RIAA Eyes Next Possible Targets: CD Burners, Radio Listeners
October 9, 2007 8:54 AM
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The RIAA's recent case and a pending case in the UK provide some insight into whom it might prosecute next
The Recording Industry Association of America is the oft villainized copyright-infringement watchdog for the music industry in the U.S. Its letters to music sharers have led to thousands of settlement over the last few years. Now, following its
in the jury civil trial
Capitol Records, et al v. Jammie Thomas
, which resulted in a jury verdict of $222,000 in damages, many wonder who the RIAA might target next.
The RIAA might have given a clue during testimony by music industry lawyers in the
case. During the case Jennifer Pariser, the head of litigation for Sony BMG, was called to testify. Pariser noted that music labels make no money on bands touring, radio, or merchandise, so they are particularly vulnerable to file sharing. She went on to say that when people steal music the label is harmed.
Pariser believes in a very broad definition of stealing that is echoed by many supporters in the RIAA. She believes that users who buy songs are entitled to one, and only one copy. Burning CDs is just another name for stealing, in her mind. "When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." Making "a copy" of a purchased song is just "a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy'."
Such logic has been a driving force behind efforts to "rights manage" music including the current DRM found on Apple's iTunes files and Microsoft's DRM, which is also widespread.
While it seems unlikely that the RIAA would be able to effectively identify "burners", such litigation remains a legal possibility for the RIAA and major music labels, in the minds of their lawyers.
Another possible avenue of legal action for the RIAA is the pursuit of businesses that play unauthorized music in stores. The Performing Rights Society (PRS), Britain's version of the RIAA, may give the RIAA some possible ideas
with its pending litigation
. The PRS is suing the Kwik Fit Group, a car repair shop in Edinburgh, for £200,000 in damages. The case revolves around the complaint that Kwik Fit employees brought in personal radios which they played while working on cars, which could be heard by colleagues and customers. The PRS says this amounts to a public "performance" and should have entailed royalties.
The possible implications if this litigation succeeds are numerous. The RIAA could pursue retailers like Borders Books who play music in their restrooms or on their store floors. They could also seek action against small businesses that have radios in their stores.
These possible future targets may seem outlandish or farfetched, but the RIAA and its foreign equivalents have some heavy legal firepower. It hires many of the country's top lawyers and have gained millions in settlements and recently have added the $222,000
verdict to its coffers.
Some fear the RIAA is overstepping its bounds, including in the
case. Rep. Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat, and strong advocate of fair use, recently
went on record
stating that the trial verdict was excessive and "way out of line" with other cases of this nature.
The Bush Administration feels that the case was very fair and was a
positive example of our nation's laws at work
"Cases such as this remind us strong enforcement is a significant part of the effort to eliminate piracy, and that we have an effective legal system in the U.S. that enables rights holders to protect their intellectual property."
With the RIAA's powerful legal, financial, and political backers nobody can truly say what it impossible for it to accomplish. Now as it is in the midst of delivering its
eighth wave of infringement letters
to colleges, it may soon be turning its attention to CD burners or businesses that play music in front of customers.
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RE: You've gotta be kidding me
10/17/2007 9:44:44 AM
Rewarding artists for their work is an overly simplistic idea.
Did they choose to be an artist, and/or continue to try to produce content knowing the current market? Yes.
Did they choose to sign on with a mass distributer, knowing there was a finite limit to the control of distributing that content? Yes.
Did they really do much "work" or did they say "oh I spent so many hours on this", when they were essentially frollicking about in leisure?
I'm sorry but no, artists don't generally "deserve" anything more than the market will bear and that includes ALL aspects of the market, especially those citizens who are not part of that market because they choose not to (or can't afford) to buy that content.
Artists don't "deserve" to be paid anything at all! They work under a different compensation system than an hourly or salaried job. Deserve has nothing to do with anything. Their pay scale depends on two things:
1) Self promotion to get either individual payments or strike a deal with a larger corp.
2) Producing content that the market deems worth $$.
If they don't meet both of these requirements, and only to the extent that they do meet both, do they get anything at all for their artistic works.
Let's speak truth here. Most artists get nothing. Millions of people feel artistic and most never see one penny from it. Those who see some money, get paid based on their social networking/marketing and what value others, not a generic preconceived concept of "get paid" deem valuable.
Artists are not on the welfare system by default. If they can't make a livable wage as an artist, it's damn well time they found a job they can succeed at. The REAL problem is the middleman leeches who desperately try to survive in an era where promotion and distribution have become far cheaper by other means than those of past eras.
Cut out the middlemen, give the artists a fair share of what those who can afford to pay, deem worthy of pay, and don't re-elect those in legislature who are puppets to the media industries' deep pockets.
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