Tag Archives: RIAA

Geek

RIAA to stop suing file sharers

Some of you may have noticed our penchant for following the RIAA while they pursued a ridiculous plan to sue as many people as they could in America to try and discourage downloading.  At last count they had filed 35,000 law suits.

Finally, the evil behemoth has come to its senses.  CBC is reporting that they have announced a new plan to stop suing people and instead will focus on working with ISPs to try and cut off internet access to those they think are downloading.  Personally, I don’t think this plan has any chance of success.  Providers are not going to want to monitor their customers or their usage more than they are.

But we shall wait and see.

Awareness

Muxtape shut, Pandora almost dead

Previously, we’ve reported on Muxtape.com.  A site that lets you compile an online mixtape for free.  It hosted tons of music that anyone could stream and add to their lists, so it’s no real surprise that things have started to get a little tough on them.

Accordidng to Pitchfork, Muxtape reports that they are sorting out a little “problem” with  the RIAA, but are not yet facing a complaint.  Somehow I’m not so convinced about the last part,  so we’ll have to see how that goes.

In related news, amazing music site Pandora, which for a while now has been US-only, is seconds away from shutting down entirely.  The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) in the US has upheld a decision to hike royalty rates, which means this poor internet radio company can’t possibly afford to pay them.  That decision was that internet radio stations need to consider each streaming user a separate “performance” of the song.  So if 500 people stream your station, that’s 500 performances you need to pay for.  According to NPR, this results in nearly 20 times the expense.  That’s a huge increase!

So wave goodbye to your favourite online radio station.  It can’t possible last long.

[Sources: Pitchfork, Gizmodo]

Music

Reporter blames iTunes for music labels’ jerky behaviour

This is a fascinating little editorial about how consumers are to blame for the way record companies and RIAA are treating us.  Apparently, since iTunes is such a roaring success and is making the record companies so much money, they don’t really have the incentive to completely rethink their distribution models.

We’ve seen that some steps were taken, and companies have been trying out some new stuff.  But on the whole, the record companies haven’t exactly been insanely successful at updating their styles.  They still rely heavily on CD sales (which are declining faster than the resale value on your car) and we all know that’s not working out so well.

He does make a couple of good points about DRM music, so check it out.

[Source: CNet]

Music

Woman suing the RIAA for conspiracy

The woman you see pictured to your left is Tanya Anderson, a 31-year old single mother who lives on disability payments for chronic migraines.

She’s also probably the ballsiest woman in America at the moment.  RIAA, that association for major music labels has sued tens of thousands of people in the US, and yet most choose not to fight it.  Instead, they settle for a few thousand bucks each.  This way, they avoid the immense legal costs of going to court.

Not this lady.  Not only did she fight the RIAA, she won!  She went to court and got the case dismissed.  Now she’s going further.  She’s suing the RIAA for conspiracy, claiming they use unethical practices and actually snoop through people’s computers.

The RIAA used something called the Settlement Support Center, a tele-organization that called people being threatened and offered them settlements.  They would call these people, threaten them, and repeatedly state that all evidence necessary to win was already obtained.  That they had “proof” of the illegal activity.

Their primary evidence? IP Addresses.  For those less tech-savvy, an IP address is a supposedly unique electronic ID number that your computer will use while online.  However, these numbers aren’t entirely unique.  Everytime you disconnect and reconnect  (say you unplug your modem and plug it in again) you can get a new one.  There are lots of ways.   So the IP address you used may have been used by someone just a few minutes ago.  Also, say you set up a wireless network and forget to secure it (even for a few hours).  Anyone could connect to it and use your IP address to download music.

MediaSentry is the primary detective used by the labels.  “When MediaSentry sees people swapping music on file-sharing services such as KaZaA, it records their IP addresses and user names. Then it goes to Verizon Communications or another Internet service provider to find out who was using that IP address at the time of the piracy.”

There was no evidence of piracy, even through intense forensic analysis of Anderson’s computer.  RIAA claims they dropped the case because they were taking the “high road” and didn’t want to hurt this mother, despite the fact that they at first refused to release the results of the computer testing, and didn’t drop the case until the last possible second.

I’d like to think labels are not going to keep suing their customers.  It’s not exactly the way to engender good branding or anything.  I completely agree that piracy is not a good thing, and that people should pay for music.  But I also think that the labels need to embrace digital distribution and stop clinging to the old ways.

[Source: Businessweek]

Cool Music

Major music label exec supports file sharing

The news seems to be getting better and better for music lovers who prefer the digital atmosphere for this sort of thing. CNET News.com reports that a former Google Executive has become the President of the digital music division of EMI, one of the major labels.

This is potentially huge news for music fans of all kinds. EMI represents artists like Daft Punk, Queen, Gorillaz and many others. Having this kind of variety means they appeal to a huge portion of the music listening public.

Douglas Merrill, the ex-Googlite and new EMI Digital honcho has expressed some views that are actually rather contrary to the common stereotype of the major labels and the RIAA in general. This is what he has to say on File Sharing:

“For example, there’s a set of data that shows that file sharing is actually good for artists. Not bad for artists. So maybe we shouldn’t be stopping it all the time. I don’t know…I am generally speaking (against suing fans). Obviously, there is piracy that is quite destructive but again I think the data shows that in some cases file sharing might be okay. What we need to do is understand when is it good, when it is not good…Suing fans doesn’t feel like a winning strategy.” –CNET

I think that’s completely an underreported statement. In an age where way too many fans are getting sued by the RIAA, having someone in a position of authority with one of the big 4 record labels come out and say that he doesn’t believe in the tactic is a big paradigm shift. Not to say that this will have any effect on the tactics being used, but I’d like to think it may at least turn some heads.

More importantly for the label itself is the fact that bringing in someone with a reputation for innovation is a step in the right direction. For a stuffy old label, it is vital that they understand the nature of the
internet and the growth of digital music sales. Exploring new models for music distribution (e.g. free, but ad-supported; subscription models; DRM-free) is the most important thing Merrill can do.

Awareness Music

Artists mad at the RIAA

We here at 4080Records have covered this subject a few times, and doubtless you’ve seen it all over the internet or at least read it in the papers. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has been on a crusade to sue everyone they possibly can.

Allegedly, this mission is to help stop the flow of piracy. They’ve been behind the legal action that have managed to bring down some big names like Napster, Torrentspy and most of the other big peer-2-peer companies.

More importantly, they’ve sued thousands of American citizens, ranging from grandmothers, dead grandmothers, university kids, single mothers and a lot of others. Granted, some of them probably deserved to be sued based on the wide-scale of their piracy. But a lot of them didn’t. Some were taken advantage of by family members exploiting their internet connection, others only downloaded one or two songs. Not to attempt to justify it or anything, but I think thousand dollar settlements for one or two tracks is obscene.

Overall, this has been a public relations disaster for the RIAA and a lot of major labels. CD sales still slide, but in my view it’s not piracy that’s to blame. Instead, the insane popularity of things like ipods and other mp3 players are to blame. Why would you buy a CD when you can buy the electronic file from Amazon, Itunes, Napster, or any of the other services? And there’s a lot of good music out there that’s completely legal and free! The RIAA argues that they sue to stop piracy, and they sue to make sure artists are compensated for their efforts. We here at 4080 can get behind that idea. If you love an artist, buy the album. Go to the show. Buy some merch. Or mail them a cheque. Do whatever your conscience dictates, but make sure to support artists you love. The more underground the artist, the more important your support can be.

Now, the New York Post is reporting that the music artists that the RIAA claims to represent, in whose name the RIAA is suing, have not seen the money from these settlements yet.

A contingent of prominent artist managers claims that little to none of that money has trickled down to their clients. They are now considering legal action.

“Artist managers and lawyers have been wondering for months when their artists will see money from the copyright settlements and how it will be accounted for,” said lawyer John Branca, who has represented Korn, Don Henley, and The Rolling Stones, among others.

“Some of them are even talking about filing lawsuits if they don’t get paid soon.”

Interesting that the artists are considering suing the RIAA and their record labels for some of this money that was collected to support them.

Now you’ll understand the quote from whence this site got its name. A Tribe Called Quest was right.

“Industry Rule number 4080, record company people are shady.”

Too true.