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RIAA Loses Bid To Keep Revenues Secret 229

Posted by timothy
from the but-your-honor-that's-our-secret-recipe-for-money-soup dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA's motion to keep secret the record companies' 1999-to-date revenues for the copyrighted song files at the heart of the case has been denied, in the Boston case scheduled for trial July 27th, SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum. The Judge had previously ordered the plaintiff record companies to produce a summary of the 1999-to-date revenues for the recordings, broken down into physical and digital sales. On the day the summary was due to be produced, instead of producing it, they produced a 'protective order motion' asking the Judge to rule that the information would have to be kept secret. The Judge rejected that motion: 'the Court does not comprehend how disclosure would impair the Plaintiffs' competitive business prospects when three of the four biggest record labels in the world — Warner Bros. Records, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, and UMG Recording, Inc. — are participating jointly in this lawsuit and, presumably, would have joint access to this information.'"
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RIAA Loses Bid To Keep Revenues Secret

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  • Show us the money! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pilgrim23 (716938) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @02:48PM (#28720723)
    I will believe it when the smoke and mirrors are actually changed to some hard data. This seems more an Emperor's new clothes thing to me though. The RIAA does not wish to reveal that the hand they are playing is a busted flush
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tom (822)

      The RIAA does not wish to reveal that the hand they are playing is a busted flush

      Actually, what they don't want to reveal is that the hand they bet with (share to the artists) is not the hand they put down when it is called (share to themselves).

  • I wonder if ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TomTraynor (82129) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @02:50PM (#28720745) Homepage

    I wonder if they told the artists one set of numbers and need more time to make sure what they give to the court matches that set.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by atraintocry (1183485)

      That part is standard practice, and I doubt they're worried about the artists finding out since they're the ones who draw up the contracts.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_accounting [wikipedia.org]

    • Re:I wonder if ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday July 16, 2009 @03:53PM (#28721663)
      That would be pretty typical in show business. A major motion picture can have a HUGE box office and still mysteriously show no profit when it comes time to give out the money to the people with "points" in the movie. Peter Jackson had to sue New Line [nytimes.com] to get his fair share of the The Lord of the Rings movies, after they tried this with him (and he won).
    • Re:I wonder if ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ewilts (121990) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @03:56PM (#28721703) Homepage

      I wonder if they told the artists one set of numbers and need more time to make sure what they give to the court matches that set.

      Herein lies the issue. If they go with the artist numbers, then revenues might be small. Punitive and compensatory damages will likely be small as a result. However, if they want to claim higher numbers, then the artists will turn around and sue them for the stolen revenue. They're caught between a rock and a hard place, and that's good...

      • Re:I wonder if ... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @05:34PM (#28723113) Journal

        Herein lies the issue. If they go with the artist numbers, then revenues might be small. Punitive and compensatory damages will likely be small as a result. However, if they want to claim higher numbers, then the artists will turn around and sue them for the stolen revenue. They're caught between a rock and a hard place, and that's good...

        You could expand that as well. If there is a *cough* significant difference between the two numbers, the disclosure could open the RIAA companies to accusations of conspiracy to defraud on a grand scale. Passing the hot potato between holding companies until fees eat up the value that would otherwise be distributed as profit is an old trick. A very old trick, and one that wouldn't be treated sympathetically by a court that enforced visibility of the transactions as a group. The term, I think, is "forensic accounting" and firms like KPMG (disclosure: once was employee, long ago) have practice groups that are used by prosecutors for just this purpose.

        I don't think it would be the first time that the discovery part of a lawsuit triggered new proceedings. Sort of like "Well, I was just on my way to a burglary when the guy ran into me..."

      • Taxes too (Score:4, Interesting)

        by phorm (591458) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @06:14PM (#28723655) Journal

        It's not just the royalties/payments to the artists, it's the taxes, which could become an even bigger issue.
        While big corps might be able to get away with shady practises to hide their real profits, if they try to stick with a large penalty by announcing revenues of several times what was declared on their taxes they're likely going to be in deep trouble

        Not only that, but showing huge profits is going to blow away their pleas of "piracy is killing the industry and we're losing money/profits/etc", which is probably the real point here....

    • One would think that they would have the numbers they told the artists easily accessible and widely known by anybody in the organization that deals with those numbers. You don't want someone to slip up at the wrong time, after all.

      My guess is that they want more time to figure out the best way to present the numbers and how much info they can hold back without being held in contempt. If they can get away with just disclosing the profit they have in the balance books, that's completely different from prod
    • ...when you publicly state that you want the 3.5% that the artists get, to get down to 2.8%, while still expecting them to pay the studio from that.

      Because that is exactly what they tried to do.

      Those that they told another set of numbers are us. To justify the "piracy" inquisition. (Occam's razor!)

    • The RIAA probably have every accountant withing a 400mile radius with questionable ethics pouring over the books trying to hide every 0.00c they can...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

        Except that, when such books are made public, other accountants who know the tricks can go through and dismantle those shady actions and expose them. This is exactly the situation where you want either the best money-hider in the world or the cleanest, most honest books in the world. Dirty accountants working on your books could land you in a lot more trouble than having clean books that simply make your public positions look bad.

  • Not only that ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by taniwha (70410) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @02:50PM (#28720755) Homepage Journal
    because music copyright usually results in a monopoly situation there is not competition - no one else is publishing the same track in competition to them, so the information is not commercially sensitive
  • I object! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 16, 2009 @02:51PM (#28720765)

    Reede: Your honor, I object!

    Judge: Why?

    Reede: Because it's devastating to my case!

    Judge: Overruled.

    Reede: Good call!

    • by Em Emalb (452530) <ememalb@gmail . c om> on Thursday July 16, 2009 @03:18PM (#28721153) Homepage Journal

      Cop: You know why I pulled you over?
      Fletcher: Depends on how long you were following me!
      Cop: Why don't we just take it from the top?
      Fletcher: Here goes: I sped. I followed too closely. I ran a stop sign. I almost hit a Chevy. I sped some more. I failed to yield at a crosswalk. I changed lanes at the intersection. I changed lanes without signaling while running a red light and *speeding*!
      Cop: Is that all?
      Fletcher: No... I have unpaid parking tickets.
      [groans]
      Fletcher: ... be gentle.

      Bum: Got any spare change?
      Fletcher: Absolutely!
      Bum: Could ya spare some?
      Fletcher: Yes I could!
      Bum: Will ya?
      Fletcher: HMM-MMM!
      Bum: How come?
      Fletcher: Because I believe you will buy booze with it! I just want to get from my car to the office without being confronted by the decay of western society!... Plus I'm cheap! AHHH!

    • Judge Hank "The Hangman" BMW: "Shut up! Shut up! Now, prosecutor, why you think he done it?"
      Prosecutor: "Okay, number one, Your Honor, just look at him."
      *whole room laughs at him*
      Frito: "He talks like a fag too."
      Prosecutor: "And B, we got all this, pff... like... evidence of how, like... this guy didn't even pay at the hospital. And I heard that he doesn't even have his tattoo!
      *shocked audience*
      Prosecutor: "I know! And I'm all, 'You've gotta be shittin' me.' But check this out, man! Judge should be like...

    • by Chabo (880571)

      Or, from Bart Simpson's trial for the murder of Principal Skinner:
      "Your honor, I move that Principal Skinner's entire testimony be stricken from the record."
      " DENIED! Case dismissed."

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @02:52PM (#28720787)

    They'd have to show what they actually gain from "honest" business and have that compared to their extortion schemes. It could even show that the "claimed losses" exceed what one person could possibly cause in damages.

    And that in turn could mean that their insane claims (and the verdicts that ensued) could be up for review, they could end up with far more sane sentences and that in turn would make the whole "shock and awe" deterrent a joke.

  • by croddy (659025) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @02:53PM (#28720793)
    haha! well, maybe now their hollywood accounting [wikipedia.org] will come back to bite them in the ass as they struggle to show that the songs are now worth massive damages, when they were worth nothing or less as they computed royalties for the artists they were screwing.
  • In other words... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Kayden (1406747)
    The decline in physical sales correlates perfectly to the increase in digital sales? So they'll have a hard time whining about pirates because they're still making a ton of money, but still want to play the victim.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 (1287218)
      Exactly, I wonder what their advertising says for new artists compared to what they say when they pull the "ZOMG OUR KIDS ARE GOING TO STARVE IF WE DON"T SUE YOU FOR $3.6 million per song!!!111!1!1".
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      While decreasing CD sales are being caused by increasing digital sales, overall cash is going down. But that's not anybody's fault. People don't want to buy the CD because it's overpriced and they only want the one or two good songs that are hyped on the radio. Why buy the rest of the trash?

      Then add in Wal Mart is running independent music stores out of business and then turning around and only offering a fraction of the selection - the majority of it being the latest hype crap that everyone wants to buy si

      • While decreasing CD sales are being caused by increasing digital sales, overall cash is going down.

        Which gap they're trying to make up for in litigation.

        Didn't work for SCO, did it?

  • cracks in the dam (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dan667 (564390) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @02:59PM (#28720869)
    Sony, EMI, Warner Bros, and Universal are in real trouble. Make sure you check http://riaaradar.com/ [riaaradar.com] to make sure when you purchase music you don't buy anything from these companies that fund the RIAA.
    • Re:cracks in the dam (Score:4, Informative)

      by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <rayNO@SPAMbeckermanlegal.com> on Thursday July 16, 2009 @03:03PM (#28720919) Homepage Journal

      Sony, EMI, Warner Bros, and Universal are in real trouble. Make sure you check http://riaaradar.com/ [riaaradar.com] [riaaradar.com] to make sure when you purchase music you don't buy anything from these companies that fund the RIAA.

      Well most of their recordings are sold under their affiliate labels, with different names. But so long as you check it out at http://riaaradar.com/ [riaaradar.com] if they say it's cool, it's cool. If they say it's RIAA-tainted, stay away.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by lfp.turk (830154)
      Is there a similar site for movies as well?
      • by Chabo (880571)

        Easy. Just watch the Independent Film Channel all day. The movies you watch will most likely not be owned by the MPAA. ;)

        You could also watch more foreign films, but be careful; in some cases you're just funding the MPAA's foreign equivalent.

        While I have a chance to plug this movie while being on-topic: I recommend checking out With Fire and Sword [wikipedia.org]. It's a historical epic, and since at the time it was the highest-budget Polish movie ever made, the production looks on par with Hollywood movies in the same gen

    • make sure when you purchase music you don't buy anything from these companies that fund the RIAA.

      Okay.

      • by Dan667 (564390)
        If you pirate it, it does not matter. None of it goes to the artist anyway, but if you are going to buy, don't buy if from a company funding the RIAA.
  • What is worse (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sbeckstead (555647)
    Now the artists will find out exactly how much the record companies are skimming off of them and force the record companies to pay up!
    • Sadly, that'll never happen - this case will be dropped and swept under the rug with all the vigor others have been prosecuted with.
      • by Rockoon (1252108)
        I'm not sure that they can just drop the case now, since judgement has already been handed down.
  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @03:15PM (#28721095) Homepage
    If their sales/profits are low, then they can claim the illegal copying is to blame. If their sales/profits are high, then they claim it would be even higher without the copying.

    The only issue could be that they are not consistent with regards to their demands.

  • But Sir (Score:5, Funny)

    by kenp2002 (545495) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @03:16PM (#28721107) Homepage Journal

    MAFIAA: But sir we sold 4 million digital downloads and made 2 million in revenue from those downloads.

    JUDGE: So your are saying you made about 50 cents each download right?

    MAFIAA: Yes sir.

    JUDGE: So we can roughly say the value of each download is 50 cents right?

    MAFIAA: Yes sir.

    JUDGE: So even if we get "Biblical" in damages of 40 fold we are looking at about $20 a track right?

    MAFIAA: Errr well....

    JUDGE: So for 24 tracks at $20 bucks each Jammie owes you about $480 bucks right?

    MAFIAA: You have to take into account everyone that downloaded them.

    JUDGE: Ok so lets say 10 people downloaded each one, that's about so that's about $4800 right?

    MAFIAA: Sir that isn't enough!

    JUDGE: How much is enough?

    MAFIAA: IT'S NEVER ENOUGH!!! (Rips off the mask to reveal he's infact a tenticle demon!!)

    • Re:But Sir (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @03:35PM (#28721375)

      MAFIAA: You have to take into account everyone that downloaded them.

      JUDGE: Ok so lets say 10 people downloaded each one, that's about so that's about $4800 right?

      By definition, the average participant in a peer sharing network uploads one copy. There's no way around that. If the actual number of uploads is unknown, the only remotely reasonable assumption for damage calculations is 1.0000000000000000000000000.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Basilius (184226)

        MAFIAA: You have to take into account everyone that downloaded them.

        JUDGE: Ok so lets say 10 people downloaded each one, that's about so that's about $4800 right?

        By definition, the average participant in a peer sharing network uploads one copy. There's no way around that. If the actual number of uploads is unknown, the only remotely reasonable assumption for damage calculations is 1.0000000000000000000000000.

        I know the defendant in this case wasn't using bittorrent, but is there actually any way to prove a person has uploaded one entire, complete, copy to anyone? I expect it's more like 30% to that person, 40% to another, 30% to a third, but since people are connected to multiple uploaders, how can you tell?

        • MAFIAA: You have to take into account everyone that downloaded them.

          JUDGE: Ok so lets say 10 people downloaded each one, that's about so that's about $4800 right?

          By definition, the average participant in a peer sharing network uploads one copy. There's no way around that. If the actual number of uploads is unknown, the only remotely reasonable assumption for damage calculations is 1.0000000000000000000000000.

          I know the defendant in this case wasn't using bittorrent, but is there actually any way to prove a person has uploaded one entire, complete, copy to anyone? I expect it's more like 30% to that person, 40% to another, 30% to a third, but since people are connected to multiple uploaders, how can you tell?

          You can't tell without access to the sharer's computer, but it's reasonable to assume the most likely number. The 1.00000etc number in my GP post is off because I forgot that the initial uploader didn't have to download the file. The real number is slightly under 1.0, at 1-(1/N), where N is the total number of complete downloads across the entire network. I imagine a typical file will have a number like 0.9999. Multiply that by the value of the track and then multiply that product to get actual losses i

          • by Basilius (184226)

            You can't tell without access to the sharer's computer, but it's reasonable to assume the most likely number.

            The 1.00000etc number in my GP post is off because I forgot that the initial uploader didn't have to download the file. The real number is slightly under 1.0, at 1-(1/N), where N is the total number of complete downloads across the entire network. I imagine a typical file will have a number like 0.9999. Multiply that by the value of the track and then multiply that product to get actual losses if you make the laughable assumption that every copy equals a lost sale.

            Yet, even that's going to be off when you look at radically differing upload speeds and things like that.

            I still think this is a possible defense avenue. I don't think you can actually prove (in the typical case with multiple up- and down-loaders) that a particular computer ever sends a complete copy of a file to any other single computer. But I don't know the tech deeply enough, hence my questions.

            It's been a loophole in the past for shipping weapons around - ship the parts (which is legal) and the recip

            • by Abreu (173023)

              It's been a loophole in the past for shipping weapons around - ship the parts (which is legal) and the recipient assembles them. And since a part of an MP3 file is unusable without the rest, I'd think a similar defense might work here.

              Wasn't there a "sampling" case where it was ruled that using a certain percentage of a song (a few seconds IIRC) were not considered to be copyright infringement?

      • by blueg3 (192743)

        It's certainly not by definition. You're either making a lot of assumptions about the behavior of the file sharing network and the individual's client (e.g., that it's very BitTorrent-like), or you're taking an entirely useless sense of the term "average".

        • by afidel (530433)
          Sure it is, on average each person will upload one copy, because only N copies will be downloaded where N is the number of torrent participants. The only thing that isn't accounted for in that average is partial downloads and discarded blocks.
          • by blueg3 (192743)

            Common assumption: P2P networks are all like BitTorrent.

            Applicability to this case: none? Tenenbaum is in court for sharing files on Kazaa.

            • by SLi (132609)

              No, that's not necessary, and the claim holds for Kazaa too.

              Just do the math/thinking yourself. Since there's no multicast, clearly exactly N bytes are uploaded for every N bytes downloaded. That means that for a group of M sharers who downloaded a file, it was also uploaded exactly as many times.

              That's also pretty much in the definition of P2P.

        • The total amount downloaded (ignoring re-downloads, which are rare) is capped by the number of users interested in that file, N. The initial copy was brought in from elsewhere, so there are at most N-1 copies uploaded via the P2P network. The mean amount uploaded per-user is thus (N-1 copies) / (N users), which is approximately unity.

          A minority of users with faster-than-average upload rates, higher caps, and/or always-on computers do more than their equal share of the uploading, so the median amount uploade

      • by Inda (580031)
        In your utopian P2P network, the last person to download doesn't upload to anyone. The average will always be less than one.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gknoy (899301)

        Infringement isn't about sharing a complete copy. If you shared half a song with two people, that could be interpreted (and would be, I expect) of two infringements.

        Taken to an (absurd IMO) extreme, that could be taken to mean that if you shared 1/N of a song with N people, that would be N infringements ... meaning one could easily "infringe" several hundred thousand times while uploading to someone over p2p. This seems absolutely absurd to us, but until someone answers "what fraction of a copyrighted wor

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 16, 2009 @03:16PM (#28721123)

    Ray--if I was ordered by a judge to produce a detailed breakdown of my accounting (say a trial for tax evasion) practices over the past years by 7/31, and on the 31st I came to court with just a "protective order motion" asking that my accounting practices be kept secret...

    Wouldn't I be held in contempt?

    I mean...I can see producing the motion *with* the information...or...before it...but... tell me why it is these guys appear to have rights in the legal system that everyone else doesn't... More importantly, what piece of paperwork do I have to file so I can ignore court orders like they do and get off scott free?

    • I was thinking the same thing. They intentionally missed a court ordered deadline. That should be contempt.

    • More importantly, what piece of paperwork do I have to file so I can ignore court orders like they do and get off scott free?

      You need to fill out and turn in a huge number of these [wikipedia.org] to be immune to the law.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Ray--if I was ordered by a judge to produce a detailed breakdown of my accounting (say a trial for tax evasion) practices over the past years by 7/31, and on the 31st I came to court with just a "protective order motion" asking that my accounting practices be kept secret...

      Wouldn't I be held in contempt?

      IANNYCL, but the awnser is no. A protective order does not prevent your opponent from using the information produced as part of the trial, it keeps your opponent from sharing the information outside the c

    • Ray--if I was ordered by a judge to produce a detailed breakdown of my accounting (say a trial for tax evasion) practices over the past years by 7/31, and on the 31st I came to court with just a "protective order motion" asking that my accounting practices be kept secret... Wouldn't I be held in contempt? I mean...I can see producing the motion *with* the information...or...before it...but... tell me why it is these guys appear to have rights in the legal system that everyone else doesn't... More importantly, what piece of paperwork do I have to file so I can ignore court orders like they do and get off scott free?

      If I were the Judge I probably wouldn't have held them in contempt, but I probably would have issued a discovery sanction. Since in this case the material is needed to assess the fair use defense, which would be a complete bar to the action, I would have issued an order striking their complaint, dismissing the case.

      • by Tom (822) on Friday July 17, 2009 @12:17AM (#28726053) Homepage Journal

        I would have issued an order striking their complaint, dismissing the case.

        But then, we wouldn't see the records, right? Maybe the judge is as curious as you and I regarding what they're trying to hide?

    • by mr_matticus (928346) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @04:10PM (#28721935)

      The way most things work in court is that your response is due based on the order from the judge. If you are ordered to provide tax information by 7/31, you have a number of options. Only one of them is actually providing that information. You can also respond by challenging the order, requesting a limitation on the order, showing cause why you can't comply with the order, and depending on the situation, other options.

      The deadline is the due date for the responsive filing. As long as the response isn't completely devoid of rationality or some support, the court will review the response and then either adjust the original order or respond by saying, "nice try, but now do what I said". It's not contempt to push back in civil litigation unless you're doing it solely for the sake of wasting time or money.

      In this case, because a protective order was issued, it obviously wasn't devoid of a real issue.

      Now, sometimes, an order is an order and the only permitted responses are (a) compliance or (b) a request for more time to comply (which may or may not be granted, especially if dropped on the court at the last minute). This is rarely the case.

      Moreover, the summary is again biased and sensationalized, part of a pattern that shows increasingly unprofessional conduct on the part of the submitter. The RIAA offered a proposed order that was greater in scope than what they had argued for. Had the judge and her clerks read only the moving papers and then just signed the order, the RIAA would have had that order amended upon discovery of the inconsistency. The RIAA actually got the protective order it had argued for--it just didn't get the overbroad proposal they submitted.

      You could automatically bounce back to "the RIAA is evil and incompetent", which no one would disagree with, but there's almost no chance that this would have ever worked--it's not like the judge is powerless upon discovery of the problem, which is almost inevitable unless opposing counsel is beyond incompetent, and attempting to slip an expanded order in intentionally opens them up to all kinds of sanctions. The thing is, you rarely get more than what you ask in a proposed order attached to a motion--so it's not uncommon to "shoot for the moon" and then the court writes a narrower order based on how much it's willing to give you. In most cases, it's not a plot. It's just the way the game is played.

      • by RIAAShill (1599481) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @04:28PM (#28722191)

        Moreover, the summary is again biased and sensationalized, part of a pattern that shows increasingly unprofessional conduct on the part of the submitter. The RIAA offered a proposed order that was greater in scope than what they had argued for. Had the judge and her clerks read only the moving papers and then just signed the order, the RIAA would have had that order amended upon discovery of the inconsistency. The RIAA actually got the protective order it had argued for--it just didn't get the overbroad proposal they submitted.

        Be nice. NYCL has a viewpoint and he likes to express it loud and clear, but accusations regarding professionality are uncalled for. He's not representing anyone in the case or publishing information that one couldn't get through PACER.

        It isn't any use arguing what the RIAA would have done had the judge signed off on their prosed protective order. They should have vetted it before submitting it to avoid any appearance of deceptive behavior. Since they didn't, then they deserve a little nose tweaking.

        And no, they did not get everything they wanted. The judge refused to protect the revenue information of the plaintiffs. They did seem to get what they wanted with regards to the non-revenue information.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mr_matticus (928346)

          Be nice. NYCL has a viewpoint and he likes to express it loud and clear, but accusations regarding professionality are uncalled for.

          Attorneys have a number of ethical duties, and many of these submissions either contain outright false statements or other distortions of the very same caliber complained against in those very same submissions. Just because he happens to be on your side doesn't mean he's free from obligations to comport himself in compliance with the rules of professional responsibility, especially since he does practice in this area. It is highly unprofessional to speak out from a position of influence gained by being a

  • by yuna49 (905461) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @03:19PM (#28721167)

    Gertner's ruling states that "[the Court] will, however, order the second set of documents, which implicate the business interests of third-party artist-owned companies, shielded from disclosure."

    What are these documents, and who are these "third-party artist-owned companies?"

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Gertner's ruling states that "[the Court] will, however, order the second set of documents, which implicate the business interests of third-party artist-owned companies, shielded from disclosure." What are these documents, and who are these "third-party artist-owned companies?"

      That's non-controversial. It refers to the agreements with recording artists, other record companies, etc.

  • There, RIAA shit. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by unity100 (970058) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @03:21PM (#28721191) Homepage Journal

    the judge has corrected a MAJOR malfunction in your logic circuits. next time when you accuse someone of damaging your profits, you will remember to actually prove EVIDENCE to back up your case. that is, unless your leashholders are afraid of being proven wrong about all the shit you have been perpetrating. enjoy.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @03:21PM (#28721193) Homepage

    This could be the beginnings of an interesting new strategy against the RIAA. Forcing the RIAA to produce the verifiable truth about various things and to pull their skeletons from their closets and put them on display can likely act as quite a deterrent against RIAA actions.

    Still. How is the judge taking their failure to produce the data? Does making a motion instead of producing the data result in an automatic extension somehow? Is this an unwritten part of due process now?

    • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @04:02PM (#28721825) Homepage Journal
      If it were you or I, we would likely be held in contempt. After all, we are a single person with no real power of any kind... a huge set of officers grab us and throw us in a cell. Now think about this in the context of 3 out of 4 of the music producing companies in the world... who do you throw in jail? Who was the one that actually made the decision to try and play the courts? You could argue that the lawyer is at fault... if they knew it was questionably legal, they should simply refuse, right? I don't believe it as cut and dry as that. Someone on the plaintiffs side who pays the check of said lawyer could fire him for doing so. We have no idea how this would affect said lawyer. Maybe he is on the hook for $2M in medical bills because his 6 year old daughter is dying of leukemia, therefore he can't afford to lose his job, even when he knows what the right actions would be.

      Not that I'm saying that someone shouldn't be tarred, feathered, then gang raped in a max security prison, but who to throw in there isn't so clear.
      • The person who made the decision without seeking approval of his/her boss is responsible. If that person cannot be determined, the board of trustees are responsible and should be punished.

  • Music is free (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cdrguru (88047) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @05:36PM (#28723143) Homepage

    Today, if you are one of the folks "in the know" about downloading music, you can grab whatever you want for free. There isn't anything that is going to stop this, really. I believe there is a dividing line between the folks that went to school during a time when such sharing (even floppy trading) was going on and older people. The older people as a general rule do not know about downloading and aren't getting their music for free.

    As this demographic changes, fewer and fewer people are going to be paying for music. It is a fact that disturbs the music companies to no end, because their time is limited. In China they have already faced up to this and sales of music is nonexistent. No matter what, the time remaining for there to be a revenue stream associated with recorded music is limited.

    As far as copyright is concerned, who cares how much money the record companies are receiving? Even if all the downloading that is going on didn't change their revenue in the slightest, this is still irrelevent to copyright protection and the penalties associated with it. A jury might find, with a symathetic defendent that the statutory penalties are too stiff when compared with the volume of sharing (copyright violation) that is going on in the world today. But still, I don't see this having anything to do with record company revenue. Unless you want to make the argument that the record companies are receiving an adequate amount of compensation and further compensation is undeserved.

  • by SonicSpike (242293) on Thursday July 16, 2009 @08:37PM (#28724971) Homepage Journal

    This probably has to do with statutory vs actual damages. This is a provision in current copyright law. Often times damages are awarded not on statutory damages, but actual damages. Viewing the income statement for this artist will help put this into perspective.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson

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