Feedback on the RIAA vs. MP3.com Lawsuit
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This was a very straightforward decision. MP3.com broke the law the moment they put a copyrighted recording onto their server. If they go out of business because damages payments to the plaintiff exceed company cash on hand it's their own fault. Wall Street has already written them off.
Mp3 recording rights
I represent several artists, who like many, worry about the loss of
revenue which ends up, in the hands of unconcerned entities like record
labels. I agree that the flow of monies back to the artist for their hard
work needs to be restructured and MP3 would allow the bulk of the monies to
reward the artist for their hard work.
I know this sounds strange coming from a publisher/producer, however I
too am a songwriter. I would like to join your efforts in achieving a more
reasonable disbursement of royalties which MP3 would allow.
My view on the matter is this, since the music is really the property of
the writing artist, what copyright infringements are really being violated?
MP3 only replaces the distribution side of the business. nothing more.
Artists still can use publishers, record producers, and recording studios if
they so desire to better the sound of their recordings. So it seems to me
that this whole matter is in a sense a frivolous lawsuit.
Currently, Mill Valley Productions which I own, is recommending MP3 as a
format to test the waters on my artists compilations. We further want to use
MP3 for distribution of our finished projects. We as concerned individuals,
and music professionals must band together and form a recognized
association, form structured standards the industry can accept, so we can
change the current copyright laws for our benefit.
Please keep me in mind for such a formation. I have found your weekly
newsletters both useful and informative. I applaud your efforts and will
support you in any way that I can.
Owner, Mill Valley Productions
IN a way i am glad that ACTION WAS take for INFRINGEMENT
BUT i also don't WANT to SEE MP3.com disappear either.
THEY seem to be nice people and are making some opportunities for people who
might not otherwise have them.
I am more worried about the RECORD INDUSTRY trying to take over the internet.
Also I am worried about copyright laws in general. I think the government
should make copyrights more protected. AS it is people can ask to see peoples
work and that isn't fair to the privacy of ARTISTS.
Also our work is only protected for a certain amount of time, I think that
should be changed.
RIAA vs MP3.Com Court Ruling
Until the judge releases the full details behind his ruling the rendering of
an informed opinion will be difficult. On the surface My.MP3.com seems fairly
innocuous (unlike Napster which clearly engages in the aiding and abetting of
piracy) as users need to actually own a copy of the CD they're requesting.
However, the matter of ownership can be easily circumvented by inserting a
friends CD or by burning a CD-R.
In my opinion there will always be those who simply do not want to pay for
music and those who enjoy collecting music and want pride of ownership. The
former will always find ways to circumvent copyright laws. Built in
copyright protection wouldn't help either as these types don't care much
about quality and are perfectly content to tape record from radio or a
I agree with the RIAA in taking a stand against such services (why should we
make it easy for the cheapos), however I feel their funds would be better
utilized in the following manner:
1. A national advertising campaign to raise consumer awareness of the value
2. Employ the SCMS scheme into all CDs and MiniDisk to prevent digital
copying (not a cure all but at least they wont have a clone).
3. Reduce the price of CDs, frankly the price is such that it makes impulse
buys very difficult. If the choice were a movie at $9.00 that I'll see
once or a CD at $9.00 which I'll have for the rest of my life the
entertainment playing field would be increasingly leveled.
4. Work with non-traditional retailers to carry music (i.e.- supermarkets,
magazine stores, & greeting card stores, etc.)
5. Finally, take the bull by the horns with Digital downloading. The majors
need only become more aggressive in the field and sites like MP3.Com will be
history. Let's face it who wants to go listen to a bunch of unknown
bands anyway. In this respect I believe a subscription based model would be
best as it would immediately distinguish itself from traditional retail
(making either a viable alternative depending on ones needs). Millions are
paying $21.00 a month to be on AOL why wouldn't they pay say $9.95 per
month for downloads, interviews, concert information, merchandise sold at a
discount, coupons for traditional retailers, etc. The labels could do this
as a joint venture with a self owned governing body like Harry Fox handling
the distribution of revenue.
That's my two cents.
Its a Sad Sad Day when our rights are hit so hard! Whats next? I think it is time to hit back, hit the RIAA where it hurts there pockets, stop buying there CD's and music, download and buy music from MP3.com artists. That will piss them off!!!
One thing that I have always objected about the recording industry is that they have done everything in their power to keep digital recording equipment from the consumers. We are still using analog tape while other countries (especially Japan) have been using digital recorders for years. The US is still in the dark ages because the recording industry has smothered digital advancement - remember DAT and the limited 'generations' ? Finally the computer has advanced and I am pleased to see that we are able to create and make digital recordings. I hope that the recording industry is not powerful enough outlaw the manufacturer and use of personal MP3 players. In the meantime, I will enjoy my noise-free, undistorted digital recordings...
Opinion: Court ruling against Mp3.com
I find it very interesting that the RIAA and Mp3.com couldn't come to terms outside of court. It just goes to show how manipulative and controlling the large labels are when it comes to protecting their gluttony.
The copyright laws are in place primarily to protect the songwriter, but the large labels and publishers have made sure that there's language in the law to protect their shameless rip-off of artists and songwriters. Sure, they have legal recourse to say that Mp3.com is in violation of copyright laws. I agree that since Mp3.com is a business entity and not a consumer that they don't have the right to make a personal copy without the consent of the owner of the publishing rights. Although most of us aren't privvy to the negotiations prior to this escalation to litigation, it's fairly plain to see that Mp3.com was challenging the industry on this interpretation of the law. But I'll wager that Mp3.com offered the RIAA a royalty on the major label recordings that they have in their database, but that the amount wasn't large enough to satisfy the RIAA.
In turn, the powerful labels probably wouldn't even consider any sort of deal. After all, they claim that because of amendments they've pushed into the copyright laws that they own the sound recordings financed by them. In fact, I challenge that they don't. They could, but most of the labels don't register a SR Form for their recordings with the Library of Congress. As such, the labels really have no say as to what happens to their sound recordings except for how the laws are interpreted to try and counter piracy. If the RIAA is really concerned that Mp3.com is in violation because of piracy, they should just say so and quit sticking their chests out and showing off their big 'S'.
ASCAP was able to come to terms with Mp3.com to make sure that the rights of the artists and songwriters were protected. Mp3.com recognizes the importance of protecting other's intellectual property, and they are paying performance royalties. This should tell you the whole story right here. Mp3.com is willing to come to terms and pay performance royalties to those who actually own the intellectual property. The record companies don't own the intellectual property. The songwriters and publishers do. Sure, the major labels are structured so they also control the publishing rights in many cases. But the bottom line is that they don't want to negotiate and give up any portion of that dollar bill that relates to possible lost sales. The legal leg that they are now standing on is just that: a legal leg. Their position doesn't support the entire body of the music industry as a whole.
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