Singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan and folk singer Cheryl Wheeler are demanding the removal of their music from a grisly videotape that documents last year's mass shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.
The videotape, which includes McLachlan's "I Will Remember You" (RealAudio excerpt), was released to the public Wednesday (April 26) by authorities in Jefferson County, Colo.
"Neither Sarah McLachlan nor Arista Records were ever approached for the usage of her music or image within the video being released. In fact, we are demanding that her song ... be removed from this exploitative videotape," McLachlan's record label said in a statement released Wednesday evening.
Wheeler also demanded, through a letter from her publishing company, that her anti-gun song "If It Were Up to Me" (RealAudio excerpt) be removed from the tape, according to James Rouse, an attorney for the families of three Columbine victims. The letter says the use of the song is copyright infringement, Rouse said.
A spokesperson for Wheeler could not be reached for comment.
Columbine victims' relatives were shocked that the videotape, which reportedly combines footage shot by local firefighters on the scene with film from news helicopters, had a pop music soundtrack, according to Rouse.
"The families felt it was highly inappropriate. They were not happy with it," he said. "We can certainly understand why the artist would be upset by [the inclusion of her music]."
As McLachlan's song plays in the background, the videotape shows the high school library where several killings took place, with the camera lingering on pools of blood, according to the Associated Press.
Spokespersons for the Jefferson County attorney's office, which released the videotape, were not available for comment Wednesday night.
The music was added to the footage when it was used earlier as a training video for police and firefighters, according to the AP report. The county attorney's office made the tape available to victims' families to comply with a court order, and then decided to release the videotape to the media and the public as well, according to Rouse. The county is selling the tape for $25, the AP reported.
The video also includes the religious folk-pop song "Friend of Mine (Columbine)," Rouse said. The song, written by two Columbine students, garnered airplay in the aftermath of the murders.
Teens Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and a teacher before turning their guns on themselves in the April 20, 1999, massacre.
Some observers tried to link the incident to the dark music of groups such as Marilyn Manson, KMFDM and German rockers Rammstein, but the artists disputed any such connection.
McLachlan, who last released the live album Mirrorball (1999), which included a version of "I Will Remember You," is perhaps best known as the founder of the defunct Lilith Fair.
Wheeler released "If It Were Up to Me," in which she sings "If it were up to me, I'd take away the guns," on her 1999 album, Sylvia Hotel.