Every couple days if you’re paying attention, you hear some story or another about a record label in either the US or Canada gearing up to sue a bunch of people for supposed copyright infringement for daring to download and/or do whatever they please with the music of whoever the victimised artist is this month. The lawsuits usually amount to somewhere in the neighbourhood of millions of dollars in supposed damages. And sometimes, they actually get people to pay them. So imagine the surprise on the faces of some record label execs when a copyright lawsuit on behalf of several artists comes across their desk, to the tune of $6000000000. No, scratch that. Don’t imagine.
We’ve noted the irony of the fact that the largest copyright system supporters are frequently found to infringe whenever possible. One of the most amazing examples of this concerned the major record labels, who for years were directly infringing on the copyrights of various artists, by putting their songs on compilations and mixes without first getting permission as is required by the law. Instead, the labels would put those artists on a “pending list,” but they rarely seemed to get around to taking them off that “pending list” and paying them. After years of trying to get the labels to pay up, a lawsuit was finally filed, where the artists pointed out that the labels could be on the hook for $6 billion. Kind of amusing to see the ridiculously large infringement penalties thrown back at the labels. After some negotiation, it appears that the labels have agreed to settle the case for $45 million and they’re also promising to make sure that artists on the pending list will get paid in a reasonable amount of time. Now, can we finally stop pretending that the major record labels ever have the best interests of the artists in mind?
RIAA/CRIA: looking out for number 1, where number 1 = anyone not actually involved in creating music, since its foundation. And yet folks wonder why people are starting to lean more towards supporting artists by attending concerts/other such events that don’t actually involve giving money to the record labels. And why certain artists are starting to lean away from the major labels and, in some cases, starting their own. Now how long before a press release or something shows up that says the major labels are still looking out for their artists? I’m betting not very.