Enslaved believe that ownership is not infringed even if no physical boundaries bar theft. The sheep was released into the mountainous fields again, and the one presented as loot in Oslo was in fact a professional stand-in from some farm in the environs of the capital.

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