A Couple of Pieces from The Register

  • Belgian watchdog sues record biz over copy protection (Slashdot discussion — CD Copy Protection Case Goes to Court

    Belgian consumer watchdog Test-Achats (Test Aankoop), known for its crusade against Nokia’s “unsafe batteries”, starts the new year with a fresh assault on the music industry. It is taking the music giants EMI, Sony, BMG Music and Universal Music to court for installing anti-piracy systems on their audio CDs.

    In a press release, Test-Achats says it has received lots of consumer complaints in recent months about CDs equipped with anti-piracy systems, in particular ‘Laundry Service’ by Shakira, ‘1 Giant Leap’ by Faithless and Bjork’s ‘Greatest Hits’. Often, these CDs can’t be read by PCs and car stereos, and prevent users from making legal private copies, according to Test-Achats.

  • Music sales are on the mend

    Despite launching a legal assault against its customer base, the recording industry appears to be benefitting from increasing music sales once again.

    While 2003 music sales were flat overall, the record labels enjoyed a healthy spike in the fourth quarter, hinting that the industry doom and gloom so often suggested by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) may be fading. Recent data from Nielsen SoundScan shows that an improving economy is having a positive effect on the music biz.

    In 2003, total music shipments slipped but 0.8 percent when compared to 2002. Sales also fell slightly by 3.6 percent year-on-year. In the fourth quarter, however, unit shipments surged 10.5 percent compared to 2002 with sales also rising 4.3 percent.