From Findlaw’s Entertainment Newsletter E-mail

  • From the Christian Science Monitor: As music adapts, consumers win

    “The only way to win people over is to offer online downloading sites that have just as much flexibility,” [Forrester Research’s Josh] Bernoff says. “Ten different companies are planning Windows-based services…. This stuff is on a tear right now, and if 10 different companies can’t among them somehow find the right model for selling to people, then I don’t know if there’s any solution at all here.”

    Even RIAA spokeswoman Amanda Collins admits that the industry relies heavily on the success of these services. “The ultimate measure of the success of our multipronged effort [to fight piracy] … is the long-term growth and success of that legitimate online marketplace,” she says.

    […] But Bernoff doesn’t think the message is instilling a sense of ethics as much as it is instilling a sense of fear.

    “The news is out there and people are nervous,” he says. “The Recording Industry’s best strategy is for [journalists] to write an article about it – even if they’re only suing several hundred people.”

    […] [Grokster’s Wayne]Rosso takes a more cynical view. “I thought Joe McCarthy was dead, but lo and behold, he’s alive and well and running the RIAA.”

  • Music Lawsuit Targets Ind. Karaoke Bar

    In a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis [complaint, pdf], Broadcast Music Inc. alleges an eastside bar violated copyright laws by hosting karaoke and live music shows without paying licensing fees to use popular songs.

    New York-based BMI is a performance rights organization that collects license fees on behalf of songwriters when their music is played on radio, television, the Internet, or is performed publicly.

    The lawsuit claims that Parrotheads Bar and Grill failed to pay licensing fees for using songs such as “God Bless the USA” and “Old Time Rock and Roll.”

The RIAA works the PR

From the BBC: Music firms claim public backing

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) released a survey showing that 52% backed the move.

It questioned 800 people for the poll, two days before targeting 261 individuals for distributing songs on the internet without permission.

The RIAA says piracy is hitting sales, but critics say CD prices are too high.

In the survey, 52% said they supported the music industry’s position, while 21% said they did not support it.

Wonder what the poll results would be now?

Ted Rall on RIAA Lawsuits

Ted Rall, whose cartoons I love and who never manages to make a point without also being extremely antagonistic (and ususally pretty offensive as well), decides that moral relativism is at the heart of the critics’ arguments against the RIAA lawsuits and in favor of filesharing in this September 15, 2003 cartoon.

While he makes a parallel between two crimes that most would agree are not at all comparable, he is highlighting the weaknesses in the current arguments. The challenge is to find a four panel cartoon argument that points out that the role of IP is somewhat different from that from other forms of properties, and the torts against these properties are enforced in service of different social objectives.

Strange Bedfellows in the FCC MediaCon Debate

From mi2n: Dorgan And Lott Say 342,000 Petitions Begin Landing On Capitol Hill Today In Support Of “Congressional Veto” Of FCC Broadcast Ownership

“The FCC’s action was one of the most complete cave-ins to corporate interests I’ve ever seen by what is supposed to be a federal regulatory agency,” [Sen.] Dorgan [D-ND] said. “It is clear the public agrees. In just a few weeks, one-third of a million petitions have been collected asking that the FCC rules be rolled back, and hundreds of thousands of others are speaking out as well. The FCC ignored the public in their process. In Congress, the public will be heard, and the public interest will be served.”

A kuro5hin article on DRM

Valve, Steam and DRM

Technical glitches and decisions made by the copyright holders are turning the simple act of buying a game, installing it and running it into a minefield of checks, any of which can stop you from playing your rightfully purchased game or software should they fail.

I suppose the question is now “will consumers stop feeding copyright holders now that they have bitten the hand?”. From the comments I’ve seen so far, not on a scale that copyright holders will actually notice. Half-Life 2 is set to come out at the end of this month and looks set to be digital distribution’s biggest test. Whether consumers will accept everything that will go along with it, only time will tell.