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Universal Music Demands Insurer Pay For Infringement Damages

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the universal-infringement-care dept.

Canada 165

An anonymous reader writes with a new twist in the recently resolved Canadian music label infringement lawsuit. From the article: "Earlier this year, the four primary members of the Canadian Recording Industry Association (now Music Canada) — Warner Music Canada, Sony BMG Music Canada, EMI Music Canada, and Universal Music Canada — settled the largest copyright class action lawsuit in Canadian history by agreeing to pay over $50 million to compensate for hundreds of thousands of infringing uses of sound recordings. While the record labels did not admit liability, the massive settlement spoke for itself. While the Canadian case has now settled, Universal Music has filed its own lawsuit, this time against its insurer, who it expects to pay the costs of the settlement."

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Yep... (0, Flamebait)

SIR_Taco (467460) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071276)

Fucking-Eh!

Hmmm. (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071286)

Cant we all do the same thing... And not call it a crime? Their corporate persons did exactly what everyone else does. They made use of someones product; the product, a creative form, is copyable, and as we see here, so beit, to all persons. My band has no serious expectation of profit : we want people to listen and enjoy us.

Re:Hmmm. (3, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071306)

God damn if they actually get away with this. It's already ridiculous how corporations can do all kinds of crap and only gets a slap on the wrist, but imagine if you went around infringing so many sound recordings that you'd net a $50 million fine, would your insurer be willing to pay that? I sure hope that they don't get away with this, would be fun watching the squirming with the bill.

Re:Hmmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38071468)

I always have heard that CEO's and other directors gets higher pay because they do job of many. And that they have responsibility to everyone.

I know that when a company does something wrong, it is usually a normal workers who get blame and paycuts.

But how about if leaders would really have the risks and responsibilities?
If you allowed something bad / illegal to happen, you are responsible.
If you didn't see/notice/allow bad / illegal things what happened, you are bad leader and you are responsible.
If you didn't allow something to happend and it did happend behind your back, then you are a bad leader who chose bad executives and responsible for that choice, not at actions what they did behind you.

Re:Hmmm. (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071858)

I always have heard that CEO's and other directors gets higher pay because they do job of many

Nope, they get higher pay because their actions make more of a difference to the overall profitability of a company. Look at what Carly Fiorina did to HP or Steve Jobs did to Apple to see how much of a difference a CEO can make in either direction. The difference between a good engineer and a bad engineer is a lot less to a typical company's bottom line. The problem is that Carly got paid over $20m for almost destroying the company, so the incentives are completely wrong. Do a bad job and you make a lot of money, do a good job and you make a crazy amount of money.

Re:Hmmm. (2)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071988)

Note also, that the CEO good ol' boys club, which prefers a bad CEO to a new one, still hasn't let Carly take the reins of anything important since HP....

Re:Hmmm. (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38072274)

You know, I don't think I'd mind not being able to find a new job after a $20m golden parachute. I could live quite comfortably on the interest from that without touching the capital...

Re:Hmmm. (3, Interesting)

ATMAvatar (648864) | more than 2 years ago | (#38072650)

If you want to be cynical, CEO's and directors get higher pay because they hold the purse strings. It is pretty rare to see a CEO who's a visionary leader and single-handedly drives a company to fame and fortune. It is nearly always a team effort, even when you *do* have visionary leadership. The CEO and board merely get to claim credit for all successes (and "trim the fat", blame the market, etc. for failures).

Re:Hmmm. (2)

grub (11606) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073334)


Fiorina made millions per year, Jobs made $1 per year. Ergo any company wanting to make billions should pay their CEOs $1 year!

Re:Hmmm. (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073548)

Not too far wrong. Jobs' salary was tiny, but he got a lot of share options. When Apple's value increased by 8,000%, Jobs made an enormous pile of money. If Apple's value had gone down, he'd have made $1/year (or lost money, depending on whether he exercised his options). Ideally, you'd pay your CEO something close to minimum wage (enough to live on, because you don't want only independently rich people to be qualified, but not enough to make them rich, or even particularly comfortably off), but then you'd link all of the rest of their income to the company's performance. Even more ideally, you'd set up their share options so that they couldn't sell the majority until five years after they left, so if they didn't choose a competent successor and leave the company in a long-term manageable state they'd lose too. With share options set up the way they currently are, it's typically a good strategy for a CEO to make massive cuts to R&D, wait for the share price to increase as the short-term profits double from not investing anything in growth, and then quit the company, sell the shares, and find another company to break.

Re:Hmmm. (3, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38074470)

This is exactly the system I've talked about for years. Too many directors care only about pumping up the short term profitability or share prices of a company so they can make it look like they're doing a fantastic job, leave with a golden handshake and watch the company meltdown from a safe distance a few years later. There is absolutely no incentive at the moment to ensure the long term health of a company. It's exactly the same situation with governments - pretty much every political part in government cares more about being re-elected than ensuring the long term health of the country, that's why we often see big tax cut incentives right before an election even if it's not in the country's interest, because who wants to be the government to put taxes up and help your opponents to get elected with a healthy public chest? The incentives for business and politics are all wrong and that's why the world is in such a huge financial mess.

Re:Hmmm. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38074462)

But Apple's money is made from those fruity Apple things that real men with hairy chests don't use. That means the money is fruity tainted and no one wants to make billions of dollars of tainted money. Better to be a real man who loses it all at HP.

Re:Hmmm. (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 2 years ago | (#38074176)

And Jobs got $1 / year?

Re:Hmmm. (2)

trum4n (982031) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073072)

I think they should publicly kill themselves, to preserve the honor of the company/clients they have disgraced. The RIAA i mean, i don't give a shit about Music Canada.

Re:Hmmm. (5, Insightful)

ard (115977) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071584)

My car insurance has a lot of provisions like "... void if vehicle is driven under the influence ...", "... void if vehicle is used in criminal activities ..." (i.e. smashing while being chased by the police gives no relief).

I would assume most insurances have exclusions if a crime has been involved. Copyright violation is theft, right?

Re:Hmmm. (3, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38074490)

Only if we the public do it.

Re:Hmmm. (1, Troll)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071646)

Yet we have to feel guilty about pirating music because... why exactly?

Re:Hmmm. (3, Insightful)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38072520)

I realize that you're being rhetorical, so my reply is not directed at you, per se.

If you feel guilty when you copy some media, you've been brainwashed. Copyright law (as it stands) is immoral, and supporting or upholding copyright law is immoral.

Re:Hmmm. (2)

west (39918) | more than 2 years ago | (#38072806)

Because the idea of working hard to produce something people want, spending a considerable amount of money to make it available to people, and then expecting recompense is immoral.

Re:Hmmm. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38072934)

Where does copyright fit into that? You can have all of that, not be immoral, and not use copyright at all. Of course, if you actually read the parent's post, he said "Copyright law (as it stands) is immoral," not the idea of copyright in and of itself.

Re:Hmmm. (1)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073076)

Because the idea of working hard to produce something people want

Fine.

spending a considerable amount of money to make it available to people

Irrelevant. You chose to make that economic risk.

and then expecting recompense is immoral.

Even if the market doesn't want your final product?

Re:Hmmm. (3, Insightful)

west (39918) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073300)

No, if the market doesn't want it, then you starve - no immorality.

But if people are pirating it, then pretty much demonstrably, people want your product. If they're willing to forego it for the price you charge, you also starve - no immorality.

But where they get the benefit of it *and* you don't get recompense you asked. *That's* immoral.

Re:Hmmm. (1)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073494)

No, if the market doesn't want it, then you starve - no immorality.

But if people are pirating it, then pretty much demonstrably, people want your product. If they're willing to forego it for the price you charge, you also starve - no immorality.

But where they get the benefit of it *and* you don't get recompense you asked. *That's* immoral.

Which has little to do with current copyright law, as the other poster suggested.

Re:Hmmm. (2)

west (39918) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073780)

Which has little to do with current copyright law, as the other poster suggested.

Granted - except that the context of the morality of copyright law comment was in reply to a comment about the morality of piracy. In other words, the clear implication was not that there are severe problems with aspects of the copyright law, but that the entire concept of ownership of one's intellectual work was immoral.

Re:Hmmm. (1)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073904)

but that the entire concept of ownership of one's intellectual work was immoral.

Which is still debatable, since "morality" is subjective.

Re:Hmmm. (1)

west (39918) | more than 2 years ago | (#38074290)

Of course it's debatable, anything based in morality always will be. (And I have to say that I find putting scare quotes are morality is somewhat scary :-))

But I'd state that in general, most people share a set of basic moral standards. The morality involved with intellectual work is obviously slightly more sophisticated than tangible work, but I think most 10-year olds would instinctively know that someone copying their essay and submitting it as their own so that the creator gets a F and the thief gets the A is morally wrong even if the creator is still clutching the essay in their hand (i.e. someone has stolen your right to exploit the work, but you still have the original).

And no, I'm not using stolen and thief in the legal sense - simply in the common sense usage of English.

Re:Hmmm. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38073498)

From a musician band perspective I would want as many people as possible listening to my music by any means. If they like it they can support it or not. Free digital downloads as it costs near nothing to distribute, you want a cd a couple buck for time and materials. Come see a concert more money buy a t-shirt more money. There is plenty of money for good artists to make a living.

Re:Hmmm. (1)

N0Man74 (1620447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38074074)

And even if they can't afford to support it, and they spread the music to others, then there is still a chance that those others will provide the artist with some form of financial compensation (either through seeing a performance, or purchasing music), or further spread it to others that might.

The popularity of the cassette tape in the 80's brought on a lot of "piracy" (music sharing, mix tapes, etc), but yet by many accounts, this was a good and profitable time for artists. Exposure is much more valuable to artists than making sure that nobody hears you unless they buy something.

Re:Hmmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38073478)

But if they're copying it they do want the product.

Re:Hmmm. (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38074350)

No, what's immoral is the life+70 years monopoly before it enters the public domain, DMCA, and many other faults of copyright law. The ludicrously long term hinders creativity. The DMCA makes backing up data you've paid good money for illegal.

Keeping what I've already paid for away from me is immoral. Taking what belongs to we, the people (art and literature) is immoral. Copyright law is in terrible need of reform. Power needs to be taken form the entertainment companies and given to the people who actually create the art and literature.

How is that life+75 years going to entice Jimi Hendrix of Janice Joplin to produce more works? It doesn't. It's a disincentive to the record companies to record someone new; they can still make money off the old. Make the term 20 years and an artist won't be able to retire on the revenues of a single work.

Re:Hmmm. (2)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38074566)

GP said copyright law as it stands, not the very idea of copyright law. Most people don't have a problem with artists being rewarded for their efforts, since the public benefits from their work, but a lot of people increasingly feel copyright law is now weighted too far against the public good. I can see the appeal in doing a piece of work today and wanting to get paid for it over and over for my lifetime plus seventy years, unlike the RIAA I can also see how that's perhaps a little unfairly weighted. I know a lot of people just want free stuff, but there are also a lot of other people who are happy to have a system of copyright for a sane period, don't assume that someone saying the current system is broken is automatically in the former camp, there still exist a few voices of reason holding the middle ground of the debate.

Re:Hmmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38073064)

Copyright law (as it stands) is immoral, and supporting or upholding copyright law is immoral.

--
Without the Death Penalty there can be no justice.

So, copyright law is immoral, but the death penalty is a fundamental requisite for justice?

Methinks you're an idiot.

Justics and moral are orthogonal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38074258)

methinks you are an idiot.

Now, if he'd said without the death penalty there can be no morality, you'd be on to something, or if he'd said with copyright there is no justice, same thing.

But he didn't.

Re:Hmmm. (1)

west (39918) | more than 2 years ago | (#38072822)

Yet we have to feel guilty about pirating music because... why exactly?

Because their immorality doesn't excuse our own.

At least that was what my mother taught me.

Re:Hmmm. (2)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38072962)

Except they are the ones who are getting the lion's share of the price. The actual artist gets a few pennies if anything (in the case of the songs in question, nothing at all). I'm not saying I have any illegally copied music, but if I did, and there was some way for me to pay a dollar per song to the actual artists, I would do it in a heartbeat. But pay the big labels who are violating copyright themselves? Why would I feel morally obliged to do that?

Re:Hmmm. (2)

west (39918) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073282)

Why would I feel morally obliged to do that?

Because you're ripping off the artist (or author or video game creators, etc.). It may only be a 'few pennies', but that's how creative types make their living.

I'm sorry, but the "I'd rather steal from you than allow the company that publishes you to profit" attitude you see here is too stupid for words.

Say "I can't be bothered" or "it's not worth my while" or "I simply don't care" or whatever. But don't pretend that it isn't stealing from the artists.

As an aside, those big bad labels, publishers, studios, etc. are the reasons why creators who produce the work that thousands buy and would actually like to make a nice lower to middle class living can actually afford to do so. Most creative types I know are desperate to have the opportunity to work for a publisher because that's the only real opportunity to actually make a living doing what they love.

Re:Hmmm. (4, Insightful)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073686)

I do understand the way you feel, and it is a valid objection, but just for argument's sake, imagine you see a beggar in the street, and you know he's homeless and hungry, and you want to help by giving him some money, but there's a big Maffia thug (obviously well fed, with a fancy car parked across the street) standing next to him and declaring that for every dollar you give to the bum, you have to give 20 dollars to the thug. Would you still give the money to the bum? Or would you walk away? Of course the beggar might say "but the thug is protecting me, he got me this spot, without him I wouldn't be able to beg here!". Still, I don't think many people would help the bum.

Now of course I do understand that this is the only way for many artists to get a living, and by not buying their music we are denying them their little bit of income, but that justification gets weaker and weaker the more you here about abuse by the labels. The thugs are even snatching the pennies away whenever the bums aren't looking. And they are denying them the right to do anything without them, treating them like slaves. And why should I pay for a ringtone, for example? In that case, the artist isn't getting anything whatsoever, thanks to some lawsuit the greedy labels won! This sort of bull shit takes away 90% of the motivation from people who might turn from piracy to decent buying.

Yes, there's still a little bit of a feeling left of "doing the decent thing", and "supporting the artists", but not as much as there could be if the labels were honest.

Would a long time pirate want to legalize his music collection by paying $1000 to the artists once he got well off financially? Maybe, seriously. Would he pay $10 to the artists and $990 to the labels? After reading one of many articles about the labels ripping off the artists? No way.

Re:Hmmm. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38073888)

Now of course I do understand that this is the only way for many artists to get a living, and by not buying their music we are denying them their little bit of income

Why do people keep throwing this argument into the air?!?!?! NO! No they are not getting their living from that. They are not even REMOTELY getting a living from that.

CONCERTS! LIVE SHOWS! THAT'S where they get money. They do not get money from the labels (ignoring the handful of pennies mentioned above, which is a microscopic fraction of what they make playing live).

You can't make one song and then live off of it forever, just like I can't build someone's house and keep getting paid by them for as long as they live there. Life doesn't work that way. Why do people keep thinking artists have a free pass to infinite money after making a song?

Coincidentally, tonight I will be seeing a band live. I paid for the ticket, and I plan to buy a shirt. Multiply that by hundreds or thousands of people, almost every day for as long as their tour is. THAT is how they can feed and clothe themselves.

Re:Hmmm. (2)

west (39918) | more than 2 years ago | (#38074134)

I agree with your post in general about how the Labels may well help demotivate purchase, although I am suspicious of how many use this as simply an excuse to hang their "I'd rather not pay" hat.

However, I have to say that as I've gotten older, I've realized that sadly the world doesn't beat a path to the door of the better mousetrap builder. i.e. the *AA's may be awful in all sorts of ways, but the sad truth is that they're vital to the industry and always will be. I suspect that if they went down, perhaps 5% of the consumers and 5% of the artists would be subjectively better off.

The reality is that a *lot* of young people *like* the super-hyped product that spending millions and millions allows you to make. Without the millions (and the culture of indulgence and greed that goes along with it), it's not that it would be replaced with something from the grass-roots, it could simply die. There's no law that says their has to be a thriving market. Look at a lot of developing markets where the popular culture is American because the local markets where pirated into non-existence (Hong Kong films, anyone?)

There are all sorts of cultural phenomenon that don't have a lot of money associated with them that amuse, interest, and inflame the passions of tens of thousands of young people. Unfortunately, tens of thousands are essentially irrelevant from a gross cultural perspective. If you want various artistic endeavors to be culturally relevant to hundreds of millions, then you are going to have big (which essentially equals evil in many people's eyes) companies involved.

In other words, I don't think the *AA's are mafioso preventing artists from reaping their rewards - they simply are providing a vital service that they then exploit for maximum profit. Although from my understanding, maximum profit is not all that much, relatively speaking. (And remember, economics dictates that if they aren't earning a decent profit, they'll be closed down and the money used by the investors to do something that will make a profit.)

So, I do think the *AA are probably immoral and definitely stupid, I think the music world would be a lot worse off without them.

Re:Hmmm. (2)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073218)

Wait a second there buddy, copyright infringement is a civil matter due to law it is not a moral matter. When people are hungry and you copy a food recipe that makes unpalatable food palatable and you feed who of sane mind would prevent it. When people are celebrating and they play music that brings back their shared memories who of sane mind would prevent it. When people are poor and can barely earn enough to feed clothe and house themselves and can not afford health insurance who in their sane mind would deny the ability to freely copy.

Media content, neither feeds, clothes, houses or heals the public, it is unto itself a parasitic luxury and should be treated as such. When it absorbs too much of the economic effort of the community, when too much community capital is sucked into it's rapacious maw, when it starts to corrupt democracy, then it needs to be curtailed, to be limited.

The RIA* and MIA* it all it's psychopathic and narcissistic drug addled glory can hardly call morals upon any issue at all, these would have to be the most amoral and immoral people on the planet and in truth everything possible should be done to limit their numbers, we certainly shouldn't be encouraging them.

Re:Hmmm. (1)

west (39918) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073710)

copyright infringement is a civil matter due to law it is not a moral matter.

What? Whether it's a legal or civil matter has no bearing on the morality of the action.

You then quote a few straw-man scenarios where circumstances would make the moral obligation a lot smaller. I agree. In fact, I think that outright theft is reasonably moral in certain extreme circumstances.

However, that's all irrelevant to the what we see in the vast majority of everyday cases, and the misdoings of the *AA is irrelevant to the morality of the simple act of theft. Even if you're strongly anti-drug, stealing from a drug dealer is morally wrong, and no amount of equivocating will change that.

Again, say that "I can't be bothered" or "I don't care" or whatever - fine. Just don't pretend that in normal circumstances it's not immoral to steal the work that people worked to create and sell. I really hate the "I want to steal *AND* feel good about it" attitude.

(I know, I know, the psychology is "I am a moral person" and "I an engaging in this act" therefore "this act must be moral", but even I can't quite swallow the illogic of the defense.)

Re:Hmmm. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071928)

I'm pretty sure I don't pay the same to my insurer as Universal Music, so that's hardly unexpected.

Re:Hmmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38072524)

I'm pretty sure I don't pay the same to my insurer as Universal Music, so that's hardly unexpected.

True, without a doubt, you pay far more relative to your liabilities and income than Universal, Sony or any of the others do.

The REAL point of this exercise ... (2)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38072792)

You miss the REAL point - that if they can get people to think that insurers are liable for copyright infringement fines, the next step is to sue you, and then go after your insurance policy to pay the damages ... after all, your insurer probably has deeper pockets than you do.

How many people will pay up a few bucks rather than have their insurance premiums go through the roof, or even become unable to get insurance.

1. **AAfia sues their own insurers to cover copyright violations.
2. **AAfia sues your insurers to cover copyright violations.
3. Re-invest those PROFITS in more cocaine and hookers (aka business as normal) for lobbyists, etc.

Re:Hmmm. (5, Informative)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073164)

Actually if you did this you'd get a trillion dollar fine. This is a $200 payment for each song they infringed. Not per copy, per song. They sold them over and over and over and over. They paid a microscopic fraction of the profit they made by selling songs they did not have rights to.

Re:Hmmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38073180)

This reminds me of a case where a guy bought a great deal of expensive cigars. He was able to get them insured in case something happened, after which he promptly enjoyed them. The insurance company was taken to court for not paying because of the damaged goods, and the guy won. After which the insurance company took the guy to court for arson, which they won.

Re:Hmmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38071328)

I didn't do a crime when I robbed bank just few hours ago. The insurer firm did it. I pay to it a 100 euros (140 dollars) a year up to 110 000 euros damages, so as I robbed the bank, I only toke 110 000 euros. So we are even now with a bank and insurer firm.

Re:Hmmm. (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071336)

You are naive and green at the Gills. The labels don't fight fair, silly. And they certainly are not just interested in people enjoying their music.

Re:Hmmm. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071888)

only if you settle that it's not a crime!

settlements are perverse. I don't mind two parties settling for compensation between each other - but that history is altered with that settlement is no good for any purpose.

the process should be to first discover what happened and then decide what's appropriate compensation or penalty.

I've never wished so hard before... (5, Funny)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071288)

...that the law to disconnect copyright infringers from the internet would have gone through.

Re:I've never wished so hard before... (5, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071312)

...that the law to disconnect copyright infringers from the internet would have gone through.

There'd be a small clause somewhere saying that it can only apply to individual people, not corporations.

Re:I've never wished so hard before... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38071346)

But corporations are people! Haven't you heard?

Re:I've never wished so hard before... (4, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071356)

They're people only when it suits them.. :S

Re:I've never wished so hard before... (2)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071480)

corporations are people!

So is Soylent green.

Re:I've never wished so hard before... (5, Funny)

Pence128 (1389345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071722)

If only we could end world hunger by grinding up corporations.

Re:I've never wished so hard before... (1)

muyla (1429487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071910)

So is Soylent green.

Did you people just escape from the progress quest forums?

I don't see a problem.... (3, Insightful)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071324)

Universal's insurer agreed to indemnify against copyright cases, and this was a copyright case. I suppose Universal should perhaps have checked that they would have been covered before agreeing to settle the case, but other than that the only out clause I can see for the insurer is that they didn't technically "lose" the case - they agreed to a settlement without admission of guilt.

Still, it boils down to media company vs. insurance company vs. lawyers, and I think it's pretty obvious the only winner out of that triumvirate is going to be lawyers. Oh well, I guess two out of three will just have to do.

Re:I don't see a problem.... (5, Insightful)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071348)

Agreed to indemnify if Universal lost the case. In this scenario, Universal refused to accept responsibility. Hence they can't get their money from insurer. Or they could accept liability and responsibility, and open themselves for more lawsuits.

Re:I don't see a problem.... (5, Funny)

dkf (304284) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071422)

Still, it boils down to media company vs. insurance company vs. lawyers, and I think it's pretty obvious the only winner out of that triumvirate is going to be lawyers. Oh well, I guess two out of three will just have to do.

You're forgetting the rule that nobody out-evils an insurance company. After all, someone had to teach it to the lawyers...

Re:I don't see a problem.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38072598)

Mods: This comment is insightful, not funny.

Re:I don't see a problem.... (4, Informative)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 2 years ago | (#38074434)

OMG, ain't that the truth. Last winter, I was driving the kids home from school when a woman lost control of her SUV, slid through an intersection in front of me, and caused me to run into her. Everyone was mostly OK (and the kids were thrilled - "that was awesome, Dad!") but my car needed a little work and I wrenched my back.

I went to a chiropractor (read about my previous experiences [slashdot.org] before you start in) for a few visits and felt great afterward. The body shop did a nice job fixing my car. When everything was done, her insurer, GEICO-the-thieving-bastards, called me to offer a settlement. I wasn't about to sue them or anything, but they basically wanted to buy my agreement to end the matter once and for all. It was a small amount - let's call it $1,000 for roundness - but I was willing to cash the check they were offering to write. It sounded fair.

So the check came, for $200. As it turns out, they hadn't paid any of my medical bills and not all of my car repair bills. That $1,000 settlement included the final payments on the bills those assholes were already legally obligated to pay. I checked with the state board of insurance, but they thought it was a perfectly reasonable thing for GEICO-the-thieving-bastards to do.

I am physically incapable of seeing a commercial for GEICO-the-thieving-bastards without yelling "fuck you, lizard!" at the TV. When the zombie apocalypse happens, that's one pack of jackasses who won't be allowed in my bunker. I'll wait for them to get eaten or infected and double-tap them for pleasure.

Re:I don't see a problem.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38071580)

How can I get such an insurance ? These days it looks like it's almost impossible to go online without infringing some copyright.

Re:I don't see a problem.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38073350)

Call an insurer and pay them money.

They insured J-Lo's butt.

Re:I don't see a problem.... (5, Insightful)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071594)

Legally they may be in their right. Morally, not so much. They actually settled for 5$ million _less_ than they had already agreed to pay. And now they are trying to get the insurer to pay the money they already should have paid if they hadn't frauded and there wouldn't have been a case in the first place.

This is just sickening greed. They already got a profit of 5$ million dollars out of their cheating and are now seeking even more rewards for their fraud. If this isn't legally wrong, it should be.

Re:I don't see a problem.... (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38072618)

What's the issue? If the insurers lose then they will just put it on Music Canada's premiums for next year. And if Music Canada try to hop to another insurance company, I think it's a fair assumption that all the other companies will be aware of this case.

Re:I don't see a problem.... (4, Insightful)

stiggle (649614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071976)

So if they've got insurance for copyright indemnity - why are they chasing John Doe cases when they can just claim on their insurance instead?

Re:I don't see a problem.... (2)

TheJediGeek (903350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38072718)

What makes you think they don't try to do both?

Re:I don't see a problem.... (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38072502)

Universal's insurer agreed to indemnify against copyright cases, and this was a copyright case. I suppose Universal should perhaps have checked that they would have been covered before agreeing to settle the case, but other than that the only out clause I can see for the insurer is that they didn't technically "lose" the case - they agreed to a settlement without admission of guilt.

I wonder if this settlement is actually something that should be covered at all. I think the case was not about illegal copying per se, but about copying and then not paying fees that were due, and the settlement is just a late payment of those fees.

Let's say you do $50,000 worth of work on my house. I don't pay, you take me to court, and we have a settlement where I agree to pay the $50,000. What reason would there be for an insurance to pay at all? I should have paid the $50,000 in the first place, and Universal should have paid the rightfully owned fees in the first place.

Or lets say Universal makes 1000 copies of Microsoft Office instead of paying 1000 x $500. And then Microsoft takes them to court, there is a settlement that Universal pays $500,000. That is just what they should have paid anyway; I can see why an insurance would refuse to pay.

Re:I don't see a problem.... (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073370)

This insurance is probably like home Title insurance. Title Insurance backs the claim to the property, or in this case that the artists genuinely own the works they have sold the label.

I don't think this covers things you acknowledged but didn't PAY for. In the same way title insurance doesn't keep the Bank from taking your house for not paying.

Re:I don't see a problem.... (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073052)

It depends on what they insured against. Some policies insure against damages from lawsuits. However in this case, the label is being forced to pay what they should have been paying all along which the insurer will argue. This will be an interesting fight.

Re:I don't see a problem.... (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073092)

I think Universal is ouroborosing itself. Any payment one gets from insurer leads to automatic increase in the payments by insured in the next cycle. It is not supposed to be like that at all, but this is true. Even the most legit claims lower your "score" and lead to coughing up extra money in the next round.

Re:I don't see a problem.... (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#38074304)

Which is why every time I have been hit in a car accident I hope the other person has a different insurance company than I do. The 2 car accidents I have been in were not my fault. The first one I was stopped waiting for the person in front of me to make a left off of the 2 land highway and got rear ended, and the second one I was turning right off a major road and was rear ended by a high school girl who passed everyone else behind me because they were going slow and merged into the back of my car and spun me into a fire hydrant. In the first case the person who hit me had the same insurance company and it was a nightmare (for the record it was Farmers if anyone cares) trying to get the fair market value for the vehicle from them (they don't consider the KBB or NADA book values to be fair market value) and my rate went up. They ended up paying for an independent appraisal, paying for vehicle storage for 6 months, getting taken to court and paying my court filing fee. The second accident was a dream, neither party had Farmers for an insurance company and I had a reasonable offer (actually above fair market value) in about 2 weeks. I didn't have a rate increase either on the second accident which was nice.

Re:I don't see a problem.... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073546)

There are limits to the level of negligence an insurer will tolerate. Your auto policy won't pay out if you park your car in the worst part of town with the keys left in the ignition and the doors unlocked if they know about it.

Universal practically begged for this lawsuit by "forgetting" to make payments for several years.

Greed (1)

dave87656 (1179347) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071330)

These guys can't get enough.

Canadian dollar slipping? (5, Funny)

narcc (412956) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071362)

$50 million to compensate for hundreds of thousands of infringing uses of sound recordings.

$50 million is only like 2 or 3 pirated mp3's here in the states.

Re:Canadian dollar slipping? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38071608)

Nothing scales like COBOL

COBOL may be an expert at scaling, but I bet they're nowhere near as scalable as a good old stepladder.

Re:Canadian dollar slipping? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071622)

Maximum penalty for file sharing seems to have been $80,000 per mp3 in the Capitol v. Thomas case. Maximum possible statutory damages would be $150,000 per song. More than that and the plaintiff would have to actually show losses.

Re:Canadian dollar slipping? (5, Interesting)

James McGuigan (852772) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071894)

$50,000,000 / $80,000 * 0.98 USD/CAD = 612 MP3s
612 MP3s * 6Mb = 3.675 Gb

In other words, this is the price of a single pirated iPod shuffle.

They can go... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38071390)

CRIA river

There is nothing quite as beautiful as... (2)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071414)

I've got ninety thousand pounds in my pajamas
I've got forty thousand French francs in my fridge
I've got lots and lots of lira. Now the deutschmark's getting dearer,
And my dollar bills could buy the Brooklyn Bridge.

There is nothing quite as wonderful as money!
There is nothing quite as beautiful as cash!
Some people say it's folly, but I'd rather have the lolly,
With money you can make a splash!

There is nothing quite as wonderful as money!
There is nothing like a newly minted pound!
Everyone must hanker for the butchness of a banker
It's accountancy that makes the world go round!

You can keep your Marxist ways, for it's only just a phase...
Money, money, money makes the world go round!

Money! Money! Money! Money! Money! Money! Money! Money! Money!

Re:There is nothing quite as beautiful as... (1)

God Of Atheism (1003892) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071798)

I've got ninety thousand pounds in my pajamas I've got forty thousand French francs in my fridge I've got lots and lots of lira. Now the deutschmark's getting dearer, And my dollar bills could buy the Brooklyn Bridge. There is nothing quite as wonderful as money! There is nothing quite as beautiful as cash! Some people say it's folly, but I'd rather have the lolly, With money you can make a splash! There is nothing quite as wonderful as money! There is nothing like a newly minted pound! Everyone must hanker for the butchness of a banker It's accountancy that makes the world go round! You can keep your Marxist ways, for it's only just a phase... Money, money, money makes the world go round! Money! Money! Money! Money! Money! Money! Money! Money! Money!

Did you license that properly for reproduction?

Re:There is nothing quite as beautiful as... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38073022)

Well you sure as hell didn't quote it right for reproduction.

"Over" $50 million? (3, Informative)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071460)

The first link (2011 Jan. 11) says it was $47.5 million and that they had set aside $50 million to resolve it in case it ever went to court. (Perhaps that was not reserve funds as we were led to believe but instead the size of the insurance policy?)

The second link (2011 May 31) rounds that up to a $50 million settlement. (Meh, what's another $2.50 million?)

How did it get to be "over $50 million"? Contempt citing/accrued interest/late fees for taking so long to pay out, or just bad reporting not clarifying whether it was in Canadian dollars or the reporter had converted it to US dollars?

Re:"Over" $50 million? (2)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071624)

How did it get to be "over $50 million"?

All the booze and hookers for those lawyers didn't come cheap.

Re:"Over" $50 million? (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071642)

Yet another example of hidden inflation, they really should include copyright settlements in the CPI.

Re:"Over" $50 million? (2)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 2 years ago | (#38072270)

They got off easy. The RIAA formula for calculating losses due to piracy would yield a figure closer to $600 billion. The music industry suffers greatly at the hands of pirates, and in such a blatant case of commercial piracy I expect that the RIAA and its sister organizations will step up to demand that these pirates are punished to the full extent of the law!

I wonder if the executives of those pirate companies would steal a car? No? Well, why is stealing music any different?

Insurance company versus Mafiaa. (1)

djl4570 (801529) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071502)

Chutzpah and Schadenfreud come to mind.

Re:Insurance company versus Mafiaa. (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#38072092)

Indeed, I can't wait to hear that they took out one of those "never pay" polices. Very cheap if you don't have to claim on it.

Actually, I imagine that their insurer's response to the demand to cover $50 million that they essentially volunteered to pay will be two words: "Make us."

Re:Insurance company versus Mafiaa. (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38072362)

Chutzpah and Schadenfreud come to mind.

Gesundheit.

monster headphones (-1, Troll)

xhyyh (2113104) | more than 2 years ago | (#38071526)

The Beats headphones is by-far the best sounding headphones of the Beats' series. They combine clear-punchy bass and defined mids - highs. I can hear an absolute difference between my Beats Studio headphones compared to the Pro edition. http://www.beatsbydrenow.com/ [beatsbydrenow.com]

Re:monster headphones (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38071644)

That's the company that specializes in custom-made dog shit, transsexual hookers, cheap genuine* viagra pills, penis enlargement and defective equipment, right?,

It's Standard Corporate Punishment (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38071766)

I didn't realize you could buy insurance against commiting a crime. These companies are essentially being allowed to say: "Oops! I 'accidentally' (and by that I mean intentionally) robbed you. But it's OK, I don't have to pay because my insurer will pay you less than I stole from you." Are there seriously insurers who issue policies covering that?

The courts would not let a flesh-and-blood individual get away with that. Just more proof that Western judicial systems consider corporations to be superhuman -- they have all the rights of a flesh-and-blood individual and then some. Yet they are without any of the effective liabilities -- courts do not inflict incarceration, death, or utter destitution as punishment. In fact, these corporations deserve to make a profit. And if they happen to commit heinous crimes while doing it? Well they're too big to fail -- they employ so many people you can't put them out of business because that would hurt "innocent" people.

Talk about fucked in the head!

Re:It's Standard Corporate Punishment (3, Funny)

znerk (1162519) | more than 2 years ago | (#38072458)

Any idea where I can get some "bank robbery" insurance? I have this fool-proof plan for making millions in minutes, if I could only get around that "going to jail for decades" bit...

They got off cheap (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38071802)

There were 300,000 infringing works and the statutory damages were 20,000. That's 6 billion bucks.

50 million is chump change. The music industry is willing to take people's retirement savings, ruining their lives, but they get only a slap on the wrist.

Hammer Clause? (4, Interesting)

Mal-2 (675116) | more than 2 years ago | (#38072208)

It seems to me some interpretation of the Hammer Clause [maloneyllc.com] probably applies here. Basically, if an Insured makes a settlement without the consent of the Insurer, then the Insurer is only on the hook for the amount that THEY WOULD HAVE AGREED TO SETTLE FOR. This is usually used to discourage a company from fighting a case on principle and losing more than they would have by settling. In this case, it would seem that the CRIA members might have paid LESS if they had gone to trial -- but in any event, if the Insurer did not authorize the settlement, then they aren't going to pony up for it above and beyond what they would willingly have settled for, nor will they pay for legal fees beyond the point at which they would have settled. The law probably is different in Canada, as I know it varies in other significant aspects from U.S. law. (For example, the law says policies sold to the public must be written in plain English/French and not legalese -- or at least the legalese has to be explained in plain language, and in the case of a conflict, the plain language prevails.)

Re:Hammer Clause? (2)

Mal-2 (675116) | more than 2 years ago | (#38072326)

I should add that while not all policies have a Hammer Clause, there are certain classes (like Professional Liability, IP Infringement, Errors & Omissions, Malpractice, and the like) where it is more common than not. While you can get a policy that lacks such a clause, it will typically cost you 40-50% more than one that does but otherwise has the same limits. It should be pretty obvious why -- the Insurer knows they can settle and close their books on a claim that much faster (even if it's not the smallest possible settlement) and keep legal fees to a minimum.

That's what insurance is for (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#38072406)

Why is it surprising that they would want to make a claim?

Of course insurance companies have more experience with getting out of paying claims than record labels do stiffing copyright holders.

Re:That's what insurance is for (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#38074472)

Well if you have a judgment against a individual or company you can legally have their assets frozen if they don't pay in a certain amount of time in the US. I don't know if there is a similar rule in Canada but if they do and won't pay the individuals I would go to a judge and get a court order to have their assets frozen until I get paid. I had to threaten this against an insurance company the wouldn't pay even though I had a judgment in my favor. I called them and made it clear that since the time had expired for them to make the payment (at this point it was one day late) if I didn't have a cashiers check by the following day a noon I was going to have all their assets frozen.

That's Cool (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38073748)

What policy do I have to take out in order for my insurance company to be on the hook for liabilities from illegal activities that I choose to engage in? I'm pretty sure there were some tidy paragraphs in my policies stating that I'm essentially fucked if damages occur due to me breaking the law. My homeowners won't pay shit if I burn down my house trying to run a meth lab, for example. If I go on a crime spree and try to make a high-speed getaway and destroy my car in the progress, I'm betting my auto insurance company will tell me to fuck off. Do I have to incorporate in order to get the awesome "Get away with murder" insurance policy that these companies (seem to think they) have?

Arrogant scam artists! (1)

md65536 (670240) | more than 2 years ago | (#38074332)

What a great scam!
Expect insurance to cover any litigious liabilities, and then sue the insurance!
If they lose the case against the insurance company, will they go after the insurance company again to cover the costs of the first case? Just repeat forever.

Man, the recording industry lives by their own rules of common sense and decency (or lack thereof).

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