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Learn more about why file sharing is not theft and the false claims of the RIAA due to P2P

Music: Copyright Law Book

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12/15 Rightscorp wins landmark ruling, Cox hit with $25M verdict in copyright case


Technolgy Law and DRM language

Market research with teens, pre-teens, 21-34, which are all the prime music audiences tell us they steal because they think all the artists are already SUPER RICH and can afford it. "What's another $1.29 to a guy that rich."
For that, the artists have THEMSELVES to blame. 100+ cars, bling, mansions in videos, bootie girls, Louis Vuitton ads. That's image... One that they helped create.

2007 The End of DRM

  • 4/2/07 EMI Music announced that it is launching new premium downloads for retail on a global basis, making all of its digital repertoire available at a much higher sound quality than existing downloads and free of digital rights management (DRM) restrictions.
    The new higher quality DRM-free music will complement EMI's existing range of standard DRM-protected downloads already available. From today, EMI's retailers will be offered downloads of tracks and albums in the DRM-free audio format of their choice in a variety of bit rates up to CD quality. EMI is releasing the premium downloads in response to consumer demand for high fidelity digital music for use on home music systems, mobile phones and digital music players. EMI's new DRM-free products will enable full interoperability of digital music across all devices and platforms.
  • Steve Jobs Apple CEO's says labels should drop DRM
  • Digital-rights-management (DRM) technologies aren't "deterring illicit copying of music."
  • British recording giant EMI plans to offer "a broad swath of its recordings" for sale online without DRM.

RIAA Mass Litigation Strategy for Making Money - copyfight

6/1/11 LimeWire Settles With Labels for $105 Million
The founder of the LimeWire file-sharing software will pay $105 million to settle a copyright lawsuit from 13 record labels, which had hoped to win $1.4 billion from a federal jury and then tried to bargain for $75 trillion. U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood had shot down that demand as "absurd."
In a statement announcing the settlement, Mark Gorton's legal team at Willkie, Farr & Gallagher emphasized how significantly the labels had scaled back their original demands. "Quoting from Willkie's brief, Judge Wood held, 'As defendants note, plaintiffs are suggesting an award that is 'more money than the entire music recording industry has made since Edison's invention of the phonograph in 1877,'" the firm states.

LimeWire Pays RIAA $105 Million, Artists Get Nothing MPAA Extortion at its Finest

RIAA has to be making money since they pay their CEO millions and between 2006 - 2009 they were able to spend $64,000,000 in legal and investigative expenses to recover around $1,361,000 [source] !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2009 Lawyer: RIAA must pay back all "$100M+" it has allegedly collected
Harvard Law professor Charles Nesson has now gotten involved in two more file-sharing lawsuits, including the Jammie Thomas retrial in Minnesota. But it's in the other, lesser-known case, that Nesson and a former student demand the RIAA pay back all $100 million it has collected in settlement money over the years.

2008 RIAA paid its lawyers more than $16,000,000 to recover only $391,000!!!
The RIAA paid Holmes Roberts & Owen $9,364,901 in 2008, Jenner & Block more than $7,000,000, and Cravath Swain & Moore $1.25 million, to pursue its "copyright infringement" claims, in order to recover a mere $391,000. [ps there were many other law firms feeding at the trough too; these were just the ones listed among the top 5 independent contractors.] If the average settlement were $3,900, that would mean 100 settlements for the entire year.

2007 more than $21 million was spent on legal fees, and $3.5 million on "investigative operations" ... presumably MediaSentry. And the amount recovered was $515,929.

New Program Urges Students to Resist the RIAA

2006 was similar: they spent more than $19,000,000 in legal fees and more than $3,600,000 in "investigative operations" expenses to recover $455,000.

5/4/05 RIAA breaking the 10,000-person barrier this week in its lawsuits against file sharers, and with no indication of slowing down, it seems timely to look at how much the recording industry is recovering in these lawsuits. The paper argues that the file sharers sued by the RIAA have a constitutional right to pay much smaller penalties than the millions of dollars they can be liable for under copyright law's minimum damages of $750 per song. Such a right to pay smaller penalties could reduce the settlement pressure on file swappers and could change the economics of the RIAA's mass litigation.

  1. The False Mathematics of the RIAA Februrary 2005
  2. Music Industry Doesn't Need More Government Protection (21st February 2005) Michael Geist
  3. Debunking of RIAA's claim that their revenue decline is due to piracy.
  4. The record industry blames piracy and downloading for sagging sales here's the whole story. By James K. Willcox
    "Ziemanns assessment, the combination of fewer releases and higher prices not free downloads caused sales to slump. His argument is bolstered by Josh Bernoff, an analyst at Forrester Research, who pointed out in a report issued last August that this isnt the first time booming CD sales have plunged. For instance, during the recession in 1991 long before anyone even knew what a download was CD sales growth fell from 15% to 4%.
    When you consider that the countrys gross domestic product (GDP) declined 36% in 2002 and the S&P 500 dropped an equally depressing 28.78% during the same period, the recent 9% decline in sales doesnt seem so dramatic particularly for a format thats been around for 20 years."
  5. RIAA to Sue Internet2 Users 2005 / RIAA AND MPAA JOIN INTERNET2

12/5/2004 Net File-Sharing Doesn't Hurt Most Artists

  1. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Most musicians and artists say the Internet has helped them make more money from their work despite online file-trading services that allow users to copy songs and other material for free, according to a study released on Sunday. Recording labels and movie studios have hired phalanxes of lawyers to pursue "peer to peer" networks like Kazaa, and have sued thousands of individuals who distribute copyrighted material through such networks. But most of the artists surveyed by the nonprofit Pew Internet and American Life Project said online file sharing did not concern them much. Artists were split on the merits of peer-to-peer networks, with 47 percent saying that they prevent artists from earning royalties for their work and another 43 percent saying they helped promote and distribute their material. But two-thirds of those surveyed said file sharing posed little threat to them, and less than one-third of those surveyed said file sharing was a major threat to creative industries. Only 3 percent said the Internet hurt their ability to protect their creative works. "What we hear from a wide spectrum of artists is that, despite the real challenges of protecting work online, the Internet has opened new ways for them to exercise their imaginations and sell their creations," said report author Mary Madden, a research specialist at the Pew Internet and American Life Project. The nonprofit group based its report on a survey of 809 self-identified artists in December 2003. The survey has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.
  2. Toronto Star 11/29/04 Numbers don't Crunch re: Canada's copyright legislation and music industry CRIA posts its members' monthly record sales data directly on its Web site. According to CRIA, Canadian CD sales in 1999 generated almost $700 million. That figure declined annually, to $690.3 million (2000), $645.8 million (2001), $609.5 million (2002), and $559.7 million (2003). Using CRIA's own numbers and 1999 as a benchmark, the cumulative decline in CD sales revenue in Canada is $294 million. Given that total CD sales revenues during the period totaled $3.2 billion, the percentage decline is a relatively modest 9 per cent.
    While a $294 million decline may still hurt, the source of that decline must also be examined. The uncertainty associated with the financial impact of file sharing arises since the losses tied to file sharing are only those that displace a potential sale, not all downloads. Moreover, those losses must be offset against downloads that involve sampling before purchasing, downloads of music that is no longer for sale, downloads of music that is in the public domain or available with the express permission of the copyright holder, and downloads that are compensated in Canada through the private copying levy.
    A recent Economist article reported that an internal music-label study found that between two thirds and three quarters of recent sales declines had nothing to do with Internet music downloads.
    That view was echoed in a recent Ministry of Canadian Heritage-commissioned report which concluded that "[t]he assumption by the recording industry that demand for CDs is fundamentally strong and that Internet piracy is to blame for falling sales is a simplistic reaction to a complex problem . . . to place the burden wholly or partly on illegal downloads from the Internet is to ignore a host of other reasons." The "other reasons" include the growth of DVD sales, which accounted for zero revenue in 1999, but generated nearly $105 million in new revenue from 2000 to 2003. The popularity of DVDs is surely related to the decline in CD sales and the shrinking shelf space allocated to CDs by music retailers.
    The shift in music retail merchandising and marketing has also had an enormous impact on CD sales. The Recording Industry Association of America, CRIA's U.S. counterpart, reports that the dominant retail chains are now big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart.
    In Canada, Wal-Mart and Costco now account for 25 per cent of the music retail marketplace, while in the U.S., Wal-Mart, Target and BestBuy are responsible for over half of all CDs sold.
    This shift affects the music industry in two ways. First, while traditional record stores carry 50,000 or more titles, Wal-Mart focuses primarily on new releases, featuring only 1,500 to 5,000 titles. The decreasing availability of older titles hurts an industry that traditionally depends upon catalogue sales for 25 to 40 per cent of its retail music revenue.
    Second, Wal-Mart has placed new price pressures on the retail pricing of CDs — capping retail pricing in the United States at $9.72 (U.S.) per CD. The pricing pressure has had a dramatic impact on the revenue generated from each CD sale. According to CRIA's own numbers, revenue from the average CD this year is $10.72, down 10.7 per cent from $12.00 per CD in 1999. The bottom line impact has been to shave $47.8 million in revenue for sales in 2004 (through October) when compared with the same unit sales in 1999. The per-CD decline in revenue in those ten months alone is equal to 16 per cent of the total drop in revenue for the entire 1999-2003 sales period.

2002 The RIAAs Statistics Dont Add Up, George Ziemann makes two key assertions: 1) that the labels raised CD prices during a down economy, and 2) that they slashed the number of new releases by almost 25% during the past three years. He says that these factors, and not downloading, are responsible for sluggish CD sales.

Complaint in RIAA v. Napster, from RIAA site
Summary adjudication ruling by Judge Marilyn Hall Patel in RIAA v. Napster, dated May 5, 2000.

Decision of United States Supreme Court in Sony Corp. v. Universal Studios Inc., from Findlaw

Essay, "Digital Music: Problems and Possibilities," by Professor Terry Fisher of Harvard Law School

Recording Industry Association of America RIAA
Blaming the RIAA for their conduct misses where the responsibility truly belongs. It isn't the RIAA doing this stuff. It's the RIAA acting as directed by its owners: companies like Sony/BMG, EMI, Time Warner, Universal, etc. Every time we cite the RIAA, we are failing to cite the people who control it. And they succeed in deflecting the blame for their own reprehensible conduct.
Are you a victim of unfair suing practices by the RIAA?
Welcome to Boycott RIAA! keeping track of the RIAA's unfair control over the music industry, from filesharing to unfair contracts. The RIAA strategy is an example of a new legal phenomenon that Brad Templeton has dubbed "spamigation" -- bulk litigation that's only become practical due to the economies of scale of the computer era. Spamigation occurs when a firm uses automation to send out thousands of cease and disist letters threatening legal action. Economies of scale and automation are not necessarily evil, but they do change the balance. The balance of the law was set when legal action didn't scale well.
The RIAA uses systems to gather lists of alleged infringers, and bulk-sues them. It has set a price that seems to be profitable for it, while being low enough that it is not profitable for the accused to mount a defence, as they do not get the economies of scale involved.
If the above sentence doesn't scare you, we also have the issue that for the big player, a few mistakes are tolerable noise in the system. For the target of a mistake, such as a person whose wireless network was used by a neighbour, or a completely innocent person caught in an
ordinary error, we see no solution -- pay a settlement of several thousands, or spend far more to fight in court. We will need to adjust the legal system to deal with spamigation.


Fred von Lohmann is a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation,
Unfortunately, the evidence thus far suggests that the RIAA litigation campaign has had little, if any, effect on P2P file-sharing. the "education by lawsuit" of American music fans is also off to a rocky start. While the authorized music services are attracting a modest number of customers, it is also clear that they together account for a trivial percentage of the total number of digital music files being downloaded today. In fact, it is fair to say that all of the authorized music services together do not yet amount to a drop in the digital music-downloading bucket. the music industry needs to give up its dreams of controlling distribution in favor of collecting fair compensation. In other words, we need a mechanism that collects a pot of money from file-sharers and divides it up among artists and copyright owners. Some (most notably Harvard Law School's Professor William Fisher) advocate a broad levy on Internet access and technologies, with proceeds payable to the copyright industries. But there is a better way, one that keeps the government out of it. Known as "voluntary collective licensing," the concept is simple: the music industry forms one or more collecting society, which in turn offer file-sharing music fans the opportunity to "get legit" in exchange for a reasonable regular payment, say $5 per month.

The Napster case

The Napster web site made available the software necessary for the peer to peer file transfer to work. People used it primarily for copying MP3 music files so bypassing the need to actually purchase recorded music from record stores. The Napster site did not maintain a central database of musical tracks - users did not have to access the site again once they had obtained the software. Napster was not itself copying the music that users accessed from each other. It did however provide a database of what was available from other users of the site, making it easier for users to find out whom to go to for certain pieces of music.
It was this database that caused the American courts to find against Napster, not the technology itself. The compilation of the database gave Napster actual knowledge of the copyright infringement that was occurring with the various uses of the software. Under Australian law, Napster, by its conduct, was authorising infringing acts.
Alternative sources of peer to peer file transfer software Although the American decision spelt the end of Napster as a free service (it has recently relaunched as fee paying service but take up has not been great), a number of other operators (Kazaa, Morpheus, Grokster and Gnutella) have stepped in to fill the gap.
These services have avoided the mistake made by Napster and do not provide any central database. All they do supply is the software.

The Dutch decision

The Dutch court ruled that file-trading developers were not liable for the copyright infringement that occurs by people using the Kazaa application.
The decision mirrors rulings in other countries that made the sales of video recorders and MP3 players legal. Indeed it reflects the view of the judge in the Napster case that actual knowledge of infringement cannot be assumed if a technology has the possibility of being used for non-infringing purposes and as well as infringing purposes.
The Record Industry Association of America (the RIAA), in its case against Napster, produced persuasive statistics to show that college students were buying fewer CDs because of the availability of software products like Napster.
An alternative view is that the music industry has done little to help itself by charging high prices for its products and entering into extremely expensive recording deals with artists (and having to pay to get out of them again), so it is not surprising that hard up students will try to find a cheaper way to access entertainment.
Although there is much talk of convergence, the reality is that computers have the edge on traditional media in attracting users and that the traditional media companies are struggling to find their way with the new technology available.
What steps (apart from litigation) are record companies taking to stop the use of file trading technology to copy music files? <snip>

Wallace Wang is the author of Steal This File Sharing Book and Steal This Computer Book.
The fact that file-sharing networks can transmit copyrighted materials to others, then get ready to sue the postal service, the telephone companies and every Internet Service Provider in the world, because their technology can be used to transmit copyrighted materials too.
Technology is never the culprit; it's the people who use that technology who are to blame. File-sharing networks aren't just providing newer and faster ways to violate copyrights. File-sharing networks are also exposing the fundamental ideas behind our copyright laws in the first place.
Suppose you create a new virus. Technically, you're the copyright owner of that particular virus and no one has the right to distribute your work without your permission.
So what happens when anti-virus companies share viruses for analysis? Unless they have permission from the virus creator, they're technically infringing on the virus writer's copyright. When they dissect part of the virus code to store its "signature" in an anti-virus program's scanning database, does that constitute a "derivative" work, thus protected by copyright law?
Here's another legal dilemma. Nobody owns software anymore, they license it. So when you install a program, you must agree to a densely worded license agreement, which nobody pays attention to anyway. So, when the recording industry installs a copy of Kazaa to search for people sharing copyright materials, they must agree to Kazaa's license, which includes the following restrictions of what users may NOT do with Kazaa:
2.2 Harm minors in any way;
2.11 Monitor traffic or make search requests in order to accumulate information about individual users;
2.12 "Stalk" or otherwise harass another;
2.14 Collect or store personal data or other
information about other users; or
2.15 Intentionally make available spoofed files or
files with information designed to misidentify the
actual content of the file.
In order to collect information to sue people engaging in copyright infringement, the recording industry itself must violate the above license conditions to their Kazaa program. So technically, the recording industry is breaking one law just to enforce another.