A filmmaker recently received a cease-and-desist letter from Coachella‘s parent company after editing together and posting a video of Frank Ocean‘s performance at the festival.
Brian Kinnes — who compiled more than 100 videos of Ocean shared on social media by festivalgoers to create one patchwork quilt of a concert film — is speaking out after event promoter AEG threatened legal action against him. The 26-year-old film editor from New York has removed his Frankenstein creation from the internet since getting hit with the cease-and-desist letter last week.
“I did not expect a legitimate cease-and-desist from the head of legal at AEG,” Kinnes told SFGate.
“Just the tone of that letter really put me off guard. I didn’t realize how much they didn’t want that being seen in a quote-unquote professionally recorded way.”
AEG did not immediately respond Tuesday to The Times’ request for comment.
Though Kinnes did not attend this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, he was able to stitch together and release what has been described as a seamless, high-quality compilation of concert footage documenting Ocean’s entire set.
Hours before Ocean was scheduled to go onstage, YouTube announced that his highly anticipated performance would no longer be featured on the Coachella livestream — disappointing fans who weren’t able to access official footage.
For a couple of hours, Kinnes’ amateur concert movie filled that void — until it was yanked for copyright reasons and AEG demanded he “remove and destroy all audio and video content … of musical performances from the Festival.”
“Anything short of full compliance … will lead to the initiation of immediate formal legal action,” AEG wrote in the cease-and-desist letter obtained by Variety.
“The contents of your social media posts, use of our Festival name, use of our Festival content, and other circumstances clearly indicate that you are using the Intellectual Property with intent to trade on the Festival’s name and reputation.”
According to Variety, Kinnes complied by scrubbing Coachella footage and references from his website and social media accounts. But he doesn’t believe he did anything wrong.
“I’m just combining what’s already publicly available,” Kinnes told the trade magazine. “Essentially, [AEG’s] claims are pretty frivolous and almost completely baseless.”
Before receiving the cease-and-desist, Kinnes told Variety he wasn’t “concerned with any legal repercussions” because he did not intend to “make a single penny” from the video. At the time, he vowed to “continue to upload it in places that [Ocean’s] legal team will not be able to find” because he thinks “it deserves to exist online.”
It turns out Ocean’s legal team wasn’t the one he had to worry about.