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Record Labels To Pay For Copyright Infringement

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the of-pots-and-kettles dept.

Businesses 235

innocent_white_lamb writes "Sony Music Entertainment Canada Inc., EMI Music Canada Inc., Universal Music Canada Inc. and Warner Music Canada Co. have agreed to pay songwriters and music publishers $47.5 million in damages for copyright infringement and overdue royalties to settle a class action lawsuit. 'The 2008 class action alleges that the record companies "exploited" music owners by reproducing and selling in excess of 300,000 song titles without securing licenses from the copyright owners and/or without paying the associated royalty payments. The record companies knowingly did so and kept a so-called "pending list" of unlicensed reproductions, setting aside $50 million for the issue, if it ever arose, court filings suggest.'"

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Let me get this straight ... (5, Insightful)

adam (1231) | more than 3 years ago | (#34833952)

So when the RIAA sues someone, it's $80k per title for infringement [cnet.com] , but when they are infringing, they set aside $167 per title?

Re:Let me get this straight ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34833982)

Maybe they get a volume discount?

Re:Let me get this straight ... (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834010)

I don't remember a private infringer that got one.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (2)

golden age villain (1607173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834152)

Ironic isn't it? Probably the reason why the parent got modded up funny.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834406)

Hey, fair is fair: if those dirty pirate scum had just waited to become major multinational corporations before they hit bittorrent, they would have been fine. But nooo, they just had to go downloading first...

Re:Let me get this straight ... (5, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834774)

What should have happened is, the MafiAA corps should have been forcibly disbanded, assets sold, and all singers and songwriters released from their slave-labor contracts [techdirt.com] .

The double upside there is that we could get rid of the MafiAA companies and destroy the Payola system that still strangleholds music radio today. Maybe we'd have some real radio stations that would do things like play local artists, new acts simply because they like the sound, or even spin entire albums now and again.

Of course, we should probably reinstitute the media ownership limits. In 1995 there were over 5000 independent radio station companies, by 1997 five companies controlled 95% of the radio market.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834146)

Volume discount? Is that before or after they butchered tracks with "volume normalisation" [wikipedia.org] :o

Re:Let me get this straight ... (-1, Troll)

cindynicole (1974558) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834442)

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Re:Let me get this straight ... (3, Insightful)

RabbitWho (1805112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34833986)

Also..

"let's try this illegal thing! Maybe we won't get caught and we can keep the 50 million. if we do, what harm?"

So you can keep yourself out of prison and do whatever you want if you're a millionaire. I am shocked.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834000)

"let's try this illegal thing! Maybe we won't get caught and we can keep the 50 million. if we do, what harm?"

It's a bit more insidious than that. This 50 million wasn't just sitting in a trash bag under the CEO's desk. It was out there, making interest. So they profited from their copyright infringement. Their punishment should be worse!

Re:Let me get this straight ... (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834974)

"let's try this illegal thing! Maybe we won't get caught and we can keep the 50 million. if we do, what harm?"

It's a bit more insidious than that. This 50 million wasn't just sitting in a trash bag under the CEO's desk. It was out there, making interest. So they profited from their copyright infringement. Their punishment should be worse!

I wouldn't say that. I'm sure that for every pirate out there, the money they didn't pay had to go somewhere. Even if the suspect never had the extra money, that can be seen as debt avoidance, which is arguably the best investment you can make. The point is, I wouldn't want the court system going through a defendant's financial records, looking for ways to pile on new punishments.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (5, Insightful)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834002)

In light of the RIAA's own standards on this, as well as the position of power that the record labels have, this should have been punished far more harshly than this.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (5, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834022)

I currently buy all my music legally.

This is making me reconsider, at least when buying music published by these douchebags.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (5, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834056)

Well I could argue that strictly speaking I don't buy any music illegaly...

Re:Let me get this straight ... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834094)

Good point.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (1)

gravis777 (123605) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834908)

Obviously you have never bought music by Ever Anime or Son May.

http://stason.org/TULARC/art/anime-music/24-Are-Son-May-Ever-Anime-Cds-Bootlegs.html [stason.org]

They were just about the only way to get Japanese CDs in the US for a while, but you can now order discs from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.jp/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?__mk_ja_JP=%83J%83%5E%83J%83i&url=search-alias%3Dpopular&field-keywords=sailor+moon&x=0&y=0 [amazon.co.jp]

Sadly, even with as much as Amazon discounts stuff, Ever Anime discs are usually still cheaper.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (3, Informative)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834626)

Why should the policies of the Recording Industry Association of America have an effect on Canadian justice?

Re:Let me get this straight ... (5, Insightful)

Longjmp (632577) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834012)

If they agree to pay 50 million *voluntarily* I would assume they already made ten times the amount with their illegal actions

Re:Let me get this straight ... (2)

hyartep (1694754) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834242)

well, they saved 2.5 million :-)

Re:Let me get this straight ... Note (1)

OldHawk777 (19923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834738)

If they put aside $50M, then the real value to them was at least $150M. So, they made at least $100M on the settlement.

Not bad business, not a crime, not ethical..., but it is good business for many of the big-bro-companies.

RIAA protects the wealthy from the artist. Patents protects the wealthy from scientist, engineers, inventors.... Copyright protects the wealthy from all the other crap. Congress protects the wealthy from US.

This is what corporate welfare and protectionism is all about for US, EU... Global Domination by Fiat.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (5, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834030)

Well, yes. although I will point out this is Canadian law which is a little less insane.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (5, Interesting)

grimJester (890090) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834036)

You missed the obvious question: How on earth did the damages end up within 5% of what they had set aside? Using the per infringement figure, they set aside $167 and paid $158 when the statuatory damages [wikipedia.org] range from $750 to $150,000? Wtf is going on here?

OK, I got the $2.5M difference (5, Interesting)

grimJester (890090) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834064)

Obviously, they paid 2.5M for the lawyers. If this was budgeted from the start it explains why the figure "randomly" ended up being exactly 5% of the total set aside. This means the plaintiff's lawyers simply accepted the 47.5M the labels had set aside.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834078)

The case was in Canada, and you quoted statutory damages for the US. I don't think the Canadian system is quite as broken as the US system.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834514)

Yep. If they budgeted for this they must have made more than that from doing it, ergo they'll do it again if they get half a chance.

Logic says they should be fined several times this as a punitive measure.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834668)

"Yep. If they budgeted for this they must have made more than that from doing it, ergo they'll do it again if they get half a chance.

Logic says they should be fined several times this as a punitive measure."

I will go with hundreds of times more plus jail time for their large scale commercial infringement oh and if you had read the article you would know they continue with this practice at this very moment...

Re:Let me get this straight ... (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834732)

The knew how much to set aside because they knew how much they should have paid.

Also this seems to be a proposed out of court settlement in Canada so all the comments about US statutory damages are irrelevant.

It's not "damages", it's a settlement (5, Informative)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834848)

It's more or less the actual amount owed to the artists for licencing. They claimed they couldn't pay it out because they couldn't identify the artists on the pending list, but of course they didn't try very hard. The class action suit merely convinced them that it was simpler to just turn over the owed money as a settlement (presumably keeping the interest) to the plaintiffs, rather than identifying and paying the individual artists.

They're cleared of all liability and they've agreed to try a little harder next time, but there are no damages, statutory or otherwise. They're paying out only the owed royalties, just delayed for a few years (would've been indefinitely, but they got called on it).

Incidentally... (2)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834982)

The actual press release [newswire.ca] and individual settlement details [harrisonpensa.com] (apologies for the karma whoring). Yet to be ratified by the stakeholders.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834986)

Because this is not damages.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (5, Interesting)

Vitani (1219376) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834050)

INAL, but this could be a GOOD thing. Now when someone gets sued by the RIAA they can point to this case and say that they should only be paying the RIAA $167 per track, as per this example. They could perhaps even argue to pay less as they had no business interest in the infringement, unlike in this instance.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (2)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834216)

I suspect that $167 per track is close to what they would expect to pay for a licence up front*. Perhaps individuals could do the same. Set aside what it costs to "licence" an album legally, $15 should do it, then go ahead and pirate the album.

Just be sure to keep your "pending" list and coin jar handy for when the recording studios come knocking.

* Can it really be an average of just $167 per track for a commercial licence? That seems lower than I would expect.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834276)

No one has ever been sued by the RIAA for downloading.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (2)

19061969 (939279) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834412)

Don't forget that the RIAA factor in the costs of the record companies whereas this is just compensation for the artists.

However, it does show that the companies are screwing over everyone by taking the lion's share of the profit. Okay, they do a lot of work for it, but the disparity is enormous. I can understand most published musicians seeing this and wondering why they are getting a tiny fraction of the takings. Most people are happy to pay if the artist gets fairly compensated but this doesn't seem equitable.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834552)

They "do a lot of work for it"? Citation needed.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (1)

19061969 (939279) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834782)

I'll have to come back to you on that one. Just don't hold your breath...

Re:Let me get this straight ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834404)

My understanding of royalty payments tells me that $167 is the average payment per song based on the average number of copies of that song that were sold. So, let's generously say the number of copies of each song sold was an average of 10,000. That means the fee per copy of song is $0.0167 (1.67 cents). It stands to reason then, that someone who has been found guilty of specifically uploading, say, 1000 copies of a song, could be liable to the artist for as much as $16.70.
These numbers really reinforce my notion of just how utterly valueless digital media is. I mean, the repayment to the artist is so small, that Canada is actually thinking of doing away with denomination of currency that would facilitate payment.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834718)

Maybe, but they only "settled", this was not a precedent-setting ruling.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (1)

pyalot (1197273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834132)

So actually the MAFIAA owns artists in excess of 24$ Billion in dammages...

Re:Let me get this straight ... (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834136)

I'm a bit surprised that they were allowed to settle. The statutory penalty for copyright infringement in the USA is $750-$30,000. Why would the class settle for less than the minimum statutory penalty? If they'd managed to get somewhere in the middle of the damages range, then it would have been significantly more than the total lifetime profits for the songs, so the labels might have been less inclined to lobby for ludicrous penalties.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (4, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834190)

Why would the class settle for less than the minimum statutory penalty?

Because class action lawsuits are primarily for the benefit of the lawyers, not the class members. This way, the lawyers get a big payout without actually having to do any work. And the musicians get screwed yet again.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (5, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834298)

In cases like this sometimes I wonder if it's beyond that, that the company and the class action lawyers collude to screw the class. That they purposely get themselves sued by "friendly" lawyers who settle for peanuts so they have legal immunity from everyone who didn't opt out of the class. Mass commercial copyright violation sounds more like a federal crime worthy of prison time than this.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (4, Informative)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834290)

It's unclear to me to what extent there was any actual infringement. As I understand it, the artists agreed to have the CMRRA represent their interests with regard to licencing their work. The CMRRA then set up an agreement that allowed the recording companies to use a work and pay for it later. Which they never did.

It may be that proving infringement in court would be difficult due to the existing agreement. Probably, it would be more like a breach of contract. It's tough to know what case could have been made for infringement, but it certainly would be a tough legal battle. Too bad, that would have been very, very fun to watch.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834632)

As I understand it, the artists agreed to have the CMRRA represent their interests with regard to licencing their work. The CMRRA then set up an agreement that allowed the recording companies to use a work and pay for it later. Which they never did

I don't know. This seems similar to most GPL infringement cases: basically, "if you fail to meet the conditions of this license/contract, you are not allowed to distribute at all because there is no other license given to you".

It may be that proving infringement in court would be difficult due to the existing agreement. Probably, it would be more like a breach of contract

Not really. Given that this was set aside from the start, it would be very easy to prove intentional violation of the contract. In a sane world, intentional violation of a contract would make the contract null and void. Then, see above.

The infringement was the breech of duty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834958)

The infringement was the breech of duty. Just like "not uploading to a network service" is against the duty implied by my purchase of a Music CD, or that I need to pay to use the time-locked software after the test period and that using that software after that date is COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT.

Each song they sold without giving the money to the artist(s) involved was in breech of the contract that gave them license to create that copy and sell it.

Just because I can't find the owner of a copyrighted work (abandoned works), doesn't mean I get to make copies (see Google Book project).

"It may be that proving infringement in court would be difficult due to the existing agreement. "

In no way. It is not hard to prove infringement if I use a trial software outside the dates I have trial access for, even though that agreement exists.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (1, Insightful)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834302)

I'm not sure why

Sony Music Entertainment Canada Inc
EMI Music Canada Inc
Universal Music Canada Inc.
Warner Music Canada Co

Paid less than the penalty for copyright infringment in the USA. May have to do with the C word though.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834736)

This was a Canadian lawsuit, not an American one.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (1)

LastDawnOfMan (1851550) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834768)

Score 4 insightful, wow ... the case was in CANADA. Which, believe it or not, is a different country from the United States of America, and even has its own legal system! Notice the several posters who came before you, not to mention the article, talking about the case being in CANADA? BTW, the world contains 194-or-so countries. So not everything you read about on the World Wide Web is going to be about the United States of America or based on the legal precedents thereof.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (3, Informative)

anti-pop-frustration (814358) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834600)

You don't understand, there are two kinds of copyright infringement.

The commercial one, in which benevolent publicly-traded corporations profit form the work of unpaid artists and the evil non-commercial kind, performed by individuals, which doesn't generate any profit at all.

The non commercial one is of course far more immoral and dangerous to society, and it should be punished to the full extent of the law (in this case $1,920,000 in statutory damages [wikimedia.org] for sharing 24 songs).

Remember kids, when you download MP3s, you're downloading communism!

Re:Let me get this straight ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834984)

...and uploading terrorism. Also, according to James Moore, you're a "radical extremist". I am really looking forward to a spring election, our right-leaning government hasn't practiced right-wing economics in two years. If I wanted the left in charge, I would have voted that way, last time. If all I can get is the left, then those representing the left should be holding the reins.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834662)

In this case, they settled out of court with the artists. So, maybe the artists could have pursued the case further and got 1000 times the money, or maybe they'd have lost. They took the safe option that didn't piss off their employers too badly.

Re:Let me get this straight ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834834)

Even $167 is a high estimate. The 300,000 number is the number of tracks, in Canada alone, that are on the "pending list." That's not the number of COPIES of those tracks. Anyone in settlement talks or in a suit with RIAA should demand - as part of discovery - how many COPIES of each of those tracks were sold. The "damages" for download copyright infringment should then NEVER be able to exceed $45.7 million divided by the number of COPIES of all titles on the so-called "pending list" were created. For example, if only 10,000 copies of each track were created (not sold, but created), the math would look like 45,700,000/30,000,000 - that is, each infringing act is $1.52. 10,000 tracks would be about 1000 CD presses - assuming about 10 tracks per CD. I don't know much about it, but I doubt they even start the presses unless their making well over 10,000 copies of each CD - meaning each infringing act is worth less than 15 cents! So much for "statutory damages" for "willful infringement". This infringment of the artist's copyright was both willful and systemic....

Re:Let me get this straight ... (1)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834990)

Actually, they paid less than zero penalty for each song. The $50 million was their estimate of the royalties owed if they had paid up front like they should have. So the $47 million is less than the estimated royalties cost, and nothing for penalties. I'd say all future RIAA lawsuits should use this benchmark for sure...

Prime example of.. (3, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34833972)

..do as we say, not as we do ourselves.

Re:Prime example of.. (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834292)

I swear that was their website slogan not too long ago!

Not only infringment but also profiting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34833974)

And its not only infringement of copyright. They also profited commercially from the selling of music they were not allowed to sell. I am against "filesharing" (i.e. stealing music or movies) if its a person doing it for free. Somebody profiting from illegal activities should be punished much harder.

Re:Not only infringment but also profiting (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834038)

When you check the law books, you'll notice that it usually is that way. But then, when you check the law books, copyright usually has its own rules that have nothing to do with the usual way of laws.

From this I understand that... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34833998)

From this I understand that I can now download as many mp3s as I want as long as I put aside 69c per mp3 downloaded in case I am ever asked to pay the full price.

Excellent! Kudos to the music companies for setting us straight on this issue.

Re:From this I understand that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834716)

"From this I understand that I can now download as many mp3s as I want as long as I put aside 69c per mp3 downloaded in case I am ever asked to pay the full price.

Excellent! Kudos to the music companies for setting us straight on this issue."

Actually if you are located in Canada it is even better than that. See for more that the last few decades we up here having been paying a blank media tax which compensates the artist for copyright infringement no matter the uses of that blank media. So our Supreme Court has ruled that non-commercial personal use copyright infringement is perfectly legal because of this fact, were already paid to be pirates.

LOL and the CAPTCHA was seeded fits perfectly...

HOLD THE FUCK ON (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834008)

That settlement is WAY too low. I would expect a settlement in the BILLIONS given the creative accounting used in the industry.

I cry for them... (2)

Sir_Gimpy (861124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834016)

The worlds smallest violin plays for the labels.
They did something they knew was wrong, and set aside the monies they would need to pay just in case they got called on it? How is it this kind of corporate behavior is allowed? I look forward to the day when these labels are less relevant in what becomes popular. It is coming, with success stories such as pamplemoose [youtube.com] , we should start seeing more music acts starting up without needing labels in the first place.

Re:I cry for them... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834138)

How is it this kind of corporate behavior is allowed?

Bribes.

Re:I cry for them... (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834318)

If I wasn't so lazy, I'd do a "corrected that for you" post where "Bribes" was changed to "lobbists."

Re:I cry for them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834804)

"If I wasn't so lazy, I'd do a "corrected that for you" post where "Bribes" was changed to "campaign contributions.""

I'm not I corrected that for you.

Re:I cry for them... (1)

Alumoi (1321661) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834544)

Nope, politics.

Lesson learned (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834018)

When you infringe copyright, do it for profit. It's cheaper that way.

Re:Lesson learned (2)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834092)

To translate a car analogy: If you speed, remove your front license plate, as the fine for a missing plate is five times less than the actual speeding fine.

Re:Lesson learned (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834230)

But you can only get the missing front license plate ticket instead of the speeding ticket if someone is paying you to speed.

All normal citizens would get slammed with both fines.

-Rick

Re:Lesson learned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834344)

But you can only get the missing front license plate ticket instead of the speeding ticket if someone is paying you to speed.

All normal citizens would get slammed with both fines.

-Rick

How can a speeding camera capture and fine you if it can't capture your license plate? :D

Now, as far as being trapped by a police officer, you're spot on.

Re:Lesson learned (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834526)

Um, despite what government propaganda says, cameras aren't the only way to catch speeders.

Those that Make the Rules... (4, Insightful)

CrazyDuke (529195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834060)

Those that make the rules do not have to follow the rules.

Those that write the laws do not have to follow the law.

Re:Those that Make the Rules... (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834740)

And of course, the Golden Rule always applies in this situation: Those that have the gold make the rules.

yup (1)

polle404 (727386) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834062)

yup.
Karma's a bitch.
Too bad they didn't go for the same % amount as when the industry sues the other way.

But then again, the industry would just have declared bankruptcy and reformed a little differently again.

Worry not, their spindoctors will make this out to be a positive thing, and something in no way copyrights related.
Also, watch out for "music price regulations" in CN soon.
 

Re:yup (1)

eyenot (102141) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834820)

it's already spun. they paid artists for their work and made it seem like a crime in the doing. now they're "down to our level". it will result in a trust relationship with the public, and their sales (and stock) will probably rise for it.

songs without licenses....CRIA != RIAA (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834072)

Im not sure how they operate in Canada, but I always hear about US artists being signed to labels for x number of albums. Any of the work done for those albums belongs to the label, and artists must fulfill their obligations before anything is their own again.

What a business model! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834076)

1) Sign up musicians to your label and don't pay them for their work.
2) Sell their music anyway.
3) Find some IPs and threaten to sue the people behind them.
4) Wait for the musicians from step 1 to get pissed and then use some of the money from step 3 to pay them off.

Reality Check Please (4, Interesting)

OzTech (524154) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834088)

Excuse me. I [b]must[/b] be missing something here!

They set-aside $50 Million to "cover this". This implies they [b]knew[/b] they were doing something wrong!
They were fines $47.5 Million.

If I'm not mistaken, they just made a @2.5 Million [i]profit[/i] from the deal!

Re:Reality Check Please (3, Insightful)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834116)

I'm pretty sure they made more than 2.5 million profit...

You see if you steal songs and hold 50 million in reserve, then you're expecting to make more profits than those 50 million, otherwise what's the point of stealing the songs?

Re:Reality Check Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834140)

They thought there was a chance they werent going to get caught. They might have lost money if they did get caught.

Re:Reality Check Please (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834222)

Say they put it on an account with 2% interest (I'm sure they could find a much better deal for that amount of money). Then after the two years, they've made a plus of 2 million through interest alone.

Re:Reality Check Please (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834778)

A very high percentage of the Fortune 500 companies have been convicted of felonies, sometimes serious felonies, in relatively recent history. The reason is simple: The cost of getting caught is lower than the extra profits they can make by breaking the law. That's assuming 100% enforcement, which almost never happens.

A lesson well learned (3, Interesting)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834108)

The artists involved should sue to leave the record labels, under breach of contract. Then only might the record labels break a sweat and start thinking what they did wrong.

Legal ramifications (2)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834194)

Can this be used in future courts as a precedent? I mean, they were not only sharing files illegally, they were actually selling them too and thus profiteering from it, they were sharing them with not only thousands but tens of thousands, yet they only had to pay a bit over $100 per song. Thus, a person at home sharing a music file, not profiteering from it, and perhaps only sharing it with tens or at max hundreds shouldn't have to pay nearly as much per song.

I am actually interested in knowing cos if this can be used as a precedent then MAFIAA just got shot hard in the foot.

Re:Legal ramifications (3, Informative)

Mouldy (1322581) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834388)

Probably not. It was settled outside of courts, so AFAIK, you can't use that in other court cases.

Re:Legal ramifications (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834692)

Nope. It was settled out of court and even then, it was a tort, handled in civil court. No presidence, but it can likely be pointed at if the judge allows it as evidence. It might be of more use to people appealing the fines though.

-Rick

Great! (2)

Xelios (822510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834244)

  1. Sued for $6 billion
  2. Settle for $47 million
  3. Pay the settlement with money set aside beforehand
  4. No fine or consequence for breaking the law
  5. End up paying a fraction of what you earned through the scheme
  6. We'll try harder to obey the law in the future, pinky swear!

YEAH! I bet that justice system BURNS don't it guys? Oh that justice system burnnns!

There could have been such a good joke (-1, Redundant)

Feinu (1956378) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834248)

If only this had happened in Soviet Russia, and not in Canada.

Hypocrisy (1)

Apothem (1921856) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834250)

I honestly think, that after all the crap that the RIAA has pulled, that they would at least get charged like they did to everyone else. But instead, they just get a little slap on the wrist and call it a day. WTF has happened to our legal system when you can basically get away with this. Isnt this horribly illegal and wrong? Why wont anyone actually stand up and DO something? Oh wait, that's right, you cant. Derp, I forgot.

We have let them do this to the music industry. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834256)

And especially dead artists!

I have absolutely no respect for companies like Sony that have in their libraries huge quantities of pd music performed by great artists like Wilhelm Kempf, Karl Bohm, Lenard Bernstein, George Szell etc, etc...and on and on. Here they are not making it available to willing buyers and just sitting on it like a bunch of trolls at a bridge stopping travelers through the world of classical music.

This is why it is almost impossible for new classical artists to break through anymore. There is no way for plebs to experience great classical music as there was during the heydays of the 1960-70s when you could by classical lps just about anywhere..including low end stores like K-Mart, or Sears!

This greedy amoral cartel has absolutely no respect for the legacy of great music that is part of our heritage and deserve to be taken apart and given a financial drubbing for their behaviour!

I speak as a grieving Old_Flatulent classical musician that hopes eventually the corrupt entertainment industry system that stops great artists from blooming will eventually die.

We need a change in the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834518)

When you are no longer here, your music should be freely open to the public. Copyright should ONLY last a lifetime... not 50 years after!

Re:We need a change in the law (1)

eyenot (102141) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834810)

whoa, whoa, what about estates/families?

Hypocrites... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834296)

So they're waging a war against people who download media for personal use, but they're okay with cheating the very artists/owners they claim they're trying to protect?

A user who wouldn't have listened to the music or seen a movie if they couldn't get it for free (by downloading) still gets charged as if they caused monetary damages. In reality, they did absolutely no harm, of any sort, to anybody. The mediawhore organizations act as though each downloader is destroying their 'industry' entirely, and yet they are causing genuine monetary damages and illegally profiting from music they do not have rights to.

The American public needs to muster up the balls to tell politicians to put the RIAA and MPAA in their place. They are businesses who have gotten away with price-fixing (CD albums at 15-17 bucks each while only containing one or two good songs and a bunch of filler trash?), cheating artists, damaging/compromising customers' computers with rootkits (Sony), and bombarding youth with harmful messages which ultimately harm society as a whole. The RIAA and MPAA are bad for America, and bad for the world.

Re:Hypocrites... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834888)

Worse than hypocrites. They are fraudsters. Many times they have been show to sue for copyright infringement where they had no rights to sue in the first place.

Some math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834416)

So a song is worth when Sony didn't play license:
47500000$/300000 = 158$

Say that one CD Album contains 20 songs (yeah right)..
300000/20 = 15000 Albums

Compare to the Pirate Bay trial:
21 music files (and 9 movies, 4 games)
Total worth: 5Milion dollar and prison.
Music worth (if I calculated correctly, number from wikipedia) ~740000$

So song in the trial was worth:
740000$ / 21 = 35238$

35238/158 = 223 times more expensive to give the songs away then to sell them without paying the artist.

Interesting indeed.

cool (1)

Tom (822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834440)

Now that's cool.

So, whenever I download a few songs or movies, I'll simply put aside their regular price, in case the issue ever comes up. Then I'll point to this precedent and offer the collection as settlement.

Will the judge read Slashdot? (1)

fygment (444210) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834460)

A judge still has to rule on this. Will s/he be having a look at the big picture ie. the seemingly intentional breaking of the law and the discrepancy between the perceived value of licensing depending on whether the music industry is payed or paying for it? IANAL and so wonder if the indignation and disbelief expressed here will also be felt by someone with legal power.

Re:Will the judge read Slashdot? (2)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834946)

Why does a judge have to rule on an out of court settlement? AFAIK there is no law that allows a judge to force a plaintiff to continue with a tort they wish to drop.

go piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834730)

pirate bay FTW!!!

public relations subterfuge of popular opinion (1)

eyenot (102141) | more than 3 years ago | (#34834748)

Notice at least one thing: the money they ended up paying out was *set aside beforehand*. To the exact amount, minus some obviously very wealthy lawyers' fees. The entire thing -- which amounts to paying the artists for their work and some lawyers for theirs -- was spun to make it sound as if the record companies had done something rogueish. Why would they want to do that? Because they are the same record companies known for trying to give people criminal records for doing exactly that, taking music without asking for it. It has been debated for over a decade and by now the philosophy of it has been debated down to a point that the distributors are the modern day analogue of the church fighting against the translation of the Bible into a more popular language or the mass production of the Bible printing press. They've had to infringe on free speech on numerous occasions and through it all they insisted that their opinion was the future, just like before with cassette tape, and people have stopped listening, and despite all their work the online sharing and purchase model has maintained its hold and has not waned.

So they want to be part of the "in" crowd again, so they steal music. Only they actually *do* have the money to pay for it and actually do pay up at a later date. But look at it, it's only two years later. Not a huge length of time for the artists, for the lawyers sitting around waiting for "the day", not for the bankers holding the cash in what amounts apparently to escrow, none of it. But subconciously people will see the music distributors as "the same as us". "The hypocrites get some of what they've been dishing out to all of us." It's the sort of harebrained and underhanded move I would expect the MTV/EMI world to make.

You might wonder what would be gained by all of that, but it's so obvious:

1. They're in the public light again and this time they aren't the enemy of the people, rather,

2. This time they're doing what the people have been doing all along, sooo...

3. People MIGHT be more willing to use the distributors as their source of e-music instead of whatever they've become accustomed to while the plastic-case distributors have been sitting around on their hands pouting about "the new computer shit that's ruining our business". (Because they're the fellow thief, now.)

For the meager cost of 2.5 mil, it costs about the same as an ad campaign that would have taken a team of teen psychologists and new-artists to come up with the perfect subliminal punch, and which nobody would have paid attention to anyway, especially not in a down economy. Now instead of some fake or plastic ad that obviates "trying too hard", they can stage this huge play in which they appear in the role of pariah-by-sympathetic-proxy and which legitimizes itself as "real life" through the magic of scary court.

As it must be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34834832)

They knew this was wrong you guys. According to this post they had the money set a side a head of time. They don't care. All they want to do is to make examples of the middle class. They know you cannot afford their crappy music. So they ruin your life. Its ok. You are only the middle class. They do not care for you. They want you homeless. They will laugh historically at you while they drive by in there million dollar car while you are dumpster diving. All this means is that rich are getting richer and poor people are getting poorer. Want to be rich. Win the lottery. Thats how it is.

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