Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Moral Music Tales

One would suggest that the moral that ‘those who live in glass houses should not throw stones’ is both a sensible one and one to follow. Another would be 'to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'

Perhaps the members of the Canadian Recording Industry Association, which include Warner Music Canada, Sony BMG Music Canada, EMI Music Canada, and Universal Music Canada missed the moral or just choose to ignore it. According to an article in Ars Technica they , now face potentail damages of up to $6 billion for infringing their own artists copyright!

Michael Geist, University of Ottawa law professor claims that a change to the law in the 1980s created the "pending list." This essentially enables record companies to add tracks to a compilation album without waiting for permissions or making payment. The track simply was added to a list pending authorization and payment. The list got longer and now a ‘pending’ lawsuit has over 300,000 defendants who claim the record companies have been selling the music without permission payment.

The plaintiffs also claim the companies have shown "reckless, high-handed and arrogant conduct aggravated by their clandestine disregard for the copyright interests of the class members in contrast to their strict compliance enforcement policy and unremitting approach to consumers in the protection of their corporate copyright interests."

A clear glass house and moral dilemma. The recording companies acknowledge that the pending list reflects unpaid royalties "in excess of $50 million" and if the same penalties applied to file sharers were to be applied to this case, the damages could be as high as $6 billion.

1 comment:

j purdie said...

I read about this on techdirt and other too. The major labels killed by their own Frankenstein monster. Priceless.

Not read much of your blog lately, been outraged at climate gate not appearing on the main stream media to the extent it should heave, but I did mean to pop by and ask if you saw the news recently when Google announced they would only supply so many news articles for free before the sent readers to a (newspaper) sign up and pay to view page?

Devious me thought they could use that strategy to get income from Google Books: you can browse so many for free, then if you want to browse more pay Google and they'll let you browse and look at more books online. Publishers totally bypassed.