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RIAA Continues Distributing Dud CDs to Satisfy Settlement 399

Posted by michael
from the shudder dept.
cosyne writes "Part of the music industry's recent price fixing settlement involves giving free CDs to public libraries. Although they are technically complying with the the letter of the law, they're abusing the spirit by giving the libraries large piles of crud. According to the Stevens Point Journal, '[the] Milwaukee Public Library received 1,235 copies of Whitney Houston's 1991 recording of "The Star-Spangled Banner," 188 copies of Michael Bolton's "Timeless," 375 of "Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1971," and 104 copies of Will Smith's "Willennium."' The recording industry obviously wouldn't want to have libraries loaning out music that people might otherwise buy." See also a related story about shipments to another state.
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RIAA Continues Distributing Dud CDs to Satisfy Settlement

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  • by erick99 (743982) * <homerun@gmail.com> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @01:46PM (#9795228)
    It is shameful that the RIAA clearly attended only to the letter of the law. I believe that the ruling judge assumed that they wouldn't do something so despicable as to not only send exceptionally outdated/unpopular/fringe CD's but send them in ridiculous quantities.

    Milwaukee Public Library received 1,235 copies of Whitney Houston's 1991 recording of "The Star-Spangled Banner," 188 copies of Michael Bolton's "Timeless," 375 of "Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1971," and 104 copies of Will Smith's "Willennium," and nearly everything in between.

    I hope that someone brings this to the attention of the judge(s) who could then provide a remedy that includes some sort of formula for how many CD's have to from the current or near-current top-whatever list. The RIAA should be ashamed of themselves. They had an opportunity to look good and to look generous but, instead, they took yet another dump on their customer base. For God's sake, will they ever learn and stop acting like spoiled children?

    Cheers!

    Erick

    • Yeah, and the worst part is, it's almost an admission that they don't know the value of public libraries.

      If the public library has a complete and total music collection and sued publishers to provide them with books, only to recieve 593 copies of "Martha Stewart's: 'Cooking with the Neighbors", 1,989 copies of "Maxim: The Uncensored Cut", 184 copies of "Pete Rose: How I Gambled and Stuff", and 8,948 copies of "A Year of Baseball Cards: The 1947 Digest", NO ONE WOULD USE THE SERVICE.
      • by yintercept (517362) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @03:35PM (#9795804) Homepage Journal
        The RIAA is using libraries to dump overstock: "Give 'em the printed CDs that we can't sell."

        The RIAA could have accomplished the goal of protecting their precious main stream pop collection by giving the library volumes of cultural stuff like Brahms, the pipers of Scotland and what not that teeny boppers never buy. The libraries would have ended up with stuff worth keeping in the collection.

        The sad thing about the RIAA using the library system to dump unsold CDs is that it stifles the overstocked market. In the book industry, you end up having the unsold books flowing through dollar book stores where the less affluent can pick up new cds for rock bottom prices. Of course, the dud cds will just be distributed to the public through the library's used book sales, but the buyer doesn't get the satisfaction of breaking the seal.

        BTW: There is one big difference between music and books in public libraries. It generally takes a person a week or two to read a book, while it only takes an hour or so to copy a CD. Thinking in terms of checkout days, if it takes an average of 14 checkout days for people to read the Da Vinci Code and a library system has 10,000 readers interested in reading the book in the first year then the library might do something like divide 14,000 by 300 and see that they need 47 copies of the book to fit their demand.

        If a music CD averages two check out days, then they will need only 6 copies of American Idol
        • by innocent_white_lamb (151825) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @04:01PM (#9795922)
          There is one big difference between music and books in public libraries. It generally takes a person a week or two to read a book, while it only takes an hour or so to copy a CD.

          And therein lies the problem from the RIAA's point of view.

          You aren't supposed to copy the cd that you borrow from the library, just the same as you aren't supposed to photocopy the book that you borrowed from the same place. Read and return; listen and return.

          The fact that you stated this viewpoint in such an offhand manner indicates that you didn't consider that difference at all.
          • by yintercept (517362) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @07:52PM (#9797043) Homepage Journal
            Actually, I was thinking about the digitizing problems. If I were in the RIAA, I would do everything possible to avoid filling libraries with the pop culture music that sells well in stores. I would try to get the libraries to stock up on boring educational oriented CDs that people are not likely to copy to their MP3 collection.

            For that matter, on rereading the attached articles, I actually find myself sympathizing with the RIAA's choice of donated CDs. The articles are upset because the library didn't get a boatload of the popular music that people want. To a large extent, I think collection of music at the library should be about expanding the exposure to different types of music, rather than just playing the greatest hits of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

            What I want in a library collection is a large number of obscur titles that I am likely to listen to once or twice. The only problem I have with the RIAA's selection is the large number of duplicates. It is not with the obscurity of the titles.

        • ...giving the library volumes of cultural stuff like Brahms, the pipers of Scotland...

          Pipers of Scotland??? Are ye daft, laddie? Does ya thenk thee RIAA wants te gie te Gitmo?
        • Why didn't the judge do like they normally do in term of damages: require money that the court gives to the plaintiff? And the libraries could by, as per market, what will interest their readers? Or is that solution too obvious?
          Isn't this a bit close to the alimony giver controlling how much the victim gets?
      • by angle_slam (623817) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @04:22PM (#9796010)
        If the public library has a complete and total music collection and sued publishers to provide them with books, only to recieve 593 copies of "Martha Stewart's: 'Cooking with the Neighbors", 1,989 copies of "Maxim: The Uncensored Cut", 184 copies of "Pete Rose: How I Gambled and Stuff", and 8,948 copies of "A Year of Baseball Cards: The 1947 Digest", NO ONE WOULD USE THE SERVICE.

        I think that's the point. Dump enough bad CDs on libraries, no one will go to libraries and people will be forced to buy CDs instead of checking them out.

      • by ThisIsFred (705426) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @04:33PM (#9796078) Journal
        It's obivious that they don't value a lot of the stuff they actually produce. Just goes to show, a release is worth $0 until the one payola-promoted song is on the CD, then it's worth $20. What's seriously funny about this is that the RIAA and crew are actually screwing themselves, because music production, distribution, and promotion is so vertical (and apparently expensive), that there is little opportunity to either let someone else experiment, or to get feedback from consumers. Well, they got their feedback when they didn't sell millions of "Willenium" CDs, but it was a tad late by then.

        I can't say that I believe they don't value public libraries, but they certainly have no idea how they work. Public libraries get their funding based primarily on how much they circulate. They wouldn't need any more than maybe one copy of Willenium per 5,000 patrons. You could use anything in that example - one book title, one audio cassette title, whatever. This is good and bad. It's good because it rewards the libraries that best serve the taxpayers. It's bad because libraries are no longer a big archive of collected books (costs too much to track all those dusty titles), and have something more like a B&N store.

        Anyway, that explanation aside... Anything donated beyond a handful is really worth nothing, since it is going to circulate. I think the RIAA's message is, "public libraries are an evil hotbed of piracy!" I still maintain that this was a terrible settlement idea, I have no idea what libraries have to do with price fixing when I (former CD buyer) am seeing no benefits, and the government got what it deserved for trying to directly fix the situation.
        • by ottffssent (18387) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @09:36PM (#9797606)
          The more I gain experience with foreign library systems, the more I respect the South Central Library System [lib.wi.us], which I grew up using and had rather taken for granted. Within about 3 days, for free, I can get any book in over 50 public libraries [lib.wi.us] covering the entire southern half of the state of Wisconsin shipped to my local branch.

          It's bad because libraries are no longer a big archive of collected books (costs too much to track all those dusty titles)

          LINKCat, the library catalog system that SCLS uses, keeps track of all those dusty titles virtually for free, and gets them in the hands of the public with a minimum of effort on the part of all involved. Notwithstanding this technology, the library employees I have dealt with at member libraries have been helpful, courteous, and efficient. I have requested titles held in the basement archives a mere 10 minutes before library closing. About 8 minutes later someone returned from the basement with my book, apologizing for her tardiness, explaining that the lights had been turned off already, and she had to hunt through the stacks with a flashlight to get me what I wanted.

          Though this level of service seems not to be universally available, public libraries certainly *can* maintain large inventories and be an incredible community resource without exceeding budgetary constraints - I've seen it happen.
    • "I gotta tell you, I'm a huge fan of Michael Bolton. Of course, you must be an even bigger fan, what with you having the same name."

      "Um, yeah, he's OK."

      ...

      "I told those fudge-packers I liked Michael Bolton's music."

      -paul

    • I would like to simply second that. I don't get RIAA actions - they are all against customer these days. I really see lot of indie label rising because of all that. I don't give a shit of RIAA surviving emerging online market because of such attitude. It is very shortsighted, period.
    • by Simonetta (207550) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @07:25PM (#9796928)
      Given the mentality of the RIAA, it's only a matter of time before they launch a serious attack on public libraries. After all, libraries allow people to freely take CDs home, listen to them (consume RIAA product without a per-use payment), and then bring them back if they don't like them (actually bring them back whether they like them or not).

      This situation seems just guaranteed to make the RIAA foam at the mouth. And these are the guys that wanted Congress to put DRM in every $1.50 Digital-to-Analog convertor chip, so you know their enthusiasm is not tempered by logic.

      So an attempt by the RIAA to force the public libraries to remove all the CDs and DVDs from their shelves seems inevitable. They probably think that they can file one brief with one judge someplace and the next day all the CDs and DVDs would be removed from the all of the stacks. They probably think that putting pressure on the libraries is going to be even easier than setting 100 Harvard Law Graduates on a high school girl downloading Britany outtakes. They probably think that they're going to wake up the day after filing their little brief and find hundreds of millions of dollars in checks piled up at their doorstep sent to them from librarians in unpaid royalities from all the people who checked out CDs, took them home and listened to them,... Without Paying the RIAA anything!

      Personally, myself, I wouldn't mess with the librarians. They handled many yahoos before. Bozos like the RIAA are nothing new to them.

      Every generation, someone NEW to the publishing industry makes the observation that people who read books from the library aren't actually buying the books that they read... and this ain't right. The other publishers point out that they might sell 500 copies of some fool's first novel if he stands on his head long enough on TV, but the public libraries buy 50,000 copies on the basis of a thumb's up review in NY Review of Books, at full list price.

      The RIAA isn't all that bright, so, maybe, messing with the Public Library institutions of America may be the force that knocks them back to their caves.
  • by Ckwop (707653) * <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @01:46PM (#9795229) Homepage

    The RIAA expects the customers to hand over cash for overpriced CDs, appealing to morality for justification, and yet in act of gross duplicity it gives libraries crud just to spite them because they lost a court case. This isn't about morals, it isn't even about the artists.. it's about the bloody dollars.

    Don't get me wrong. I don't support piracy but the RIAA's approach isn't exactly making me willing me to go out and buy their dross. Fear not, technology has destroyed industries before. The nice thing to know is that it's usually pretty ruthless in that it takes no prisoners. I doubt the RIAA will be the exception. No amount of law making saved the canal boats from the invention of the automobile.

    We now have the infrastructure to pay the artist not the army of lawyers, executives and other useless staff. I think all artists would prefer a return to the music and less of the obsession with the dollars. I'd be more willing to fork out the dollars (will pounds in my case) if I knew the artist was the key beneficiary?

    Simon.

    • by smkndrkn (3654) <sadistikal@gmail.com> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @01:51PM (#9795262) Homepage
      I've seen so much bitching about the RIAA and MPAA, and I agree with a lot of it, but you have a choice. Vote with your wallet. Do not buy their product, that is the only way you can have change. I've been RIAA free for almost a year now..perhaps even longer and I now listen to better music as a result.
      • by NanoGator (522640) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @02:05PM (#9795353) Homepage Journal
        "Vote with your wallet. Do not buy their product, that is the only way you can have change."

        Yeah, like DMCA2. The RIAA will chalk up any losses to piracy. They won't get your message, instead they'll twist that data and use it to get new really bad laws in place.

        Wish I had a strong alternative, but really I don't. This is as good of time as any for somebody to speak up.
        • Wish I had a strong alternative
          Fire! And lots of it.
        • The best thing you can do is support initiatives like iTunes. Believe it or not, not every Congress Critter supports the RIAA and MPAA. If you support the distribution channels you want, and support only artists you LIKE, our Congress Critters will have some wonderful statistical evidence to throw back at the [MP|RI]AA organizations.

          Keep in mind that Congress generally enjoys making people sweat it while they have the floor. I think it was only about a year or so ago that congress was grilling the RIAA for
        • You could try to help me...they'll still do the DMCA2, but maybe it won't matter as much.
      • by rppp01 (236599) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @02:58PM (#9795645) Homepage
        Vote with your wallet?

        Some of us have for years now. But realize the more we don't buy anything from them, the more they claim that piracy is stealing money from their pockets. This in turn will get them to lean heavily on Congress to push more laws that force people to pay more for less.

        This isn't simply capitalism anymore. This is extortion. What's the next step? Fascism?
    • Agreed.

      To me, it's pretty simple. The RIAA is evil. I'm not going to support an evil organization.

      (The last version of Windows I owned legally was Windows 95 BTW ;^)
      • (The last version of Windows I owned
        legally was Windows 95 BTW ;^)

        By illegally using windows, you are still supporting MS, if nothing else but by using their file formats and by giving them marketshare (no, not for their OS, but for their other products).

        Now, if you dropped windows entirely, then you'd be sticking it to the man. ;)

    • No amount of law making saved the canal boats from the invention of the automobile.

      And the advent of the computer & internet didn't exactly help the library system either. As the digital divide slowly closes, libraries will become little more than free (as in speech and beer) cybercafes, and museums for deadtree books and other old media.

      Ahh... I can't resist a Futurama reference [gotfuturama.com] :)

      Thanks to its incredibly generous benefactors - the Wong Dynasty - Mars University owns the largest collection of lit

  • by DeepHurtn! (773713) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @01:47PM (#9795237)
    ...mean that we can't complain it's a dupe?
  • by mfh (56) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @01:48PM (#9795242) Journal
    > Although they are technically complying with the the letter of the law, they're abusing the spirit by giving the libraries large piles of crud.

    I think the problem is that the RIAA only has access to large piles of crud. Let's face it -- Britney, Justin, which other Mousekateers-turned-popstar are there? Chicken of the Sea Girl, Nick whatever-his-name-is, and the list goes on and on.

    Indies are being given a huge door to stroll through and every time the RIAA screws up, it helps the indies get more market share. So I'm all for the RIAA being asshats, because they are on the road to Utopia.
    • Uh, there are plenty of indies who are in the RIAA. Most of the big indies are. Indie effectively refers to any company not in the top 5/10/20 of record labels. RIAA has at least a hundred member record companies last time I checked, which cover nearly all commercially released albums. Sure, the band of 14 year olds that lives in your town and has never toured out of county might not be involved with the RIAA, but the situation is not encouraging.
    • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @02:36PM (#9795530) Homepage Journal
      I don't understand why these groups are allowed to give away items by "value" rather than being required to drop cash. I'm pretty sure that those CDs aren't worth $15 but will probably be charged against the settlement to the tune of $18 because of the suggested retail price.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      They make millions of sales a year. Clearly, most people don't think all they have is crud.

      I would have liked them to be forced only things that have gone gold.

      Or books on CD.
    • Chicken of the Sea Girl

      I heard she got a job modelling [nvidia.com] for Nvidia.
  • Damn (Score:5, Funny)

    by gordgekko (574109) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @01:48PM (#9795244) Homepage
    This totally explains why I haven't been able to buy a copy of Willenium anywhere. All the copies are in Milwaukee!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 25, 2004 @01:50PM (#9795257)
    Why should I change, he's the one who sucks!
  • Artists (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RomSteady (533144) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @01:52PM (#9795267) Homepage Journal
    I'm wondering if the artists are being paid for their product, or if this is eventually coming out of the artist's pockets.

    The reason I'm asking is that the record industry usually charges everything that it can back to the artists: production costs, advertising costs, warehousing costs, everything. Any incoming funds are applied against the record company bottom line first, and the remainder goes against the "debt" accrued by the artist.

    So, are the artists getting any money from the disbursement of their product?
    • Re:Artists (Score:5, Informative)

      by Zocalo (252965) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @02:02PM (#9795337) Homepage
      So, are the artists getting any money from the disbursement of their product?

      Not a chance in hell. One of the many breakdowns of where the money goes from record sales in the wake of Courtney Love's now infamous anti-RIAA tirade was fairly clear on that. All of the percentages are based on sales, specifically excluding "good will" copies, which are issued at the whim of the RIAA but the artists indirectly get to pay for.

      Given the way they have just shown their contempt of the ruling by following the letter of the law and ignoring the spirit I expect they will do the same thing for the contracts too. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if these CDs are classed as "good will" copies too and the artists essentially get sent the bill. I just hope that they build a monument to the RIAA at some point so I can go and piss on it.

    • So, are the artists getting any money from the disbursement of their product?

      Well, they don't have that much money nowadays, because of P2P and low ethical standards - so money seems to be out of the question... But maybe they could compensate them with gifts, like free member cards for public libraries or something.
    • "So, are the artists getting any money from the disbursement of their product?"

      Suddenly, for the first time in years, Will Smith gets an unexpected check from the RIAA...
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @01:54PM (#9795279) Homepage Journal
    He should have been savvy enough to predict a stunt like this, and specified what was 'acceptable' in a bit more detail in order to prevent it..

    Give a snake an inch, and they will try to eat you...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Can the RIAA be punished with the charges of Contempt of Court by pissing off the judge ?

    • There's no set of rules one could come up with that SOME clever \ devious person couldn't find a way to exploit. I think the schools could challenege this, personally. I'm sure the RIAA was basing how much the shipments were worth based solely on their sticker price - and the fact that they have thousands of unsold copies of these CDs would make a strong argument that their actual value is far less than what the RIAA claims. That, and sending CDs with explicit lyrics, which ANY reasonable person would co
      • Blockquoth the poster:

        There's no set of rules one could come up with that SOME clever \ devious person couldn't find a way to exploit.

        How about: You are to send them $X in cash or bank notes; you are not to write this off on your taxes as any sort of "donation"; and you are list the outlay in your stock prospectus as a fine levied on the company.

        The issue here, as usual, is that the parties settled. Generally, in a settlement, the group with the bigger lawyers comes out on top. In this case, the scho

  • Not so! (Score:3, Funny)

    by SpooForBrains (771537) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @01:54PM (#9795281)
    This can't be true. Only yesterday I loaned out a copy of Sounds of the Supermarket: 20 Shopping Greats.
    • Re:Not so! (Score:3, Funny)

      by Gleng (537516)
      At least you still have "Reggie Wilson plays the Lift Music Classics", "Pop goes Delius", and "Funking up Wagner".
    • Barenaked Ladies song Shopping would be #1 :):)

      They do an awesome live performance of that.
  • by JayBlalock (635935) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @01:54PM (#9795283)
    It's kind of sweet, how the people in charge are attempting to put some kind of positive face on this. Yes, they DID get a lot of CDs, and they might potentially be able to sell them (at pennies on the dollar) in fundraising. But in the meantime, what's it going to COST the schools \ libraries dealing with the mess? Cataloging and storage isn't cheap. I wouldn't be surprised if, in the end, this ended up costing the schools (and therefore, the taxpaying public the RIAA was originally convicted of ripping off) more money than it brings in.

    You can almost imagine some high mucky-muck at the RIAA laughing maniacally and twirling his moustache as he pronounced this.

  • Prior Art (Score:5, Funny)

    by Qrlx (258924) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @01:55PM (#9795287) Homepage Journal
    AOL lawyers will be in court Monday seeking an injunction against the RIAA. A company spokesman said "Mass-mailing the same useless CD over and over again is but one of many valuable innovations in AOL's patent portfolio. We find it ironic that the RIAA, purported champion of Intellectual Property rights, has adopted our highly successful business model without ever paying us one cent in licensing fees or royalties."
  • BlackListing? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MacFury (659201)
    Since the RIAA are pricks...could we blacklist their execs. I'm sure it's being too idealistic...but if we refused to do anything for them...then their lives wouldn't be so great.

    Want to go to McDonalds and have a big mac? Sorry, we won't serve you because you're an asshole.

    Do it to them everywhere everytime until the change their ways.

    It's nice to dream once in awhile..

    • I don't know why this is being modded Flamebait. It's the best idea ever!
    • Re:BlackListing? (Score:3, Informative)

      by treat (84622)
      Want to go to McDonalds and have a big mac? Sorry, we won't serve you because you're an asshole.

      Yeah, one megacorporation is going to punish another megacorporation for mistreating consumpers. Right.

      Besides, this is probably illegal in the US. I remember there was an incident where a restauraunt refused to serve OJ Simpson, citing a "no murderers" policy. They lost.

      • OJ didn't do it... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by CaptainPinko (753849)
        ...as far as the law is concerned. He could admit to it and you could have 10 different witness there at the scene of the crime with it all on video tape and I'm quite sure IANAL that you would still have to treat him like any other innocent person since he was found innocent in his criminal trial. Everything else doesn't matter in the eyes of the law. But irregardless I fail to see what relevance your OJ annecdote has to do with blacklisting corporations.
      • Re:BlackListing? (Score:3, Informative)

        by jhunsake (81920)
        Got a link to back up that story? Most restaurants reserve to the right to deny service to anyone, and they do so legally (as long as it isn't in a broad stroke to a protected class).
    • I don't know how many execs from fortune 500 corporations eat at McDonalds. Most of them have moved on up to Wendy's.
    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      blacklist^WKill

      much better
    • very close (Score:5, Funny)

      by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@ya ... m minus math_god> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @03:29PM (#9795785) Homepage Journal
      You are very close to using the power of IT to bring change.

      Blacklist all the RIAA mail servers.
  • Another Day... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by One Childish N00b (780549) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @01:59PM (#9795303) Homepage
    ...another tantrum from the RIAA.

    When are they going to realise that when people hear about them doing this stuff, it makes them less inclined to buy their content? RIAA tantrums induce piracy because of the affect on thousands of people every time who will refuse to buy crap from such a selfish company.

    All companies are out to make money, but haven't the RIAA heard of a little thing called 'PR'? They spend enough trying to make their latest teeny-pop artist look 'cool' and 'must buy' - why don't they pool their marketing expertise and realise that when they do things like this, they make themselves look bad and in turn discourage people from buying from them - effectively inducing piracy.

    Also, how many copies of 'Willennium' do they have to distribute? Every time I see an announcement like this they're handing out a new 3-figure sum of the damn things to some poor public institute!
    • They spend enough trying to make their latest teeny-pop artist look 'cool' and 'must buy' - why don't they pool their marketing expertise and realise that when they do things like this, they make themselves look bad and in turn discourage people from buying from them - effectively inducing piracy.

      The general population will remember the new teeny popper for the next six months, and buy copies. They will simultaneously forget this news article by tomorrow afternoon
  • Related Article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheFlyingGoat (161967) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @02:00PM (#9795314) Homepage Journal
    There's more info at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. [jsonline.com] Among the quotes: 'She said there was even mold growing on a few of the 520 CDs received in Mequon - a five-disk 1999 set titled "Respect: A Century of Women in Music." ... It was disappointing because we could have actually used that one'. As a Milwaukee resident I know I'll be running to the library to check a few of these out. :P
  • Duh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HeyLaughingBoy (182206) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @02:00PM (#9795315)
    What else did anyone expect? If you force me to give away 10% of my possessions of course I'm going to find the 10% of crap that I don't like, never use, or can't even sell at a garage sale. Goodbye argyle socks!

    Want a real settlement? Should have made the terms such that they only give away Top 100 stuff or something like that (or better yet, cash!); otherwise there are no grounds for complaint.

    Besides, I'm pretty sure that in a country of almost 300M people, at least a few like Whitney Houston
    • Re:Duh! (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by liquidpele (663430)
      The SHOULD have made the libary's make a list of what they want every year, and the RIAA has to comply within 2 months.

      The RIAA is just getting rediculous nowadays.
      I steal music and I'm proud of it! Still buy DVDs though.
    • by treat (84622)
      Want a real settlement? Should have made the terms such that they only give away Top 100 stuff or something like that (or better yet, cash!); otherwise there are no grounds for complaint.

      They *did*. RTFA.

  • Idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sheldon (2322) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @02:06PM (#9795354)
    And I'm not talking about the RIAA.

    What did you expect?

    Frankly I think it's a creative point-making excercise by the RIAA. You complain about good CDs costing money, but you forget the fact that they've got 10,000 copies of Whitney Houston's recording of the Star Spangled banner sitting in a warehouse cause nobody wants that crap.

    For every good CD that you want to buy, there are 20 others published that very few people give a shit about.

    The CD prices are fine, quit your whining. If you don't like it, don't buy CDs! That's the only way you are going to hurt them, with your free market wallet.
    • Re:Idiots (Score:2, Interesting)

      by t_allardyce (48447)
      Their bad stock management is not our problem. They've had 20 years to perfect the process of making CDs cheaply and predict what the market wants. 10,000 copies of whitney is probably not even worth the cost of having it dumped in a land-fill so dumping it in a library really helps them out.
    • Re:Idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hendersj (720767) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @03:28PM (#9795780)
      CD prices are fine? Then why were they convicted of price fixing?

      The promise of CDs back when they first came out was that they were cheaper to produce than cassettes. Yet the cost of CDs has consistently - since the release of the CD as a format - has been higher than cassettes.

      RIAA have the nerve to claim piracy is cutting into their profits, yet they are convicted of price fixing. Could it possibly be that the prices they've fixed are not prices the market will bear for the crap they produce? No, it has to be pirates, it couldn't be that RIAA turns out total crap and then tries to charge a price that the market simply won't bear.

      Myself, I stopped buying large amounts of CDs years ago. I don't download, and I don't pirate songs, I just haven't found much worth paying any amount of money for in probably the last 5 years, and those that were worth paying for weren't worth the asking price. The few CDs I've purchased in the last few years have been used, because those prices are a lot more reasonable and in line with the actual value of the content on the discs.

      Every year I vote against Hatch (I live in Utah) and every year that bastard continues to get elected.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I live in Wisconsin and at the New Berlin Library they have a table with a bunch of these CDs on sale for about 3 bucks each, I have been there a few times after they set it up and to my surprise many of the CDs had been bought. It was rather entertaining to see the library selling Wu Tang albums.
  • by orionware (575549) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @02:11PM (#9795384)
    Here's what I think would have been the fairest to the consumers.

    Every time an album hits #1, the industry must give out 10,000 copies. When they've given out their quota this practice stops.

    How hard was that?
  • by alangmead (109702) * on Sunday July 25, 2004 @02:14PM (#9795401)
    The article says:
    To prevent the companies from dumping unwanted inventory, lawyers for the states came up with a formula based on how much time artists spent on the Billboard charts, Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Eric Wilson said. But he conceded, "it may be hard to believe looking at the selections."
    but the results don't seem to stack up. Does anyone know what the formula they came up with? From the small description there, I can imagine a few possible flaws. Either there was some minimum price, which encouraged the shipment of many, many slow moving items, or it was based on the Billboard charts results for the artist, not the album. (Will Smith and Whitney Houston have both made some very popular works, but the albums being reported to be distributed aren't among their most notable ones.)
  • Folks,
    This was lost when the deal was made. It was intended for exactly this to happen. It is nice to speak about the "spirit" of the deal, but politicians and lawyers wrapped this up long ago.
  • Classical Music (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nick.cash (749516) <nick.cash@gmail.com> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @02:16PM (#9795410) Homepage
    It seems like about half of what they got was classical music. To me, this makes a lot of sense for a library to have.

    Now, the duplicates and Michael Bolton crap are certainly inexcusable, but the classical music seems perfectly legitimate.
  • by treat (84622) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @02:17PM (#9795421)
    The article says: To prevent the companies from dumping unwanted inventory, lawyers for the states came up with a formula based on how much time artists spent on the Billboard charts,

    But since the RIAA pays to get songs on the chart instead of it being based on quality or popularity, this is what you get.

    Blame the lawyers this time. They knew what they were doing.

  • Ode to Filesharing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by binaryspiral (784263)

    They say: Make it legal files, all you smart and shifty peeps
    for an RIAA lawsuit will leave you on the streets.
    Sure they're suing young and old people for sharing the tunes
    but they're alienating their market - the stupid buffoons

    Tomorrow are you sure you would buy from them?
    The pricks just scored ten grand from mom of ten!
    In the 90's when CD price-fixing was raging full on
    I paid over $30 per disc, RIAA you stupid greedy moron

    And now that I have the simple, easy, anonymous way to score
    free music from you -
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I cant fathom why the libraries weren't allowed to choose the CDs.

    By giving the labels the ability to choose what they hand out is obviously going to lead to them dish out whatever at the minimal cost, hence they dump CD's that were too crap to meet sales expectations, and which they wont lose sales due to the rentals. Giving "aid" where the recipient has no choices has been proved again and again to be highly inefficient.

    The labels are supposed to be getting punished, not awarded some trivial exercise in
  • by WareW01f (18905) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @02:28PM (#9795481)
    My wife's school just got a box of CD's (which was out of the blue for them) It's a grade school. "Spooky Scary Sounds for Halloween from Martha Stewart" was one of the few CD's that was even useful. The principle basicly wanted the CD's off the school property. A letter with the CD's stated the following:

    "We note that the CD's that are being distributed were selected will an eye towards making a distribution that is representative of all generes of prerecorded music. For that reason we wish to caution you that some materials being distributed may be suitable only for use by teenagers, yough adults or adults."

    Um, ya. On a brighter note on things, despite the fact that a lot of the CD's where in fact cut-outs the letter goes on to state:

    "If you receive CD's which are not appropriate or useful for you collection, or which are duplicative, you may wish to use those CD's for fund-rasing purposes, such as through library sales or auctions. However, if you do so, any funds raised must be used in a manner that complies with the settlement agreement as noted above."

    So let me get this straight, they couldn't sell them, but we're welcome to try... Yah, thanks. Someone dropped the ball here. The music companies just basicly got a chance to clean out the warehouse. One of the CD they got was even smashed. I'm sure that the record companies where able to claim the full value of the CD as being donated, hell they are probably even going to get to write it off!

    Ah well, at least this halloween the kids will have really spooky music to listen to. (Even spookyer now Martha's going to be an ex-con, eh?)
  • Duhcracy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196)
    With Orrin Hatch as their champion in the Senate, the RIAA will get away with any stupid acts they deem profitable.
  • Not that bad (Score:5, Informative)

    by challahc (745267) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @02:36PM (#9795529)
    I'd rather bitch about the media on this one. I looked at the complete list [nwsource.com] from the other article, and I have to say it was pretty easy for them to go through the list pick out some crap and make it look horrible. For example, they mention "Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1971" well what about the other ones that were included 1965 - 1993. For a library that is a pretty good set.

    Not that I like the RIAA, but really I don't think it is as bad as it looks from the articles.
    • Re:Not that bad (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dema (103780)
      Its understandable to say the media may have picked what they wanted to highlight. And maybe some people would love to check out Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1971. But do you really think a library needs 375 copies of it? IMO, the problem here is quantity, not quality (although I am in no way implying that any of the quality is good, again, IMO).
  • It's nice to know someone in the RIAA has a sense of humor.
  • Think about how Michael Bolton feels, having been deposited from the rectum of RIAA unto the public library.
  • Take some action (Score:5, Insightful)

    by serutan (259622) <.snoopdoug. .at. .geekazon.com.> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @02:46PM (#9795581) Homepage
    Does anybody still have sympathy for the RIAA any more? They've been acting like a bunch of selfish 4-year-olds for years. "They're only protecting their legal rights." Record companies excel at doing exactly what is required of them and nothing more. They've honed this skill over decades of writing usurious recording contracts. And when that's not enough they get new laws written to suit their needs. What they do is wrong.

    If you live in Utah, please VOTE AGAINST Senator Orrin Hatch, the entertainment industry's number one toadie and one of the most technologically clueless legislators in the country. He's the guy who a couple years back said record companies should be allowed to attack the computers of people whom they suspected of copyright infringement.

    If you live in Kansas, please VOTE FOR for Senator Sam Brownback [senate.gov], who introduced the bill last year that stopped the RIAA from getting rubber-stamped subpoenas for identities of internet users they decided had infringed them.

    If you live anywhere else and you are interested in the copyright issue, don't just read Slashdot, look up your senator's voting record and vote accordingly.
  • a settlement, would they have used Confederate Dollars? :)

    Actually have the libraries use eBay or half.com to sell off the extra CDs they don't want, and then buy the ones that they do want to have in stock. That way the RIAA doesn't get any more money from them.
  • by u-235-sentinel (594077) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @02:52PM (#9795613) Homepage Journal
    "We definitely have duplicates and we have a lot of plain - is there a nicer word than junk?" Medenwaldt said.

    Best quote of the article. It's no wonder that the music industry has been hurting for so long. They sell "junk" and people respond by not purchasing it. Obviously the RIAA is aware of this otherwise the CD's would never have been shipped to the libraries.

    Very sad.
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @02:56PM (#9795636) Homepage
    A morally bankrupt industry pays off a judgment with crap product and probably has a good laugh about how it helped them dump excess inventory and they're probably getting a write off for it on top of that.

    Makes you wonder if they're the exception or us.

  • Talk with $$ (Score:3, Informative)

    by quantaman (517394) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @03:44PM (#9795853)
    I've come to the conclusion that until the RIAA makes some serious changes in the way they treat their artists and their customers I won't buy a thing from them. Does this mean I'm giving up music?

    No, though it does mean I won't be buying some of my favorite artists. It also means I need to find some new ones and the place I've been looking is Magnatunes [magnatune.com], they're true to their slogan, "We are not Evil", and have a fairly large selection of artists, not all of them are my taste but then again I don't like a lot of big label artists either. You're probably not going to find a Paul Simon or The Beatles here but I've found some nice music. No harm in checking out of course, no harm worrying that you'll buy an album that you won't like. You see all their music is available for listening right on their website so you can listen to a particular album as many times as you want before buying (in a good but lossy format though), then if you decide you want to buy you get to pay anywhere from $5-$18 US, the artist gets half of course. Of course you're wondering if people will actually buy when they can get the music whenever they want for free? Well I've bought two albums already and am quite close to buying a third. Go ahead RIAA, make as much trouble as you want, I don't need you anymore, whine until you end up on the street with the other crackheads, I'll be helping the good guys [magnatune.com].
  • In their defense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nwbvt (768631) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @04:57PM (#9796196)
    That was a stupid part of the settlement.

    I'm curious, would everyone be happier if they gave out free Brittney Spears CDs?

  • by Snaller (147050) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @07:06PM (#9796843) Journal
    ... so what did you expect.
  • by dvd_tude (69482) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @08:58PM (#9797424)
    The mistake the court made is that they expected the RIAA to be fair. Well, the RIAA schooled them on that.

    Fact is, the RIAA is arguably the most consumer-hostile trade group today. This cynical move on their part cetainly proves it beyond all doubt.

    So how to fix them?

    The court should re-value the RIAA's "donation" at fair market value. Now here's the beauty: in this case, these CD titles are scrap, so they have negative value. They cost more to dispose of than they're worth.

    So the RIAA owes libraries for tossing their (RIAA's) trash. I say fine RIAA that amount, and little extra to punish them for being asshats.

    Now since RIAA cannot be trusted to secure and distribute titles of value for the libraries, simply take that job away from them. Impose a cash settlement from RIAA and let the libraries use those funds to acquire the titles themselves, from whomever they choose (including non-RIAA artists, out-of-prints, and so forth.)

    I doubt the RIAA will learn any lesson given their track record of dogged hostility, but at least they could be forced in actually bringing about improvements in library media stocks.
  • by Randym (25779) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @11:50PM (#9798275)
    Although they are technically complying with the the letter of the law, they're abusing the spirit by giving the libraries large piles of crud.

    Librarians are professionals. Mandating the dumping upon them of CDs of the RIAA's choice is just insulting; the judge should have made this *subject to the approval of the librarians*.

    I suggest to the librarians that they keep the CDs which -- in their *professional* opinion -- are worth keeping, and *send the rest back* (at the RIAA's expense, of course). Repeat until enough CDs have been received that fit the *librarians'* criterion for inclusion in the collection.

    The RIAA of all "people" should *not* be allowed to decide what the libraries get -- especially since they *lost* the case.

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