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Copyright Troubles For Sony

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the billion-here-billion-there dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 276

ljaszcza writes "Daily Tech brings us a story about Sony's run-in with the Mexican police. (Billboard picked up the story as well.) It seems that they raided Sony's offices and seized 6,397 music CDs after a protest from the artist, Alejandro Fernandez. Fernandez had signed a seven-album deal with Sony Music; he completed that commitment and then left for Universal. During the time with Sony, he recorded other songs that did not make it into the agreed-upon seven albums. Sony Music took it upon themselves to collect that material and release it as an eighth album. Fernandez claims that he fulfilled his contract with Sony, and residual material belongs to him. Hmm. Precedent from the Jammie Thomas infringement and distribution case gives us $80K per song. Sony vs. Joel Tenenbaum gives $22.5K per song. So 6,397 CDs at an average of 8 songs/CD is 51,176 infringing songs, with (IMHO) intent to distribute. The damages to Fernandez should be $1,151,460,000 using the Tenenbaum precedent or $4,094,080,000 using the Thomas precedent. Seems very straightforward to me."

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Eat my shorts sony (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29348675)

and you too slashdot !

If only... (4, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348697)

You just know they'll find some way to weasel out of it...

Re:If only... (4, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348855)

Why does the summary talk about "Precedent from the Jammie Thomas" when this case is in Mexico, while Jammie Thomas was in USA? Precedent's in USA aren't precedents everywhere (how many times this shit has to be told to americans?) and most of other countries actually have sane amount of compensations in copyright infringement cases, unlike USA.

Re:If only... (5, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348895)

Why does the summary talk about "Precedent from the Jammie Thomas" when this case is in Mexico, while Jammie Thomas was in USA? Precedent's in USA aren't precedents everywhere (how many times this shit has to be told to americans?) and most of other countries actually have sane amount of compensations in copyright infringement cases, unlike USA.

RIAA sister organizations around the world actually point to USA and screams "Be more like them!" when trying to roughshod legislation through... so it only seems fair.

Re:If only... (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349005)

Fair?

You must be naive, here.

Re:If only... (4, Insightful)

siloko (1133863) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349109)

RIAA sister organizations around the world actually point to USA and screams "Be more like them!"

They can scream all they like they are still only a lobby group and as yet don't have the power to pass legislation in there home countries so the GP is right in pointing out the difference between US law and that in other countries. Suffice to say this may change in due course when Corporatism becomes so embedded globally that industry pressure groups are the dudes signing off on legislation . . . ho hum . . .

Re:If only... (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349417)

Whatever.

We all know that Sony will wiggle out of it. Just the same as when the U.S. sued the record-companies for "forming an illegal cartel" and price-fixing CDs from 1990 onward. Although the U.S. could have won that case, the record companies negotiated a deal where they simply returned ~$20 to everyone who asked for a refund. I bet Sony will also weasel a way such that it costs them virtually nothing.

Corporations have power to make the government decide in their favor. I'm about to drive to JCPenney and demand to know "why did I never receive the 50 dollar mail-in rebate promised when I bought this appliance?" I already know the answer I will receive is "too bad, there's nothing we can do about it," and I'll never see that 50 dollars. Technically that's called illegal advertising of the price (they advertise 150 in the newspaper but I paid 200) and a criminal offense.

In reality a call to the California AG won't get me anywhere because the AG is bought-and-paid-for by the corporate dollars who put him in office. JCPenney, Sony, et cetera get away with this stuff because THEY own the governments of New York, United States, Mexico, et cetera.

Sony will weasel its way out just like it always does.

Re:If only... (5, Insightful)

Another, completely (812244) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349021)

I think the point was that Sony corp. made an official public statement by about what they feel a stolen song is worth, and filed it in court. Even if the case verdict isn't a legal precedent, surely the researched market analysis filed in a foreign court can still be cited as a fair assessment that is endorsed by Sony. (Ok, IANAL, and the case in the U.S.A. was probably some legally-independent entity, completely separate from the Sony-owned company in this case, but it still has to count for something.)

Re:If only... (2, Insightful)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349297)

I would really like to see what Sony would tell the Mexican court they feel copyright infringement should be worth. I doubt it will ever get that far though.

I'm sure Sony's view on infringement damages is wildy different when they are the defendants.

Re:If only... (5, Insightful)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349527)

The fact that the police raided Sony is enough to convince me that this will not be like the USA. At least Mexico gives a shit about their artists as individuals. The suit wasn't be a Mexican RIAA but by the artist himself.

Re:If only... (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349569)

I guess you've never dealt with Mexican police then.

This will all be sorted out once Sony gives the right bribe to the right jeffe.

Re:If only... (3, Interesting)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349497)

"Sony corp. made an official public statement by about what they feel a stolen song is worth"

No, they never did that. They weasel out of such a statement. They just point out how much the legislation allows them. If they made such a statement the damange could be substantiated and would be more realistic ( like 6 dollar per number instead of a value thousends times higher)

Re:If only... (1)

ImOnlySleeping (1135393) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349343)

Courts to look to other countries courts for guidance from time to time.

Re:If only... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29349421)

Go away eurotrash, no one was talking to you.

And do you know where Sony, Universal, Sony Music are located? Do you know what jurisdiction those contracts might fall under, even if evidence was found in a foreign country? I'll assume you don't and you just like spouting your anti-american bullshit because you are a jealous piece of euro trash. For the uneducated Europeans, Mexico is part of the americas. Have a nice day.

Re:If only... (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348873)

Like "US law doesn't apply in Mexico"? Yeah, those sneaky bastards always think of something.

Re:If only... (1)

stiggle (649614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348927)

But Americans think that US law applies everywhere in the world.....

Re:If only... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29349113)

They don't know there is a place outside of the USA, called rest of the world.

Re:If only... (4, Funny)

Skrynesaver (994435) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349705)

There is, we even have our own flag, it's just like yours, but on fire (Apologies to Rob Newman)

Re:If only... (1)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349345)

Don't worry, only the stupid ones.

Re:If only... (5, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349227)

I'd like to see US law applied in the USA.

-jcr

Re:If only... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348881)

Well guess who's using their way then, the next time? ^^

They can only lose. The only winning move, is to declare bankruptcy. (Winning for *us*, but *shhhh*! O:-)

Re:If only... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29349103)

Holy fuck! This feels so good I just came in my pants! Now if only a plane had crashed into the building the circle would have been completed. Sony Music my ass, try Sony Mafia. Serves you right you two cent whores.

Re:If only... (2, Funny)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349269)

Hey, get off the fence, will you? How do you really feel?

-jcr

Some counterpoints (5, Informative)

Hitman_Frost (798840) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348699)

One point regarding Jammie Thomas. She actually had 2500 illegally obtained tracks on her PC, but was only prosecuted for a handful of them so the $K22.5 I often see bandied around isn't strictly accurate.

Sony are clearly in the wrong here however. Unless the contracts says music created during those recording sessions, not the songs that reached the final albums. As we haven't seen the contracts I wouldn't like to speculate.

(Just being the Devil's Advocate, guys.)

Re:Some counterpoints (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29348851)

Another point on the same topic. What the fuck does American precedent have to do with Mexico?

Re:Some counterpoints (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29348901)

If something happened in Northern Mexico, it doesn't mean Southern Mexico has nothing to do with it

Re:Some counterpoints (4, Funny)

rdnetto (955205) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348941)

Hush you! Quit raining on our parade!

Re:Some counterpoints (3, Insightful)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349313)

If any Cd's were to be sold in the US, they are culpable here in the US.

Re:Some counterpoints (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349695)

Another point on the same topic. What the fuck does American precedent have to do with Mexico?

I think that courts within and without the US would be aware of Sony's argument in a well publicized case. Perhaps you think "precedent" necessarily implies "legally binding", but it does not.

Re:Some counterpoints (0, Interesting)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348853)

It's a standard clause in an employment contract that anything produced whilst under that contract is owned by the employer.

Unless Sony's lawyers are utterly stupid there will be a similar clause in the recording contract and this won't go anywhere.

Re:Some counterpoints (4, Informative)

pipatron (966506) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348865)

Yeah, except musicians and artist are normally not employed by the record companies. The article clearly says a seven-album deal.

Re:Some counterpoints (3, Informative)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349407)

Well, it doesn't actually matter that they're employees. Under US law (which we're apparently pretending applies in Mexico), any Work For Hire is generally considered the property of the party that did the hiring. The definition of a Work for Hire from the Copyright Act:

Works Made for Hire. -- (1) a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment; or (2) a work specially ordered or commissioned for use as a contribution to a collective work, as a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, as a translation, as a supplementary work, as a compilation, as an instructional text, as a test, as answer material for a test, or as an atlas, if the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them that the work shall be considered a work made for hire. (17 U.S.C. sec 101)

Of course it's an open question whether their contract said that their work was a work for hire, but it seems likely to me. This is generally how labels work. (That's why the label sues you for infringement, not the artist.)

No, wrong-o (3, Interesting)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349459)

Musical recordings, at least up to now, haven't been accepted as belonging to the enumerated list of types of works which are automatically works for hire if produced for compensation.

In most cases the artist(s) assign their copyrights to the labels, and this means that soon, starting around 2013, there will be an interesting battle in the Federal courts whether or not the artists can terminate these assignments as stipulated in the 1976 Copyright Act [usc.edu] .

Re:Some counterpoints (4, Informative)

deathy_epl+ccs (896747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348889)

Except for record contracts are NOT employment contracts. The bands are not employed by the record companies, the contracts are usually for the set number of albums. By standard recording contracts, the artist in this instance is the one who's most likely right.

Re:Some counterpoints (1)

jimshatt (1002452) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349019)

Did Sony provide facilities for recording the disputed songs? Still, what's in the contract is binding...

Re:Some counterpoints (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349123)

Did Sony provide facilities for recording the disputed songs?

Irrelevant. Either it is explicitly a work for hire, or by default ownership rests with the creator.

Re:Some counterpoints (4, Interesting)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349193)

Most record contracts include a clause that you're studio time is paid for out of the money made from the albums, so Sony didn't provide facilities, they hired the facilities to the artist.

Re:Some counterpoints (1)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349325)

Exactly. At best, Sony loaned money to the artist to cover studio time until the albums were produced. That is one of the ways in which the labels screw the artists.

They say "We'll help you get your music going by providing everything! All you have to do is record it."

They neglect to mention that the contracts usually state that the artist will not see a penny until all investments in the artists venture are met, such as studio recording costs, advertising, promotional materials, etc.

Re:Some counterpoints (4, Insightful)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349315)

Did Sony provide facilities for recording the disputed songs? Still, what's in the contract is binding...

No. Sony simply provides the artist a loan -- Sony pays all the cost of producing the album up front, but all of the costs must be recouped through album sales before the artist sees any income. Even after that, Sony will still take the vast majority of the profits (usually around 80% if you are lucky), which is why I have an aneurysm every time I hear the RIAA say they are doing something "for the artists".

As ownership of the tracks -- it is all about what is in the contract. I have a sneaking suspicion that Sony lawyers have some sort of loophole written into the contract to protect them from liability in this matter, being the bottom-feeding vermin that they are.

Re:Some counterpoints (1)

gclef (96311) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349305)

It's never that simple. Often (not every time...depends on how aggressive you were in negotiation, and how good your lawyer was), the contract will include clauses that say that the label owns everything you record until "x" number of albums are released, and some even say that the label gets to decide which songs are good enough for an album (meaning, if you want to leave, they can keep you tied up by saying none of your stuff is "good enough").

Re:Some counterpoints (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349629)

And sometimes you can't even use your own name for a while...

Go ask the artist formerly known as "the artist formerly known as Prince".

Re:Some counterpoints (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349383)

I'd hope the artist and his lawyers would make sure no claus like that existed in the contract before proceding with the lawsuit... IANAL and didn't even sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night yet know enough to check for that first.

Icorrect advocacy (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29348929)

She wasn't CHARGED with those other files.

If they were to be included in a further lawsuit (which requires the COPYRIGHT HOLDER to start a case, hence not included in this lawsuit), then 80k per track could be put forward as equitable under case law.

So your spouting is farcical.

Re:Some counterpoints (1)

stms (1132653) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349043)

One point regarding Jammie Thomas. She actually had 2500 illegally obtained tracks on her PC, but was only prosecuted for a handful of them so the $K22.5 I often see bandied around isn't strictly accurate.

Ok that's still about $750 per song. Sony still owes him $38,382,000. In addition those 2476 could only be allegedly illegally obtained.

Re:Some counterpoints (1)

KlaasVaak (1613053) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349097)

One point regarding Jammie Thomas. She actually had 2500 illegally obtained tracks on her PC, but was only prosecuted for a handful of them so the $K22.5 I often see bandied around isn't strictly accurate.

Yes it is! Nobody gets punished for things they aren't charged for. If she also happens to have killed an old man that she wasn't charged for that doesn't mean this fine is more just because it's also punishment for killing an old man.

Re:Some counterpoints (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349171)

Except if she'd killed an old man, she probably would have got anger management counselling and community service.

When are you going to learn, USA means corporations first, citizens last ?

Re:Some counterpoints (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29349213)

Sony are clearly in the wrong here however. Unless the contracts says music created during those recording sessions, not the songs that reached the final albums. As we haven't seen the contracts I wouldn't like to speculate.

How can you clearly state the company is in the wrong when you have no information about the contract, as you admit yourself? Not only do you speculate, you state your made up opinion as matter of fact. Get off your Sony hating horse, just face up to it, their contracts are written by very highly paid experts. There is very likely to be a clause that allows them to do this.

Re:Some counterpoints (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29349473)

[CITATION PLEASE]

Re:Some counterpoints (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349487)

One point regarding Jammie Thomas. She actually had 2500 illegally obtained tracks on her PC, but was only prosecuted for a handful of them so the $K22.5 I often see bandied around isn't strictly accurate.

It doesn't matter what she had on her PC - if she wasn't prosecuted for it, it didn't, or at the very least shouldn't have counted towards the reparations she has to pay. Otherwise an accuser could go to court on a single charge they can prove and tack on any number of charges they haven't even tried to prove, and have a person sentenced for all the charges.

Re:Some counterpoints (1)

RIAAShill (1599481) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349511)

One point regarding Jammie Thomas. She actually had 2500 illegally obtained tracks on her PC, but was only prosecuted for a handful of them so the $K22.5 I often see bandied around isn't strictly accurate.

Perhaps the lists of works in these cases should be redacted so that only the works at issue are shown. The list of 2,400+ works that are not part of the suit seems like rather prejudicial material; material that could stoke the jury to inflate the awards to inappropriate levels for the materials that actually are part of the suit. Such inflation may be especially inappropriate given that, theoretically, the owners of these other works could also sue for damages.

I haven't seen any filings trying to redact exhibits listing thousands of works not at issue, but maybe someone else might be aware of such an effort.

Of course, the quickest way to keep the list of works down to only 20 or so might be to stipulate that those 20 songs were on the person's computer (based on an agreement not to introduce evidence showing other materials into evidence). Then again, based on current judicial thinking, such a stipulation is going to lead to an automatic finding of infringement (and if the recording companies are offering a settlement of $750 or less...at that point it is probably best to just take it).

Ignoring the whole Mexico v. USA issue, the story suggests that statutory damages for copyright infringement are not really well understood. These statutory damages are per work , not per instance of infringement. Thus, lets say that this artist created 100 songs. Sony mixes, re-mixes, samples, etc. the 100 songs into 1,000 different track releases and sells them to 10,000 times each to make 10,000,000 commercial copies. Well, that's still only 100 works. He could opt to argue economic damages instead; but if he opts for statutory damages, then the number of infringements doesn't matter, only the number of works.

It is a bit of an oddity in the statute. But yes, an individual file sharer who shares all 100 of his songs faces the same level of statutory damages as Sony does, even if the individual file sharer infringed only once and Sony infringed 10,000,000 times.

Yo no fui (1, Offtopic)

jgardia (985157) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348709)

I think the most known song From Alejandro Fernandez, fits perfectly here. (It means "Wasn't me")

Re:Yo no fui (1)

jgardia (985157) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348729)

Damn, sorry, that's Pedro Fernández...

So how many cd's do we need to sell (4, Funny)

zlel (736107) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348721)

to feed our musicians again?

Re:So how many cd's do we need to sell (0, Flamebait)

gnupun (752725) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348803)

As much as they fairly deserve. Or do we need some socialist gestapo rationing revenue of artists?

Re:So how many cd's do we need to sell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29348981)

According to the Thomas precedent, around 1 cd every other year.

Re:So how many cd's do we need to sell (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349481)

The answer, my friend, is...

...about $.99/track, apparently.

Precedent from Jammie Thomas? (5, Insightful)

beerbear (1289124) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348739)

Mexico. United States. Not the same thing.

Re:Precedent from Jammie Thomas? (4, Insightful)

Instantlemming (816917) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348847)

Well, the US seems to think that their rules are to be applied globally, especially when it's about audio/video material...

Sweden. United States. Not the same thi... (5, Insightful)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348857)

Oh whoops

Re:Sweden. United States. Not the same thi... (1)

beerbear (1289124) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348935)

Hm, yeah, you got a point there.

Re:Precedent from Jammie Thomas? (3, Interesting)

yariv (1107831) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349029)

It happened in Mexico, but does it mean they can't be sued in the US? Although not directly related, I immediately remembered this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hew_Raymond_Griffiths [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Precedent from Jammie Thomas? (1)

aiht (1017790) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349047)

Even aside from that...
Individual. Corporation. Not the same thing.

Re:Precedent from Jammie Thomas? (3, Interesting)

Cheesetrap (1597399) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349127)

Individual. Corporation. Not the same thing.

True. Multiply the figures by a factor of between 2 and 10 to match the usual ratio of "individual fine" and "company fine" for violations of civil laws. Oh look, they're still buggered. Happy days! :)

As another commenter pointed out, whatever precedent they set by weaselling out of this charge will just make it easier for the next person defending themselves against copyright infringement charges in Mexico or wherever this gets fought out. Ah, they'll probably just settle though, which would be the safest option for them, damn.

It's also worth pointing out that they have an obvious intent to distribute for commercial gain... CD prices have been a crime for the better part of a decade, it's about time it made it to court! :P

Re:Precedent from Jammie Thomas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29349367)

They'll just bribe the judges... it is Mexico afterall

Re:Precedent from Jammie Thomas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29349655)

Yet ;-)

Corruption is good when it works in our favor (0, Troll)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348747)

If the situation were reversed and Sony was bribing a corrupt police force to do their bidding, there would be widespread denounciations. However, since it's the "good" guy bribing the cops to do a raid, then it's A-OK. (Anyone saying that it is the grave responsibility of the Mexican Police to uphold the law as it's written gets tossed out of the nearest window.)

Where is the corruption? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348801)

If the situation were reversed and Sony was bribing a corrupt police force to do their bidding, there would be widespread denounciations.

I don't see any insinuation in either story that corruption was involved. Can you provide a reference for the source of your information?

Re:Where is the corruption? (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348891)

Can you provide a reference for the source of your information?

Please don't. We don't need to see any links to sites like goatse.cx [wikipedia.org]

Re:Corruption is good when it works in our favor (3, Insightful)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348821)

Where did you get the idea that the Mexican Police was bribed?

There is nothing about that in TFA.
Besides, raids on suspected copyright infringers are nothing new. There have been similar raids on The Pirate Bay, and Sony certainly operates on a comparable scale. That is not some school kid who shares a few albums on his computer.

If the allegations are true, this is a case of commercial copyright infringement. A rather big fish, certainly bigger than Tenenbaum or Thomas.

Re:Corruption is good when it works in our favor (2, Interesting)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348955)

Besides, raids on suspected copyright infringers are nothing new. There have been similar raids on The Pirate Bay, and Sony certainly operates on a comparable scale. That is not some school kid who shares a few albums on his computer.

Things like that happen everywhere [google.hu] . Unfortunately Google Translate fails horribly (for example, the Hungarian word "lett" means both Latvian and was/became).

Re:Corruption is good when it works in our favor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29349333)

"There is nothing about that in TFA."

Right, because you can belive the a police force corrupted by drug lords is really worried about copyright infringment when government officials are getting executed left and tright. If the article doesn't say anything about it then it must not exist. But good news, 'cause I read that this year is the year of the Linux Desktop so it must be true. That what TFA said!

"You woldn't steal a CD" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29348749)

Would you, Sony?

Screw the lottery (4, Funny)

cfriedt (1189527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348793)

The chances of being able to sue somebody over copyright infringement in the recording industry are a heck of a lot better than playing the lottery.

It's like winning 1000 lotteries at the same time! Screw the lottery!

Time for a career change? I can't sing or dance particularly well, but people can take lessons for that kind of thing.

Re:Screw the lottery (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348917)

Not being able to sing and dance well hasn't stopped most of the current crop of music stars! It helps if you can be postprocessed into a hot teenage girl in the video though.

Re:Screw the lottery (2, Funny)

lordandmaker (960504) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349031)

postprocessed into a hot teenage girl

Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

51576? (2, Insightful)

Wildclaw (15718) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348799)

at an average of 8 songs/CD is 51,176 infringing songs,

Sorry, but you fail. The big companies may be evil, but they aren't stupid. You may only count the 8 songs once. Scratch that. As those song were distributed as one unit, so you can make a good argument for a total count of 1 infringement.

The reason for the $150,000 number in the law was exactly because it was aimed against large scale infringement like the one we are talking about here, but that has just made it even more effective (cruel and unjust) against small scale distributed infringment.

Re:51576? (3, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348827)

So that would work out to about $3 per copy of an infringed song, which is roughly triple damages, which, I understand, is typically for wilful infringement.

The law is reasonable. Applying it to non-commercial infringement isn't.

Re:51576? (4, Insightful)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348877)

Counting the 8 songs as 8 units seems appropriate, since that is the precedent from other file sharing cases. Jammie Thomas and Joel Tenenbaum did not get to argue that their shared songs should be counted as a smaller number of albums.

Which leaves us with $80K per song (Thomas) times 8 or $22.5K per song (Tenenbaum) times 8. That is $640K or $180K. Looks like appropriate damages because this is large scale infringement as you wrote. In the Thomas and Tenenbaum cases I consider it excessive.

This said, Mexican law counts here and the sums may be much lower. Unless Sony also distributed that CD in the US as well, then Fernandez might want to sue in the US too ;-)

Re:51576? (4, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349027)

You're forgetting that each copy of a song is potentially a lost sale for the artist.

Why do you think MediaSentry wanted the connection history from ISPs so they could figure out how many potential copies were made.

Re:51576? (5, Interesting)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349093)

There's a more important matter in here. This isn't about unauthorized material reproduction, but unauthorized material reproduction with the INTENT of making a profit.

Sony's screwed.

Re:51576? (2, Funny)

Mushdot (943219) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349205)

But, Sony haven't actually distributed the music. They have merely burnt 6,000 backup copies. That's probably how they will get away with it.

Re:51576? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29349673)

6,000 copies is prima facie evidence of intent to distribute, and the intent is all that matters here. There is no meaningful case where 6,000 copies of anything could be considered a 'backup'.

How they will get out of this is by settling out of court.

Re:51576? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29349499)

The "precedent" is per song, not per copy, so the values quoted are out by a factor of 6,397 anyway. And the only song that was actually distributed was the sample song "Diferente" available online, unless some other CDs were sold that weren't in the 6,397 seized.

His contract may still include these works (2, Insightful)

Pitr (33016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348867)

If you have a contract to produce a certain number of albums, but you also sign over ownership of your works during the contract, then the songs you produce during your contract even if they don't make it to an album belong to Sony (or whoever).

IANAL and it depends on the fine print, but there's a good chance this guy is boned.

Re:His contract may still include these works (1)

obliv!on (1160633) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349743)

IANAL either, but I've read parts and wholes of a number of label contracts over the years. You're right it is likely in the details (and outcomes are heavily dependent on them), but in general the details go something like this.

That eighth album Sony intended on releasing is likely in this artist's contract. He may have only been responsible for being involved with the seven, but in his contract Sony probably retained rights to all material recorded by the artist during the duration of his contract (you general release all such copyrights permanently to your label) so all of those songs are Sony's not his (which is an error to his assumption that since his contractual obligations to Sony are met all other copyrights are retained by him extremely unlikely, but hard to say definitively without seeing his contract), further most major labels reserve the right to release a "Greatest Hits" compilation that may contain previously unreleased content. Generally this last album is purely for the labels profit (has a different scheme of royalty mechanisms) and can be released whether you've resigned with the label or not AND whether you consent to the release or not. Its a standard operating procedure for the big four and mimicked by the majority of the industry that will likely be upheld if his contract is scrutinized by a court.

Even if he can get his way in this case all that's going to do is provide disincentive to the major labels in dealing with artists in Mexico. Maybe that's a good though since a vacuum could inspire upstarts and real competition at least in Mexico which is a growing media consumer. I hope this guy can make a bit of a score off of the labels its nice to hear when its even possible that an artist can get his despite the will of the evil empire. Unfortunately all of these trade groups like RIAA ever protect are the label's bottom lines which generally entails anything, but the artists' best interests. Even the music unions in the US are epic fail. I remember not long ago there was a bill that sought to oversee US record label contracts to ensure fairness. I'm sure it probably got blocked by someone deep in MAFIAA's pockets, but could you imagine the possibilities if these contractual provisions had all been brought to light and forced to change. That'd almost be as fair as if radio stations had to pay royalties or if internet radio stations didn't!

The industry has long been broken these titans need to be brought down, economies of scale are no longer an inhibition to entrance in the market only having to have to compete with monoliths is the problem. The sooner the labels go away or get dismantled the sooner the things get better for musicians and for consumers. Why isn't the government investigating consolidation not just of the four labels themselves (and the fledgling indie labels), but their increasing scope into other areas of the musicians income like tour gross and merchandise sales we feared banks too big to fail because they consolidated we should intercede now before something along those lines happens with the labels and we're permanently stuck with them? Has anyone noticed the distinct lack of medium size bands in the industry for the last decade or so? You're either great success or too little to be known (and therefore cared about in the industry's eyes) that isn't the way the market has been and it doesn't have to remain that way.

Listed as "Humor?" (1)

andrewagill (700624) | more than 4 years ago | (#29348983)

I get that this is sort of funny, but this actually is a very serious question. It's pretty clear that there will be a different standard applied to Sony here. Why is there one standard when the little guy wins against the big guy and another when the big guy wins against the little guy?

No problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29349039)

It's Mexico, just pay 10% under the table and you can go home.

yuo Fail It!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29349061)

by BSDI who seLl

Who paid the studio costs? (2, Insightful)

EdgeyEdgey (1172665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349101)

Usually whoever pays the costs of the studio owns the mechanical copyright.
Although what annoys me about that line of reasoning is that record companies reclaim the recording costs from the artists share of the profit, and so should forfeit any ownership.

Where's the Torrent? (1)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349181)

Great! All we need now is the location of the torrent seed.

Stop The Hate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29349201)

I think this was meant to be a suggested course of action, not a US policy.
All you haters out there need to relax a little.
Didn't Obama go around and apologize enough for you?
Give it a rest people, and get back to the subject.

Punishment (5, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349355)

While I think ljaszcza's claim of precedent is flimsy, at best, I do hope that Sony is absolutely smashed in court over this. This is _commercial_ piracy. This is piracy-for-profit. If non-commercial piracy between individuals carries penalties of tens-of-thousands of dollars per song then commercial piracy damn well carry a significantly heftier fine. After all, _THIS_ is the sort of thing that copyright law is intended to protect against - someone making money off of someone else's work without their permission. _THIS_ is what the law is supposed to protect against. With a hint of luck, the law will actually do something about it rather than look the other way.

Wouldn't it be nice if the group involved in drafting ACTA were made aware of this. After all, I'm sure Sony has been involved in "suggesting" elements of the ACTA proposal so I'm sure any punishments they've suggested they would be comfortable with paying...

selling pirated music = higher damages (1)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349359)

I doubt that the precedents set in the mentioned cases can be applied to this case. After all, Sony did not only copy the songs for personal use, they strived to sell them for a profit. In all "copyright piracy" cases I've read about, professional copyright violators were punished in a harshlier way (which seems appropriate).

Also, let's not forget how bad commercial piracy is:

Criminal IPR Infringement Commercial scale infringement is the crime of choice for many criminal syndicates, gangs, and organizations, including those in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Thailand, Philippines, South Korea and the USA. Commercial copyright piracy/trademark counterfeiting is a funding source for terrorist groups, like the IRA, Hezbollah, GIA Islamic Network, and Al Qaeda. (from: http://www.aseansec.org/21385-9.pdf [google.com] )

you can't compare (1)

SuperDre (982372) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349397)

You really can't compare the thomas case with this, as you really don't know what was in the contract... Maybe his contract actually was for 7 albums and during that time he was under contract of Sony, which means (at least if you are a worker for a boss) that all numbers created under that contract belong to Sony even if they weren't put on the albums (sony paid for the recordingsessions for example).. So only Sony and him are actually aware of what the contract entails.. and let's not forget he sees the contract ofcourse differently than Sony does...

Hmm, good loophole through the 7-album contract (1)

beebware (149208) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349425)

Get in artist, get them to record 70 songs (allowing 10 songs per album: how many are on an album nowadays) - then say, "sorry, 20 tracks were rubbish - re-record them". Sony then release 7 albums and pay artist for 7 albums. Several weeks later release 2 new albums and don't pay the artist... Cunning (but in a bad way!).

Anyone want to bet this guy goes indie? (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349523)

I have a feeling that after his contract with Universal is finished, this artist will become independent. And I'm not thinking that it'll be because he prefers it. My guess is that he'll be treated as persona non grata by all the major labels.

Anyone know if his music is any good?

Seems pretty logical to me... (1)

fudgefactor7 (581449) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349565)

He completed the contract, and assuming there were no statements indicating any unused material reverted in ownership to Sony, then they (Sony) are in some serious trouble. Having used their weight to press for massive charges with the RIAA over infringement, they now must pay the piper for their own actions--you simply cannot have it both ways; or if I can be allowed to channel Johnnie Cochran for a moment, "If they stole his shit, you cannot acquit!" Loos to me Sony will be forced to pony up. Don't you love it when a draconian law come to bite the creators in the ass? (I do.)

two words (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349587)

fuck. yeah.

Contractual vs. Piracy (1)

realsilly (186931) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349605)

There are sevearl things to consider.
1. There was a contract in place and we are not privy to such details at this time
2. Contractual lawsuits are different than those that are out-right theft
3. While USA has a lot of influence in the world and court systems, it is likely that no precedents set here will have much affect in Mexico.
4. Individuals pirating music or movies who clearly don't own a CD or DVD should be treated differently in court.
5. Another key thing to consider is that Sony's lawyers aren't stupid, they set up shop in Mexico, and they would clearly know what was within their rights banking on the Profit vs Loss if they did infact infringe on the "Contractual agreement". They will force an arguement that it was not piracy but a contractual loophole.
6. And if Sony is clearly in the wrong, then they get what they deserve, but if not, that artist is in for one hell of a counter-suit.

Totally Authorized (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29349667)

Sony says they are totally authorized and in their view, I suppose they are right.

After all, it is a strict and limited group of people who controls copyrighted material (and indeed, copyrights in general) and Sony is a proud member of the oligarchy. And what they say is authorized must be authorized since they are the ones who usually determine what is and isn't authorized.

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