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CRIA Faces $60 Billion Lawsuit

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the turn-about-is-fair-play dept.

The Courts 280

jvillain writes "The Canadian Recording Industry Association faces a lawsuit for 60 billion dollars over willful infringement. These numbers may sound outrageous, yet they are based on the same rules that led the recording industry to claim a single file sharer is liable for millions in damages. Since these exact same companies are currently in the middle of trying to force the Canadian government to bring in a DMCA for Canada, it will be interesting to see how they try to spin this."

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Irony (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359002)

Irony, defined: The institution responsible for changing copyright law so individuals face millions in fines and years behind jail now has to argue against it to save its own ass.

Re:Irony (1)

gigabites2 (1484115) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359038)

Serves 'em right.

Re:Irony (4, Insightful)

schmidt349 (690948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359048)

Your Canadian accent makes it hard for me to understand you. I thought I heard you say "argue against it" instead of "buy off their accusers/judges/jurors."

Re:Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30359284)

Luckily our judges are not elected so it makes it a little harder to bribe them (can't contribute money to them without it being an obvious bribe, vs. a campaign donation/etc. in the US).

Re:Irony (2, Informative)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359410)

I think you misunderstand the meaning of the word 'bribe'. Indeed, the very first definition on Google for Bribe [google.com.au] is:

http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=bribe [princeton.edu] :
make illegal payments to in exchange for favors or influence; "This judge can be bought"

Re:Irony (-1, Offtopic)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359380)

Your Canadian accent makes it hard for me to understand you.

It's Minnesotan, not canadian. You know, as in "Minnesota nice". Now please go f*ck yourself.

Re:Irony (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30359416)

Now please go f*ck yourself.

I think you mean "Take off, hoser!"

Re:Irony (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359882)

I think you mean "Take off, hoser!"

Oh, this is just ducky...

Re:Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30359834)

My friend says "Minnesota nice" really means "Minnesota nice to your face" (while putting a knife in your back).

Is that true, eh?

CRIA? same as RIAA: they're WESU ! (5, Interesting)

KWTm (808824) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359738)

I had previously suggested that RIAA was just a disguise, a mask used by the Big4 companies behind RIAA, and suggested that we actually refer to them by name: Warner, EMI, Sony, and Universal. Together they form the acronym WESU, as in "We sue! Yes, we do!"

Now this CRIA organization is suing. Hmm... let's see who the big members are. From TFA:
"The defendants in the case are Warner Music Canada, EMI Music Canada, Sony BMG Music Canada, and Universal Music Canada, the four primary members of the Canadian Recording Industry Association."

Sound familiar???? Good thing we unmasked the Big4 companies as WESU!

Re:Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30359118)

Corporations can't go to jail. Corporations can't willfully infringe either, because they have no will of their own.

Re:Irony (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359626)

Officers of those corporations can (but probably not in this case).

Re:Irony (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30359240)

Please, please, please let the recording industry lose and learn a goddamn lesson! But I don't have much hope for that. The same industry that bankrupts individuals over a little file sharing also lobbies and donates funds to politicians. Why do I feel that they're just gonna get a (hard) slap on the wrist for this?

Remember, this is the same Sony that rootkitted millions of PCs in the US and Canada and got off with "those who purchased an XCP CD will be paid $7.50 per purchased recording and given the opportunity to download a free album, or be able to download three additional albums from a limited list of recordings if they give up their cash incentive." That $7.50 includes being at fault for copyright infringement for including GPL code in their rootkit.

Re:Irony (5, Insightful)

KefabiMe (730997) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359370)

Past evidence shows what is likely here. I know this doesn't have anything to do directly with music, but corporations have taken over the government. They insist on having the same rights as a human being, yet when it comes to punishments they know they can get away with murder.

If I had attempted to root kit even a small fraction of the PCs that Sony did, or commit copyright infringement on a much much smaller scale than what this story talks about, I would be ruined. I would lose all my possessions, probably be thrown in jail, unable to contribute to society, and disconnected from social ties. But we all know that these record companies won't be drastically hurt by this. Besides, the executives have already given themselves bonuses and spent the money on blow, or whatever else it is that these people spend millions on.

No one is going to jail over this. The industry will not be hurt. And no lessons will be learned.

Re:Irony (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359396)

This is shocking and awe inspiring to me. They have paid thousands if not millions to have these laws put into place. And here's the kicker -- it's not casual copying or sharing -- it's massive for-profit piracy. There should be criminal charges filed, prison time served and a massive reorganization of the companies charged.

Re:Irony (3, Insightful)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359870)

No point in polluting prisons with them. Just make the fines so big they have to declare bankruptcy ... and make sure they can't. Make 'em live in poverty the rest of their lives.

Re:Irony (Planet of the Apes) (2, Interesting)

tekrat (242117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359408)

Isn't this the essential plot of Planet of the Apes (the real one, not that shoddy remake). A man, with no interest in humanity, suddenly has to defend the human race as being superior, to a religious zealot who believes that God created Ape in his own image.

Re:Irony (2, Informative)

arbiter1 (1204146) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359418)

Its a bitch when the rules and damage ammount you get set for things comes back to royally bite you in the ass as it has for CRIA

Re:Irony (4, Interesting)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359502)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judicial_estoppel [wikipedia.org]

Seeing as how it was based on common law it may trace its ancestry back to Britain and might well be relevent in Canada, seeing as it's part of the empire.

Re:Irony (2, Informative)

euxneks (516538) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359922)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judicial_estoppel [wikipedia.org]

Seeing as how it was based on common law it may trace its ancestry back to Britain and might well be relevent in Canada, seeing as it's part of the empire.

Commonwealth. We are not part of any empire save our own.

Re:Irony (2, Insightful)

Shark (78448) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359972)

Except we have a representative of the queen as governor general with power (unused, but power still) to abolish any law that the queen disagrees with.

Re:Irony (0, Troll)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359680)

It's like Microsoft and software patents: they'll find a way to bullshit their way through with their self-contradictory needs.

We need to get rid of the industry middle men (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30359018)

So that the artists might be more directly ripped off by the filesharing.

Re:We need to get rid of the industry middle men (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30359088)

I don't know how much time you spend on the internet, but we've been doing exactly that for a good while now.

Re:We need to get rid of the industry middle men (4, Interesting)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359142)

People might buy more and share less if they knew that more of the money went to the artist. I don't know that for sure, but if I were a bettin' man I'd put money on it. People have a natural aversion to $BIGCORP, but they have a natural affinity for their favorite artist.

Re:We need to get rid of the industry middle men (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30359544)

Just a thought:

Before downloading the album, send the band a check for $10 or so, to "do with as they see fit."

Is it still illegal to download the album? Is the burden now shifted to the musicians to pay the corporations?

Also, personally, I preordered an album on vinyl, then proceeded to download the album and have been enjoying it for the past few weeks. The thing is, I don't actually have possession, I simply paid for something that I'll get at some point in the future. Is this still wrong?

Now, what if the LP includes a download card (as many do)? Meaning that I've paid to get something I could get now, but need to wait to be able to use.

The biggest problem is that I'm a grad student, and even though I like to support my favorite artists (most are non-RIAA, but that's besides the point), I tend to download what I want, and buy what I can.

Re:We need to get rid of the industry middle men (4, Interesting)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359746)

People might buy more and share less if they knew that more of the money went to the artist.

It works that way for me. For several years now I've been buying music from artists who sell it directly, and using TPB for RIAA music. Though frankly, I seem to require less and less RIAA music as time goes by.

Re:We need to get rid of the industry middle men (3, Interesting)

Shabazz Rabbinowitz (103670) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359822)

Hear, hear. As Guy Forsyth once said (while still with the Asylum Street Spankers):

"I would like to talk about something called 'Musical Darwinism.' If you go see a band, and they suck? Don't tip. That way, they'll die and next week there'll be another band. But if you see a band that you like, Ladies and Gentlemen, give dearly." (Track 11 [archive.org] )

Re:We need to get rid of the industry middle men (4, Insightful)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359150)

Indeed, they are showing their true colors here. They don't care about the artists income, they care about lining their own pockets. You think when they sue consumers for copyright infringement they divvy up that money among the artists whose copyrights were violated? Nope.

They want to collect all the money without paying it out to artists. Not to mention a lot of them aren't paying artists at all, or enough for their digital downloads.

Re:We need to get rid of the industry middle men (5, Insightful)

Zak3056 (69287) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359356)

Indeed, they are showing their true colors here. They don't care about the artists income, they care about lining their own pockets. You think when they sue consumers for copyright infringement they divvy up that money among the artists whose copyrights were violated? Nope.

Actually, the money does go to the people who own the copyrights.

That's how bad the music industry is--the typical recording contract involves a record company giving a loan to the artist (an "advance") who then finances the recording (including advertising.) The loan is paid back from owed royalties before the artist sees a dime, and when all is said and done, the record companies come out owning the copyrights to the finished product. It's like getting a mortgage, paying on it for 30 years, and at the end of the term, instead of gaining clear title, the bank says, "Thanks for the house!"

To add insult to injury, the record companies do whatever they can to screw the artist out of whatever small percentage they're due (breakage fees for 78RPM vinyl records, for example. No, I'm not kidding.)

Re:We need to get rid of the industry middle men (4, Informative)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359554)

To make it worse though, they also fail to pay the royalties owed by contract on the money they get for copyright infringement. They just pocket it.

Re:We need to get rid of the industry middle men (5, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359706)

If an artist signs away their work without understanding the fine print then it's poor judgement on their part. If a record company routinely fails to honour contracts by witholding royalties then they are a criminal organisation.

my bet (2, Funny)

sofar (317980) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359026)

is they'll never pay a fine. guess how?

Re:my bet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30359232)

Oh! Oh! I like playing this game! I guess they won't pay a fine because... well they could... um... yeah, I guess don't know. :(

Re:my bet (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30359282)

They'll put it on their "Fines Pending" list.

Meet The Old Boss... Same As The New Boss... (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359056)

All this is going to do is to convince CRIA to up the amount of money and the number of hookers it sends to Ottawa to "persuade" Parliament to pass unbalanced draconian laws that

a. Further criminalize consumers
b. Abrogate all the sins of Big Media

Look at the history of the North American recording industry. They've been ripping off artists for years. Bo Diddley was scammed out of millions in royalties by faulty userous contracts.

Re:Meet The Old Boss... Same As The New Boss... (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359802)

This is Canada. Our politicians don't f*ck hookers.
Our politicians get their jollies f*cking the Canadian public.

Estoppel in America (and hopefully Canada) (4, Interesting)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359100)

In American law, if you admit something on the record (AFAIK, IANAL, DSB [disclaimers suck balls]), you are prohibited from disclaiming it later. So, if they admit that a single song is worth, say, $75k, then they will just have to suck it up when they do the same thing. Now, if they can simply throw Bitch Mainwol in jail for a number of years, I would say that justice has been served.

They deserve what they get (5, Insightful)

appleguru (1030562) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359104)

Every penny won by the artists in this lawsuit will be deserved. I hope the CRIA is found liable for every penny of the $60 billion and is put out of business once and for all.

I also hope similar infringements are found in the United States for both the RIAA and the MPAA. No company that treats their customers as poorly as these companies do deserves to be in business.

Time to cut out the middle man. The internet has opened huge new avenues for distribution; it's time the industry starts getting on board and the artists and content creators start getting more of what they are due.

Re:They deserve what they get (4, Insightful)

DangerFace (1315417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359558)

I hope the CRIA is found liable for every penny of the $60 billion and is put out of business once and for all.

This is so naive it very nearly pains me. Not because you think the CRIA might lose - I think of that as optimism. No, rather because you think that $60 billion is a lot of money, and that they will have to pay it. Now, IANAL, but I am pretty sure that once a company declares itself bankrupt and disappears from the face of the Earth, that's it. Gone.

Two weeks later, the Canadian Association for the Recording Industry will pop up, and lo and behold! All the same employees, bar the dead wood they were trying to shift in the first place!

Of course, I sincerely hope I am wrong. I like to think of myself as quietly optimistic, and as such I look to a future where the greedy and the vicious are chastened by society's scorn and live lives of charity and humility. Unfortunately, while that bit of my brain is being quietly optimistic, there's another bit shouting DON'T BE SO STUPID!

I was going to go to the doctor about these voices in my head, but if the RIAA hear about them singing that Miley Cyrus song I'll be done for. No, better off just keeping quiet, like they want...

Re:They deserve what they get (5, Insightful)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359698)

Actually... the lawsuit names four actual companies. Big companies. Companies that have parent companies who can, in turn, be held accountable.

To be specific, the companies are Warner Music Canada, Sony BMG Music Canada, EMI Music Canada, and Universal Music Canada.

Somehow, Capital Records of Canada managed to get missed.

Re:They deserve what they get (1)

CaptainTure (1695288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359562)

Does anyone know if there are similar practises in the United States, UK or Australia?

--
chendry@auzip.com -- don't worry it's OK, it's there on purpose :0

As a Canadian, ... (4, Informative)

Looce (1062620) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359108)

... and as someone who doesn't really trust companies that much, let me just say that, if the CRIA gets fined for willful infringement, I hope that this is the precedent that ends up being applied to the United States, not the reverse.

Now the recording industry's argument is going to be less and less well-received by the general population, and this can only be a good thing.

Re:As a Canadian, ... (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359812)

There are problems with that: namely that

1) judgments in Canadian law are not binding precedent in the US (though a court may judge them as persuasive).
2) the damages are whatever the statute says they are (statutory damages) and thus in the US the damages will be whatever the relevant statute says they should be
3) we don't know if the record companies are pulling this particular kind of scam in the US
4) the record companies losing this case doesn't stop them from going after other infringers, in fact it just strengthens their legal arguments because now they have more precedent to stand on.

The good news is, it looks like the labels are going to have to pay out on this, and it's going to give them a black eye in terms of public perceptions. Judges and juries may be less sympathetic to Warner, Sony and their ilk in the future.

Whoever funds those companies... (1)

ForAllTheFish (1191163) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359130)

... must be really bad at math, or they would have been a little nervous about the line on the balance sheet that reads: Total Liabilities: $6,000,000,000

Re:Whoever funds those companies... (2, Funny)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359230)

Nah, they wouldn't be concerned until it said something outrageous, like $60,000,000,000.

Re:Whoever funds those companies... (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359876)

$60 billion! Chump change! BofA isn't scared and they may get hit for a lot more [dailyfinance.com] than that!

Will be resolved quickly...in CRIA favour (5, Interesting)

Maxwell (13985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359136)

This will be settled ASAP by CRIA. They simply can't risk this case coming anywhere close to a decision. If they 'win' they set a precedent that borrwing files is OK. If they lose, well, they lose big!

When they settle, they will have strong 'proof' that they 'represent the artists' and will use that to help their cause. This will be over in weeks, the actualy lawsuit is just a bargaining tactic.

Moving on...

The shoe is on the other foot (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359250)

This time they're the defendent so they're not allowed to mysteriously 'drop' the case. They can be forced to go to trial.

Re:Will be resolved quickly...in CRIA favour (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359270)

Let's also remember this is Canada, and so far as I'm aware, there has been no infringement case where the value per song has been pegged. While rulings from other jurisdictions may, to one degree or another, inform a ruling, US precedent has no bearing. It's quite feasible that if this were to go to trial, the judge might decide each infringement is only $1000 or $10. Since this particular situation seems restricted to record company actions in Canada, and doesn't happen in the US, it's difficult to see how the complainants can possibly hope to maintain the value per song that they're asking for.

I think CRIA will settle ASAP, but mainly to assure that there is no low-ball price per song is put on the books. Imagine if they had to argue that they should only be paying pennies per song in civil awards. When the Canadian DCMA comes along and they start pursuing file sharers, the precedent is already there that each song is only worth, say, $1 per infraction. It would pretty much wipe out any chance of fear and extortion even for those found guilty of illegal file sharing.

Re:Will be resolved quickly...in CRIA favour (2, Insightful)

Random5 (826815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359450)

They were selling the songs for profit though. Even if they were to set a figure of $1 per infraction, that would be $1 for each copy of a song that was sold which will still be a very significant sum - 300,000 songs on the list, assume they each sold a paltry 1000 copies and suddenly they're liable for $300 Million which would be a significant but manageable amount for those corporations to pay off.

I think it's a little more likely they'll end up paying a much higher rate as they were willfully infringing for commercial gain - look how much harder the pirates selling fake CDs were hit by the law than those who just downloaded.

Re:Will be resolved quickly...in CRIA favour (4, Informative)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359460)

Except that we do have statutory damages for willful copyright infringement. They admit they knew they didn't have the rights, and that they made $50 million off selling things they were fully aware they had zero rights to. In fact, this is a class action, over the fact that they have used a total of THREE MILLION SONGS WITHOUT PERMISSION. The law is clear, $20,000 per instance of copyright infringement. You're right, the Canadian courts haven't tested the legal principal that copyright infringement laws really mean per copy, not per copyrighted song that you misappropriate. If Canadian courts HAD approved such an absurd notion, then the CRIA members would be faction quadrillions in damages, where each CD they sold would mean them owing $20,000 per song, PER CD. Instead, it's limited to per song.

Re:Will be resolved quickly...in CRIA favour (3, Interesting)

agbinfo (186523) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359476)

IANAL but even if they manage to settle this case without divulging the amount per song paid, wouldn't an individual that gets sued by the CRIA be entitled to obtain this information through discovery?

Re:Will be resolved quickly...in CRIA favour (4, Informative)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359492)

In Canada, it's still not a violation of copyright law to copy something for personal use. The last two attempts to change the law (Bills C-60 and C-61) were put aside during the last few elections.

It is, and always has been, a violation to provide the copies. This provides the interesting point where if someone downloads an album via Azureus, that's legal up until the point when you start seeding. (Which is, of course, before you're done downloading, but that's a matter for the philosophers.) In short, up here, it's legal to download but unlawful to upload.* That's because we pay a CIRA levy on all blank media; a "pirate tax", if you will. CIRA has already decided that I'm going to use that spindle of DVD-Rs for pirating, so I should pay a little extra at the counter to compensate them for the loss of revenue. I am not making that up.

Now, the proposed penalties for uploading under C-61 were $20k per offence. It was $500 for downloading, or $20k if you broke any encoding whatsoever. These values were going to be put into Canadian law but were fortunately stopped by government instability. (That's a much longer story than /. has time for.)

Canadian law does not require our judges to use previous cases as a stepping point for punitive damages; you won't see a billion-dollar fine put up simply because you have to have a rationale for the punishment.

Our courts are also loser-pay, which is why you can't just drop a lawsuit or you admit you've lost and will have to pay the costs. If they were to sue, say, me, I would refer them to my lawyer. They know that I've got one, and that that first call is likely to cost them the $200 once the dust settles. (I would call her in the meantime and tell her to have No Mercy.) You won't get scare-tactic suits up here like you have in the states.

* I know that not all copyright infringement is music-sharing online. In fact, the most dangerous type (from my EE perspective) is false labelling on electronics, especially circuit breakers and other protective devices. This is an endemic problem and it's scary as fuck when a 200A breaker keeps going and melts into fucking slag at 400A.

Re:Will be resolved quickly...in CRIA favour (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359752)

* I know that not all copyright infringement is music-sharing online. In fact, the most dangerous type (from my EE perspective) is false labelling on electronics, especially circuit breakers and other protective devices. This is an endemic problem and it's scary as fuck when a 200A breaker keeps going and melts into fucking slag at 400A. /blockquote.

Crikeys! I'm doing my own house wiring right now, with a Cutler-Hammer panel (pain in the ass breakers, BTW). How common is this problem?

Re:Will be resolved quickly...in CRIA favour (2, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359804)

Imagine if they had to argue that they should only be paying pennies per song in civil awards. When the Canadian DCMA comes along and they start pursuing file sharers, the precedent is already there that each song is only worth, say, $1 per infraction.

That's all assuming the equivalence between CRIA pirating and individuals doing it. I'm sure CRIA will argue it's not the same; they'll have some legal argument that they are "special" and simply a little slow working through their royalty backlog rather than being pirates, etc etc.

Re:Will be resolved quickly...in CRIA favour (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30359272)

This will be settled ASAP by CRIA. They simply can't risk this case coming anywhere close to a decision. If they 'win' they set a precedent that borrwing files is OK. If they lose, well, they lose big!

Actually, it's even worse, since this infringement is commercial infringement, which means your business is infringing copyright to make money. Which is very different from non-commercial infringement for personal use only.

Re:Will be resolved quickly...in CRIA favour (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359278)

A settlement requires both parties to agree.
In this case, I don't see how the CRIA can "prove" to be in the right. Unless they offer a really substantial settlement (several hundred million?) plaintiffs might prefer to go ahead with the lawsuit.

Re:Will be resolved quickly...in CRIA favour (2, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359638)

It's a class action. As long as the attorneys get a big enough chunk of the settlement, they'll accept it.

Re:Will be resolved quickly...in CRIA favour (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359844)

Keep in mind that it's a class action settlement. Those are generally a matter of public record. Decision or not, settling this one is basically painting a big old target on their back.

They won't have much proof that they serve the artists, as it's the artists that are suing the labels. I don't think they'll be able to spin that one so easily.

justification (5, Insightful)

kbob88 (951258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359144)

Wait, so the majors have been selling CDs for over thirty years with songs they don't own the copyright on?? They've been charging consumers for something they didn't own?

And they wonder why consumers are downloading music...

In retrospect, I don't think we've been pirating music at all over the past decade or so. We're all just small record labels that have been creating (very limited run) compilation CDs and putting the songs on our own 'pending lists'. We fully intend to pay the rights holders, once we can locate them and negotiate rights. Brilliant idea, guys! Thanks!

Re:justification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30359234)

mod parent up!

Re:justification (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359358)

Brilliant idea, guys! Thanks!

Only if they actually get away with it; otherwise they might still be on the hook for those statutory damages. IANAL, but what happens if they plaintiffs prevail and Warner, Sony, et al refuse to pay? I doubt their assets in Canada exceed $60 billion so what is to prevent them from simply leaving Canada entirely and abandoning whatever they cannot take with them?

Re:justification (2, Interesting)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359940)

IANAL, but what happens if they plaintiffs prevail and Warner, Sony, et al refuse to pay? I doubt their assets in Canada exceed $60 billion

The article [thestar.com] claims there were 300,000 songs infringed and the cost per infringement is $20,000. That only comes out to $6 billion. So something somewhere is incorrect. Either the math or the source numbers.

Re:justification (2, Interesting)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359516)

That's why I have a broadcasting licence.

I just have to have 35% Canadian content on all mix tapes, MP3 collections, and playlists in accordance with CRTC regulations.

Place your bets! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30359156)

The betting pool for how long it takes CRIA to get a law passed specifically granting them immunity for all past, present, and future infringements is now open! I've got five mod points on Christmas '09!

I think the number is still low... (5, Interesting)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359190)

Seriously, I think the $60 Billion is still extremely low. At $20,000 per violation, that means only 3,000,000 violations, which I think is very light for the class of 300,000+ songs that are in the Payment Pending list. That is only estimating that 10 copies of each song were sold this way. The real numbers exist. They can find out EXACTLY how many copies of EACH unauthorized song were sold as all of that is accounted for each individual CD/Album/MP3 from the CRIA members. If we use the REAL number of songs and counts of infringement. I think we are talking easily more than 50 million violations here, not 3 million (which is only 10 sales per song, and we ALL know that a production run of CD's will be in the thousands each, and each COPY is a violation, not just each SALE, even broken CD's at the manufacturing site are unauthorized copies that took place (you know all that breakage cost part that they put into the contracts), they still count in terms of unauthorized/pirate copies). And remember, it is per song, so an album may have 15+ individual infringements in it, not a single infringement for the entire album.

Re:I think the number is still low... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30359506)

royalties will be a few pennies per song, I don't think they will get the full 60 billions but they need to get paid for it anyway, and that loophole fixed in the law. Using songs without asking for permission first is ridiculous, everyone else would get charged for this.

Like GM? (5, Interesting)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359222)

I wonder if this will eventually turn out like GM and its dealings with the unions over the years. Bear with me...

GM corp. and shareholders spent decades working out deals with the unions, trying to minimize labor costs. They made deal after deal that would do things like promise better pensions, all to keep current costs down.

Then, when it all came crashing down, the net result was that the labor union ends up as a major (the major, after the government) shareholder in the company. All that effort goes to naught when it resulted in the "little people" gaining complete control of the company.

So I'm reminded of it here because the CRIA and RIAA and their kind have spent years creating the webs of copyright law that they now use to sue their customers. It would be fitting and just if those same laws lead to the "little people" - the artists - taking control of the industry.

Were I an artist in this case, I'd readily accept a major stake in the company in lieu of the settlement, especially if it was likely that the settlement would force them into bankruptcy and I'd never see my money anyway. Enough suits like this, and we could stroll in and fire the board and all the executives, and turn it into something that serves the artists and consumers.

Re:Like GM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30359430)

As time marches forward more artists can begin reclaiming their copyrights from the RIAA-affiliated companies. With the internet around they can likely make more money doing this than not, so the recording industry is about to stop losing the old catalog even though they've fought (with the MPAA at their side) to extend copyright beyond any reasonable term.

Re:Like GM? (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359610)

er... wait, are we talking about the same GM that would pay unskilled laborers $20/hour to weld parts?

During a time when Minimum Wage was $5?

Your definition of "minimize" seriously needs to be looked at.

Diclaimer: I live and work in the Lansing, MI area... which is a GM town.

Re:Like GM? (2, Informative)

XorNand (517466) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359722)

Nitpick: But welding is most definitely a skilled trade.

Re:Like GM? (1)

PeterP (149736) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359734)

If you think welding is "unskilled", you haven't done much of it. Welding is a trade, like plumbing or carpentry, that takes years to master, and $20 seems pretty fair (possibly even on the low end) for compensation.

These "welders"... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30359782)

...were the equivalent of fry cooks at McDonalds. Sure they could do that one weld all day like a champ, but ask them to do any type of welding beyond the assigned task, and they were lost. If a robot can be programmed to do the task, it really doesn't take much "skill".

Re:Like GM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30359818)

Welding is not unskilled labor. Get GM's dick out of your mouth and say something useful, or keep on suckin' until you get your cumuppance.

Re:Like GM? (1)

Drishmung (458368) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359832)

Enough suits like this, and we could stroll in and fire the board and all the executives, and turn it into something that serves the artists and consumers.

But, why bother?

I would be interested to know what value the record companies provide. If they were to cease to exist, would they be missed? This is not necessarily a hypothetical question, as there are strong indications that the major record companies may in fact cease to exist. That being the case, is it useful to examine what value they bring to:

  1. The artists?
  2. the consumers?
  3. society as a whole?

(Depending on your political stripe you may or may not value the third item at all).

In the past a case could be made that the labels served a useful purpose, They smoothed out artists earning, so that they got paid regularly; they provided recording studios and producers and physical media and distribution when all of these were rare and expensive. They provided publicity and management that talent scouts that arguably did nurture new talent.

Is this the case today?

Does the economy or society benefit or not from the music industry (as presently constituted)?

By the way, if you wish to argue that point three has no value, and no consideration whatsoever need be given to any so called 'rights' of society in this private transaction between parties---then you had best recall that copyright itself is an unnatural right granted by society. A limited monopoly granted for the express purpose of encouraging the creation of works for the common good. If society has no interest in the transaction, then there is no basis for the transaction.

Note: while obviously taking a position to encourage debate I'm not trying to prejudge here. I'm not close enough to the industry to know the answers: do the artists actually benefit from the labels these days?

Just remember.... (1)

mrthoughtful (466814) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359266)

Always - I mean always - be careful what you wish for.

Do as I say... (5, Interesting)

gzearfoss (829360) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359274)

I predict that the CRIA will have a sudden change in heart about copyright violation enforcement - that will last as long as it takes to get this case dropped or settled. Then, it'll be back to business as usual.

The question is, where did the money for the royalties from these CDs end up?

Re:Do as I say... (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359548)

They kept them. But they're earmarked "To give back once we get permission to use this song, if they ever call and we don't just hang up on them for some reason" so they reason it's perfectly legal.

CRIA will never get nailed for this (5, Insightful)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359312)

Because here in Canada we have been following the same evolution of Capitalism that the US has adopted: companies (or groups of them) are superior to individuals and are held to a different standard. By all rights they should be forced to pay the billions in damages that they have earned by violating the laws they use as justification to get music downloaders to pay in court. They should get bit in the ass by the same principles they have been applying.
I am far too cynical to believe this will happen though, as I am sure many of you are. The right bribes will be paid to the right Canadian politicians and they will pay a few million in damages and that will be that. I don't trust Harper's government further than I can puke (and I almost do everytime I remember that we elected him. I am ashamed my country could possibly do so), and I expect them to suck up to the big music industry corporations and settle things quietly in their favour.
I sincerely hope I am wrong but I am far too cynical to think it will happen. We have government by corporation these days and they determine the laws and penalties.

Re:CRIA will never get nailed for this (-1, Troll)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359564)

I am, on the other hand, happy with Harper being elected given who was in opposition. Who was better, the liberals with their 12 years of corruption? The ndp with their pro-union bs? Given those choices I vote Harper.

Re:CRIA will never get nailed for this (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30359658)

Riiiight, the Conservatives are not corrupt, you keep on believing that, sucker.

Re:CRIA will never get nailed for this (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359740)

There are more than 3 choices. There's the Green party, the Marijuana Party, the Libertarian party, all of which would be better than Harper. They don't stand a chance of winning right now but if you vote for them you could help fix that!

wouldn't it be nice.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30359326)

CRIA is a mini-me of the RIAA and with any luck, they will be sued out of existence before they bring a backward, Draconian & American DMCA to Canada. But I doubt it.

(no offense Americans.. unless you're one of the cronies who created the DMCA)

Re:wouldn't it be nice.. (4, Informative)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359640)

CRIA is a mini-me of the RIAA and with any luck, they will be sued out of existence before they bring a backward, Draconian & American DMCA to Canada. But I doubt it.

(no offense Americans.. unless you're one of the cronies who created the DMCA)

Trust me, we don't take offense to this. The DMCA was one of the most backward laws the US government has been bribed... er... incentivized to pass.

Almost as backwards as the Copyright Act of 1976 and moreso than the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998.

Poetic justice (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359348)

Although I'm sure they'll get out of it one way or another.

I would like to point out: (5, Interesting)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359372)

notes in his affidavit that "the record labels have devoted insufficient resources for identifying and paying the owners of musical works on the pending lists." The CRIA members now face the prospect of far greater liability.

I'm assuming that the CRIA is basically the Canadian branch of the RIAA, or at least affiliated with it?

So, let me get this straight, those people can track down some college kid over the whole internet, what was probably using some dynamically assigned IP address, who may have moved a few times, etc.. and the CRIA can't find Bruce Springstein or even some lesser known artist because they haven't allocated enough resources?

Riiiiiiigggght.

Worldwide practice (5, Informative)

XSforMe (446716) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359386)

The big labels have been pulling this stunt world wide during years. Recently in Mexico, Police raided the major offices of Sony [torrentfreak.com] after it decided to tell Alejandro Fernandez (a Mexican folk country singer) they were going to publish some of his tunes with or without his permission. After the smoke had settled, the Police seiged over 6K pirated CDs from the same offices of those who can't keep their mouth shut when it comes to bashing pirates.

Haha (2)

Turzyx (1462339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359432)

.... I think that sums up my thoughts quite nicely.

This isn't irony... (4, Insightful)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359434)

It's what copyright law was intended for. It's not Joe Schmoe making a mix CD for his best friends that's a problem. It's not even the guy who allows 10,000 people who weren't going to buy an album anyway to download it from his server. The problem is people and organizations who make a career out of profiting from other people's work.

The RIAA, CRIA and the MPAA are effectively no better than pimps. It's good that the law is finally being applied as it should.

Re:This isn't irony... (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359672)

It's what copyright law was intended for.

That's what is ironic about it.

Raise your hand if ... (2, Funny)

Skapare (16644) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359472)

... you think big corporations, especially investor owned ones, are fundamentally honest.

Re:Raise your hand if ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30359570)

Fundamentally what now? I'm sorry, I couldn't catch that last part over the sound of all these sacks of cash spilling onto my desk...

Re:Raise your hand if ... (3, Insightful)

MSesow (1256108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359784)

In my limited slice of experience, the only times I have seen large corporations behave honestly is when a) there is a law explicitly telling them they must be (like nutritional information and ingredients in food), or b) there is some sort of marketing they can get out of it. In either case, not being honest would cost them money, and given that the sole purpose of a corporation is to generate profit it should be no surprise that the too-common view is to cut as many corners as you can to maximise that profit. Sure there are some exceptions I have seen, but when generally speaking about the corporate world, they are the candle of hope floating in the ocean of greed.

A little more than Disney (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359550)

To put this in context, 60 Billion is just over the market capitalization for Disney. So the claim is that the infringers... should have to give the producers... a little more than Disney.

Re:A little more than Disney (1)

danlip (737336) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359924)

a mickey mouse amount

One unanswered question? (2, Interesting)

One_Minute_Too_Late (1226718) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359644)

If this has been going on since the late 80s, why did it take so long to file the class action lawsuit?

Re:One unanswered question? (3, Interesting)

danlip (737336) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359920)

If this has been going on since the late 80s, why did it take so long to file the class action lawsuit?

Because it's only been the last few years that the RIAA has been claiming an outrageuous amount of money per infringement, which makes it worthwhile to file the suit by laiming the same amount.

Hey CRIA! (4, Funny)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359712)

CRIA me a river!

It occurs to me that there was some odd truth told (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30359938)

In all the years of whining and complaining about needing stricter laws and harsher punishment and longer copyright terms, they always cited that the artists and their families are not getting paid because of piracy!

Well, I guess they weren't exactly lying were they. It's just that the people they claimed to be responsible for the atrocities against artists were not the file sharing public, but themselves.

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