The Web Sheriff has always been a bit of a mystery, appearing out of nowhere and leaving menacing, quasi-litigious comments on people’s MP3 blogs. This March, after examining the IP addresses from some of their comments and realizing that at least some of the comments were coming from European AOL accounts, I figured that the Web Sheriff was a small organization comprised of a small sales team to talk to labels plus a handful of lackeys who set up Google alerts and read the Hype Machine and then send the emails and post the comments.
The Village Voice pretty much confirmed my suspicion: Meet the Web Sheriff:
John Giacobbi says he started Web Sheriff—now boasting a 20-member “core team” with two U.K. offices and plans to open a third stateside—as a means to “take care of online-rights management for artists, managers, and labels, entailing everything from managing album leaks and manufacturing watermarked CDs and DVDs, right through to building and managing websites and YouTube channels, and actually filming and editing content for them,” adding that the concept came about “through my long-standing representation of the Village People and the increasing amount of online issues that started to arise.”
The Village People are to blame? Who knew!