RIAA

The emperor has no clothes: Kim Dotcom’s legal troubles multiply

You have to admit, he had most of you going for a while.  Maybe not you, the reader, because Whaleoil has been one of the very few media outlets  (the only one?) that has consistently warned everyone that Kim Dotcom would be a tar pit to anyone who chooses to get near him, as well as the reasons why.

Just three days ago, the combined might of the movie industry filed civil charges against Kim Dotcom.

Today, the combined might of the music industry followed

Four music labels filed a copyright infringement lawsuit on Thursday against the file-sharing website Megaupload and its founder Kim Dotcom, three days after several major movie studios did the same.

The lawsuit says that Megaupload, Dotcom and other defendants “engaged in, actively encouraged, and handsomely profited from massive copyright infringement of music,” according to a statement issued by the Recording Industry Association of America.   Read more »

$5,000 liability limit for file sharing in Canada

Canada’s a pretty fucked up country when it comes to some of its legislation, but they’ve got this one right.  In the face of movie and music rights holders claiming outrageous damages for illegal downloads, the Canadians have passed a law that limits  liability in non-commercial cases to a maximum of $5,000 for all infringement claims.

And judges are even guided to favour the lower end of the punitive scale:

in the case of infringements for noncommercial purposes, the need for an award to be proportionate to the infringements, in consideration of the hardship the award may cause to the defendant, whether the infringement was for private purposes or not, and the impact of the infringements on the plaintiff.

This is a reasonable response to what has been taking place until now.  Here’s an extreme example from the USA:

 In 2009, Thomas-Rasset’s case was retried and again 12 jurors decide against her. This time, however, the jury awarded damages of $80,000 for each of the 24 songs she was accused of sharing for a total of $1.92 million.

Whenever the legal system allows legal remedies to be turned into a viable income stream, there is a need to balance it.

In New Zealand this never got out of hand in the first place.  The costs of scatter gun type litigation is simply prohibitive enough for rights holders’ “accuse everyone, demand megabucks, and see what sticks” strategy to never have been viable  here.  As a result, we’re yet to see someone before the Copyright Tribunal.

 

Why the Recording Industry is going broke

The clue here is that it isn’t because of piracy, but you can see why they need draconian laws to protect their nice little cartel, they simply just suck at business and they want governments to protect their sorry asses.

Pirates vs. CopyrightThe RIAA’s “business plan” is even worse than I’d guessed it was.

The RIAA paid Holmes Roberts & Owen $9,364,901 in 2008, Jenner & Block more than $7,000,000, and Cravath Swain & Moore $1.25 million, to pursue its “copyright infringement” claims, in order to recover a mere $391,000. [ps there were many other law firms feeding at the trough too; these were just the ones listed among the top 5 independent contractors.]

Embarrassing.

If the average settlement were $3,900, that would mean 100 settlements for the entire year.

As bad as it was, I guess it was better than the numbers for 2007, in which more than $21 million was spent on legal fees, and $3.5 million on “investigative operations” … presumably MediaSentry. And the amount recovered was $515,929.

And 2006 was similar: they spent more than $19,000,000 in legal fees and more than $3,600,000 in “investigative operations” expenses to recover $455,000.

So all in all, for a 3 year period, they spent around $64,000,000 in legal and investigative expenses to recover around $1,361,000.

Shrewd.

No wonder they get paid the big bucks

Pay Jonathan Coulton his $37

Viacom gets its ass handed to it. This just shows the insane logic of recording companies. Witness too the ludicrous claims of the RIAA against Limewire.

Where Is Jonathan Coulton’s 37 dollars?

In which John Green examines the complicated relationship between Viacom and piracy: Viacom has filed a lawsuit against YouTube seeking more than a billion dollars in damages for the copyright infringement that was rife in the early days of YouTube. But John proves that spike.com, which is owned by Viacom, has been placing ads against content that doesn’t belong to them for years, including Jonathan Coulton’s brilliant music video “Flickr.”

This video includes a snippet of “Flickr,” which is–like this video–released under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike Creative Commons license. All of which is to say: Viacom, if you steal my video like you stole Coulton’s, I will sue you.

Ask Viacom where Jonathan Coulton’s 37 dollars is: http://www.viacom.com/contact/Pages/d…

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