May 5, 2003

2003 May 05 [7:40 am]

(entry last updated: 2003-05-05 08:04:38)

  • Clear Channel moves forward, finding new ways to make revenue at concerts: Concert CD’s Sold on the Spot by a Radio Giant [pdf]

    Clear Channel Communications , the radio broadcasting and concert promotion giant, plans to introduce a venture today that will sell live recordings on compact disc within five minutes of a show’s conclusion. The venture, Instant Live, will enable a band’s still-sweating fans to leave with a musical souvenir instead of say, a pricey T-shirt or a glossy program.

    … So far, the Instant Live performers have been bands like Spookie Daly Pride and Bomb Squad that do not have major record deals. The larger labels would probably frown upon a flood of Instant Live discs competing against their own official releases.

    But Mr. Simon said that Instant Live’s success did not depend on adding big-name acts from major labels. “It would be disingenuous to suggest that we don’t want to expand the universe and do it with signed acts,” he said, “but it is a business regardless.” He declined to make sales forecasts.

    … Although the instant CD idea may work for unsigned acts, it could pose many problems for musicians signed to major labels. Standard contracts, for instance, can stipulate that artists must produce a specific number of albums, so care would need to be taken to ensure that a week’s worth of live CD’s did not fulfill the band’s contract obligation. And negotiating song licenses, particularly when versions of another band’s tunes are involved, can also be thorny.

    But the biggest obstacle to major-label acceptance could be the fear that the instant CD’s would cannibalize the sales of an official release.

  • The Register makes a connection between the new Virginia anti-spam law, the PROTECT Act and P2P file spoofing to raise in interesting question: Madonna’s borderline MP3 tactics

    Virginia’s new anti-spam law makes it a criminal offense to send e-mail with inaccurate and deceptive source or header information. The new PROTECT Act signed by President Bush similarly makes it a federal offense for online pornographers to obtain or use misleading domain names to induce individuals to surf unwittingly to porn sites. At the same time, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed a series of civil complaints against “porn-spammers” alleging that spoofed source information and misleading subject lines constitutes a deceptive trade practice.

    Can this mean that Madonna goes to jail?

    …The message from these laws (and various anti-spam laws across the country) appears to be that using fictitious headers, names, or descriptions in interstate or foreign commerce in order to induce someone to act is an offense — either a crime or, at a minimum, a “deceptive trade practice.”

    This may be bad news for those who post fake files on Kazaa.

    …The actions of RIAA and MPAA in placing files on p2p networks to deceive users of those networks into thinking they’re actual music or video files, to waste their time, resources, energy and bandwidth (not to mention hard drive space and CPU cycles) quite likely is “deceptive” and undoubtedly “affects commerce.”

    …In fact, law, policy and tradition have all held that law enforcement agencies are entitled to use trickery in connection with criminal investigations. But there is no such body of case law with respect to copyright holders.

    Moreover, there is nothing in the FTC Act that says “deceptive trade practices” are permitted if done for a good reason, or against people we don’t like.

    Be interesting to see what another lawyer might make of this argument. The author of this piece is described as follows: “Mark D. Rasch, J.D., is a former head of the Justice Department’s computer crime unit, and now serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Security Counsel at Solutionary Inc.”

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