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music_news 91 posts

Unbiased Digest about Music Industry

3 votes

26 May 2008, 15:14

Music industry drops its lawsuit against AllofMP3.com

AllofMP3.com welcomes the decision of record labels to voluntarily dismiss their $1,65 trln lawsuit against the site.

On May 23 Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group Corp., Vivendi SA and EMI Group Plc. decided to drop their copyright case filed in federal court in Manhattan (Bloomberg.com).

Some time ago the AllofMP3.com services had to be suspended due to litigation.

There’ll be more updates on the development of the situation.

3 votes

26 May 2008, 12:35

Music Industry Drops Copyright Suit Against Russian Music Site

May 23 (Bloomberg) -- Sony BMG Music Entertainment and other record companies dismissed their copyright lawsuit against Russia-based Internet music store AllofMP3.com, which was accused of distributing millions of pirated song files.

Members of the Recording Industry Association of America, a trade group, didn't say why they were voluntarily dropping the case in papers filed May 20 in federal court in Manhattan.

``The site is now defunct and out of business, the result of a successful anti-piracy initiative,'' Jonathan Lamy, a spokesman for the trade group, said today in an e-mail.

The complaint, filed in December 2006, called the site ``a notorious black market'' that made $30 million a year by directing Internet users to music files available for download, without giving any money to the record labels. The... read more

Entry tags: allofmp3.com 11, RIAA 16
3 votes

5 November 2007, 06:07

Court confirms legality of AllofMP3.com

On 24 October a district court in Moscow has confirmed the "no copyright infringement" verdict.

Earlier this year, on 15 August 2007 AllofMP3.com was acquitted of all charges brought up by IFPI. Consequently the Federation filed a protest on behalf of the labels. This protest was declined last week. This time IFPI promised to go as far as the Supreme Court.

This was yet another victory for AllofMP3.com in court.


Read more:
Music almost for free (in Russian), Vedomosti
read more

Entry tags: copyright lawsuits 14, IFPI 14, allofmp3.com 11, Russia 4
3 votes

18 October 2007, 17:21

Madonna drops Warner

Maddona announced that she ends her 25 year long relationship with the Warner recording company. Instead she intends to sign a 10 year contract with Live Nation Inc. a concert touring company. This new $120m deal will include touring, merchandise and releasing of 3 new albums.

"The paradigm in the music business has shifted and as an artist and a businesswoman, I have to move with that shift," Madonna said in a statement. "For the first time in my career, the way that my music can reach fans is unlimited ... Who knows how my albums will be distributed in the future?"

However, Warner will publish one more album by Madonna within a year and will retain all the recording and publishing rights to such hits as Like a Virgin, Vogue and Music. The rights to Material Girl though are under question.


Read more:
read more

Entry tags: Warner 9, music industry change 20, Madonna 1
3 votes

18 October 2007, 17:15

IFPI - now the International Federation of Pirate Interests?

The Pirate Bay has grabbed the IFPI.com domen and is going to turn into a web-site of some International Federation of Pirate Interests. According to Brokep, one of the administrators of the Pirate Bay this will be the new international federation they’re starting “in order to get the word of piracy spread.”

Another IFPI (the International Federation of Phonographic Industries) still spread quite another word from www.ifpi.org and admits that www.ifpi.com belonged to them when they missed the renewal of registration and it slipped into the hands of unknown person.

The Phonographic Industries IFPI plans to complain and return the domen. However, the Pirate Bay got hold of IFPI.com in an absolutely legal way.“It’s not a hack, someone just gave us the domain name. We have no idea how they got it, but it’s ours and... read more

Entry tags: IFPI 14, Piratebay 3, music industry change 20
3 votes

11 October 2007, 05:12

Radiohead release their new album online for free and with no labels involved

Radiohead released their new album In rainbows on-line for free with no labels involved.
The album is available for download from their site Radiohead.com. When you are supposed to make a payment for the download this line comes up "it’s up to you". Each fan can pay anything, even 0. However, buying the actual CD will cost you 40 pounds.

No labels are involved in the release."Radiohead's contract with EMI/Capitol expired after its last record, Hail to the Thief, was released in 2003; shortly before the band started writing new songs, singer Thom Yorke told TIME, "I like the people at our record company, but the time is at hand when you have to ask why anyone needs one. And, yes, it probably would give us... read more

3 votes

27 September 2007, 01:43

What's the future of the music industry?

Stephen J. Dubner co-author of the Freakonomics book expresses his view as well as asks several experts about the present and future of the music industry.

Koleman Strumpf, professor of business economics at the University of Kansas Business School whose papers include "The Effect of File Sharing on Record Sales" on the present downturn: "there is surprisingly little evidence to support the claim that file sharing has significantly hurt record sales." Instead several other factors are suggested:
- "industry has failed to find genres that capture the interests of consumers;
- much of the reduction in sales is the direct result of industry cost-cutting. The major record labels have cut large numbers of staff and severed ties with many artists;
- recorded music has had trouble competing against... read more

3 votes

19 September 2007, 02:16

Virgin Megastores sold and might be opened in Russia

Last week there was news that Virgin Megastores might be opened in Russia. A Russian gambling holding Ritzio was negotiating with the company.

This Monday Virgin announced that the UK and Irland Virgin Megastores business was sold to a management buy-out team. The chain will undergo rebranding and the stores will be renamed “Zavvi”.

Read more:
Ritzio plays Virgin, Kommersant (In Russian)
Ritzio Owners Plan Virgin Megastores, The Moscow Times
Branson sells Virgin Megastores, The Guardian

3 votes

5 September 2007, 22:37

Klaxons - the winner of the 2007 Nationwide Mercury Prize

Klaxons got the 2007 Nationwide Mercury Prize for their Debut album "Myths of the Near Future" winning over Amy Winehouse, Bat For Lashes, Dizzee Rascal and many others.

Read more:
Klaxons scoop Mercury album prize, BBC News

Entry tags: Mercury Prize 1, music awards 1
4 votes

31 August 2007, 17:50

The service will be resumed

The service will be resumed in the foreseeable future. We are doing our best at the moment to ensure that all our users can use their accounts, top up balance and order music.

Entry tags: allofmp3.com 11, new services 5, announcements 1
3 votes

27 August 2007, 13:46

IFPI refused to recieve royalties in Russia

Major record labels once again refused to accept royalty payments from Russian on-line music stores.

IFPI refused to receive money from the Russian royalty collecting entity ROMS (Russian Organization on Collective Management of Rights of Authors and Other Rightholders in Multimedia, Digital Networks & Visual Arts). Although ROMS operates within the law, IFPI insists that the only entity which could act on behalf of the labels and other rightholders and collect royalties is the Russian branch of IFPI (RPA – Russian Phonographic Association) and refuses to accept anything from ROMS.


Read more:
Take your dirty Russian money away! Gazeta.ru (In Russian)
read more

Entry tags: labels 18, royalties 8, IFPI 14, lobbying 15, Russia 4, ROMS 1
3 votes

27 August 2007, 01:55

Court rules that AllofMP3.com operated within the law

On Wednesday, August 15 a district court in Moscow ruled that AllofMP3.com operated within the bounds of Russian law.

The court found no infringement of copyright law. According to the statement from the judge the site had paid a certain amount of the revenue to the right holders in full compliance with the law.

The court found that the investigation initiated by the IFPI had produced insufficient evidence and the conclusion that AllofMP3.com had broken any laws was a premature one.

Read more:
Court acquits AllofMP3.com site owner, Reuters
AllofMP3 founder cleared of copyright violation, The Independent
Russian court acquits former owner of music download site allofmp3.com, The Forbes

Entry tags: copyright lawsuits 14, IFPI 14, allofmp3.com 11, Russia 4
3 votes

17 August 2007, 17:04

The CD celebrates its 25th anniversary

The compact disc has turned 25 on August 17. The technology was jointly developed by Philips and Sony and the first CD was manufactured in Germany on August 17, 1982. Since then 200 billion CD have been sold worldwide.

In the beginning it was mostly classical music sold on CDs as manufacturers believed that classical music lovers were more likely to pay the high price for the CDs and CD players. The first pop CD on sale was ABBA’s The Visitors.

By 1988 CDs outsold records. Now some reports predict that this format in turn will be overtaken by digital distribution on global scale by 2011.

Read more:
read more

3 votes

15 August 2007, 16:01

Universal will sell music on-line without DRM

The Universal Music Group made an announcement that it would offer a wide selection of music on-line without DRM protection.

It will be an experiment within a set timeframe (from August till January). The services selling the songs will include Google, Wal-Mart, Best Buy Digital Music Store, Rhapsody, Amazon.com and others but not the iTunes store. Also DRM-free music will be available through the artists’ web-sites.

The music will not have DRM but it will have watermarks which help to identify where tracks come from in case they come up in P2P networks.

Read more:
Chart-topping hits mark open-MP3 test by Universal Music Group, UMG press-release
read more

1 votes

9 August 2007, 19:12

RIAA spent over $650 000 on lobbying in the first half of 2007

According to the Associated Press report the RIAA spent $658,000 on lobbying efforts during the first half of 2007. The expenses were concerned with opinion-forming activities related to copyright protection (including sponsoring members of Congress), but not legal and administrative costs related to the great number of lawsuits initiated by the Association.

Read more:
RIAA Lobbying Expenses Cross $650,000 During First Half, Digital Music News

Entry tags: lobbying 15, RIAA 16, copyright 7
1 votes

9 August 2007, 16:46

SpiralFrog: the ad-supported music service finally launched in beta

The SpiralFrog ad-supported music service has finally been launched. For the time being it’s only available for a selected group of users for beta-testing though.

Users will be able to download music for free. However, they will have to wait for 90 seconds for the download to complete. During that time users will have to see some advertisement or browse the site. The video downloads will take even more time to downloads. Files are protected with some kind of DRM and aren’t iPod compatible.

The owners promise a fill scale launch by the end of the year. (That’ll be a one-year delay from the previous announcement in December 2006). SpiralFrog claims it has taken so long to finish negotiations with the copyright owners. At the moment only the Warner Music Group has agreed to offer its content. 700 000 tracks are... read more

3 votes

6 August 2007, 02:34

Eminem sues Apple for copyright infringement

Music publishing companies representing Eminem filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Apple on grounds of copyright infringement. Allegedly the iTunes store have been offering Eminem’s songs for download without his permission, only having the consent of the EMI record label. According to the singer’s lawyers, the record label doesn’t hold the right to allow downloads exclusively (as it is with selling the artist’s CDs). Also the singer wants a fairer division of the revenue from downloads. At the moment iTunes charges around 99 cents a song, 70 cents go to the record label. It, in turn, typically, pays 9,1 cents to the music publisher.

According to the artist’s lawyer the issue “is how the 60.9 cents the recording label has left after it pays the music publisher should be divided between the recording label and the artist. If downloads... read more

3 votes

1 August 2007, 18:41

iTunes store sold 3 billion songs

Apple has announced on Tuesday that its iTunes store has sold more than three billion songs. This makes it the world’s largest online music store. Also iTunes “recently surpassed Amazon and Target to become the third largest music retailer in the US”.


Read more:
iTunes Store Tops Three Billion Songs, Apple

Entry tags: market statistics 11, digital music sales 19, USA 18, iTunes 8
2 votes

1 August 2007, 18:19

Survey: illegal downloads reach the highest level ever

A survey by Entertainment Media Research revealed that illegal downloading has reached its highest level ever and the number of people concerned about being prosecuted is falling. (The Guardian).

Out of 1700 people who participated in the survey 43% claimed they’re illegally downloading tracks (last year it was 36%). Only 33% are concerned about the risk of prosecution compared to 42% in 2006.

The report suggests that price is the key factor for such situation and that the industry has to consider differential pricing.

The music industry association BPI replied that: “future success was not just down to new business models but also better protection against piracy, particularly from internet service providers.”... read more

2 votes

30 July 2007, 02:16

U.S. Congress: university funding cut if students share music via P2P

The U.S. Congress passed a bill last week which would tie government funding universities receive to how well they restrict file-sharing among students.

In short the amendment to the budged titled CAMPUS-BASED DIGITAL THEFT PREVENTION requires that 25 universities that receive the most of alleged infringement notices (most likely from the RIAA) have to provide evidence of having clear policies on downloading of copyrighted content and that student are aware of them; change their file-sharing policies if necessary; and implement “a technology-based deterrent” to prevent the P2P use among students – otherwise the university funding can be cut. (WIRED.COM)


Read more:
Congress Will Scrutinize Top 25 File Sharing Universities Each Year, WIRED.COM

Entry tags: lobbying 15, P2P 6, file-sharing 12, legislation 9, USA 18, RIAA vs. students 3
2 votes

28 July 2007, 21:16

U.S. Congress: P2P a threat to national security

Last week the U.S. Congress Committee on Oversight and Government Reform announced that it was considering new laws to “properly restrict” P2P networks. In their opinion P2P applications threaten national security, “intrude on personal privacy and violate copyright law”. The biggest concern is that federal employees may be “unknowingly sharing highly confidential information” making it available to terrorists.

The Committee staff did its own investigation and found that LimeWire P2P application exposed “personal bank records and tax forms, attorney-client communications, the corporate strategies of Fortune 500 companies, confidential corporate accounting documents, internal documents from political campaigns, government emergency response plans, and even military operation orders.”

According to the Committee statement the... read more

Entry tags: P2P 6, legislation 9, USA 18
5 votes

25 June 2007, 13:49

Study: 2 billion downloads in 2011

According to the annual Global Entertainment and Media Outlook report issued by PricewaterhouseCoopers last week digital distribution of music will overtake physical sales on global scale by 2011. In Asia Pacific this will happen as soon as 2009, than in U.S. in 2010.

According to the report global spending on music will reach $40.4 billion by 2011 (that’s 12% up from $36.1 billion spent in 2006).

Spending in the U.S. will continue to fall till 2009, but will start to recover that year reaching $11.3 billion in 2011 (However, still less than $11.5 billion spent in 2006).

Music to mobiles and Internet purchases will grow more than 3 times to $6.56 billion in 2011. Conversely, market for CDs will half from last year's $9.65 to $4.5 billion by 2011.
”Album downloads, in the U.S. in 2011, will hit 135 million units while 2 billion... read more

3 votes

12 June 2007, 14:28

Analysis: DRM Technology Faces Redefinition

DRM and its shortcomings analyzed in an article in Forbes.

The original purpose of the DRM technology was to “to convert the digital ecosystem into a legitimate marketplace, which simultaneously offers security and safeguards for owners of content, as well as appeal and flexibility for consumers.” However, DRM has failed in certain ways:

--“DRM is unable to protect content fully. The scale of file sharing in "dark nets" continues to eclipse sales of protected music and video content. Meanwhile, the "walled gardens" constructed by DRM remain permeable to hacking.

--It also serves to frustrate fair uses of content. As such, it arguably provides an incentive for consumers to search for free and open content elsewhere.

--DRM has fragmented the marketplace into "autistic" ecologies of software and hardware,... read more

Entry tags: DRM 14, music industry change 20
3 votes

10 June 2007, 00:57

Warner starts selling downloads without DRM

This week the Warner Music Group, the forth-largest label has started to sell digital downloads without DRM protection.

The company opted not to work with the iTunes store for this project, although it’s been announced that downloads are iPod compatible and are priced similarly as at iTunes: around 99 cents per song.

To prevent downloads unprotected by DRM being leaked to the file sharing networks, files are downloaded straight to portable MP3 players without being stored on a PC.

The Warner Music Group is the second label sell DRM free downloads after EMI did the same last month.


Read more:
read more

3 votes

7 June 2007, 14:35

RIAA donates money to US politicians

According to the Consumerist.com blog the RIAA has been voted the worst company in the USA.

It's been voted the worst by consumers and it is actually donating campaign money to US politicians. The site reveals

Entry tags: lobbying 15, RIAA 16, USA 18
3 votes

25 May 2007, 13:19

The Universal - BMG merger approved by EU

The European Commission has approved the acquisition of BMG music publishing business by Universal.

This deal got the approval after Universal proposed a plan to prevent excess market power consolidation. The EU Commissioner’s concern was that the copyright for using music online (for example, sell in a Internet music store) would be held by an entity close to a monopoly. In some countries the new venture would own publishing rights to more than a half of chart hits. While traditional publishing rights are still administered via independent fee collecting societies, copyright for digital downloads is managed by chosen entities controlled by the labels. If so the online stores could face unfair prices after the Universal-BMG merger.

To prevent this Universal has promised to sell off some part of its catalogue. So it doesn’t become too big.... read more

22 votes

18 May 2007, 19:16

U.S. Department of Justice: life imprisonment for copyright infringement

The office of the U.S. Attorney General has submitted a bill to the US Congress with proposals to increase criminal penalties for copyright infringement. The planned measures include life imprisonment for copyright offences which endanger life and Homeland Security reporting to the RIAA when someone tries to sneak a pirated CD across the border.

The proposed "Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007", would among other measures:
- Introduce the notion of “attempted” copyright infringement. Current legislation envisages up to 10 years of imprisonment but only if the actual infringement took place.
- Envisage life imprisonment for the crime of using pirated software.
- Allow to wiretap citizens attempting to infringe copyright.
- “Require Homeland Security to alert the Recording Industry... read more

Entry tags: lobbying 15, legislation 9, copyright 7, USA 18
8 votes

16 May 2007, 18:57

Opinion: Nine Inch Nails on labels screwing the consumer

Nine Inch Nails speak out on record labels continuing to screw the consumer over.

They give an example of “absurd retail pricing” of their recent album Year Zero in Australia. “Shame on you, UMG. Year Zero is selling for $34.99 Australian dollars ($29.10 US). No wonder people steal music. Avril Lavigne's record in the same store was $21.99 ($18.21 US).
By the way, when I asked a label rep about this his response was: "It's because we know you have a real core audience that will pay whatever it costs when you put something out - you know, true fans. It's the pop stuff we have to discount to get people to buy."
So... I guess as a reward for being a "true fan" you get ripped off.”

NIN are... read more

Entry tags: labels 18, pricing 4, actions against consumers 13, Warner 9
6 votes

14 May 2007, 00:53

IFPI alerts the German Chancellor to the crisis of music market

IFPI and top music executives have raised the issue of the music industry crisis in Germany during a meeting with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week.

Since 2000 the German music market has shrunk 50%. According to IFPI’s press release the rescue measures proposed to the Chancellor include:
- Introduce an obligation on ISPs to terminate service to subscribers abusing the service to make infringing content available;
- Permit CD burning only from own legally purchased original and prohibiting copying by third parties;
- Improve the German draft law implementing the EU Enforcement Directive to ensure proper tools to fight piracy;
- Ensure that the EU plays an active role in the WTO case... read more

Entry tags: labels 18, CD sales 13, lobbying 15, Germany 3, music industry change 20
6 votes

11 May 2007, 19:28

What do you do with audio cassettes?

Are audio cassettes still around? Actually there’s still 500 million of them in UK only and 100'000 were sold in 2006.

An article by BBC asks the question what people can do with cassettes nowadays. Apart form listening to (if you still have the right player) BBC proposes several options from converting them to MP3 and recycling to making bird scaring installations.

The readers continue the list of options, proposing at times quite exotic uses such as turning the tape into "tell-tales" which are attached to the sales in sailing races to see the wind direction.


Read more:
10 uses for audio cassettes, BBC News

3 votes

11 May 2007, 18:46

Warner reports a net loss of $27 million

Warner reported its second quarter financial results this week. The label had a “net loss of $27 million, or 19 cents a share, compared with a loss of $7 million, or 5 cents a share, a year earlier,» according to Reuters.

This news follows the announcement that Warner Music Group was about to lay off 400 of its staff.

Among the reasons for the revenue decline the label marks out piracy, “changing consumption patterns in the shift from physical sales to new forms of digital music".

Nevertheless, Warner expects the situation to improve when the company implements its restructuring plan and boosts digital distribution of its music. “…we'll start to see benefits of that over a couple quarters after... read more

5 votes

8 May 2007, 17:10

Warner to lay off 400 employees

Warner Music Group is planning to lay off 400 employees as part of a restructuring campaign and “place further emphasis on digital strategy and distribution, sources say” (The Billboard).

In January earlier this year EMI made quite a similar move and announced that it would lay off 900 of its staff (along with a few top executives). This was a sign that the label was not doing very well as later few attempts to sell its catalogue and the label itself followed. Finally, EMI ended up releasing its music in DRM-free... read more

Entry tags: EMI 8, Warner 9, music industry change 20
18 votes

3 May 2007, 19:07

Report 301: US copyright unprotected around the world

The office of the US Trade Representative has issued a new report on the current situation with protection of US intellectual property by other countries. According to the document, 43 counties protect it inadequately and ineffectively. Among them 12 countries have qualified for a "priority watch list" of the worst offenders. China and Russia are on top of the shame list. The accusations and demands towards the countries guilty of neglecting US trade interests include:

China
China has “…severe market-access restrictions threaten the growth and vitality of exciting new [US] online and mobile delivery platforms for recorded music.”

Russia
Russia have failed to shut down AllofMP3.com and “if Russia fails to meet its obligations, the United States should respond accordingly and... read more

Entry tags: China 3, lobbying 15, RIAA 16, piracy statistics 3, USA 18, Canada 2, Russia 4
3 votes

3 May 2007, 15:41

Warner to sell DRM protected downloads via MySpace

Warner Music Group has announced last week that it intended to sell digital music content via the MySpace Music Service. The label plans to offer its top selling artists. The downloads will be in available in DRM protected WMA format making them unplayable on iPods.

The prices and further details haven’t been revealed yet.


Read more:
Warner Music Group's Artists to use SNOCAP MyStores to Make Music Available for Sale Through the Myspace Music Service, Company press release
Warner Music Group Joins Snocap, MySpace Initiative, Digital Music News

Entry tags: DRM 14, new services 5, Warner 9
2 votes

2 May 2007, 18:29

Canadian CD sales drop 35% in Q1 '07

The Canadian Record Industry Association is reporting a 35% drop in CD and DVD sales in Canada in the first quarter of 2007 compared to 2006. Only 7,1 million units were sold in 2007 – a considerable decrease from 10.2 million in 2006.

In his interview to The Toronto Star association president Graham Henderson said that the blame was on catastrophic amount of file sharing in Canada. "Digital music sales are not replacing lost CD and DVD sales as they are in countries with aggressive copyright protection laws banning file sharing and punitive enforcement policies… There's mass confusion in the (Canadian) marketplace about whether downloading is even illegal."

The CRIA claims that the federal government should update the Copyright Act and implement a “copyright reform that would explicitly outlaw the unauthorized use of music and punish... read more

Entry tags: CD sales 13, file-sharing 12, Canada 2
3 votes

30 April 2007, 19:52

Steve Jobs: Apple against music subscription models

In his interview to Reuters, Steve Jobs, Apple Inc. CEO spoke against music subscription models and promised that the iTunes store would not introduce them despite the pressure from the music industry. “People want to own their music," he said.

Subscription models are actually a way of renting music and bring recurring income to the music companies. However, “customers don't seem to be interested in it” and [such] “model has failed so far," Jobs said.

He also expressed confidence that half of the songs offered on iTunes will be in DRM-free format by the end of the year.

Read more:
Jobs says Apple customers not into renting music, Reuters

8 votes

23 April 2007, 01:02

Warner calls sale of music downloads without DRM a 'flagrant violation'

Last week Warner got very displeased with an online store which tried to sell Warner albums without DRM. The site offers albums in MP3 format at a discount compared to a physical CD. Customers get MP3 files plus a CD could be shipped later as an option.

According to Reuters “Warner Music Group on Thursday demanded that online retailer AnywhereCD remove its digital albums from the site, saying the start-up had violated their agreement by selling Warner's music without copy protection software.”

It’s OK by Warner if the store helps customers to rip the CDs into MP3s but it’s not OK if those MP3s are without DRM. This way of selling music "flagrantly violates" the agreement between the label and the store.

Earlier this year Warner Music Chief Executive Edgar Bronfman had expressed his views on DRM.... read more

Entry tags: actions against consumers 13, DRM 14, Warner 9
7 votes

18 April 2007, 13:58

Liberal Party says 'Copyright law is outdated'

The Norway Liberal Party (Venstre) which is holding 6% of the seats in parliament has issued a resolution stating that “Copyright law is outdated”.

“A society where culture and knowledge is free and accessible by everyone on equal terms is a common good. Large distributors and copyright owners systematically and widely misuse copyright, and thereby stall artistic development and innovation.”

Here are some changes proposed by the party “to reinstate the balance in copyright law”:
- Free file sharing for personal use “Laws and regulations, both national and international, need to be changed so they only regulate limitations of use and distribution in a... read more

Entry tags: file-sharing 12, consumer opinion 8, copyright 7, DRM 14, Norway 3
9 votes

11 April 2007, 20:28

Take part in an opinion survey on the RIAA

UPDATE: the survey is closing this week, around 19 April.

Take part an online opinion survey on how the public perceives the RIAA and its actions.

It’s a true/false questionnaire determining whether people see the RIAA’s claims and actions as anything but biased cartel spin. Here are some true/false statements from the survey:
- The RIAA claims file sharing is "devastating" the music industry.
- Each sale by a pirate [or file shared] represents a lost legitimate sale, thereby depriving not only the record company of profits, but also the artist, producer, songwriter, publisher, retailer, …... read more

Entry tags: RIAA 16, consumer opinion 8
6 votes

11 April 2007, 16:11

Microsoft to start selling DRM-free music from EMI too

Microsoft has hinted last week that it plans to start selling DRM-free music from EMI and others.

"We've been saying for a while that we are aware that consumers want to have unprotected content," said marketing director for the Microsoft MP3 player Jason Reindorp.

The company sees the EMI’s decision to offer unprotected music as an opportunity to gain a bigger market share as "It potentially makes the competition more on a device-to-device or service-to-service basis. It will force the various services to really innovate." Microsoft hasn’t yet given any exact dates when DRM-free tracks will be available from its store.

Read more:

7 votes

5 April 2007, 01:58

EMI offers its catalogue in DRM-free downloads

On April 02 EMI announced that its catalogue would be available for downloading without DRM. iTunes “ a true pioneer” will be the first on-line store to offer CD quality downloads without DRM which could be played on any device. According to EMI’s CEO this move reflects the current “consumer demand”. A track will cost about $1.29 in the highest quality. Also customers will be able to upgrade the files they already have downloaded to a DRM free mode for a mere $0.30.

According to the corporate press release announcing this historic decision “new premium downloads [will be offered] for retail on a global basis, making all of its digital... read more

9 votes

28 March 2007, 15:19

RIAA vs. students: update

At the beginning of March 23 US colleges and universities received 405 "prelitigation settlement letters" from the RIAA demanding to identify students whose IP addresses were spotted in file-sharing activities. Those students could then conveniently settle with the RIAA with a pre-court discount simply by going to a special web-site. Should the students remain unidentified, then the university could be taken to court instead.

"[Students] no longer buy music like they used to. We're trying to send the right message and encourage them to enjoy music legally," Jonathan Lamy, communications director for the RIAA commented on the problem. Another comment from the RIAA describes the efficient approach: “Our pre-litigation settlement letters are offered as a benefit to university students to allow them to settle claims early, at a substantially discounted sum and off the public... read more

8 votes

24 March 2007, 02:07

CD sales down 20%

According the Nielsen SoundScan data, CD sales in US have declined 20% in the first quarter of 2007 compared to same period in 2006. Only 89 million CDs were sold from the start of 2007 till March 18 and in the first quarter of 2006 the figure was 112 million units.

Although digital downloads are up the overall album sales are down 10% (the researcher counted every 10 downloaded tracks as an album). Sales of individual downloads rose from 242 million tracks to 288 million this year. However in terms of albums digital sales dropped from 119 million in 2006 to 99 million in 2007.

Among the reasons suggested for the decline are piracy, closure of stores (800 music stores were closed in US in 2006) and competition from DVDs. Also it might be that consumers are buying in a different way now. People can and do buy the single song they like and do not purchase the whole... read more

Entry tags: CD sales 13, digital music sales 19, USA 18
9 votes

19 March 2007, 00:02

Opinion: Where did the music industry go so wrong?

Patrick Faucher, CEO of Nimbit* gives his thoughts on the transition that music industry is undergoing (CNET News.com).

Starting from the times when the music business became a stagnant pond “mucked up with greed, laziness, contempt and excess” he proceeds to the changes delivered by the Internet. “The industry has become decentralized. Major labels no longer have the market muscle or control over the distribution channels as they once did. Technology and consumer choice have caused a shift from the traditional music business model of major labels throwing copious amounts of money behind a few big hits to that of a vast collection of individual artists creating pockets of more moderate success... read more

6 votes

18 March 2007, 17:51

Report: DRM spending to reach $9bn by 2012

According to a new market research report from Insight Research Corp. DRM related spending will exceed $9 billion by 2012. This will include spending on soft- and hardware “technologies that enable the content owner and distributors to assign and control rights and conditions for viewing, listening, and employing the content present in digital media and applications”.

In 2007 total worldwide DRM spending will reach $1 billion.

Looking back “DRM evolved over the last two decades to serve corporations that needed a means to deal with information piracy, peer-to-peer file sharing, and various regulatory requirements. So in a sense DRM did not arise to meet the needs of end users, and in fact, it may be said to have evolved to spite the end user," says Robert Rosenberg, President of Insight. “… by and large the focus of the DRM industry is... read more

8 votes

15 March 2007, 16:15

Universal tests DRM free downloads

Universal is testing offering music downloads without DRM. The label admits these are “some micro tests” which do not indicate immediate change of policy. Indeed, only one album by a French artist Emilie Simon has been made available only in France. The cost of the DRM-free album is €9.99.

Similar tests by EMI last year had been very short and did not lead to any changes in the label’s business model.

Other labels haven’t even yet allowed a possibility of DRM free music downloads.


Read more:
Universal begins DRM-free downloads trial, PC Pro

6 votes

8 March 2007, 00:45

EMI discards All Saints

EMI is cutting cost and discarding unprofitable assets. Among others is the girl group All Saints. According to the Mirror, the group has been finally dropped by the label.

"Both the label and the group are proud of the album Studio 1. All Saints are excited about moving forwards with their career and Parlophone wishes them the best of luck".

The decision comes after an unsuccessful attempt of a comeback. Their recent new album reached only the 40th place in the charts. The second single didn’t even make it to the Top 200.

The All Saints’ new album, along with Robbie Williams’ Rudebox and Love by Beatles were among the recent EMI releases which hadn’t performed well and reportedly contributed to the resignation of the label’s top managers.


Read more:
read more

Entry tags: labels 18, CD sales 13, EMI 8, actions against artists 2
9 votes

3 March 2007, 01:39

Online music stores against music publishers efforts to raise the royalty rate

Digital music downloads shouldn’t be considered “public performances” and therefore no additional royalties should be paid, the Digital Media Association (DiMA*) advises to federal court counter to claims “by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP**) that digital music downloads are “public performances” and should, therefore, be subject to a public performance license and royalty”. (DiMa)

“ASCAP’s assertion in federal court that digital distributions of music and video are also public performances confounds legal, business and technological reality,” said Jonathan Potter, DiMA’s Executive Director. “For a decade ASCAP and BMI have successfully preyed on less-confident or underfinanced companies that were willing to pay double-dip royalties. Now, however, we... read more

Entry tags: royalties 8, digital music sales 19, lobbying 15, USA 18, ASCAP 1, DiMA 1
7 votes

2 March 2007, 03:07

RIAA targets thousands of students

The RIAA’s new agenda is about the future of the nation – the students. According to Associated Press, US universities have recently received thousands of notices regarding student who share and\or download copyrighted content.

The group claims there are as many as 15 000 students in 25 universities who are engaged in such illegal activity. This figure represents a threefold increase compared to the previous year.
The RIAA is concerned with the current widespread illegal downloading on campuses, "We have to let people know that if they engage in this activity, they are not anonymous," RIAA President Cary Sherman said.

The universities’ approach to this varies. For example, at Michigan State University students who are caught twice are forced “to watch an eight-minute anti-piracy DVD produced by the RIAA. A third-time offender can... read more

5 votes

28 February 2007, 02:33

EMI and its catalogue for sale. No deals so far.

It has all been only rumors with no official statements that EMI is up for sale or at least its catalogue could be available in DRM-free MP3 to anyone who offers a handsome advance payment. According to Bloomberg, potential buyers interested in the catalogue included Microsoft, Apple Inc., RealNetworks Inc., Yahoo! Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. However, no one had offered enough for EMI’s music and the talks were suspended.

At the same time Warner Music Group Corp. and reportedly a number of private equity groups were in turns trying to buy EMI. Those negotiations haven’t produced any result yet as well.

For the time being EMI keeps reducing its revenue and profit forecasts. It has warned about its falling profits already twice this year. Nevertheless, EMI’s shares rose a few percent after the news of a potential acquisition.
read more

Entry tags: EMI 8, Warner 9, mergers&acquisitions 3
9 votes

20 February 2007, 22:45

Study: file sharing has zero effect on music sales

While falling CD sales is a fact, the reasons for the decline remain unclear. A recent study by Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Koleman Strumpf published in the Journal of Political Economy contradicts the music industry srory that file sharing has had drastic effect on CD sales. Whereas organizations like RIAA and IFPI fail to explain how their alarming figures are calculated, the study explains in detail “whether file sharing has reduced the legal sales of music”.

The conclusion of the researchers is that it hasn’t. “Downloads have an effect on sales that is statistically indistinguishable from zero. Our estimates... read more

Entry tags: CD sales 13, market statistics 11, P2P 6, file-sharing 12
11 votes

15 February 2007, 23:39

ISPs got an offer from RIAA

The RIAA tries to optimize its litigation practice. After a recent setback when a district court ruled that the RIAA is to pay the legal fees for the defendant in a dismissed case, the organization came up with a new idea.

According to Digital Music News the RIAA has recently offered ISPs an option for their subscribers. People can avoid costly litigation and even receive a pre-lawsuit discount. "An early notification will give your customer the opportunity to settle any claims before a suit is filed against them at a reduced rate (discounts of $1000 or more)," the letter... read more

7 votes

11 February 2007, 01:26

Music industry reaction to the DRM abolishment proposal by Apple

The music industry met the Apple’s proposal to abolish DRM with no enthusiasm.

Rather music executives pointed to Mr Jobs that interoperability is the issue and that Apple shouldn’t pretend its all labels’ fault when European consumer protection bodies outlaw iTunes for its proprietary DRM. IFPI commented that contrary to Apple’s CEO argument interoperability won’t be that disastrous to quality control and security. The Apple’s appeal to the labels that they are selling 90% of their music without DRM protection anyway was rejected with... read more

Entry tags: labels 18, IFPI 14, RIAA 16, iTunes 8, DRM 14, Norway 3, Warner 9
2 votes

10 February 2007, 19:51

EMI considers releasing its catalogue in DRM-free MP3s

Last week there was a story in the Wall Street Journal that EMI was about to release its catalogue in MP3 format with no DRM protection.
Some “people familiar with the matter” told the Journal that the label had been inquiring online stores as to what size advance payment they could offer if EMI submitted its catalogue in DRM-free MP3s.
All parties supposedly involved in this story have declined to comment so far.

Read more:
EMI in talks to sell unprotected MP3s, Associated Press via. USA Today
read more

Entry tags: EMI 8, DRM 14
10 votes

7 February 2007, 19:27

Apple speaks against DRM

Yesterday Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive posted an open letter on the company’s site in which he defended Apple and put all the blame for the inefficient DRM system on labels.

Jobs denies that Apple tries to lock customers who bought iPods into using the iTunes store and hasn’t been using its DRM system for that purpose. He argues that on average there’s 22 songs purchased from the iTunes for each iPod ever sold. However, average iPod now holds around 1000 songs. Thus users are not being locked into the iTunes store as 97% of their music comes from elsewhere.

Moreover, Apple sees abolishing DRM as a way forward as neither the current situation with many proprietary music stores nor opening its FairPlay standard will work. “Imagine a world where every... read more

12 votes

3 February 2007, 03:35

Labels countersued by a teenager

The Santangelo kid sued by the RIAA for file-sharing is countersuing the recording industry for “violating antitrust laws, conspiring to defraud the courts and making extortionate threats” (Associated Press).

This story has been going on for a few years now. Robert Santangelo, now 16 years old was 11 when the alleged piracy took place. He denies any wrongdoing and claims it’s impossible to prove anything anyway.

Robert is the son of Patti Santangelo, a mom of 5 sued by the RIAA in 2005. She refused to pay the settlement. The case drew a lot of public attention and the industry finally dropped the case against her. Instead 2 of the Santangelo children are being sued now – 16 year old Robert and his sister Michelle, now 20.

Robert defends himself by claiming that “he never sent copyrighted music to others, that the recording... read more

4 votes

26 January 2007, 21:35

SpiralFrog not launched

SpiralFrog made big news in August when it was hailed as a new model for digital music distribution: free downloads + compulsory viewing of advertisements. Its launch was scheduled for late 2006. However, the service still hasn’t been launched; instead the CEO, 5 board directors and 5 company managers left the company at the end of December.

SpiralFrog is somewhat behind schedule as only 2 majors have agreed to sign licensing agreements with the service: EMI and Universal Music Group. Its model includes DRM and music won’t be playable neither on iPods, nor Zune players. Also the intention was that users will have to watch 90 seconds of advertisements before they could download anything.

The service founder has rescheduled the launch for some time “in Q1 2007” and appointed a new CEO recently.

Read more:
read more

Entry tags: new services 5
34 votes

26 January 2007, 01:32

iTunes declared illegal in Norway

The Norwegian consumer ombudsman ruled this week that Apple violates consumer protection laws because songs from the iTunes store can only be played on iPods.

The issue should be resolved by 10 October 2007. Apple might open its code to other producers; abandon DRM or jointly develop some new protection system. If the company doesn’t find a solution then the issue will be taken to court with a possibility of closure of the service in Norway altogether.

Some European countries might follow Norway in this action against Apple (Germany, France, Sweden and Finland). The Dutch ombudsman has already “… lodged a complaint not only with the newly formed Dutch Consumer Authority (ConsumentenAutoriteit), which will act as the enforcer of 15 European consumer protection directives, but also with the Dutch anti-trust agency”. (read more

8 votes

23 January 2007, 00:04

Indies create their own licensing agency

On January 20, some of the leading indie labels and artists launched a new agency which will be responsible for their digital licensing deals. This new organization called Merlin should become the “5th major” representing the growing indie sector which by some estimates accounts for 30% of world music sales.

Merlin’s goal is to improve the "poor cousin" status of deals offered to independent labels and change the "growing assumption that, for emerging media, only the four majors need to be licensed”.

As the Merlin Chief Executive Charles Caldas said in a statement - "The form of copyright apartheid currently being applied to the value of independent rights is unacceptable."

Merlin has already struck its first web distribution deal with Snowcap. This will enable Merlin’s members to sell songs on MySpace, YouTube and alike... read more

5 votes

20 January 2007, 00:18

RIAA acts against a well-known hip-hop DJ. Arrests follow

DJ Drama was arrested last week on charges of felony. Police worked in cooperation with RIAA which accuses the artist of violation of various copyright laws and selling unlicensed mixtapes of copyrighted music.

This action was met with some surprise by the public as the DJ “… is mostly regarded as a central and important figure in the promotion of new rap artists, particularly those in the South. Rappers like Young Jeezy, T.I., and Lil' Wayne have all been propelled by Drama, and the mixtape celebrity often works closely with artists to craft street releases”. (Digital Music News) Or as The New Your Times puts it - “In the world of hip-hop few music executives have more influence than DJ Drama”.

However, RIAA has no qualms about the issue. "Whether it's a mixtape or a compilation or whatever it's... read more

6 votes

14 January 2007, 20:20

EMI's top executives dismissed. Labels consider digital music options

Last week’s news suggests that labels begin to acknowledge that music industry is changing and even may try to restructure their businesses accordingly.

EMI
On 12 January the EMI Group released a statement announcing dismissal of its 2 top executives, a new cost saving plan and possible decline of revenues for 2006-2007.

The company describes the current market conditions as continuously weak. The Christmas sales were disappointing and albums released in the second half of the year didn’t perform as well as expected.

"In the Christmas trading period, EMI had been counting on strong performance by two key products — "Love," an album of remixed material from The Beatles, and Robbie Williams' latest album "Rudebox".

"Love" performed respectably, reaching No. 5 on the Billboard chart in... read more

Entry tags: labels 18, Universal 8, CD sales 13, market statistics 11, USA 18, Sony BMG 1, EMI 8
9 votes

12 January 2007, 00:06

The US music market now and in 2010

At the end of 2006 research companies released some statistics and forecasts regarding the US music market.

In January 2007 US album sales reached 9.41 million units which is 17.6 % less than a year ago (Nielsen Soundscan). The chart-toping album Dreamgirls with 66 000 albums sold is a lowest ever figure for number 1 album sales since Nielsen Soundscan began publishing its figures in 1991.

The digital downloads share in the total volume of music sold is growing. However, digital sales will not compensate for lost CD sales. By 2011 22% of music will be sold in digital format and consumers will be spending $ 2.5 billion on it (JupiterResearch).

Another research company estimates that US consumers will spend much more than that on digital music. In 2010 the figure will be $4.9 bln - almost three times the current level of $1.9... read more

Entry tags: CD sales 13, market statistics 11, digital music sales 19, USA 18
31 votes

23 December 2006, 02:58

ISP opens access to AllofMP3.com after the Piratebay public campaign

At the beginning of December a Swedish ISP decided to block its users in Sweden and Denmark  from accessing AllofMP3.com.

This move received a fair amount of criticism as the Perspektiv Bredband ISP admitted it was a moral and not a legal standpoint.

As a part of a protest campaign against such moral Internet censorship by ISPs Piratebay in turn blocked Perspektiv Bredband customers from accessing the PirateBay BitTorrent tracker.

A week later Perspektiv Bredband had reversed its decision and opened access to AllofMP3.com.

“We made a hasty decision and we withdrew from our mission. We are sorry about this. Together with our new chairman of the board, the management agrees that limiting Internet access is not within the framework of our business,” said Fredrik Winbladh, President of... read more

27 votes

18 December 2006, 01:17

iTunes revenues have decreased by 65%

A recent report by Forrester Research titled Few iPod Owners Are Big iTunes Buyers  reveals some pessimistic findings about the iTunes service.

2,700 US iTunes debit and credit card transactions had been analyzed over a 27-month period and it turned out that only 3% of online households in US bought music from iTunes in 2006. In the past year an average user spent $35 in the iTunes store. Half of credit card transactions were less than $3.

An average iPod user has bought 20 songs since the launch of iTunes.

The report also claims that since January the monthly revenue of the store has fallen by 65%.

Apple shares fell 3% after the report. Shortly after... read more

31 votes

14 December 2006, 18:10

Piratebay blocks an ISP which had blocked AllofMP3

Piratebay has launched a campaign against a Swedish ISP that had decided to block its customers from accessing AllofMP3.com. In turn Piratebay will block the Perspektiv Bredband ISP from accessing the popular PirateBay BitTorrent tracker.

In a statement at piratbyran.org Piratebay insists that the Perspektiv Bredband ISP acted in the interests of powerful media companies rather then in the interests of the customers. “After dialogues with Swedish and Danish anti-piracy organisations Perspektiv Bredband has blocked access of allofmp3.com for both their Swedish and Danish customers. In Sweden there is no legal reason to do so since allofmp3.com is legal to use. Perspektiv Bredband clearly states in their press release that it is a moral and not... read more

9 votes

13 December 2006, 11:22

EFF protests against RIAA tactics

While RIAA petitions for less royalties for the artists, EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), an organization which defends “our freedoms in the networked world” is gathering signatures for a petition urging the Congress to put an end to RIAA’s practice of in suing ordinary Americans.

80 000 US citizens have already signed the document on the EFF website. The organization plans to deliver the petition to the Senate and House Commerce and Judiciary Commitees after 100 000 signatures are gathered.

EFF believes that RIAA’s tactics not only harm... read more

Entry tags: RIAA 16, file-sharing 12, consumer opinion 8, USA 18, public campaigns 3
11 votes

10 December 2006, 21:18

RIAA petitions for less royalties for artists and more for labels.

Last week in USA RIAA petitioned a panel of federal government copyright judges to change royalty distribution ratio and lower statutory royalty rates so that songwriters would get less and labels would get more.

This road to more equality is paved with good intentions indeed. Last time labels and songwriters negotiated a ratio was 25 years ago. Since then technology and the market have changed considerably. Now labels are loosing money as CD sales decline while songwriter are actually getting more from ringtones and other innovative services.

According to The Hollywood Reporter RIAA's executive vp and general counsel Steven Marks commented that "Mechanical royalties currently are out of whack with historical and international rates…[RIAA] hope[s] the judges will restore the proper balance by reducing the rate... read more

Entry tags: labels 18, royalties 8, lobbying 15, RIAA 16, legislation 9, copyright 7, USA 18
7 votes

7 December 2006, 00:21

Australia legalizes use of MP3 players

The Australian parliament has passed a new law on copyright. The legislation had been revised as the government decided it was out of date.

Among other changes the law will legalize copying of CDs to MP3 players (provided it’s done for private use). As Attorney General Philip Ruddock put it: "It will legalise format shifting of materials such as music, newspapers, books, meaning that people can put their CD collection onto iPods or mp3 players".(The Age) On the other hand penalties for large scale commercial piracy will be toughened.

This law will come into effect when it receives royal approval. That is likely to happen before Christmas.

New law makes iPod use... read more

12 votes

2 December 2006, 00:01

The best Russian folk-rock group Melnitsa (Windmill) presents the new album!

The Album title sounds like "Zov krovi" in Russian. We can translate it like "Call of Blood". It is the third album of this group which includes its best songs.

Melnitsa has long ago occupied the top positions of musical hit parades. This year the group will pass its 7th birthday. Melnitsa's works are based on Russian and Irish folk melodies, and it is the first Russian folk group represented in the European market.

Here is the tracklist in English with a phonetic transcription of the Russian titles:

01. Racer's Bride (Nevesta Poloza)
02. Call of Blood (Zov krovi)
03. Tamerlane's Doors (Dveri Tamerlana)
04. Grass (Travushka)
05. Sister (Sestra)
06. Full moon (Polnolunie)
07. Tale of Devil (Skazka o Dyavole)
08. Dragon (Drakon)
09. Hey, wave (Hey,... read more

Entry tags: Music updates 1
7 votes

1 December 2006, 02:31

Universal tries to negotiate an 'iPod tax'

Labels try new ways to get the money they believe are getting lost due to piracy and carelessness of consumers. New idea is that it might be easier to tax consumers when they buy an MP3 player rather then hope they will stay away from peering.

News leaked out this week that Universal Music Group tries to negotiate a royalty fee for every iPod sold.

Universal has already succeeded in doing so for Zune players produced by Microsoft. Assumingly the label will receive $1 for every $250 of Zune sales.

Consumers will pay even if they will never listen to Universal’s music on their players. Actually many developed countries do have some kind of copyright levy or a tax on blank media such as CDs or memory devices like MP3 players. Consumers have to pay it even if they are going to use a blank CD to record their own song or home video.read more

9 votes

29 November 2006, 19:09

Music industry pushes for almost twofold increase of copyright term

Copyright on some popular music performed in 50’s is going to expire in few years. In UK and EU performers and what’s more important producers may benefit from a sound recording for 50 years. (While authors and their families receive royalties for their entire life plus 70 years on).

For example copyright on some recording by Beatles may expire in 2012 in EU. So music industry represented by IFPI, BPI and some musicians advocates for an increase of copyright term from 50 years to 95.

The UK government has taken the issue seriously and commissioned a report to help its decision. However, the study was a huge disappointment for the industry as the paper suggests that the increase is unnecessary. According to The Guardian the demands of music industry might be rejected thereof.

This report will be... read more

Entry tags: royalties 8, BPI 3, lobbying 15, legislation 9, UK 4, copyright 7
20 votes

22 November 2006, 15:11

RIAA launches "Holiday blitz". Germany sets maximum fine for peering at 50 Euro.

As Christmas holiday season is the most important time for music sales RIAA along with MPAA have launched a Holiday Blitz campaign aimed at “protecting holiday shoppers from purchasing illegal copies of their favorite movies and music and defending movie studios and the recording industry against the loss of crucial holiday sales, especially those from newly released — or even not-yet released — titles”. (www.riaa.com/news)

Significant attention will be devoted to peering as RIAA has much experience in dealing with file-sharers.

At the same time in Europe, German government read more

5 votes

21 November 2006, 14:41

Chinese search engine wins over IFPI in court

Baidu.com the largest Chinese search engine was cleared of the IFPI’s accusations in a Beijing court. The Intermediate court has overturned the previous decision of a lower court which did find Baidu.com guilty of copyright infringement few months ago. This time the court decided that there’s no infringement as Baidu.com simply provides web links to the music, but all the music is downloaded from servers of third parties.

The IFPI Chairman John Kennedy said he was amazed “amazed by this inexplicable judgment that is totally out of step with Chinese law”. None of the IFPI demands were satisfied: no public apology, no suspension of Baidu’s service and no compensation. Music companies are going to appeal this court ruling.

Baidu’s spokesman warned everyone that if the music companies had won that would have destroyed the whole... read more

Entry tags: labels 18, copyright lawsuits 14, IFPI 14, China 3
5 votes

18 November 2006, 01:22

Universal sues MySpace

Universal finally found 60 pieces of its content which infringe copyright on MySpace and went to court demanding from the News Corp. a $150 000 compensation for each piece (that’s $9 mln. in total). Universal accuses MySpace of encouraging users to upload “stolen” content.


MySpace defends itself by claiming that it operates in full compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and that it does "not induce, encourage or condone" copyright violations. Also the company is about to introduce a technology that will block unauthorized content.


Why MySpace may settle with Universal Music Group, MarketWatch
read more

Entry tags: Universal 8, MySpace 3, copyright lawsuits 14
2 votes

17 November 2006, 14:20

Google to set aside funds for possible copyright claims

According to The Guardian Google has set aside $200m. for possible copyright lawsuits that might follow after it acquired YouTube last week. Although it might not be that bad as major labels (Vivendi, Sony BMG and Warner) received a small stake it the company.

Search giant sets aside $200m for YouTube court cases, The Guardian

Entry tags: labels 18, YouTube 2, copyright lawsuits 14, royalties 8, Google 1
6 votes

15 November 2006, 19:21

Young people think CDs will be gone in 5 years and that will make the planet cleaner

2000 young people aged 13-24 submitted their views on digital music in the study carried out in UK by 3, a mobile phone operator.

- 60% think CDs will disappear in 5 years;
- 85% think downloading music rather than buying a CD can help to save the planet;
- 76% say downloading is more attractive because music can be accessed instantly which is much more convenient than going to a shop.

Also the mobile operator expects that mobile downloads will overtake downloads to a PC in 5 years if the current grow rate of mobile downloading stays the same.

More here:
Mobile - the Future of the Music... read more

6 votes

14 November 2006, 13:02

Music industry fails to explain how the piracy losses are calculated

A study by the Australian Institute of Criminology revealed that software and music industries couldn’t explain how they calculated piracy losses, even though this data was used for lobbying efforts and in court cases (The Australian reports).

According to The Australian, the Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI) – a body responsible for “investigative and intellectual property rights enforcement related services to the Australian music industry” did not know how piracy estimates were calculated as data it collected was processed by the IFPI in London. The MIPI manager commented that: "The reason … [she] wasn't personally aware of how they are... read more

Entry tags: IFPI figures 2, IFPI 14, lobbying 15, Australia 3, piracy statistics 3
19 votes

12 November 2006, 21:53

CD sales will drop 50% in 3 years says a Sony executive

An article in the Guardian cites some executives talking about the future of the music industry at an industry conference in London last week.

Ged Doherty, the UK head of Sony BMG said that CD sales would drop 50% in just 3 years. The digital music sales will grow 25% per year and that will not offset the decline in CD sales leaving the industry 30% behind in terms of revenues by 2010. “We have to reinvent… we are running our businesses like it is 1982” said Mr Doherty.

There also were prediction that DRM will be abandoned soon.

Demand for CDs forecast to halve in three years, The Guardian

25 votes

6 November 2006, 14:29

Logic behind the decision of the Danish Court

An English translation of the Danish court decision which ruled that a provider shall block its customers from accessing Allofmp3.com has been posted on the Internet.

In short the provider shall block the site as it’s illegal. The site is illegal because music is “offered for very low price on the website as well as …[because of] the information from the Russian branch of IFPI…” Actually IFPI believes that the body which licensed AllofPM3.com should have asked IFPI first. However IFPI couldn’t prove it neither in Russian nor in any other court. It remains unclear what kind of evidence could persuade the Danish court that Russian legislation has less force than information from IFPI.

Read more:
IFPI vs Tele 2 ---- in... read more

Entry tags: IFPI 14, allofmp3.com 11, ISPs 6, legislation 9, Denmark 3
15 votes

3 November 2006, 15:27

Spanish court rules: peering is OK for private use... or is it?

A court in Spain ruled this week that downloading music for free from the Internet is legal as long as it is done for private use. This happens for the first time in Europe.

The IFPI commented on the decision that "This is extremely unusual”. Later after a somewhat excited media coverage of the case the IFPI hastened to anoounce that “Swapping copyright-infringing music through peer-to-peer networks remains illegal in Spain as it is throughout Europe and virtually everywhere else”. Even the Spanish Justice Minister got involved with a clear statement “that file-sharing copyrighted music without permission is illegal.'

However, the judge made a point that if downloading music for private use was a criminal offence: "That would imply criminalising socially admitted and widely practised behaviour where the aim... read more

Entry tags: copyright lawsuits 14, IFPI 14, P2P 6, legislation 9, Spain 1
4 votes

1 November 2006, 02:57

IFPI preaches ISPs' censorship in Australia

What do the Australian ARIA Awards have to do with IFPI? John Kennedy, IFPI’s chairman and CEO visited Australia for the ceremony and used a chance to convey the idea of word wide censorship to the local population.

The Sydney Morning Herald cites the main points of Mr. Kennedy’s message about ultimate control of users. "What we hope is our next step is to engage ISPs in performing a role in dealing with piracy online… If ISPs refuse to co-operate, Mr Kennedy said he would take his requests up to Australian politicians. "We're saying to governments: If the ISPs aren't willing to do this on a voluntary basis, isn't this something you're prepared to regulate? … Mr Kennedy admits that the measures he has taking are "draconian", but said it was the only way to convince users to obtain their music legally."

However, does he talk... read more

Entry tags: IFPI 14, lobbying 15, actions against consumers 13, ISPs 6, Australia 3
1 votes

31 October 2006, 14:25

MySpace will filter music uploaded by its community

In a recent press-release the MySpace portal announced that it will “review all music audio recordings uploaded by community members to their profiles… and block unauthorized copyrighted music audio recordings from being posted on its site.”

Well done! For some time MySpace has been making it possible that copyrighted content is available to tens of millions of users for free. If MySpace wasn’t owned by a big corporation it might have got into much trouble very soon.

Now the service decided to protect the rights of artists.

MySpace to block illegal use of copyright music, Reuters
MySpace & YouTube Content Take Down Continues, Hypebotread more

Entry tags: MySpace 3
2 votes

31 October 2006, 13:36

Universal to lower prices for digital downloads

The Universal Music Group has announced that it will lower prices for its music sold in digital form. For a start 1,500 albums will be sold for less in Europe, including “albums by artists ranging from Buddy Holly (The Chirping Crickets), Dusty Springfield (Dusty In Memphis) and the Who (The Who Sell Out, Quadrophenia,) to Bob Marley and the Wailers (Natty Dread, Rastaman Vibration), R.E.M. (Reckoning) and the Cure (17 Seconds)” (UMG press release).

Retail prices for album downloads are expected to change from $12.68 to $8.87 and $15.17 to $10.42 respectively.

Universal Music Drops Catalog Download Prices In Europe, Digital Music News

Entry tags: labels 18, Universal 8, pricing 4
7 votes

29 October 2006, 14:19

A 300-year old UK law makes it illegal to copy a CD to your MP3 player

Talking of what is legal what is not. Russia has been criticized for some time for its copyright legislation in connection with allofmp3.com.  However, Russian legislation could be the most modern one. The Civil Code in its part concerning copyright is being passed through the parliament this fall. Still, legislation is changing slower than technology and public opinion, especially with the amount of lobbying in some countries.
The article in Telegraph.co.uk this weekend brings up an interesting fact – in UK everyone who dares to copy a CD that he or she owns to an MP3-player or PC is breaking the law. This conclusion comes from a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research. The report says that “Unknown to many, the 1709 Statue of Anne which came into law as the first Copyright Act in 1710 still governs the enforcement of... read more

Entry tags: legislation 9, UK 4, consumer opinion 8
5 votes

26 October 2006, 13:28

P2P traffic is growing in Germany

Despite thousands of lawsuits filed by IFPI against users of BitTorrent, eDonkey, DirectConnect, Gnutella, Limewire, etc. peering is thriving in Europe. Here are the numbers: “P2P traffic uses a share of 30% (daytime) and 70% (nighttime) of the overall Internet traffic in Germany. The absolute data volume has risen by 10% between June and October 2006. BitTorrent has surpassed eDonkey as the most popular file sharing network and causes more than half of all P2P traffic in Germany. Both networks generate over 95% of the P2P traffic and have nearly displaced previously popular networks such as Kazaa's FastTrack.” (from a survey by Ipoque). As to what is shared, for example, for BitTorrent the figures are: Music 22%, Video (movies) 21%, Video (porn) 15%.

More here:

Entry tags: IFPI 14, KaZaa 1, P2P 6, BitTorrent 1, file-sharing 12, Germany 3
15 votes

26 October 2006, 05:32

Danish ISP forced to block customers from AllofMP3.com

In this long dispute between the site and IFPI the latter will try everything to push AllofMP3 out of business. The WTO thing did not work. Russia defends its conditions of entery and its negotiators said this week that unless their conditions are accepted, Russia is not interested. (Just to remind, there was a condition from USA lobbyists – that Russia must shut the site to be able to join WTO).

Another recent attack by IFPI is a civil suit in Denmark against one of the ISPs there. And this week the court finally ruled that Tele2 must block its customers from using AllofMP3.com.

“The telecommunications industry in Denmark has expressed outrage and concern over the verdict, as they feel it implies ISPs are now responsible for the activities of their users – not to mention a legal gray area where no verdict has been made... read more

Entry tags: IFPI 14, lobbying 15, allofmp3.com 11, actions against consumers 13, ISPs 6
35 votes

24 October 2006, 13:08

Another attack against AllofMP3.com after its press conference. VISA and Mastercard this time

AllofMP3.com has made it to the headlines last week… again…when the dispute between the site and the major card processing companies finally surfaced (right after AllofMP3 decided to defend its position publicly at an on-line press conference).

Visa and MasterCard have hardy made any comments apart from these few lines. "The action Visa has taken is in line with legislation passed in Russia and with basic international copyright and intellectual property norms," said Simon Barker, a spokesman for the company. (PC pro) "A Mastercard spokesman added the firm "did not tolerate the use of its network for illegal activity." (Forbes)

The legitimacy of this move has yet to be proven just as the accusations of IFPI, RIAA, USA officials, etc.

More in the press:

read more

Entry tags: lobbying 15, allofmp3.com 11
19 votes

21 October 2006, 15:03

Prices for legal music in China are lower than at AllofMP3.com

The campaign against AllofMP3.com has been going on for some time already. The site has been a target for abundant accusations, threats, lies, lobbying, etc.

Just to give an example: "The reason AllofMP3.com downloads are cheap, is that neither the artists nor the record companies are being paid" said the BPI General Counsel Roz Groome in April.

So the industry assumes that the site's price for music is too low for it to be legal and for artists to be compensated. However, the same (or even lower) price per track is being charged at a legal Chinese service top100.cn. It was launched some 8 months ago and has not received much press in the West, apart from the initial press release and recent news about Orchard licensing its catalogue to the biggest legal Chinese download service. "For just one yuan... read more

Entry tags: labels 18, IFPI 14, BPI 3, top100.cn 1, China 3, lobbying 15, pricing 4, allofmp3.com 11
2 votes

17 October 2006, 06:39

IFPI files 8000 lawsuits against users worldwide

IFPI the body representing major labels like EMI, Warner Music, Sony BMG and Virgin has filed some 8000 lawsuits against users in 17 countries. The organization claims that around 20 billion songs were downloaded illegally last year. (or roughly 3 songs per each person living on the planet).

IFPI sees suing users as the most efficient way to fight illegal peering. Eliminating the networks themselves has proved difficult despite recent settlements, such as the Kazaa case. The latter is now a legal peering service having paid the industry a settlement of $100 mln. However, there’s still plenty of peering networks. “The industry is targeting uploaders using all the major unauthorised P2P services, including BitTorrent, eDonkey, DirectConnect, Gnutella, Limewire, SoulSeek and WinMX.” (IFPI.org) The IFPI campaign is more about people using the... read more

5 votes

16 October 2006, 04:12

On-line music sales continue to grow

Sales of music on-line show record growth while the CD sales continue to decline. As recently released data from IFPI shows - in the first half 2006:

- Global legal digital music sales rose 106% to $945m (which is 11% of the total recorded music market and twice as much as at the end of 2005).
- The US music market has one of the biggest figures for digital music share (18%). In other countries this figure is: South Korea (51%), Japan (11%), Italy (9%), UK (8%), Germany (5%) and France (5%).
- In the US digital sales increased by 84%.
- Global music sales are down 4% (and are now $8.4bn in trade values, or $13.7bn at the retail level). In 2005, the sales declined by 3%.
- Revenues from sales of music in physical formats declined 10% (compared to the 6,7% decline in whole 2005.)

IFPI Chairman and CEO John Kennedy has... read more

3 votes

17 September 2006, 21:16

Universal attacks YouTube and MySpace

Universal has recently attacked YouTube and MySpace sites, as Reuters reports, accusing them of infringing copyright as well as owing the industry “tens of millions of dollars” already.
Whether Universal will sue or try to negotiate with the sites is not yet clear. So far the labels want to be paid for the copyrighted material whereas the sites would rather offer content for free but with some amount of advertising.
Possible development of this story is that either the label will change its business model substantially or launch yet another lawsuit against sites offering content.
 

Entry tags: labels 18, Universal 8, MySpace 3, YouTube 2, copyright lawsuits 14, royalties 8

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