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Thread: RIAA Sues dead people

  1. #1 RIAA Sues dead people 
    Forum Isotope (In)Sanity's Avatar
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    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02...sues_the_dead/

    Death is no obstacle to feeling the long arm of the Recording Industry Ass. of America.

    Lawyers representing several record companies have filed suit against an 83-year old woman who died in December, claiming that she made more than 700 songs available on the internet.
    Click Here

    "I believe that if music companies are going to set examples they need to do it to appropriate people and not dead people," Robin Chianumba told AP. "I am pretty sure she is not going to leave Greenwood Memorial Park to attend the hearing."

    Gertrude Walton, who lived in Beckley, West Virginia hated computers, too, her daughter adds. An RIAA spokesperson said that it would try and dismiss the case.

    However the RIAA's embarrassment doesn't end there. Chianumba said that she had sent a copy of her mother's death certificate to record company lawyers in response to an initial warning letter, over a week before the suit was filed. In 2003 the RIAA sued a twelve year old girl for copyright infringement. She'd harbored an MP3 file of her favorite TV show on her hard drive. Her working class parents in a housing project in New York were forced to pay two thousand dollars in a settlement.

    You can't be too young to face the consequences of being social, it seems. Only the unborn, it seems, have yet to receive an infringement suit.

    But here's another interpretation of this distasteful litigation. Wouldn't the RIAA members be better off if a traditional compensation scheme, such as the one used by radio, was extended to digital music?

    Yes, of course they would. And so would we.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor Pendragon's Avatar
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    I've heard about a russian website where they sell legal music for a handfull of rubles. they seem to have a different patenting system there. I'll check out the details.


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  4. #3 Links & Notes 
    Forum Freshman Tiassa's Avatar
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    Albini, Steve. "The Problem With Music". See http://www.negativland.com/albini.html

    Ian, Janis. "The Internet Debacle - An Alternative View". Performing Songwriter. May, 2002. See http://www.janisian.com/article-internet_debacle.html

    • The band is now 1/4 of the way through its contract, has made the music industry more than 3 million dollars richer, but is in the hole $14,000 on royalties. The band members have each earned about 1/3 as much as they would working at a 7-11, but they got to ride in a tour bus for a month. The next album will be about the same, except that the record company will insist they spend more time and money on it. (Steve Albini)

    • Again, from personal experience: in 37 years as a recording artist, I've created 25+ albums for major labels, and I've never once received a royalty check that didn't show I owed them money. So I make the bulk of my living from live touring, playing for 80-1500 people a night, doing my own show. I spend hours each week doing press, writing articles, making sure my website tour information is up to date. Why? Because all of that gives me exposure to an audience that might not come otherwise. So when someone writes and tells me they came to my show because they'd downloaded a song and gotten curious, I am thrilled!

    Who gets hurt by free downloads? Save a handful of super-successes like Celine Dion, none of us. We only get helped ....

    .... Please note that I am not advocating indiscriminate downloading without the artist's permission. I am not saying copyrights are meaningless. I am objecting to the RIAA spin that they are doing this to protect "the artists", and make us more money. I am annoyed that so many records I once owned are out of print, and the only place I could find them was Napster. Most of all, I'd like to see an end to the hysteria that causes a group like RIAA to spend over 45 million dollars in 2001 lobbying "on our behalf", when every record company out there is complaining that they have no money. (Janis Ian)
    To use a real-life example: My favorite band, Floater, like any other band, sells their CD's at the shows. The ten bucks I pay for a CD at the show goes to the band. When you pay $19.99 for an album at Sam Goody or some such, the band will see, at most (unless they're Michael Jackson), $2.33 for your purchase, and that's before everybody else starts taking a cut. (See Albini for calculation).

    Ever go out to a club and see a really good band, and six months later you can't find word one about them? Four years later, you're wondering where the new album is? Most likely, they're working day jobs for low pay, trying to meet living expenses, pay off the record company the money they owe for their gold album, and eventually raise money to record a new one.

    Is it really the band's fault? Do they really need a potato-shaped guitar? Do they really need to throw the parties? Well, let's pause and think that if this was any "normal" industry, giving your clients such poor business advice would be criminal.

    And these are essentially the "slave contracts" that we've heard of various artists--George Michael, David Bowie, Metallica, &c.--suing to break.

    The standard recording industry contract for artists is for 30 years. A lot of the fifty- and sixty-year old rockers who still play kick-ass shows enjoy themselves because somewhere around their 50th or 55th birthday, they were released from their recording-industry bondage.

    And when we stop to think that some of the bands like Metallica, who complain about music downloading, are putting out crappy albums like St. Anger, well, it gets offensive: when they're charging twenty bucks for a poorl-stitched album full of songs the band doesn't know how to play, I don't really care what they think. Besides, it's not like I'm going to be downloading their shitty music, anyway.
    "A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not." (Perdurabo)
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  5. #4  
    Forum Sophomore cleft's Avatar
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    While the issue of copyrights and patents is a particularly sensitive issue to me, I hesitated to bring my pet peeve to a science board.

    The megacorporations that are the major music labels have been pushing steadily to lock up copyright and patents to unheard of lengths in an effort to turf protect their property. They have also side skirted many issues such as fair use with the likes of DRM. The only things DRM accomplishes is to make it harder to use by the customer that goes out to actually buy the overpriced offerings that are on the market. The other thing it attempts to do is replace the need to repurchase the album yet again. Many will understand what I speak of that have went through the phono, tape, cd, and dvd formats, buying a favorite over and over again.

    Some countries are waking up to the bs of it all and finally getting a little common sense to the issues. Canada and France come to mind as countries that are seeing the senselessness of the industry in its attempt to lock up all approaches and keep an outdated and outmoded business model afloat.

    While the US has gone exactly the opposite direction. Copyright lenghts have been revised in length over and over and have gone from the original 14+14 to life of the author +75 years, +90 years if the holder is a corporation. As such, nothing will reach public domain within your lifetime that you hear, read, or use currently. Worse if we had such copyright and patent limitations during the 1920's, only now would the public be learning of the atom. We would not be beyond the black and white picture era and tv would not be invented. With present legislation in place we will be a a slow crawl while other countries such as China continue to advance in the technological area. We have managed to put ourselves in the postition of running for third world status in the future.

    I have much to say on this issue but for now will let it lay as shorter posts are the most favored to be read and not the lengthy novella.
    "Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo."
    - H. G. Wells (1866-1946)
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  6. #5  
    Forum Sophomore cleft's Avatar
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    Rather than let this subject die, I thought I would introduce a bite-size education into some of the things the RIAA is attempting to do or has done. The film clips were made by various people as an introduction as to what is wrong with the claims that the RIAA is making. If you haven't been exposed to this or thought about it before, I encourage you to get active in this movement. Without support you will find that in the future, buying, playing, and recording music may not be under the same rights you were accustom to.

    The following links are downloadable video clips on this subject. As a warning the second one does have brief nudity in flashes within which demonstate the topic of the clip.

    movie industry mafia
    riaa porno
    RIAA copying or stealing

    Source

    *As a side note, all these links fall under Creative Commons copyright*
    "Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo."
    - H. G. Wells (1866-1946)
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  7. #6  
    Forum Sophomore cleft's Avatar
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    Sometime this month, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case involving p2p. What is at stake is secondary liablility. It is the stance or the copyright holders that those companies that make money from putting out p2p software through ads are making their revenue stream based on the illegal actions of its members. That previous rulings of the court (ie the Betamax decision) prevent the copyright holders from going after the holdings of those companies to sue them out of existance. That is in essence what this case is all about. The case has been taken to court, all sides presented, and is now awaiting the ruling of the court. This ruling is expected to be handed out sometime within one of the last 3 Mondays of the month.

    Doesn't seem like much on the surface does it? If you go under the hood the stakes are actually quite high. Past legislation, called the DMCA law has been passed. It makes programming or inerting anticopyright protectism illegal. On this basis, those that make dvd ripper programs so that you can get a backup of a disk you purchased is illegal. It also makes any programming that would remove DRM from a purchased product also illegal. The DRM (Digital Rights Management) limits how you may use a purchased item through software protections.

    What makes this rulings impact so high is this. Should the major corporations get a go-a-head that it is allowed to sue for secondary liability, then any programmer who programs any sort of public program will have to consider his creation in the light of if it can be used for infringement before release. This is a particularly knotty problem as many softwares are developed ahead of the abilities to discover all that it can be used for. As an example, should you develop a photo-image saving program with the intent of assisting home photographers with digital massaging of their home photos and someone buys it and uses it to copy net images of artwork that are the copyrighted covers then you could be sued for the liability of allowing that to be through the secondary liability.

    Could you have foreseen this use? Prehaps as the example above is a poor one. However, what makes this such a high impact ruling is that should the copyright cartels get the ruling that sueing for secondary liability is ok; any sort of program, device, or invention will have to be considered with an eye towards infringement. Already the DMCA has been used to put a damper on programs such as dvd xcopy and that company is now out of business. In addition the maker of DVD Decrypter is now out of business for much the same. This secondary liability will be a choke hold on any developing ideas and many will not be developed to commercial applications because of the possibility that it might be used for infringement and leave the inventor open to lawsuits. The end result will be far less new items coming out and that will result in the US falling farther and farther behind other countries in the technology race.

    Traditionally the courts have upheld that technology should not be restricted and the Betamax case was one example of such a ruling.
    "Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo."
    - H. G. Wells (1866-1946)
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  8. #7  
    Forum Sophomore cleft's Avatar
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    The release of the ruling should come on next Monday. Typically, the Supreme Court issues its rulings on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Mondays of the month. Since we are down to the last Monday of the week, I look forward to hearing about the ruling this coming Monday. For now everyone and their bother is speculating on the ruling and what interpetation would mean for anyway that the ruling could be ruled, sort of like a pregame announcer event.
    "Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo."
    - H. G. Wells (1866-1946)
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  9. #8  
    Forum Freshman poly_nightmare's Avatar
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    I find it amazing that there is no limit to greed. I understand the lawsuits, but you are going to sue dead people? Are if you win, who pays for the actions of those dead people?
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  10. #9  
    Forum Sophomore cleft's Avatar
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    If you really want to talk greed, you should follow some of the stuff both attempted and done.

    I often bitch that the downloan digital offerings are crap. I mean, they are selling 128 bit rate mp3's or whatever format for a dollar a song. Now think about this...

    Mp3's are a lossy format, meaning that only part of the original song is there in its entirety. Almost 90% of the original is missing. 128 bit is a far cry from the 1300+ bit rate that is supported on cds for the same price. If you are lucky you may or may not get artwork in miniture with that. For the most part, no artwork, no jewel case, no supporting sleeves. It has DRM type anticopy in it, preventing a purchaser from doing either cross platform to whatever equipment or type of player they have. The sellers are still charging for manufacturing costs, store overhead, and artwork whether included or not.

    This isn't the worst. Try sometime to find out what movies go through to license music for that media. Mostly the movies have to reach a MFN (Most Favored Nation) status in purchasing, if they are considering buying the music and retain the rights for reruns at the same time. To rent the music for the movie production is one thing but what about reruns? Reruns aren't normally considered in the purchasing agreements. That is why there are no original dvds of seasons of WKRP. The cost of obtaining the license for all the music in the background was simply to expensive to make it possible to turn it into season issues. To make it possible for reruns is the most expensive costs there are. It is not uncommon for such a song to run 10-15,000 dollars per song to license into perpetutity. To me there is simply no song worth that kind of money.
    "Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo."
    - H. G. Wells (1866-1946)
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