Tuesday, 8 December 2009

300 000 strikes.... Record labels in court for piracy face $6Bn bill

Truth they say is stranger than fiction.... 

..so while record companies are complaining around the world about the costs of piracy, hiring lawyers to  demand money from alleged offenders and lobbying anyone who will listen to draft new draconian legislation against file sharers, they are meanwhile quietly ripping off artists by publishing tracks without permission and forgetting to pay the royalties.

Michael Geist reports on a case in Canada where since the eighties record labels have been issuing compilation discs without getting prior permissions and never getting round to settling their dues.  Three hundred thousand tracks later they are now in court facing a class action suit by artists...    and bearing in mind this is not non-commercial file sharing we're talking about, but out and out commercial exploitation, the artists are seeking statutory damages of $20 000 per track...  a cool six billion in total*. 

The companies in the dock are Warner Music Canada, Sony BMG Music Canada, EMI Music Canada, and Universal Music Canada -  the four primary members of the Canadian Recording Industry Association.  Now if I was a shareholder in a company that through ineptitude and bad practice exposed itself to the risk of damages on that scale I would expect heads to roll... 

Resignations gentlemen?  And don't forget to switch off your Internet as you leave.....

(via Rick Falkvinge)

* Don't forget that $6Bn is around 20 times the recording industries estimates of the annual losses to music piracy in the UK. (..if you believe them?)

Errata:  corrected from $60Bn to $6Bn... sloppy maths - sorry!

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party -  Working for copyright reform.

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