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Antitrust Case Against RIAA Reinstated

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the collusion-and-restraint dept.

The Courts 163

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "After Starr v. SONY BMG Music Entertainment was dismissed at the District Court level, the antitrust class action against the RIAA has been reinstated by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In its 25-page opinion (PDF), the Appeals court held the following allegations sufficiently allege antitrust violations: 'First, defendants agreed to launch MusicNet and pressplay, both of which charged unreasonably high prices and contained similar DRMs. Second, none of the defendants dramatically reduced their prices for Internet Music (as compared to CDs), despite the fact that all defendants experienced dramatic cost reductions in producing Internet Music. Third, when defendants began to sell Internet Music through entities they did not own or control, they maintained the same unreasonably high prices and DRMs as MusicNet itself. Fourth, defendants used MFNs [most favored nation clauses] in their licenses that had the effect of guaranteeing that the licensor who signed the MFN received terms no less favorable than terms offered to other licensors. For example, both EMI and UMG used MFN clauses in their licensing agreements with MusicNet. Fifth, defendants used the MFNs to enforce a wholesale price floor of about 70 cents per song. Sixth, all defendants refuse to do business with eMusic, the #2 Internet Music retailer. Seventh, in or about May 2005, all defendants raised wholesale prices from about $0.65 per song to $0.70 per song. This price increase was enforced by MFNs.'"

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163 comments

MFN? (3, Interesting)

orta (786013) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778150)

Its not exactly most favored nation, if there's no advantage to being so.

Re:MFN? (5, Interesting)

isThisNameAvailable (1496341) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778296)

The advantage is that you don't get screwed. It's not that you're going to be homecoming queen, it's just that you get to sit at the cool kids' table and no one shoves you in a locker.

Re:MFN? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30778476)

First corporations claim to be people, and now they claim to be nations. WTF? SFYs.

Re:MFN? (1)

sixteenbitsamurai (1070810) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779710)

We were warned it would be this way... soon you will be a SINless mercenary making a living by being Mr. Johnson's bitch.

Re:MFN? (1)

Winckle (870180) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778668)

Isn't that rather the crux of the argument in TFA?

Re:Exactly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30780106)

Its not "MFN" any more than buying protection from gangsters is "Insurance". It is akin to extortion.

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30778190)

Good

Agreed (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30778206)

Agreed

Echo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30778218)

Echo

Re:Echo (2, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778920)

Ditto. Yes, this story makes me so happy, I'm willing to be a dittohead for awhile. Enjoy while you can! ;^)

Re:Echo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30779636)

Weak ass combo breaker, jerk.

Re:Agreed (-1, Offtopic)

kandela (835710) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778224)

Mod +1 insightful

Re:Agreed (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30778464)

Mod -1 nigger

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30778852)

Huh?

What about my stress level (5, Interesting)

colin_n (50370) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778230)

Who is going to compensate me for my increased stress level from living in fear of being sued by the RIAA? If I had kids and I wanted them to behave, I'd just tell them stories about the RIAA coming to get them and financially ruin them.

Don't jaywalk kids because the RIAA will come get you.
Eat your vegetables so you can be strong to fight the riaa.

Seriously though, I hate those guys.

Re:What about my stress level (1, Informative)

ari_j (90255) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778270)

For your kids: Don't download this song! [youtube.com]

Re:What about my stress level (5, Informative)

Quantumstate (1295210) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778606)

"This video contains content from Vevo, who has decided to block it in your country. "

Re:What about my stress level (5, Interesting)

Snotboble_ (13797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778618)

"This video contains content from Vevo, who has decided to block it in your country.". FYI, I live in a pinko commie 3rd world country called "Denmark" :P Gotta love the "rights protecton" - whose rights..?

Re:What about my stress level (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30778924)

Same here in the Netherlands...

Apparently it's not allowed to watch the same music-video's through the internet that are broadcast on just about every channel on TV - I'm getting the "This video contains content from Vevo, who has decided to block it in your country." all the time, and I think it's a bit ludicrous to go out and buy a television just so that I can watch the same music-vids that all them old fashioned TV-huggers get to see.

Re:What about my stress level (1)

shaka (13165) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779078)

Well, I guess we are living in a "Least Favored Nation"... (Sweden here!)

Re:What about my stress level (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779896)

It's called TOR, embrace the onion!

Re:What about my stress level (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30780272)

The onion cries...

First: you don't know where you are going to "exit" from, and you'd have to manually change the exit node until you reach an "allowed" one, which puts a certain strain on the network.
Second: using TOR for such a lame purpose is, guess what, lame.
Third: using TOR with to watch streaming videos is simply a suicide.

Re:What about my stress level (2, Insightful)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779416)

Rights are easy. It is always about the rights of the politicians in power to get more power. Every country is the same in that. The only difference is in how they approach their goals.

Re:What about my stress level (1)

prcko (1448753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779012)

This video contains content from Vevo, who has decided to block it in your country.

Apparently, not available in ALL countries... :)

Don't miss out kids! (3, Informative)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779212)

Re:Don't miss out kids! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30779438)

The whole process of watching the internet route around content protection in a matter of minutes, in an article about the RIAA getting sued.

It's like my birthday suddenly was Christmas, and then suddenly both were today.

I love you slashdot.

Re:Don't miss out kids! (2, Informative)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779794)

"This video contains content from Sony Music Entertainment, who has decided to block it in your country."

Re:Don't miss out kids! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30780280)

I like how this [youtube.com] works in the US (but aparently nowhere else), but the same video by Sony [youtube.com] is blocked in the US. At least, I am assuming that is the same video.

The irony is overwhelming (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30779260)

I assume that your link is to this song [youtube.com] , "Don't download this song" by Weird Al.. The song is quite heavy and very obvious critic against RIAA and it's scare tactics of destroying lives because of a few downloaded songs and about how they have the whole legal system (lawyers, judges the police) under their control. The irony of not being able to legally watch the video outside USA is overwhelming.

That is very common, however. For example many TV shows can't be watched online from Europe anymore. Southpark and The Daily Show being two of the many series that you used to be able to watch online for free (and see some commercials) but now need to download from bittorrent. I could of course just use VPN to some host in USA but really... If I need to go through the trouble of circumventing the protections anyway, my interest to pay for a good VPN and watch the ads isn't that high.

Re:What about my stress level (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30779940)

Fuck that. Download this Song [youtube.com] .

Re:What about my stress level (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30778554)

They have become the modern Keyser Söze of the US...

Re:What about my stress level (2, Funny)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778590)

The point about boogy men is they aren't supposed to be real, that way once the kids get old enough, they don't have to live their lives in fear.

Obviously the **AA groups are not suitable for this, because they are real!

RIAA has stopped Sueing (0, Troll)

rwv (1636355) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778666)

Don't jaywalk kids because the RIAA will come get you.

The RIAA announced that they were terminating their practices of filing hundreds of civil lawsuits [google.com] so your jaywalking children should be okay.

Is this article the evolved version of the RIAA's anti-consumer tactics? It's not clear from the summary, but the way I read this is that the RIAA is evil because mimimium song prices are being raised from $0.65 to $0.70. Can't this increase (approximately 7%) be explained by typical inflation and justifiably be expected every two years? I'm not sure why this story is so evil.

Re:RIAA has stopped Sueing (5, Informative)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778776)

i think the point is that 1) all the record companies set the same price and 2) they all raised their prices together. these two facts seem to demonstrate collusion in the market. that being the case or not is up to the courts.

Re:RIAA has stopped Sueing (3, Interesting)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779144)

Is there any means for artists to claim the companies colluded on contracts, royalties, etc.? I don't know any information there so it may be they were competitive enough to avoid any claims being able to stick, but knowing how bad it is for the artist I'm more concerned about fixing that before we make things better for the consumer.

Re:RIAA has stopped Sueing (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30780050)

You win either way - making things better for the consumer means the consumer will start buying music again, which automatically makes things better for the musician, and the market as a whole. Bottom line, we need to get rid of Sony and all the other crap companies belonging to RIAA so the organization disappears.

Why not pass along cost savings? (5, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778864)

Can't [all major labels' simultaneous royalty] increase (approximately 7%) be explained by typical inflation and justifiably be expected every two years?

Why doesn't it decrease as the cost of producing music decreases? Look at how much it cost to record an album in 1980 vs. now.

Re:Why not pass along cost savings? (2, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779278)

Because with monopoly pricing, the price isn't set in relation to the cost to produce but in relation to the consumers disposable income. You don't lower prices unless the cost of lost sales exceed the revenue lost by lower per-unit price (and sometimes not even then; costs seem to be notoriously difficult for companies to get rid of, basically only competitors undercutting them seem to get it done).

So until copyright is replaced with a system working as a competitive market, you're simply not going to see any cost savings passed along; it would be economically incompatible with the fundamental structure of monopoly rights.

Re:Why not pass along cost savings? (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779280)

The only reason it cost so much in 1980 is that the studios were owned and staffed by the record companies resulting in ridiculously inflated prices to take advantage of naive musicians. Doing it yourself has never cost the fortune they charge, it's just pointless trying to compete on their turf.

Re:Why not pass along cost savings? (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779506)

I seem to remember that the DIY recording equipment available in 1980 was far lower fidelity and far lower capability than Apple GarageBand of 2010.

Re:Why not pass along cost savings? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30779744)

It's interesting to note the different trends here.

Over time, the actual cost of making recordings comparable to those made by major recording companies has dropped, and the quality level you can expect has increased. You don't really need that much in the way of specialist hardware these days, since most of it can be done with inexpensive (sometimes free) software. High-end consumer sound cards are probably good enough, when paired with decent microphones, but even professional low-latency sound recording hardware isn't that expensive. The only thing that's even slightly expensive is studio time, but it's not really that difficult or expensive to adequately soundproof a room if you're going to be needing it often.

You can certainly match the quality of professional recordings from the early '90s without too much trouble or expense.

On the flip side, "professional" recording has become more expensive, rather than less expensive. They use an insane amount of specialist hardware and software, specially built recording studios, and small armies of people

The difference is probably something like a 5 or 10% quality improvement, while costing 1000 times as much (note - numbers made up on the spot). The quality improvement hardly matters anyway - it's barely noticeable with CD quality output, it's certainly not noticeable once it's been run through a lossy audio codec, and they tend to wipe out any quality improvement they may have had by mixing everything far too loud, resulting in horrible distortion.

My guess is that they're just carrying on doing things they way they used to. I don't doubt that, in the '80s, producing a sound recording to go on a CD would have been incredibly difficult, and required a great deal of expensive hardware. Since they've had no real incentive to reduce costs, they've just kept on doing things the same way.

Why was I modded Troll? (1)

rwv (1636355) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778908)

I don't support the RIAA, but I also don't support anti-RIAA propaganda that I don't understand. The summary was not as clear about why this trial represents the evil motives of the RIAA. I simply asked for clarification of this fact from somebody who might be more knowledgeable.

Re:Why was I modded Troll? (5, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779098)

It's not the price, it's the collusion. The labels are supposed to be in competition with each other. Slashdot has repeatedly recognized that the business of a business is to make money - by whatever means possible. Without collusion and general agreement in the backrooms and lounges, one or more labels might actually become convinced that giving away lots and lots of music is the true route to fortune. Baen Books has learned that lesson - especially with older books. They release an out of print book, FOR FREE, and people not only start asking for that book, but they purchase even more books by the same author, and/or in the same genre.

In the case of the labels represented by RIAA, everyone is part of the Good Old Boy's club, everyone is in lockstep, with the same program, same menu, same tactics. They have a happy status quo, and no one is about to rock the boat with anything so barbaric as COMPETITION!!

Re:Why was I modded Troll? (2, Insightful)

genmax (990012) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779628)

It is also collusion that lets stuff like DRM live on. I think the comment about eMusic in the summary is telling. If the record labels had in reality been competing with each other, DRM would be history by now. It would just take one label to start selling music as mp3s, and customers would flock to them.

Re:Why was I modded Troll? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30780024)

Very good point - one I probably should have made. Second to price in importance is CONVENIENCE. Ask any customer. We tech literate bemoan the fact that computer users in general don't want to think about ANYTHING - they expect the computer to read their minds, then lead them by the hands.

DRM is an inconvenience at some point to EVERYONE! Many posts have been made in the gaming section of slashdot, pointing out that even honest players who wish to obey the rules find games unplayable, so they download the pirated version of the game they just paid $50+ for. The pirate version JUST WORKS!!

With the entire industry conspiring to make the populace believe that this inconvenience is "necessary", the DOJ has a good case, without ever considering the price of music/games/software.

cartel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30780262)

Considering you can probably make a duplicate copy and deliver it for like a penny or so, some very small figure like that, plus the lock step price increases, this shows blatant price gouging plus cartel collusion to maintain universal high level price gouging for digital "products".

Re:What about my stress level (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30779070)

why would you have an increased stress level due to the RIAA? Only people who are violating copyright on music would need to worry about that. If you've violated copyright then the stress is induced by you - so sue yourself. If you haven't violated copyright than any stress you are feeling due to the RIAA is a symptom of insanity.

Re:What about my stress level (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779812)

Right. Because the RIAA never goes after people who haven't pirated. They don't send nasty letters to printers or 7-year-old girls.

The stress of living in a police state (and that's what RIAA has proclaimed themselves to be, not in word but in deed) is not whether you did something wrong or not, it's whether you're accused (and thus nearly automatically convicted) of doing something wrong, regardless of whether you actually did it or not.

Re:What about my stress level (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779986)

is not whether you did something wrong or not,

More to the point that you can prove you didn't.

Re:What about my stress level (4, Interesting)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779598)

When you're 5: "Sharing is a nice thing to do, kids. Don't be selfish! Hoarding your stuff makes you look like a huge jerk."

When you're 25: "Sharing is an evil thing to do, citizen. It's not selfish! Letting other people use your stuff is illegal because it means I make less money. Pay no attention to the fact that my salary is an order of magnitude higher than yours!"

WTF world! If sharing is evil, don't tell me when I'm 5 that it's nice!

If I ever manage to have kids, I want to raise them to believe that sharing is evil. I will then note other people's reactions to the idea. If people are generally shocked and appalled that people could actually believe this, then I will use that as an argument to show why this BS that the RIAA believes in must be outlawed.

Re:What about my stress level (1, Flamebait)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779880)

Well, there is a difference between "share your toys" wherein the act of sharing does not create an exact duplicate of the toys and "share your digital music" where the act of sharing does create an exact digital duplicate.

Honestly, people.

Re:What about my stress level (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30780132)

Being stupid to prove your point merely proves you are stupid.

sharing music!=sharing toys.

Your inability to comprehend this is not the failure of the industry or your parents, merely the failure of your ability to apply common sense.

If you ever manage to have kids, please refrain from teaching them anything. Do us all a favor and let people who actually have a clue do that.

Thanks again NYCL (5, Interesting)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778372)

Thanks for keeping us in the loop NYCL.

These seem to be serious allegations. I hope there's action taken this time.

These deserve to be kept in mind:
http://archive.salon.com/tech/feature/2000/06/14/love/ [salon.com] (Courtney Love Does the Math, from 2000 - looking at it now, oddly prophetic)
http://www.negativland.com/albini.html [negativland.com] (The Problem with Music, by Producer Steve Albini - great insight into the process of Major Label music)

This is why we should care. I know that it's clichéd, but these companies care nothing about you, or about music, or about the well-being of the world in which they operate. They are wholly evil, in a way that almost no other business is.

Re:Thanks again NYCL (5, Informative)

unixfan (571579) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778470)

At one point they also lobbied to get a law that would allow them to hack your computer and wipe out the content if they suspected you of having illegal music. Fortunately Congress did not agree.

Re:Thanks again NYCL (0, Redundant)

svick (1158077) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779250)

[citation needed]

Re:Thanks again NYCL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30779618)

WP:GOOGLEIT

Re:Thanks again NYCL (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30779664)

http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/2001/10/47552

1st hit on google "RIAA wants to hack computers". Stop being so lazy :p

Re:Thanks again NYCL (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 4 years ago | (#30780074)

I remember that. Never got too far though, but it's still an ass move to even attempt.

Re:Thanks again NYCL (5, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778576)

I remember when I worked with a guy with good connections to all (then five) big music companies (who did all the deals for us, because he was an insider). He usually was on the phone with these big music managers, loudly joking, and setting up meetings of talking about deals.

In the industry, it’s all about connections. A small group of people who know each other.

And this was, how he once described the typical “business meeting” to me: (I think in this example it was the EMI boss.)
He took the elevator to the top floor. The guy greeted him and offered him lines of coke as thick as your finger, on a mirror.
Then he ordered some hookers. And then it was time for business.
According to him, that was rather normal, and in no way an exception.

Re:Thanks again NYCL (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779610)

He took the elevator to the top floor. The guy greeted him and offered him lines of coke as thick as your finger, on a mirror.
Then he ordered some hookers. And then it was time for business.

I think you'll find that the *top* floor is like this in a lot of companies, not just members of the RIAA.

Re:Thanks again NYCL (3, Funny)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779878)

I am officially quitting my job today. I am in the wrong line of work and am fixing that starting now.

Re:Thanks again NYCL (2, Interesting)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778768)

I wasn't aware of the Courtney Love letter. That was an amazing read (many thanks). That begs the second question. Why haven't I heard of this letter before? The RIAA is an evil beyond typical corporate scams and money making. They have fingers in world wide political pies, and money to literally burn. The fact that a single group can exert so much power in political circles should be a huge wake up call to everyone, yet year by year goes by and only the 'geeks' and those affected voice their concerns. I think what's even more frightening is that they now do these things opening for the most part, and again no one pays attention.

Slavery was abolished in the US, yet I don't see how these contracts differ in any significant way from slavery and servitude.

Why is this allowed to go on?

Re:Thanks again NYCL (2, Insightful)

csmass (1705560) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779112)

Why are banks allowed to keep you in debt for the rest of your life? The answer to both questions are almost the same, US citizens all suffer from some form of memory loss, that or the like to be lubed up and penetrated. You could argue, banks and RIAA both only serve to entrap people and take control of their lives financially, yet it would fall upon deaf ears.

Re:Thanks again NYCL (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779222)

Considering you can easily pay off a card if you simply pay more than the minimum, or pay early, it's not nearly the same situation. These folks are legally bound to produce for the recording industry, and everything they produce that's worth anything is owned forever by the same industry.

How does that compare?

Re:Thanks again NYCL (4, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778836)

These seem to be serious allegations. I hope there's action taken this time.

You mean you hope there's action taken if they are proven to be true, right?

Due process applies to everyone, not just the people we like.

Re:Thanks again NYCL (2, Interesting)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779006)

And when the organization being sued is writing the very legislation that allows their actions? What then?

Re:Thanks again NYCL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30779168)

Then We Shall Shoot Them Until They Reverse That Legislation!
(mega-corps have plenty of cannon fodder to shoot to scare high-ups)

Re:Thanks again NYCL (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779198)

You mean you hope there's action taken if they are proven to be true, right?

Due process applies to everyone, not just the people we like.

I'd hope there is action taken even if collusion can't be proven in a court of law.
Legal, but anti-competitive trade practices are just as damaging to the markets as illegal ones.

Re:Thanks again NYCL (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30780314)

There's more than enough evidence that is public to make a decision. If I see someone slit the throat of someone else, I'm not going to wait until he is proven to be a murderer in a court of law to call him that.

Re:Thanks again NYCL (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30778888)

Oh FFS calm down - and look in the dictionary for "evil".

There's nothing evil about not caring about music, or about you, or about the "well-being" of a bunch of self-entitled middle-class pricks. No-one in Ethopia is starving because of the RIAA cartel overpricing the latest fucking Jonah Bros CD. Villagers haven't been raped and murdered for being in the way of a new CD pressing plant in Nigeria. And 20,000 people per year aren't dying from lung cancer because they got hooked on Eminem.

Please get some fucking perspective on this. These companies deal in *entertainment*. Look at oil and diamonds and drink and tobacco and firearms if you want to talk about "evil".

Re:Thanks again NYCL (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779236)

No-one in Ethopia is starving because of the RIAA cartel overpricing the latest fucking Jonah Bros CD.

Yawn. The old "if it ain't as bad as the worst evil I can think of, you're just whining about it" argument. It remains invalid.

Sure, these guys aren't murderers, most of them. They're still thieves on a massive scale (mostly from the "talent" they claim to be protecting). They're still willing to sue people into bankruptcy for bucking them. They'd still like to put people in jail for writing computer programs they don't like. They'd still like to ban entire classes of technology to maintain their profits. They're still evil, even if Idi Amin makes them look like pikers.

Re:Thanks again NYCL (1)

Ltap (1572175) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779326)

That's a complete fallacy. The thing that makes the labels/**AAs (you can't really talk about one without the other) is not what they do but how they do it.

Most firearms companies are small and operate through defense contracts with governments. Most of the knockoff weapons that rather unsavoury people are armed with were produced by gunsmiths working with gangs. The fact that the weapons kill is irrelevant - the weapons exist, so they would be used, which necessitates producing more to defend yourself with, etc., etc.

Re:Thanks again NYCL (1)

bratloaf (1287954) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778940)

Wow, how did I not see that Courtney Love letter before. From 2000! I think I just gained a pile of respect for her, that was quite forward looking for 10 years ago.

Re:Thanks again NYCL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30779076)

"hey are wholly evil, in a way that almost no other business is."?

I beg to differ. One word "Monsanto". You think excessive intellectual property entitlements and DRM harm the public good of our shared culture?

Imagine DRM on the global food supply.
Imagine feeding poison to billions for profit and hiding the evidence.
Imagine being sued because the contents of your genetic material infringe on their IP.
Congratulations, your imagination is now up to speed with reality.

Re:Thanks again NYCL (2, Informative)

shaka (13165) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779104)

This! Kudos to Ray Beckerman for your tireless work, and everybody:

Read Courtney Love's article! It's an amazing read!

http://archive.salon.com/tech/feature/2000/06/14/love/ [salon.com] (Courtney Love Does the Math, from 2000 - looking at it now, oddly prophetic)

Anyone know any truly independent labels? (2, Interesting)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779152)

It occurs to me that all it takes to break up a 'cartel' like this is one or two successful publishers who are not owned or controlled in any way by the existing publishers, and that such independent publishers are willing to really compete with the other labels to sign talent and publish music. The question is, are there any independent labels right now? I remember seeing a chart sometime ago which showed how a lot of 'independent labels' are really owned by the big music publishers, who just use those other labels to either serve niche markets, or create the illusion of having alternatives to dealing with them.

Anyone know of any labels which really, truly, are independent, with which bands and music lovers might do business?

Re:Thanks again NYCL (1)

Ian Alexander (997430) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779286)

This is why we should care. I know that it's clichéd, but these companies care nothing about you, or about music, or about the well-being of the world in which they operate. They are wholly evil, in a way that almost no other business is.

What other companies _actually_ care about the consumer, the product they sell, or the world in which they operate? Modern society boils all of business down to a search for short-term profit. Consumers only matter because they have wallets, products only matter because they need to open the consumer's wallets somehow, and the world at large only matters when it begins being bad for business.

Re:Thanks again NYCL (1)

Croakus (663556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779466)

One word. Monsanto.

Re:Thanks again NYCL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30779670)

You cannot forget the Janis Ian letter. She certainly comes off as the one that should be listened to most. Plus, she's awesome.

http://www.janisian.com/article-internet_debacle.html

Re:Thanks again NYCL (1)

Croakus (663556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779674)

So your opinion is based on a ten year old letter from a rich pop star who suffers from clinical depression and heroin addiction?

I did read it BTW I’m not impressed. She rambles aimlessly from one point to another and doesn’t seem to realize she’s contradicting herself. She says that she would be the first person to file a lawsuit against Napster for infringing her Copyright, then she says that illegal distribution is helping her sell more albums ... huh?

Not that I’m disagreeing with your point. Lots of artists sign stupid contracts, and I agree that the record companies should be taken to task for offering those contracts. They do in fact take advantage of young artists and their naive dreams. Record companies do in fact often operate as con men.

So I agree with your fundamental point but

Re:Thanks again NYCL (4, Interesting)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 4 years ago | (#30780190)

Thanks for keeping us in the loop NYCL. These seem to be serious allegations. I hope there's action taken this time.

I don't have the slightest doubt that the allegations

are true, and
can easily be proven.

If I were a betting man, I'd be betting..... settlement.

Interesting Points (4, Interesting)

Tisha_AH (600987) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778588)

It is interesting to read the opinion. Conspiracy to fix prices, agreements to not compete against each other, all record companies refusing to do any business with certain companies.

They are acting like a monopoly. This is what led to the breakup of Standard Oil back in the early part of the 20th century and the breakup of the Bell System into Baby Bells.

This most favored nation (MFN) deal they have going and how all prices change in lockstep.

Wow, it reminds me of how they eventually caught Al Capone. Not on running a crime syndicate but on tax evasion.

Re:Interesting Points (4, Interesting)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778706)

yet they were all found guilty of price fixing during the height of the CD era.

Nothing has changed. They should be fined doubly for continuing this behavior.

Re:Interesting Points (5, Insightful)

AmonRa1979 (797618) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778804)

I think the difference is that Al Capone DIDN'T pay off the right government officials. That's probably not the case here.

Re:Interesting Points (2, Insightful)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778838)

I'd mod up parent post if I had the points. It's great seeing a case like this take one small step forward, but unfortunately it's a bit like skipping through a minefield where the mines are politicians and public officials whose pockets are lined with MAFIAA money and the minefield ends miles away. I don't think we're gonna make it.

From the IRAA's point of view. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30778660)

Speaking as someone who's very close to the RiAA this is what I have to say:

You people have no chance! We own the Congress, we have more lawyers and eventually, NYCL WILL come over to the Darkside - it's only a matter of time.

You little thieves just need to stop stealing our music!

We now have factories in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Africa that produce music - all run by small children that are paid with barely enough food to live. We just hire good looking people to lip synch in videos and "live" shows. And then when they can't work anymore, we sell the little girls into prostitution and the boys are then trained to be our stormtroopers.

So just shut up! I have to go. My stupid idiotic maid made my afternoon cocktail with the blood of kittens when I especially ordered her to make it with the blood of puppies!

Courtney!

Preventing oneself from stealing? (4, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779000)

You little thieves just need to stop stealing our music!

Your labels also own music publishers, the companies that own copyright in the music and lyrics apart from the recording. If you provide us indie songwriters with an automated way to check any song we've written against these music publishers' catalogs to make sure we didn't screw up like George Harrison ("My Sweet Lord") or Michael Bolton ("Love Is a Wonderful Thing"), we might take you up on this offer.

Price fixing on CDs (4, Funny)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 4 years ago | (#30778672)

So they're finally calling them on the price fixing of CDs?

I wonder if Hollywood Accounting could save them.

Re:Price fixing on CDs (2, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779310)

They don't need Hollywood Accounting. Ask any musician how much money a record release actually makes them these days. It's clearly not a profitable business!

payback tag change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30778970)

playback?

Frist 4soT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30779054)

the channel to sign Ca8 connect to

What will I get? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30779084)

I've bought hundreds of dollars in music (mostly online) over the last 5 years. If in fact the court rules that they have been fixing prices will I get any of that money back?

rightly named clause (3, Funny)

slashdime (818069) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779086)

Screw these MF's and their MFN's!

How Will Judgements be Paid? (5, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779158)

Thanks for bringing this to our attention NYC, but if you'll excuse the pun, we've heard this tune before. Suppose that the RIAA loses and is ordered to pay restitution, but instead of cash the court allows the RIAA and its members to "pay" by donating a selection of CDs or downloads of their choice (i.e. their choice of the worst selling items) while valuing them, for the purposes of the settlement, at "full retail" (even though almost none of them actually sell at that price in the real world). What will prevent them from offering an equally "useless" settlement payment, as they have been allowed to do in the past, again this time?

Re:How Will Judgements be Paid? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779534)

Don't be daft, they'll value them at the same as used in their court cases and release one Britney Spears and one S-Club-7 track to Creative Commons.

Re:How Will Judgements be Paid? (4, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30780002)

Suppose that the RIAA loses and is ordered to pay restitution, but instead of cash the court allows the RIAA and its members to "pay" by donating a selection of CDs or downloads of their choice (i.e. their choice of the worst selling items)

Don't bet on it. They can only get away with that shit once. It isn't the court that decided that last time, it was a negotiated settlement between the various state DAs offices and the RIAA. The DAs just didn't realize what sharks they were dealing with. I know this because an ex of mine was a junior DA from one of the smaller states on that case and she even got herself quoted in their local paper saying something to the effect of, "I'm sure the senior DAs from around the country will not allow the RIAA to wiggle out of this settlement." Its about 10 years later and that newspaper interview is still one of the funniest things I have to give her shit about.

Wonder if the 6 billion lawsuit will be mentioned (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30779264)

that is the fact that the canadian arm of the R.I.A.A. up here called the CRIA hasnt paid 300,000 artists since 1980.

BOY oh boy thats a bomb to say in court eh?
if they are commercially pirating up in canada , are they doing it in the USA and other countries and does that mean that record breaking profit year really mean profit to the riaa OR is it fraudulently stolen monies.

The REAL pdf link (1)

ansak (80421) | more than 4 years ago | (#30779536)

The link in the article points to a framed view of the PDF. The PDF itself is here [beckermanlegal.com] . Let's post bare links please? ...ank
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