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back to article Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties

Online radio service Pandora is being sued by a group of record labels seeking payout for songs released more than four decades ago. The Recording Industry Ass. of America (RIAA) said that a number of its member labels, both major and independent, are seeking to recoup money from the streaming music giant for its use of songs …

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STARVING ARTISTS!

And Mickey Mouse CANNOT BUY CHEMO FOR ITS CANCER!

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Re: STARVING ARTISTS!

I keep checking the obits - hoping.

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Re: STARVING ARTISTS!

Artists have had at least 40 years to make money off pre-1972 recordings, and if they're popular enough to still be playing now, I'll bet they already made a killing since any thing popular pre-1972 and still popular now would have been sold in triple-copy on vinyl, cassette, AND CD. These artists already made a bundle*

Copyright shouldn't extend more than 30-ish years anyway

*unless they were screwed out of it by the same record labels that are kicking up a fuss ostensibly on behalf of the artists. I wonder, if they win the case and Pandora has to cough up, how much of the revenue will go to labels and how much to musicians?

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*giggle*

Anyone else still get a decent laugh everytime el reg shortens it to Ass. ? Because I sure do :D

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It's time for the RIAA to roll over again.

I remember when the RIAA was about pre-emphasis and a rollover of 500Hz. That was a good thing. The RIAA is no longer a good thing.

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Unhappy

RIAA concerned for artists?

No, it's the record labels (the music owners) that they are fighting for.

The artists are almost irrelevant to the RIAA.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: RIAA concerned for artists?

The artists are just a necessary evil to them.

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g e
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Re: RIAA concerned for artists?

To paraphrase the opening credits of UK sitcom 'Porridge'...

They accept artists as an occupational hazard

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Anonymous Coward

Re: RIAA concerned for artists?

I'm not certain if there are any artists remaining in the music industry...

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Re: RIAA concerned for artists?

This fight is about some of the record companies favorite artistes. The dead ones.

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Vintage, antique - going for a song, not.

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Buddy Holly has been dead for 55 years.

I am sure he is grateful RIAA is suing people for royalties for his songs.

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Royalties ad infinitum.

I'm sure novelists, painters, architects, other creators (and their descendants) wish they could pull the same trick.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Royalties ad infinitum.

pretty sure novelists can, copyright is author's life + 70 years.

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Re: Royalties ad infinitum.

Even better, the great, great something of Lucy Maud has managed to get trademarks for Anne of Green Gables and tries to squeeze money out of anyone who tries to do anything with the story that has been in the public domain for ages in Canada.

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Re: Royalties ad infinitum.

Copyright is currently author's life + 70 years (or 120 years from creation for corporate works). Expect another Mickey Mouse extension prior to 2023 that extends it yet again, if previous form is anything to go by ^^;

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Oh F... Off

We had this crap with Cliff's Law where audio recordings were considered out of copyright after 50 years but poor old Cliff Richard was down to his last £100m and was complaining that he had nothing for his retirement and relied on royalties to pay his pension. So the good old government increased that to 75 years after brown envelopes were handed out.

Bunch of money grabbing cartel wankers shafting the consumer as ever.

Let's make copyright in line with patents and limit them to 20 years. If you can't turn a good profit after 20 years you're doing something wrong.

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Re: Oh F... Off

Better yet, drop both patents and copyrights to 10 years. Still plenty of time to sell the same song several times over on remasters, collections, greatest hits, etc. Same for movies with cinema, DVD, Bluray, director's cuts and extended editions, TV rights, and so on and so forth.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh F... Off

You're missing the real "problem" that these laws solve.

When music goes out of copyright, then the price of that music will drop. That competes with in-copyright music, so the profits made by people selling in-copyright music would drop.

So of course the cartel of copyright-holders always lobby to prevent out-of-copyright music from existing.

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Joke

Re: Oh F... Off

yeah and nobody ever covers out of copyright music for a profit...../sarcasm

P.

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Re: Oh F... Off

So of course the cartel of copyright-holders always lobby to prevent out-of-copyright music from existing.

Not quite. The cartel is benefitting from the efforts of 1 company. Disney has lobbied hard to have copyright periods extended every time the copyright for Steamboat Willy (the first Mickey Mouse flick) was about to expire. The fact that music is lumped in the same copyright category as film is just convenient for RIAA. IIRC they've been through four or five rounds of bribing lobbying Congress to extend the protection.

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Re: every time the copyright for Steamboat Willy

Yeah, so much so that the last case to reach SCOTUS got Congress a stern warning:

We're not going to hold this extension Unconstitutional, but at some point it has to end. So think about that before you go doing it again.

FWTW

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BA

Pensions

isn't it about time that the record industry mentioned pension plans to "musicians".

The rest of us get paid for the work that we do, when we stop work/retire we live on our pensions or savings. If a "musician" earns 20 million (Dollars/Pounds/Euros) that ought to be enough to last them to the end of their life.

And bugger Cliff Richard and Feargal Sharkey for being totally conned by the "music mafia" and for expecting to be paid well past their sell buy date.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Pensions

"And bugger Cliff Richard........"

As well as a new keyboard it's half a cup of coffee too. Well played Sir.

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Anonymous Coward

Invent a cure for cancer and you will be entitled to royalty payments from the manufacturers for about 20 years.

Write a song about that cure and you are entitled to royalties for your lifetime plus 70 years.

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@ Condiment

+1 Excellent point, well said.

Just something to note about the cancer cure. From proof of concept to getting a drug approved and to market can take about 7-10 years and $1bn. So you are $1bn out of pocket and generally have about 10-13 years to recoup your investment and show a profit.

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Pint

Re: @ Condiment

in fact it is worse than that. Any molecule so long as it is not a naturally occurring one. A molecule that is not specific enough to bind a single naturally occurring target, but specifically different enough, it can warrant a patent, but gives us side-effects.

Beer, because you can make it yourself, and yet people still pay for its side-effects...

P.

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WTF?

Who Is Ripping Whom, RIAA?

"Pandora's conduct also is unfair to the recording artists and musicians whose performances are embodied in Pre-72 Recordings, but who do not get paid for Pandora's exploitation of Pre-72 Recordings."

The real thieves in this is the RIAA who claim to represent artists who, in those early days of R & R, were ripped off left, right and centre by the recording companies. They even made artists compensate them when records (round flack, black things with holes in the middle), etc., were screwed up in production by misplaced labels, deformed moulded tracks [mould too hot] which were the result of sloppy production workers.

So tell me, RIAA, who is going to get the money for Rock Around The Clock - certainly NOT Bill Haley.

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Re: Who Is Ripping Whom, RIAA?

They're holding the money in trust for his grand-neice's dog.

What? She doesn't have a dog?

But she might be thinking of getting one.

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Re: Who Is Ripping Whom, RIAA?

The RIAA are in court at the moment with lots of 50/60s artists who they haven't been paying.

Their claim was that any change in lineup invalidates the original deal with the band and all the musicians had to renegotiate/reregister their royalties - meanwhile the RIAA banked the money.

One famous musicians was having to license his old recordings for ads to raise the money to sue the IRAA to get the royalties for the same recording being played on the radio.

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Childcatcher

Re: Who Is Ripping Whom, RIAA?

Thus, the term "Hollywood accounting".

// applies to record companies, too -- actually, they probably invented it in the first place.

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Anonymous Coward

I feel sorry for Pandora. The RIAA's lobbying and blood sucking experience probably means, it's going to be expensive. "Unfair" huh? Odd word to hear from such parasites.

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Sheer naked greed...

My epiphany came a few years ago in HMV when I wanted to buy a Fred & Ginger DVD as a present. £17.99. My jaw dropped. I didn't buy it.

Just how much profit do these greedy leeches need to make? A 70-year-old film has recouped its costs a hundred times over. I appreciate that I can't expect it for free, but since manufacturing, distribution. etc come in a a couple of quid, £17.99 is not even taking the piss, it's actually offensive.

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Re: Sheer naked greed...

This is why they like putting additional material on the DVDs. Even though the original film may be out of copyright, the 'extras' being recently made, are not. So they feel they are justified in charging that amount.

Whereas I would like just the film. No extras, maybe some scene selections, and very little more.

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Re: Sheer naked greed...

Seventy years? No, that'll still be in copyright.

The term for a film in the US would be 95 years, as a corporate-produced work gets a fixed term. In the UK it's more complicated, but seventy years is a minimum, and unless several key staff all drink the poisoned booze at the wrap party it's going to be a fair bit longer than that.

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Re: Sheer naked greed...

My epiphany came a few years ago as well. I decided that I wanted a copy of "The Cruel Sea", a film made several years before I was even born, but was shocked to find the only copy I could get was €22.00 (no extra features).

Thankfully the Daily Mail sorted me out by giving away a copy of the film some months later, so it only cost me €1.00 and I also got a free "newspaper" with it. The promotion continued for a week and I also got "The Mouse That Roared", "Kind Hearts and Coronets" and a few other Ealing comedies as well, all for a euro (and a free newspaper).

Obviously a newspaper is not going to spend €11 (assuming a 50% markup on the retail DVD) marketing a €1 newspaper, so I am assuming that the costs of obtaining a copy of the film and putting it on a DVD are pretty low.

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Let them try

Pandora probably doesn't have deep enough pockets to really put up a fight, which is sad. The music industry really missed the boat when it didn't see the digital age coming, or they would have started their own streaming service in the early 00's. So what, are they going to go after radio stations that stream live broadcasts too? Why not just let people get a taste of the music so they go and purchase what they like? Unbridled greed, this is part of the reason why people are not buying your shitty music.

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Ah good old New York

The state that constantly refuses to recognize the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution. Or any other parts of the Constitution.

"The Commerce Clause authorizes Congress to regulate commerce in order to ensure that the flow of interstate commerce is free from local restraints imposed by various states."

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Commerce+Clause

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Re: Ah good old New York

To be fair the feds have constantly abused the interstate commerce clause to the point that the 10th amendment (the one that limits Federal authority) is basically dead. The US would be better off if more states made a habit of ignoring that particular clause, at least where it's being obviously abused to expand Federal power into areas that it's not supposed to be mucking about in.

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Re: Ah good old New York

The states have been the worst abusers by far. The 10th was never meant to imply the states were sovereign in any way, yet the states have and continue to assert it does. The last time they pushed too far resulted in a civil war. The US is a UNITED states, not a confederation. The Federal government will ALWAYS be the ultimate power over the states. And always was.

As for the 10th, it in no way limits Congress' power to regulate ALL commerce of the USA as it sees fit. Again, the states are NOT separate, sovereign entities. This is a fiction created by those who wish create their own little fiefdom.

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Re: Ah good old New York

The 10th was never meant to imply the states were sovereign in any way

Actually that's exactly what it was meant for. A little history lesson: pre-Civil War it was "The United States are...". Before that this nation was a loose collection of semi-independent states. The intent behind it is very clear if you look at the letters and journals and things of that sort from the men who wrote it. They believed that there had to be a balance between state power and Federal power to keep both honest.

it in no way limits Congress' power to regulate ALL commerce of the USA as it sees fit.

It specifically denies Congress any powers not specifically granted to it elsewhere in the Constitution. Nowhere in the Constitution is Congress granted power over intrastate commerce, only interstate commerce. So yes, it does limit what commerce they can regulate.

Except that some judge about 70 years back reinterpreted it to say they can regulate intrastate commerce (specifically a farmer who grew wheat that he then kept to feed his own chickens) on the flimsy grounds that it might affect interstate commerce and we started down the slippery slope to the 10th being the completely meaningless paragraph that it is today.

History. It's important ya know.

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The problem isn't Copyright, it's the corporations.

The problem isn't Copyright, it's the corporations.

Copyright is 'supposed' to protect the artist.

Is 75 years guaranteed income for an author who takes 1-5 years to write a book and earns £1 a sale (if lucky) really that much when most books only sell a few thousand.

So let's have 10 years Copyright for a Novel and then what happens? In year 11 a large film company releases a block buster and makes squillions giving nothing to the author.

Or a muscian who has a back catalogue of great work who gets discovered/ becomes popular 30 years after he's done most of his work.

What happens, corporations come along and sell his work - he gets nothing, streaming sites 'sell' his work under a subscription model an he gets nothing.

If a company is going to make money out of a work surely it's right that the ARTIST or descendants should be paid? Even when someone like Google gives things away for free, they are getting a benefit from that work as you're visiting the site - even if the work is 50 years old.

The internet allows Artists to talk to their fans direct and sell things direct helping to cut out the corporations. That's what they're scared about.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The problem isn't Copyright, it's the corporations.

Whether artists like it or not modern technology has rendered copyright more or less useless to the average person in the street. The age of the £10 book or £20 dvd is dead and it will be back to the age old artist support of patronage either by fans or rich benefactors.

Let's say the average ebook is 1mb, you can fit roughly 64,000 ebooks on a 64gb microsd card the size of your fingernail, wait until the next die shrink !

There is so much content out there that can be had for free (either pirated or legit) nobody has enough lifetimes to even scratch the surface. Your artist's real problem is managing to get noticed and get people to actually part with cash for what they offer. Just look what has happened to pubs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The problem isn't Copyright, it's the corporations.

But it is perfectly okay for a 'corporation' to discover a ten year old album that isn't well known and buy all the rights to it for a small cheque and then make millions out of it?

Or a company under the guise of 'small film productions' to offer an author £5000 for the rights to their little sold book and resell those right to their parent company "massive film productions" then make a blockbuster out of it?

Should an architect that designs a bridge for a little used dual carriageway get a massive royalty cheque if they build a theme park just to the north of it and it suddenly has 100x the traffic?

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Re: The problem isn't Copyright, it's the corporations.

@rm -rf /

Where to begin ?? Probably with your attempt at a parallel with pubs. As ever, their demise is not down to a single factor, but that unfortunate nexus of a number of things taking place. I'd argue that the legislation to end tied houses was (what a surprise) poorly thought out and drafted, and led to Punch and the other companies setting themselves up as highly-geared property companies. Add to this the value of the sites either as housing or local Tescos/Sainsburys and then, even before we get to the changes in drinking/socialising habits, it gets hard for a pub to be profitable.

So... on to whether copyright is useless ?? Absolutely not. Without copyright law, then Creative Commons licenses wouldn't exist. The ability for someone creative to have a range of choices as to how their creation is used, with or without payment, is crucial to protecting that creativity. The removal of the middle man is the great effect of mass electronic communication, and has hardly begun to play out.

The artists I've discovered through the internet have led to me finding out about gigs I'd never have known about - and paid for - otherwise.

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Re: The problem isn't Copyright, it's the corporations.

£10 book and £20 DVD dead? Agreed. And those prices where down to greedy corps.

But would you pay £50p to £1 if you knew it was going direct to the artist? They are just people trying to make an honest living.

As you say, there is lots of legit free content out there, and yet people still pirate new works. If someone doesn't want to listen or read or watch what you've done, there's plenty of free content out there - but people still want the latest stuff. Are you saying they shouldn't get paid for it?

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Anonymous Coward

Nobody has a problem with artists receiving their due

What people have a problem with is the music industry corrupting the legal system over and again.

In reality most "original" compositions contain 99% rehashed content, the presentation may have improved because of advances in technology but fundamentally there is nothing new in any art form.

So the premise that limiting copyright to 10 years would be a terrible thing for the artist when a copy of his product was released on year 11 is flawed. Yes you can make a law to pay the artist his 1% of original creativity but how are you going to give the 99% that the artist rehashed, you can't. Additionally the film maker has but to change a few details and it is no longer classed as being a copy makes all of this bunkum.

10 years copyright from release is more than plenty for the artist to be over compensated for his contribution to the cultural fund, after that unless he can prove that his work is truly original then he should get nothing. That rights off all music, film, book, painting and probably sculpture as well, everything has been done before so why should one "artist" profit when all the others didn't

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Re: Nobody has a problem with artists receiving their due

The lifetime +- say 70 Years seems fair enough to me. I can live with that.

Appaerently the **IAA's can't however. What happens after 2029?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nobody has a problem with artists receiving their due

> In reality most "original" compositions contain 99% rehashed content,

> the presentation may have improved because of advances in technology

> but fundamentally there is nothing new in any art form.

Well yes, technically 99% of Western music cycles between tonic, subdominant and dominant harmonies, with the occasional bit of modulation if they're imaginative (and modulation by something else than a major third if they're really imaginative), but I can still somehow tell the difference between "Eine kleine Nachtmusik" and "Highway to Hell". Or between your rubbish post and any other use of the same 26 letters in the English alphabet.

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