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Canadian Record Label Fights RIAA Lawsuits 215

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the not-gonna-take-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Nettwerk Music Group, Canada's leading privately owned record label has joined the fight against the RIAA's strategy of individual lawsuits. Nettwerk CEO Terry McBride says 'Suing music fans is not the solution, it's the problem. Litigation is not "artist development." Litigation is a deterrent to creativity and passion and it is hurting the business I love. The current actions of the RIAA are not in my artists' best interests.'"
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Canadian Record Label Fights RIAA Lawsuits

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  • Why'd...... (Score:4, Funny)

    by christian.elliott (892060) * on Friday January 27, 2006 @08:31AM (#14577625) Homepage Journal
    they have to go and make things so Complicated?
  • OH CANADA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by creepynut (933825) *
    I have to admit, I was becoming skeptical of this country this week when the Conservative party won the federal election. But this, this is what gives me back some faith in my country.

    OH CANADA!
    • Isnt this Skinny Puppy's label? If it doesn't work out for them, they can always throw
      bloody animal organs at the RIAA (a la the Vivisect tour).
    • "...[T]his is what gives me back some faith in my country."

      Don't get too ahead of yourself. They're only doing this as a way of apologising for giving us Sara McLaughlin.

      • by RobinH (124750)
        Apologies are not in order for Sara. Apologies are in order for Celine. We really appreciate you taking the fall on that one. Las Vegas can keep her. :)
        • Absolutely. Sarah is amazing. Fumbling towards ecstacy is one of my favorite albums.

          Celine oh god make her stop, erase all recordings, erase my memories of ever hearing her... Please...
    • Re:OH CANADA (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sj0 (472011) on Friday January 27, 2006 @09:28AM (#14577866) Homepage Journal
      The liberals were completely impotent with 20 more seats and support from the NDP.

      The conservatives are in for hell. They can't really form an alliance with any party, and they don't have the position to protect themselves or to maintain legislation which only the conservatives want to push through.

      Impotent? Useless? This to me represents the best of all possible worlds with regards to the Conservative Party of Canada in power, or indeed any party.
      • Impotent? Useless? This to me represents the best of all possible worlds with regards to the Conservative Party of Canada in power, or indeed any party. Right on - eh!
    • Thus far we haven't had lawsuits here. You can count on the conservatives to give CRIA the same options as RIAA has in the USA. Conservatives are pretty near the same as the GOP. #1 rule, the most buisness friendly climate possible, and that means friendly to squashing those evil 12 year girls downloading mp3s with massive lawsuits.

      The political parties are all have a different ratio in favoring the individual/corporation. The conservatives are farthest to the right and will favor corporations the most over
      • The Canadian Government will first have to remove the Levy that we Canadians are paying on blank CD's. The levy was introduced to help counter act the monetary loss they percieved was going to happen. We already are paying for our right to download music. And before people say it is still illegal under copyright, it is not here in Canada as long as you do not use it for profit.
        • I really think you are dreaming if you think they will remove that fee. Hypocrisy is something that both government and corporations are quite comfortable with.

          So the model will be you are all collectively guilty (levy), but some are even more guilty (lawsuits).

          Just wait and see...
      • Of course, if those conservatives had actually considered the economic implications of intellectual monopolies, and realized that their actual nature was similar to product taxation, they might come to the conclusion that state supported monopolies are actually not at all "business friendly".

        In fact, the concept of the state supported 'intellectual property' has more in common with the idea of state owned means of production than it has with a capitalist free market.
      • Yeah but saying the Conservatives are furthest to the right of the four parties (the other three being as left or lefter than their their brothers in the U.S. Democratic Party) is not saying much. While visions of socialism or social democracy dance around the heads of the NDP, Bloc, and Liberals, it is visions of mercantilism, in one form or another, that dance about the Conservatives heads.

        The NDP is probably the party that cares most about consumer's interests in laws being passed, but as usual, it is c
    • The situation in Canada is rather like the Palestinian elections where Hamas got the extra votes more because Fatah was so horribly corrupt rather than for their political intentions Re Israel.

      It's kinda a lesser-of-two-evils thing. You can hope that you can moderate Hamas's radical policies, or you can put up with the endemic corruption in the PLO.

      The level of corruption in Canada was probably a lot less than in Palestine, but a lot of Canadian's kinda held their nose and voted Conservative to teach t

  • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Friday January 27, 2006 @08:40AM (#14577668)
    The British Phonographic Industry win a court case [bbc.co.uk] against two file sharers, with Judges handing down interim damages of £1,500 and £5,000 with costs and further full damages to be determined at a later hearing.
  • Self-promotion (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dekortage (697532) on Friday January 27, 2006 @08:40AM (#14577669) Homepage

    The link in the Slashdot summary goes to someone's blog (yeah, I wonder who "anonymously" submitted it). Here is the actual news item... err, press release... [marketwire.com] (as linked to from that blog).

    But it's nice to see that yet another company is telling off the RIAA.

    • Re:Self-promotion (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27, 2006 @08:46AM (#14577694)
      It's not just anybody's blog, there, buddy. Geist is probably Canada's leading intellectual property expert and is a professor at the University of Ottawa. He's our Larry Lessig.

      So (as we say in Canada), take off, eh!
    • Re:Self-promotion (Score:5, Informative)

      by djmurdoch (306849) on Friday January 27, 2006 @08:48AM (#14577701)
      The link in the Slashdot summary goes to someone's blog

      I don't know if Michael Geist submitted the link, but he's actually a pretty well known columnist and copyright activist. You should check out michaelgeist.com [michaelgeist.com] for some interesting reading.

      Lately there has been a lot about the Canadian election and the brouhaha over the CRIA (the Canadian RIAA) and friends supporting a candidate who was the author of a pro-business copyright bill, but generally it's a pretty interesting blog. And who knows, he may even have contributed to the electoral loss of that candidate, the minister who sponsored the bill, and the government who brought it in.
      • There is no point in linking to the blog instead of the article unless the blog offers additional insights, regardless of Geist's expertise.

        • It does, now. Perhaps the anonymous submitter trusted Geist's reputation enough to predict that? (No, I'm not serious.) But realistically, there's a lot on that page besides the link to the press release.
      • An expansion on the brouhaha...

        Sarmite Bulte, a Liberal Party Canidate was defeated in her riding in this mondays' election, possibly in part due to the media (i belive) started by Jack Kapica's column in the Globe and Mail (link [theglobeandmail.com] ... actual article about this issue here [globetechnology.com]).

        In short, she was previously the Canadian Heritage minister, and she was being wined and dined and donated to by the media industry, and advocating copyright reform that would allow DMCA style C&Ds. She was replaced with an NDP canidat
        • Small correction: Bulte was not the Minister of Canadian Heritage, she was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister, and had chaired the committee that produced a report calling for anti-consumer copyright reforms.
    • within a few comments the site went blank. Now I got this mabo warning that I should have to warn the site's admin. Serves him right for not switching to Joomla!
    • But it's nice to see that yet another company is telling off the RIAA.

      I thought Nettwerk was a member of the RIAA. Check it out on RIAA Radar [magnetbox.com].

      But this action raises their Karma to where I will not rule out CDs from Nettwerk. This is just in time for the next CD from Delerium!

  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Friday January 27, 2006 @08:40AM (#14577670)
    Greubel is accused of having 600 suspected music files on the family computer. The RIAA is targeting nine specific songs, including "Sk8er Boi" by Arista artist Avril Lavigne, a Nettwerk management client. The RIAA has demanded Greubel pay a $9,000 stipulated judgment as a penalty, though it will accept $4,500 should Greubel pay the amount within a specific period of time.

    Hmmm....$9000 / 600 = $15 per song! and $4500 / 60 = $7.50 per song if you act now!
    I see how this new price model works.
    • by Dekortage (697532)

      I agree that illegally copied music is, well, illegal. Shouldn't there be a warning, though, so that the individual being sued has the opportunity to legally purchase the songs in question? 600 songs = $600US on iTunes, more or less.

      • The issue here is mainly that the person was *distributing* these files, not that they merely had them on their hard disk for private listening. Naturally, the damages will be larger for distributing files illegally rather than merely having them.
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Friday January 27, 2006 @08:44AM (#14577685) Homepage
    If piracy is still rampant on P2P networks, and music sales are still down... doesn't that mean that more people are not buying the music that they claim on slashdot and elsewhere that they'd buy to support the band? What is going on with this? If most of the new music is so shitty you cannot buy a CD online for $12-$15 (sorry, most of the time claiming you're forced to pay $20 is bullshit with the internet) then why is piracy still rampant?

    Unless... few P2P defenders want to admit that they really have no interest in paying for music that they could otherwise get for free. Look, I despise the RIAA as much as the next guy, but if you're downloading the music of a small band, you're not supporting them. No one will notice that and think "hey this is the next great band" except for maybe the hated RIAA's lawyers if they see a spike in P2P traffic. One of my all time favorite bands, Lacuna Coil, has only combined sold a few hundred thousand copies of their albums, most of which came from Ozzfest 2004, and I fail to see how downloading all of Comalies and their new Karmacode album would help them if I cannot see their shows.

    Now that I am out of college, I find myself no longer able to support P2P networks used for this purpose. It's a great file sharing approach that's often spoiled by teens and young adults who do have the money to pay for their music, but won't. The turning point came for me when I saw a few poor metalheads non-chalantly paying $17-$20 at Ozzfest for Comalies, then noticed some of my almost upper class friends in CS had no desire to actually buy Comalies, even though they loved every song on the album.

    For every 1 honest P2P user, there are probably 10 who aren't. Don't ever forget that the boom in CD sales with Napster in 1998-2000 corresponded to the dotcom bubble!
    • > If piracy is still rampant on P2P networks, and music sales are still down... doesn't that mean that more people are not buying the music that they claim on slashdot and elsewhere that they'd buy to support the band?

      Possibly there are other people who don't make that claim on Slashdot.
    • There is a very well hidden non sequitur on your argument. The fact that piracy is increasing doesn't mean that more people are listenning to music. Piracy was almost nonexistent a few years ago, it can (proportionaly) increase a lot and not reach the same amount of people that used to buy CDs.

      • You're kidding, right? About claiming that piracy didn't exist a few years ago?

        You think people were't sharing music a few years ago? Recording songs from radio broadcasts? Ripping music from CDs? I would guess you are probably about 13 years old. This kind of thing has been going on at leastsince I was a small child, and that was over 20 years ago in the age of magnetic tape and "push-play-and-record". The fact is in this day and age, the RIAA has successfully demonized the sharing of music without their

    • If piracy is still rampant on P2P networks, and music sales are still down... doesn't that mean that more people are not buying the music that they claim on slashdot and elsewhere that they'd buy to support the band? What is going on with this? If most of the new music is so shitty you cannot buy a CD online for $12-$15 (sorry, most of the time claiming you're forced to pay $20 is bullshit with the internet) then why is piracy still rampant?

      I'm not downloading music off of p2p networks, but I'm not buying m
    • What you don't understand is the fact, that the price is not everything. People don't use p2p only because it's cheaper. They use it because they get much better service. Remember the times when people warned other people from using p2p because of the possible virus infections? Now you have to be careful when buying records!

      What record companies and RIAA don't get, is the quality of the service together with the available selection. Want yesterdays good music? Don't waste your time going to a music store, s
    • Unless... few P2P defenders want to admit that they really have no interest in paying for music that they could otherwise get for free.

      Quite a lot of it, they don't. Say I download 100 albums and buy 3 of them. That's still a net gain for the record industry, because had I not been able to download anything, that money would have gone on a graphics card instead.

      Look, I despise the RIAA as much as the next guy, but if you're downloading the music of a small band, you're not supporting them. No one will not

      • Everybody seems to be missing the point. The RIAA's problem is nothing to do with sales (although they claim it is) - the real problem is that everything is developing towards a system where the customers are in direct contact with the sellers. The RIAA represent middlemen, they desperately need to retain CONTROL of the artists and the means of distribution.
      • which is how I discovered Lacuna Coil, so that's almost certainly one more customer from rampant piracy

        Yes, but is Lacuna Coil's gain of a customer at the expense of another band? You said earlier in your post that you'd put off buying a graphics card to buy music, but you've only got a finite amount of money to make purchases with, and eventually it's going to come down to another CD that you would have purchased, but won't because you can't justify spending more.

        So what you get is an indie band that bene
    • music sales are still down.

      Music sales are not all that down. There was an article about a year ago in the LA Weekly about how total CD sales were up, but sales of the Top 10 or so CDs were down. This indicates a lot more depth to sales than the major labels want--people are buying CDs, but they're exposed to a lot more variety (possibly through filesharing) and so it's getting harder and harder to push a model where you sell enormous numbers of a small number of releases. I still buy CDs, but I usually g
    • Unless... few P2P defenders want to admit that they really have no interest in paying for music that they could otherwise get for free.

      OK, I'll bite. First, I will point out that downloading music via P2P for personal use does not contravene the Canadian Copyright Act or any other Canadian law, so there is no issue of infringing on anyone's proprietary rights. Since the record companies are intent on asserting their rights to the fullest extent of the law (and beyond) I see absolutely no reason to grant the
    • Why should i pay for music?

      People have been making music since the dawn of time. Paying for it in little bite sized disks is a fairly new invention. If you dont want people to hear your music, then don't release it. The point of releasing music is to get other people to hear it. It is not to make money. especially in the internet age where you dont even have to go out and buy little plastic disks, which do have a real world cost.

      What about the artists! they say... how will they get paid?
      my answer would be,
  • by Cryolithic (563545) on Friday January 27, 2006 @09:00AM (#14577749)
    Create a virus that installs a P2P client/server on each machine, and then randomly downloads and shares songs on the major P2P networks. Later, when they RIAA files a suit against a user, they can claim that it wasn't them, but the evil virus that shared these songs. Not only is it not the user's fault, but it's Microsoft's, as the unintentional sharing would have never happened without the security flaws! Proverbial stone of dual avian slaying +2
  • Evil Twin? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Comatose51 (687974) on Friday January 27, 2006 @09:05AM (#14577773) Homepage
    Nettwerk CEO Terry McBride says 'Suing music fans is not the solution, it's the problem.

    Has Slashdot found Darl's good twin???

  • by NewToNix (668737) on Friday January 27, 2006 @09:09AM (#14577789) Journal

    To see someone named McBride do something good.

    Maybe Darl could learn from this... well probably not.

  • I LOVE Nettwerk! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eggplant62 (120514) on Friday January 27, 2006 @09:11AM (#14577793)
    I think what they're doing is commendable, and we all have to start somewhere. Nettwerk is home to many great artists, and Nettwerk has been very generous with their works, people and bands like my favorites, Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, Dido, Chantal Kreviazuk, and many more. I've gotten lots of free Sarah McLachlan stuff over the 15 years I've been a fan, so my loyalty toward her and Nettwerk is pretty well cemented in stone. They've always been an independent label who have not exactly toed the RIAA party line.
    • And Delerium, don't forget Delerium and Kirsty Thirsk's vocals.
  • Why RIAA? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jozi (908206) <valsharessa1@@@hotmail...com> on Friday January 27, 2006 @09:18AM (#14577825)
    Ok I admit I am not very well read up on what the RIAA actually does and maybe this is the wrong place to ask this question, but what does an individual record company gain from being a RIAA member?
    All I ever hear about RIAA involves lawsuits and similar activities. Do they actually provide anything to the individual record companies besides being a common lobby organization?
    • by LordPhantom (763327) on Friday January 27, 2006 @09:25AM (#14577842)
      Yes - a free jar of vasaline with every contract signed...
    • Well, one of the things they do is protect the copyrights of their members in areas where a collective approach is probably a better thing. For example, there's this "P2P piracy" epidemic at the moment, comprising of large numbers of people running programs that take rips of music from CDs and make them available to anyone on the network, without the need to pay royalties.

      These networks do not focus on music from one particular publisher, but a great many, the vast majority (if not all) the RIAA members,

  • ...because if the Canadians can secure their borders [kirotv.com] I'm sure that their newly elected government will step in with appropriate effective legislation that will take down the Evil Empire that is the RIAA.

    I'll belive it when I see it.
    At least this label is a hero (at least at face value):
    Nettwerk Music Group has agreed to pay the total expense of all legal fees as well as any fines should the family lose the case against the RIAA.
    Given that these guys are the label for BareNaked Ladies, Avril Lavig
  • It is about time one of the record labels stood up and realized that what the RIAA is doing isn't protecting copyrights at all but is slowly eroding the music industry out from under them.

    Recently on Slashdot an article said the P2P sharing was still going strong. I'm not really all that surprised because when a group of people finds themselves underseige for some reason it doesn't usually make them stop what they are doing. Just ask the people who live in the Isreali West Bank!

    Anyway, suing individual mu
  • by twitter (104583) on Friday January 27, 2006 @09:42AM (#14577928) Homepage Journal
    one of the most unfortunate side effects of file sharing as a meaningful debate on the future of music in Canada as well as the best path for copyright reform is lost amid the cries of sharing, stealing, and private copying. We need a real discussion of music in Canada that goes beyond file sharing to include private copying, fair use, the limits on the use of DRM, the transparency of collectives, canadian content requirements in the Internet era, and support for the artists.

    The pigopolists have been loud, but the rest of us are quietly not using our wallets. Perpetual copyrights and DRM are out of bounds and no one is going to support them.

    It's very simple, really, people want their freedom. If you don't want me to share the music you publish, I don't want to buy it. I won't go for technological restrictions either. I'm not giving my money to people who would make sharing a crime. Music is supposed to be shared and it's supposed to be unifying.

  • by malraid (592373) on Friday January 27, 2006 @09:53AM (#14577985)
    ...that the last CD I bought was a Nettwerk CD (Chimera by Delerium). It also seems it's one of the few labels that still pumps out interesting music. And yes, I downloaded three Delerium albums, two of which I bought eventually, and last one will probably buy very soon.
  • by xerxesVII (707232) on Friday January 27, 2006 @10:22AM (#14578139)
    Any label that had room for both Sarah MacLachlan and Skinny Puppy has to be at least kind of interesting.

  • Nettwerk (Score:2, Insightful)

    Uses DRM schemes on their CD's. A Delerium CD was one of the few CD's I could not actually rip in Windows (riped beautifully in iTunes for Mac though). Perhaps Nettwerk feels a little more secure in their ability to prevent unwanted distribution, but they are right up their with the RIAA in terms of limiting individual rights when it comes to how a person wants to listen to the music they purchased. Good to know that they won't resort to suing customers for breaking DRM schemes.
  • The mind BOGGLES at the concept that someone named MCBride is against suing (see SCO Vs IBM, Autozone, MBZ, and Novell)

    I almost fell out of my chair. Good for him!
  • I want to see a real fight between fairly matched opponents. I get the impression from this article and a couple others that the offer isn't just to pay the $4,500 which would be the easy way out.

    If they can make the RIAA actually prove their case in court then this is worthwhile. If they just plan to cheaply exit by paying the extortion, then we all know which artist we should be downloading and sharing next.

  • on emusic [emusic.com]. I buy there whenever possible, to 'protest DRM with my wallet' so to speak. Otherwise I just buy the CD and rip it.
  • Nettwerk: By standing up to the RIAA like this, we're sticking it to The Man!
    Generic Lackey: But, you are [riaa.com] The Man. So does this mean you're sticking it to yourself?
    Nettwerk: ... Maybe.
  • Go Nettwerk! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Frag-A-Muffin (5490) on Friday January 27, 2006 @01:26PM (#14580091) Homepage
    I've been reading that this is a PR stunt from a little Canadian label. Well, it may be ... but what you guys are missing is that they DO seem to "Get it"

    Visit their site: http://www.nettwerk.com/ [nettwerk.com]

    Guess what they sell. MP3s!

    I for one, am going to be writing them a letter thanking them for understanding that not all their customers are crooks and that they shouldn't be punishing everyone because of a few bad apples.

    Nettwerk++
  • Alright Nettwerk (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Quila (201335) on Friday January 27, 2006 @01:50PM (#14580428)
    Nettwerk has always been my favorite label, promoting the best early industrial bands including Skinny Puppy. I can understand how they 'get it' with file sharing, as opposed to the big conglomerates.

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