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Scandal Hits Australian Record Industry Boss
Is freeloading any better than illegal downloading?
By Mi2N
(more articles from this author)
2004-04-24
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Music business veteran and industry analyst Phil Tripp today called for either the resignation of Australian Record Industry Association CEO Stephen Peach or his suspension while Australian record companies and publishers audit his reported 'CD Freeloading' of pages of titles with multiple copies as printed in the Spike Column of the Sydney Morning Herald today.

"Former longtime ARIA/PPCA PR consultant Marcella McAdam--an unimpeachable music professional with several years dedicated service to ARIA--revealed what many of us in the industry suspected." states 30 year veteran Tripp. "While organisations like ARIA and major record companies like to play the robbed artist and songwriter card when lobbying government over supposed losses by consumers downloading music off the Internet, it will be interesting if they take action against their own for 'freeloading' mass quantities of CDs for which artists and songwriters do not get paid and that are supposed to be used solely for 'promotional purposes--usually restricted to media and business samples."

In a radio interview with national broadcaster Triple J a little over a week ago, Peach had claimed that his and ARIA's staff's free CDs were 'promotional' and that the artists and songwriters were paid royalties from promo CDs, stating, "I mean, the industry has the idea of promotional CDs. These are all promotional CDs or they're CDs in respect of which, as far as I'm aware, royalties are paid to artists."

This is not true, Tripp states, and Peach, as a longtime intellectual property attorney and ARIA head for over 18 months should know--especially since standard industry contracts deny royalties for promotional copies to artists. And the ARIA/AMCOS five year agreement (which is up for renewal in June and which Peach is negotiating) also denies songwriters royalties to an agreed promos formula.

"If Peach claims to be unaware of these two industry practices, he should not be leading the industry organisation that is fighting for artists' and music creators' rights as he stated in a recent ARIA release." Tripp adds. "He would appear to be as unaware of industry practices as he seems to be of the numbers of his own acquisitions of music at the expense of his clients."

ARIA Board Defends Freeloading Practice

"Recent attempts to try and link illegal downloading and file sharing with the legal distribution of CDs in the record industry are absurd.

"Given the role and activities of ARIA, It is necessary for its management to be across music releases and in this regard the CEO of ARIA is provided from time to time with CDs from member companies. ARIA rejects any attempt to cast a shadow over the ARIA management for receiving promotional CDs in the course of their work at ARIA which includes the production of the ARIA Awards and weekly music charts.

"It is noteworthy that this attack is occurring at a time - when major litigation in Australia is taking place over music file sharing and illegal downloading, as well as a review of the digital agenda provisions of the Copyright Act is being conducted.

"The attempt to link the subject matter of that court action with lawful distribution of CDs, in this case to the ARIA office, is flawed."

Source: ARIA Board


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