How record companies induce panic about music piracy to increase their profits and exploit artists

vp-bogeymanFrom UTA Inquiry, Fall 2015:

On May 2, 2000, Lars Ulrich, drummer for the band Metallica, announced that his group was suing Napster, a free file-sharing service that let fans download music online. During the press conference outside Napster’s headquarters, Ulrich presented the company with a giant stack of papers listing the names of 300,000 Napster users. His assertion: Napster was enabling these people to steal music. Continue reading

The Recording Industry in Numbers: A record label centered view of recorded music

The following is an academic essay that I wrote about the recording industry. Rather than publishing it through peer-review journals, I decided to release it to everyone. Please have a look and let me know what you think. It is particularly important because of the newly proposed copyright law. What it shows is that the trade organizations such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI) are very candid with regard to to the way they aim to change the industry. Please read and let’s start a conversation about the impact of the proposed copyright law. Continue reading

Copyright Rewrite: In the name of Musicians, in the pocket of Big Business

As the US Copyright Office pushes forward with plans for the largest overhaul of copyright in decades, it is important not to fall back to the same patterns that have eviscerated musicians and other creative producers. These copyright rewrites always end-up making powerful copyright interests more powerful. Continue reading

Musicians are Laborers

Previously, I mentioned that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) won its first lawsuit against people sharing music via the Internet. As long as there has been copyright legislation, there has been “piracy” – I’m sure that someone was bootlegging print copies of Beethoven’s symphonies. However, no one had been charged for pirating something where they were in turn not profiting from its sale. Sharing music online is not the same thing as selling illegally reproduced music. Furthermore, all of this is being done in the name of the musicians – the RIAA argues that when people download music on file-sharing programs, they are stealing from musicians. But where is the money going from the RIAA’s litigation? Typically the money from lawsuits (not just about file-sharing) goes back to the RIAA and the major record labels. What follows is a brief explanation of why the RIAA and the major record labels are more exploitative of musicians than file-sharers. Future blog posts will further elucidate the erroneous nature of the music industry’s arguments about file-sharing.

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