Print 41 comment(s) - last by jconan.. on Jan 20 at 11:47 PM

Well, you wouldn't if you were RIAA/CRIA, at least. You'd go after a more lucrative target, like stealing hundreds of thousands of tracks from hard working independent musicians.  (Source: MPAA/RIAA)

Record companies around the world contend that they are the only ones allowed to steal musicians' work.  (Source: Corbis)
After infringing on thousands of artists' works, the big four labels agree to collectively pay them $45M USD

Since the 1980s, record companies have taken tracks from musicians who had not signed with them and put them on a "pending list". This left thousands of musicians receiving no royalties as the major labels used, distributed, and even profited off their tracks.

In Canada alone, this situation reached the point where 300,000 tracks, some dated back to the 1980s were listed as "pending".  Some musicians were actively working -- to no avail -- to stop the record companies from pirating their tracks.

Now they have a bit of vindication.  After a long class action lawsuit dating back to 2008, filed on behalf of angry independent musicians, Warner Music, Sony BMG Music, EMI Music, and Universal Music have in effect acknowledged that they were engaging in copyright infringement.  They have agreed to settle to the tune of $45M USD. 

The Canadian Recording Industry Association CRIA, the Canadian sister organization of the RIAA, and the organization that represents the major labels claim that the payout is not an admission of guilt.  They write, "The settlement is a compromise of disputed claims and is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing by the record labels."

Apparently they believe that they did not pirate tracks or commit copyright infringement because they hoped to pay artists at some point -- although they never did.  In essence, their argument also boils down that it was too hard to find and legally purchase the tracks.

Unfortunately, the victory for the small artists is mostly symbolic.  In Canada, the U.S., and abroad, major record labels plan to continue to sell music they've essentially pirated from "unknown artists".  The lawsuit does nothing to change this situation.

Equally unfortunate is the hypocrisy of these record labels, which have perpetually worked to block the public from experiencing the same joys of piracy that's made record company executives rich and corpulent.

They've been hard at work funneling money to politicians to try to pass new international laws and treaties like ACTA, which could send peer-to-peer engine developers and those who share pirated music and movies to prison for the first time

This irony is duly noted by the artists in the lawsuit, who write, "The conduct of the defendant record companies is aggravated by their strict and unremitting approach to the enforcement of their copyright interests against consumers."

The wife of Edwyn Collins, a major 90s British alternative star with the band Orange Juice, summed it up nicely, while describing how British record labels had stolen her husband's work and blocked him from posting it himself on online.  She stated, "[We are] aware of who the biggest bootleggers are. It's not the filesharers. [A Girl Like You is sold] not by Edwyn, [but] by all sorts of respectable major labels whose licence to sell it ran out years ago and who do not account to him."

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By cjohnson2136 on 1/11/2011 10:37:52 AM , Rating: 2
These record labels have been fighting Limewire, p2p, and all this other pirated stuff when they have been doing themselves. This is bull$h!t and i hope they end up paying out more money to those unknown artists.

RE: Really....
By GulWestfale on 1/11/2011 10:46:13 AM , Rating: 5
They should be forced to pay the same amount per song that they demand from 'private pirates'.
45m doesn't seem enough.

RE: Really....
By marvdmartian on 1/11/2011 10:57:45 AM , Rating: 5
How about we count up the songs they've stolen over the years, then determine how many people they've "shared" them with (for a fee, which is even WORSE!), THEN use the same figure per song per share that they used on Jammie Thomas??

Ought to cost the record companies about 45 BILLION then, wouldn't you say?

Loved this line, too:

Apparently they believe that they did not pirate tracks or commit copyright infringement because they hoped to pay artists at some point -- although they never did.

Any bets on how long it will take, before someone tries to use that as a defense to sharing music online?? ;)

RE: Really....
By cjohnson2136 on 1/11/2011 11:18:52 AM , Rating: 3
I would agree wiht the 45 billion because they have been doing this sicne the 80's. I mean come on they have been ripping the artists and consumers off since the 80's making us pay for stuff they stole from others.

RE: Really....
By Solandri on 1/11/2011 8:55:48 PM , Rating: 3
I believe the $45 billion figure comes from the maximum penalty under US Copyright law: $200 to $150,000 per infringed work. 300,000 works * $150,000 per work = $45 billion.

It really is a pity this wasn't a U.S. case. Even as a settlement it would've established $150 per infringed work as a "reasonable" baseline for copyright infringement suits by the RIAA. Unfortunately it's a Canadian case, and Canadian citizens are (for the time being) shielded from copyright infringement of music by the universal CD tax the CRIA unwittingly managed to get passed back in the 1990s. So it can't even be used in their defense.

RE: Really....
By kattanna on 1/11/2011 11:36:43 AM , Rating: 2
will be interesting to see if that jammie case can now go back and only have to pay $150 per song like the labels have instead of the $62,500 per song according to her latest outcome

or.... have the labels pay the same as her, though it should be the max of $150,000 per since they did it to make money.

RE: Really....
By sonoran on 1/11/2011 2:21:16 PM , Rating: 2
Let's see - 300,000 songs times $62,500/song - that works out to about $18.75 billion if my math is correct. Damned shame the RIAA didn't get taken to the same court.

RE: Really....
By HrilL on 1/11/2011 4:58:30 PM , Rating: 2
that is only Canadian artist. The real number is likely in the millions and the fact they profited. That is what the laws we have in place are really meant to stop. People from profiting from others works not from people sharing something because they think everyone should also enjoy something they love.

RE: Really....
By wordsworm on 1/20/2011 8:58:18 PM , Rating: 2
Unlike those who refused to settle with the record companies, the record companies are agreeing to settle with the artists. The difference here is the level of basic intelligence.

If anyone can recall, the RIAA tried to settle with those two cases for a relatively small amount of money. It's the jurors who assigned the millions to the organization.

RE: Really....
By bah12 on 1/11/11, Rating: -1
RE: Really....
By tastyratz on 1/11/2011 12:14:42 PM , Rating: 4
Ironic? I think not you just are not viewing the situation whole.
Ironic would be if the RIAA kept the songs as pending and listened to them in their homes.

The situation is that they stole copied and made a profit from all of these songs. That is seperate from your standard issue college kid piracy.

This is equivalent to basement cd presses selling counterfit music that looks legit in stores.

What the RIAA did was wrong, and they should absolutely be held accountable for it.
They profited from the works of others, they did not steal for personal use because they did not find it worth full price in store.

45 million is absolutely a joke for just Canada even. (note its 47.5mil CAD)
Also this is a settlement to be approved in Feb, this is not an agreed upon one.
A proposed settlement of approximately CDN $47.5 million dollars was reached with four major record labels

Class action members could still reject it

(Src) n/Cases/Pending_Lists_New

RE: Really....
By Invane on 1/11/2011 12:25:42 PM , Rating: 5
I would hope they definitely don't agree to this and run the RIAA into the ground with it. With all the groundwork the RIAA has layed, they would seem to have a very strong argument for steeper penalties in light of the fact that the RIAA's infringement strongly appears to be both willful and for profit.

Course, like any class action suit, the lawyers will still make most of the money rather than the people that deserve it.

RE: Really....
By Hyperion1400 on 1/11/2011 8:19:30 PM , Rating: 2
Course, like any class action suit, the lawyers will still make most of the money rather than the people that deserve it.

For once, I don't care, as long as they rape the record labels with the laws they fought so hard to create! If they can pull it off, they DESERVE the ludicrous windfall!

RE: Really....
By Invane on 1/11/2011 12:21:04 PM , Rating: 5
I think you're missing the point. They aren't 'pro' fines or 'for' larger penalties. These people are rightfully pissed off that when the SAME companies that are laying millions of dollars in fines on some guy making 30k a year commit the exact same crime on a far grander scale, they are suddenly paying a small percentage of what they demand from everyone else. The utter hypocrisy displayed by the RIAA is appalling.

You shouldn't have one measuring stick for meting out punishment when other people infringe your copyrighted works, and a second much smaller measuring stick for when you decide you want to infringe others' copyrights.

RE: Really....
By acer905 on 1/11/2011 12:33:52 PM , Rating: 2
To be fair, copying something for private use has long been accepted, if not actually legal. For instance nobody ever complained (much) when VCR's came out and people started recording TV shows for personal use. However, selling copied movies was actively fought.

These companies have been actively selling and profiting off of copyrighted material. This is violating the copyright in the worst way possible.

Ultimately, the only reason that personal use copying ever came into the spotlight was when the internet allowed unlimited access to vast collections of music. Loss of potential profit became a driving force for the RIAA to attack the so called "pirates"

In copyright law, fair use should cover instances which do not involve profit as a result of the copying. Even now the RIAA and MPAA do not attack DVR's, even though people can use them to record and store as much content as they would like, unless the person is caught selling the content. Whether or not a person makes money by violating a copyright is actually a major point and should not be dismissed

RE: Really....
By nolisi on 1/11/2011 1:18:38 PM , Rating: 2
Along with the previous comments, the problem is exacerbated when you realize the Industry used legitimate means to move and profit from stolen goods because they have control over the market. You and I can't make and take a large number of legitimate looking copies of the latest Beyonce CD to Walmart and have them sell it for you without question. This practice has made other companies potentially liable for moving stolen goods.

The four facts that make this different than the average file sharing case:
1)They have control over legitimate distribution channels and used it to distribute stolen goods
2)They did it before the *mass* market gained the ability to make copies of music
3)They profited off of the lawsuits they issued against others as well as the pirated music
4)They advocated and instituted the laws and disproportionate penalties against regular people

I have no sorrow for faceless businesses that creates and enforces double standard. People would not have entered the black market that the Industry created had they not artificially controlled prices; ironically, the Industry was in the black market before any filesharers ever dreamed of entering it.

RE: Really....
By Hyperion1400 on 1/11/2011 8:15:39 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, if you use the 250K max per infringement, then they should be liable for up to $75 Billion. Hell, even Intel would have a hard time coming up with that kind of coin!

RE: Really....
By XZerg on 1/11/2011 12:38:03 PM , Rating: 3
They are like Siamese twins except that one is a robber and the other is a cop. They deserve to be penalized much more (say 10x) than a typical pirate given they should be more aware of why stealing music is bad than anyone, let alone a pirate.

RE: Really....
By jconan on 1/20/2011 11:47:42 PM , Rating: 2
It's like a drop in the bucket for RIAA's theft compared to the millions that extorted off of grandmothers, children, students, and ordinary folks with no money. RIAA should be paying 1000x for the pain and suffering that they inflicted on working artists, swindling consumers into buying stolen property and having online stores ie Apple, Amazon, Yahoo, Microsoft, and etc abetting them and extorting money from online radio companies as punishment should fit the crime. RIAA shouldn't only be charged just for theft, RIAA should also be held accountable for corruption, organized mafia, racketeering (extortion), money laundering, RIAA propaganda, false accusations, defamation, price fixing, bribery of congressional representatives to write laws favoring them eg ACTA, and the list probably goes on and on...

Double standards... This sounds like it's worse than Watergate.

RE: Really....
By RivuxGamma on 1/16/2011 12:35:31 PM , Rating: 2
I say charge them enough so that they can just barely cover operating costs for 5 years (not legal costs) and strike the laws that they bought out of existence.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

Most Popular Articles5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
Laptop or Tablet - Which Do You Prefer?
September 20, 2016, 6:32 AM
Update: Samsung Exchange Program Now in Progress
September 20, 2016, 5:30 AM
Smartphone Screen Protectors – What To Look For
September 21, 2016, 9:33 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki