RIAA Sues Homeless Man

"In a Manhattan case, Warner v. Berry, the RIAA sued a man who lives in a homeless shelter, leaving a copy of the summons and complaint not at the homeless shelter, but at an apartment the man had occupied in better times, and had long since vacated."


RIAA Sues The Dead

"However the RIAA's embarrassment doesn't end there. Chianumba said that she had sent a copy of her mother's death certificate to record company lawyers in response to an initial warning letter, over a week before the suit was filed."

More from Andrew Orlowski / The Register

RIAA Gives Family 60 Days To Grieve Before Continuing Case Against Dead Man

"It seemed like maybe they'd scraped bottom when they suggested a student should drop out of MIT to pay a few thousand dollars for file sharing, but they've now topped that one. When one of the people they were suing (who appeared to be fighting the charges) happened to die earlier this summer, the RIAA kindly requested that the case be pushed back 60 days for the family to grieve, before the RIAA started deposing the dead man's children."

More from Mike Masnick / Tech Dirt

The Accused Fights Back

"In Andersen’s case, she contacted the RIAA’s settlement support center after being served. According to her complaint, a support center employee told her that unless she paid the association $4,000-$5,000, she would be ruined financially. Additionally, the action states, the claim center employee told Andersen that he believed she was innocent, but she should pay something anyway. He explained ... that defendants would not quit their attempts to force payment from her because to do so would encourage other people to defend themselves,” the complaint states."

More from Stephanie Francis Ward / ABA Journal

14 Most Ridiculous Lawsuits Filed By The RIAA And The MPAA

"The RIAA alone had managed to sue upwards of 35,000 people after their win against Napster, and when they had finally announced in late 2008 that they would stop filing lawsuits on a grand scale, they still reserved the right to sue particular offenders whom they deem to be the worst. In the meantime, the duo turned their attention to the Internet Service Providers, in an attempt to exert a measure of force on those companies to handle offenders by disallowing them internet access"


Warner Music CEO Fesses Up To Music Industry's Mistakes

"We inadvertently went to war with consumers by denying them what they wanted and could otherwise find and as a result of course, consumers won."

More from Matt Buchanan / Gizmodo

RIAA Lawsuit Campaign: An Epic Failure

"RIAA Spent $17.6 Million In Lawsuits... To Get $391,000 In Settlements?"

More from Mike Masnick / Tech Dirt

RIAA Defends Lawsuit Spending...But Reminds Everyone How It Helps Screw Over Musicians

"If the labels are getting this money... has any of it been passed on to artists? In the discussion on the original story, we had one commenter, who works as an auditor in the music licensing field, who pointed this out and noted that this money isn't going to artists or songwriters at all. We had pointed this out back in 2006, when part of the Google buyout of YouTube involved paying off the big record labels... and that deal was structured in a way that those labels didn't have to share that money with artists."

More from Mike Masnick / Tech Dirt

RIAA Lawsuits Not Yielding Artist Payments Yet

" “Artist managers and lawyers have been wondering for months when their artists will see money from the copyright settlements and how it will be accounted for,” said lawyer John Branca, who has represented Korn, Don Henley, and The Rolling Stones, among others. Some of them are even talking about filing lawsuits if they don’t get paid soon."

More from WebProNews

RIAA gets $105 million from LimeWire, but musicians left empty-handed

"According to RIAA spokesman Johnathan Lamy, money “recovered” via lawsuits gets dumped back into the coffers to help fund future anti-piracy campaigns."

More from Lee Matthews / Geek.com

Industry Fail: Four Musicial Mistakes Of The Decade

"The chief failure of the recording industry this decade, some have written, was its initial decision to treat digital music as an enemy. Rather than find a way to embrace Napster and its 26 million users, the Recording Industry Association of America took legal action against the company, thus only diffusing and intensifying the methods and rate of piracy. With the genie freed from the bottle, the music business is still reeling."

More from Patrick Jarenwattananon / NPR Music

Sony BMG Caught Pirating Software

“In the past, for example, we've pointed out that the MPAA was using software in an unauthorized manner, and also that it had made unauthorized copies of a movie, against the demands of the movie's producer. Now, we find out (via Slashdot) that Sony BMG has been caught in a BSA raid with a ton of unauthorized software -- potentially up to 47% of the software at the offices.”

More from Mike Masnick / Tech Dirt

Weird Al' Yankovic Sues Sony Over Royalties

“The music parodist alleges that Sony took improper and duplicate recoupments resulting in underpayment of his royalties, has not paid him his fair share of revenue from his YouTube hits and the label has not shared money from settlements with Napster and Kazaa. Yankovic is also seeking a 50 percent cut of net receipts from digital downloads of his music, as his deal classifies that as a license rather than a traditional sale, which has a much lower royalty rate.”

More from Rolling Stone

Artist Managers Demand RIAA Shares Settlement Money

“7 years after Napster, 2 years after KaZaA, and 1 year after Bolt, music artists have yet to see a cut from the money intended to compensate them for the damages these services allegedly caused.”

More from Jared Moya / Zeropaid

Rolling Stone Writes Obituary For The Recording Industry's Suicide

“Yeah, it's not like most of the folks outside of the recording industry didn't recognize this years ago, but Rolling Stone has pretty much summed up the situation in the recording industry by writing what is effectively an obituary for the industry's suicide. ”

More from Mike Masnick / Tech Dirt

A Little History

The creation of the first Performance Rights Organization (PRO) explained by Harvey Reid, "ASCAP was formed in 1913, shortly after the 1909 Copyright Law was enacted,supposedly prompted by the discovery that beloved songwriter Stephen Foster died penniless while publishers became wealthy on his music. A system was set up, based on tabulating the publishing of printed sheet music and soon amended to include the sales of recordings, whereby the composer and/or writer would receive a royalty for each copy distributed."

The PRO's were created to protect the copyright owners and to ensure they would be compensated. It sounds like a good concept but how well does this 100 year old concept function today and how far is too far?


Small Venues Crippled

"ASCAP has, however, offered to help Baish get right in the eyes of the law, offering him the chance to purchase a blanket license—to the tune of $1,700 a year. That doesn't include the amounts BMI and SESAC will undoubtedly come calling for if he pays their competitor."

More from Noah W. Bailey / Dallas Observer

Birds Can Sing But Campers Can't

Girl Scouts were learning how to dance "The Macarana" in silence. "We were told the fines can be $5,000.00 and six days in jail." (if the children sing or play music)

More from Lisa Bannon / Star Tribune

"We Got A Lot Of Heat, We Got A Big Black Eye From This"

"Girl Scouts were sad, callers were mad, and even one of Woody Guthrie's old singing pals was incredulous yesterday at a national songwriting group's order apparently blocking scouts from singing campfire songs without paying copyright fees."

More from Thaai Walker and Kevin Fagan / San Francisco Chronicle

Restaurant Owner Ordered To Pay BMI $30,450 For 'Illegally Playing' Four Unlicensed Songs

“For all its hard work "protecting songwriters," BMI will be receiving $30,450 for four "illegally played songs." In addition, Fosters has been ordered to pay $10,700 in legal fees.”

More from Tim Cushing / Tech Dirt

The Internet Debacle

“I don't pretend to be an expert on intellectual property law, but I do know one thing. If a music industry executive claims I should agree with their agenda because it will make me more money, I put my hand on my wallet...and check it after they leave, just to make sure nothing's missing.”

One other major point: in the hysteria of the moment, everyone is forgetting the main way an artist becomes successful - exposure. Without exposure, no one comes to shows, no one buys CDs, no one enables you to earn a living doing what you love. Again, from my personal experience: in 37 years as a recording artist, I've created 20+ albums for major labels, and I've never once received a royalty check that didn't show I owed them money. So I make the bulk of my living from live touring, playing for 80-1500 people a night, 200-300 nights a year, doing my own show.

More from Janis Ian / Performing Songwriter Magazine

Fallout: A Follow Up To The Internet Debacle

“The music industry is no different from any other huge corporation, be it Mobil Oil or the Catholic church. When faced with a new technology or a new product that will revolutionize their business, their response is predictable: Destroy it. And if they cannot, Control it. And if they cannot, Control the consumer who wishes to use it, and the legislators and laws that are supposed to protect that consumer. ”

More from Janis Ian

Doobie Brothers' Michael McDonald Sues Label

“The filing on behalf of McDonald alleges that the singer is owed at least $500,000 in damages from lost royalties. Other artists, including Kenny Rogers, Peter Frampton and Chuck D of Public Enemy, have similar suits pending.”

More from Rolling Stone

Pink Floyd Sues Long Term Label EMI For Unpaid Royalties

“Pink Floyd is taking their long term record label, EMI to court; suing the label for allegedly miscalculating royalty payments on their back catalog."

More from Brianna Sullivan / The Fader

Licensing To Kill?

Are Performance Rights Organizations Threatening Venues That Foster Young Musicians And Their Future Members?

More from Michael Byrne / City Paper

License To Kill The Music

“It would cost about $2,000 for each [BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC] per year for a music license. It’s just not logistical, especially as a startup,” he says. “Even if my business was established and I was pressured to pay, I would have to stop having live music.”

More from Steve Jansen / Phoenix New Times

ASCAP Targets Farmer's Markets And House Venues

“Well, it turns out that ASCAP is requiring farmers' markets and house venues to pay as well, which will mean fewer venues for local musicians. Yet it's questionable whether those fees are really supporting the musicians they intend to help.”

More from Kathleen Richards / East Bay Express

Extortion Defined


The Hobbs Act defines "extortion" as "the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right." 18 U.S.C. S 1951(b)(2).

Source LectLaw.com

Legal Extortion?

"We have to spend a lot of effort educating our 'customers', making them realize they have an obligation to pay us or we'll sue them and ruin them."

More FSK's Guide To Reality

A Day In The Life Of Legalized Extortion

"It's all legal, but it has all the hallmarks of a pure shakedown -- which is why operations like BMI and ASCAP are notorious for doing more harm than good, by making it much more difficult for up-and-coming musicians to find venues to play in. Many venues simply stop playing music, rather than deal with expensive BMI/ASCAP licenses. On top of that, because of the way these systems work, they tend to funnel money disproportionately to big name artists, again harming less well known songwriters.

More from Mike Masnick / Tech Dirt

ASCAP, BMI Demanding Payment For 30 Second Previews At Web Stores

Within months they tried to squeeze more money out of music video games, they claimed that websites using embedded Youtube music videos should pay them even though they were already being paid by Youtube, they claimed that ringtones are public performances and they should be paid for those too and now they want to be paid for 30 second previews?

More from Mike Masnick / Tech Dirt

How The Music Industry Is Killing Music And Blaming The Fans

“All the time the industry talks of money: money it's lost, money it's owed. It rarely talks about the effects upon artists, and even less about how music itself might suffer. But no one cares about the suits and their bank accounts except shareholders and bankers. People care about their own money, and the industry not only wanted too much of it but also failed to take care of those who had earned it for them: the musicians. And it's the latter that people care about. Because People Still Want Good Music.”

More from Wyndham Wallace / The Quietus

"Songwriter Busted For Playing His Own Music"

“But I didn’t sing any cover tunes,” I protested. “I just played a four-hour concert of all original and traditional material.”

More from Richard Hayes Phillips

"Toto Sues Sony Over Unpaid Royalties "

“Toto's lawsuit also charges that Sony breached their contract in neglecting to pay out these royalties. The band is seeking compensatory damages in excess of $605,000 plus interest, as well as full accounting and legal fees.”

More from Aonton Marshall / Rolling Stone

Another Band Sues Its Label: Two-Hit Band The Motels Sues Label For Internet Sales Royalties

“The whole Eminem-fueled bands suing their label story just seems like it's never going to stop getting bigger, as more and more bands realize that their labels have been keeping themselves afloat by shorting bands on booming digital sales. "

More from Andrew Winistorfer / Prefix