Def Leppard re-records own music to spite record company

It’s a little known fact, but there are compulsory licenses for music that protect cover songs. If you want to record your own version of a popular song, you don’t need to ask for permission. This quirk of copyright law is being taken advantage of by English rock group Def Leppard. After a fairly substantial falling out with its label, the band has decided to simply do covers of all its old tracks to sell directly without the label’s involvement.
Band frontman Joe Elliott describes the new tracks, with perhaps a devilish smirk, as “forgeries.” He explains that the band was unable to come to an agreement with Universal Music on digital download royalties, which the band members feel they should be getting a larger cut of. The contract Universal currently has with the band gives the label complete rights over what happens with the current master recordings, so Def Leppard is just doing it over.
Recordings of the iconic Pour Some Sugar on Me and Rock of Ages have been completed, and are available for download. The band continues to work through its back catalog, but Elliott says the massive improvement in recording technology in the last 25 years is saving time.
Def Leppard is one of the few classic big-name acts missing from digital music storefronts. None of the band’s full studio albums are available for download because of the dispute with the record label. The first 2012 re-recording is going for $3.99 and includes the aforementioned tracks, as well as a video for Pour Some Sugar on Me.
Copyright law is a strange thing.