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Universal Music Demands Insurer Pay For Infringement Damages 165

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the universal-infringement-care dept.
An anonymous reader writes with a new twist in the recently resolved Canadian music label infringement lawsuit. From the article: "Earlier this year, the four primary members of the Canadian Recording Industry Association (now Music Canada) — Warner Music Canada, Sony BMG Music Canada, EMI Music Canada, and Universal Music Canada — settled the largest copyright class action lawsuit in Canadian history by agreeing to pay over $50 million to compensate for hundreds of thousands of infringing uses of sound recordings. While the record labels did not admit liability, the massive settlement spoke for itself. While the Canadian case has now settled, Universal Music has filed its own lawsuit, this time against its insurer, who it expects to pay the costs of the settlement."
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Universal Music Demands Insurer Pay For Infringement Damages

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  • Cant we all do the same thing... And not call it a crime? Their corporate persons did exactly what everyone else does. They made use of someones product; the product, a creative form, is copyable, and as we see here, so beit, to all persons. My band has no serious expectation of profit : we want people to listen and enjoy us.

    • Re:Hmmm. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie@hotmaiLIONl.com minus cat> on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @03:47AM (#38071306) Homepage

      God damn if they actually get away with this. It's already ridiculous how corporations can do all kinds of crap and only gets a slap on the wrist, but imagine if you went around infringing so many sound recordings that you'd net a $50 million fine, would your insurer be willing to pay that? I sure hope that they don't get away with this, would be fun watching the squirming with the bill.

      • Re:Hmmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ard (115977) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @05:07AM (#38071584)

        My car insurance has a lot of provisions like "... void if vehicle is driven under the influence ...", "... void if vehicle is used in criminal activities ..." (i.e. smashing while being chased by the police gives no relief).

        I would assume most insurances have exclusions if a crime has been involved. Copyright violation is theft, right?

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by michelcolman (1208008)
        Yet we have to feel guilty about pirating music because... why exactly?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Dog-Cow (21281)

          I realize that you're being rhetorical, so my reply is not directed at you, per se.

          If you feel guilty when you copy some media, you've been brainwashed. Copyright law (as it stands) is immoral, and supporting or upholding copyright law is immoral.

          • by west (39918)

            Because the idea of working hard to produce something people want, spending a considerable amount of money to make it available to people, and then expecting recompense is immoral.

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by Anonymous Coward
              Where does copyright fit into that? You can have all of that, not be immoral, and not use copyright at all. Of course, if you actually read the parent's post, he said "Copyright law (as it stands) is immoral," not the idea of copyright in and of itself.
            • by Megaweapon (25185)

              Because the idea of working hard to produce something people want

              Fine.

              spending a considerable amount of money to make it available to people

              Irrelevant. You chose to make that economic risk.

              and then expecting recompense is immoral.

              Even if the market doesn't want your final product?

              • Re:Hmmm. (Score:4, Insightful)

                by west (39918) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:05AM (#38073300)

                No, if the market doesn't want it, then you starve - no immorality.

                But if people are pirating it, then pretty much demonstrably, people want your product. If they're willing to forego it for the price you charge, you also starve - no immorality.

                But where they get the benefit of it *and* you don't get recompense you asked. *That's* immoral.

                • by Megaweapon (25185)

                  No, if the market doesn't want it, then you starve - no immorality.

                  But if people are pirating it, then pretty much demonstrably, people want your product. If they're willing to forego it for the price you charge, you also starve - no immorality.

                  But where they get the benefit of it *and* you don't get recompense you asked. *That's* immoral.

                  Which has little to do with current copyright law, as the other poster suggested.

                  • by west (39918)

                    Which has little to do with current copyright law, as the other poster suggested.

                    Granted - except that the context of the morality of copyright law comment was in reply to a comment about the morality of piracy. In other words, the clear implication was not that there are severe problems with aspects of the copyright law, but that the entire concept of ownership of one's intellectual work was immoral.

                    • by Megaweapon (25185)

                      but that the entire concept of ownership of one's intellectual work was immoral.

                      Which is still debatable, since "morality" is subjective.

                    • by west (39918)

                      Of course it's debatable, anything based in morality always will be. (And I have to say that I find putting scare quotes are morality is somewhat scary :-))

                      But I'd state that in general, most people share a set of basic moral standards. The morality involved with intellectual work is obviously slightly more sophisticated than tangible work, but I think most 10-year olds would instinctively know that someone copying their essay and submitting it as their own so that the creator gets a F and the thief gets

            • Re:Hmmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:24AM (#38074350) Homepage Journal

              No, what's immoral is the life+70 years monopoly before it enters the public domain, DMCA, and many other faults of copyright law. The ludicrously long term hinders creativity. The DMCA makes backing up data you've paid good money for illegal.

              Keeping what I've already paid for away from me is immoral. Taking what belongs to we, the people (art and literature) is immoral. Copyright law is in terrible need of reform. Power needs to be taken form the entertainment companies and given to the people who actually create the art and literature.

              How is that life+75 years going to entice Jimi Hendrix of Janice Joplin to produce more works? It doesn't. It's a disincentive to the record companies to record someone new; they can still make money off the old. Make the term 20 years and an artist won't be able to retire on the revenues of a single work.

              • Re:Hmmm. (Score:4, Insightful)

                by west (39918) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:46AM (#38074668)

                Outside of replacing your "No, what's" with "It is", I'd agree with your most of your post.

                Heck, I'd even say that pirating a work that where the creator has been dead for a decade is not terribly immoral.

                But then we both know that's not what's being pirated, don't we?

                In other words, problems with copyright law are being used as a moral smoke-screen to justify pirating what artists produced last month or year and companies are still spending millions making available to the public.

                • by mcgrew (92797) *

                  But then we both know that's not what's being pirated, don't we?

                  You might know, but I don't. Most of what I've downloaded has in fact been dead artists, or works that should have been in the public domain decades ago (much of which I already paid for, sometimes more than once). I have no idea what anybody else is downloading.

                  • by west (39918)

                    I strongly suspect that the level and target of your piracy is not something that would be of concern to anyone in the industry. I'd also have to consider the immorality of your piracy sounds pretty minimal (not available, already purchased). (The creators probably would like to have their heirs get something more, but it gets murkier as time goes on.)

                    I do hope you patronize those companies that do spend money to try and make these artists available to the current generation as it's not cost-free to do so

            • by delinear (991444)
              GP said copyright law as it stands, not the very idea of copyright law. Most people don't have a problem with artists being rewarded for their efforts, since the public benefits from their work, but a lot of people increasingly feel copyright law is now weighted too far against the public good. I can see the appeal in doing a piece of work today and wanting to get paid for it over and over for my lifetime plus seventy years, unlike the RIAA I can also see how that's perhaps a little unfairly weighted. I kno
              • by west (39918)

                Alright, it's conceivable I misinterpreted the OP's work. However given the context of the comment, I still say my interpretation is probably accurate. However, I would be grateful to be corrected by the poster, if he or she would care to clarify what they meant.

                However, to re-iterate my point, a lot of people use problems with the *AA's or copyright law (both of which have real problems) as moral justification for pirating main-stream music/programs/books currently available in a variety of media.

                Needles

        • by west (39918)

          Yet we have to feel guilty about pirating music because... why exactly?

          Because their immorality doesn't excuse our own.

          At least that was what my mother taught me.

          • Except they are the ones who are getting the lion's share of the price. The actual artist gets a few pennies if anything (in the case of the songs in question, nothing at all). I'm not saying I have any illegally copied music, but if I did, and there was some way for me to pay a dollar per song to the actual artists, I would do it in a heartbeat. But pay the big labels who are violating copyright themselves? Why would I feel morally obliged to do that?
            • by west (39918)

              Why would I feel morally obliged to do that?

              Because you're ripping off the artist (or author or video game creators, etc.). It may only be a 'few pennies', but that's how creative types make their living.

              I'm sorry, but the "I'd rather steal from you than allow the company that publishes you to profit" attitude you see here is too stupid for words.

              Say "I can't be bothered" or "it's not worth my while" or "I simply don't care" or whatever. But don't pretend that it isn't stealing from the artists.

              As an asid

              • Re:Hmmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

                by michelcolman (1208008) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:37AM (#38073686)

                I do understand the way you feel, and it is a valid objection, but just for argument's sake, imagine you see a beggar in the street, and you know he's homeless and hungry, and you want to help by giving him some money, but there's a big Maffia thug (obviously well fed, with a fancy car parked across the street) standing next to him and declaring that for every dollar you give to the bum, you have to give 20 dollars to the thug. Would you still give the money to the bum? Or would you walk away? Of course the beggar might say "but the thug is protecting me, he got me this spot, without him I wouldn't be able to beg here!". Still, I don't think many people would help the bum.

                Now of course I do understand that this is the only way for many artists to get a living, and by not buying their music we are denying them their little bit of income, but that justification gets weaker and weaker the more you here about abuse by the labels. The thugs are even snatching the pennies away whenever the bums aren't looking. And they are denying them the right to do anything without them, treating them like slaves. And why should I pay for a ringtone, for example? In that case, the artist isn't getting anything whatsoever, thanks to some lawsuit the greedy labels won! This sort of bull shit takes away 90% of the motivation from people who might turn from piracy to decent buying.

                Yes, there's still a little bit of a feeling left of "doing the decent thing", and "supporting the artists", but not as much as there could be if the labels were honest.

                Would a long time pirate want to legalize his music collection by paying $1000 to the artists once he got well off financially? Maybe, seriously. Would he pay $10 to the artists and $990 to the labels? After reading one of many articles about the labels ripping off the artists? No way.

                • Re:Hmmm. (Score:5, Informative)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:54AM (#38073888)

                  Now of course I do understand that this is the only way for many artists to get a living, and by not buying their music we are denying them their little bit of income

                  Why do people keep throwing this argument into the air?!?!?! NO! No they are not getting their living from that. They are not even REMOTELY getting a living from that.

                  CONCERTS! LIVE SHOWS! THAT'S where they get money. They do not get money from the labels (ignoring the handful of pennies mentioned above, which is a microscopic fraction of what they make playing live).

                  You can't make one song and then live off of it forever, just like I can't build someone's house and keep getting paid by them for as long as they live there. Life doesn't work that way. Why do people keep thinking artists have a free pass to infinite money after making a song?

                  Coincidentally, tonight I will be seeing a band live. I paid for the ticket, and I plan to buy a shirt. Multiply that by hundreds or thousands of people, almost every day for as long as their tour is. THAT is how they can feed and clothe themselves.

                • by west (39918)

                  I agree with your post in general about how the Labels may well help demotivate purchase, although I am suspicious of how many use this as simply an excuse to hang their "I'd rather not pay" hat.

                  However, I have to say that as I've gotten older, I've realized that sadly the world doesn't beat a path to the door of the better mousetrap builder. i.e. the *AA's may be awful in all sorts of ways, but the sad truth is that they're vital to the industry and always will be. I suspect that if they went down, perha

                  • Re:Hmmm. (Score:4, Interesting)

                    by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:55AM (#38074792) Homepage Journal

                    I've realized that sadly the world doesn't beat a path to the door of the better mousetrap builder.

                    The mousetrap fallacy is a very popular one. However --

                    the sad truth is that they're vital to the industry and always will be.

                    Sorry, that's a fallacy as well. Thirty (or even fewer) years ago it was in fact true -- the costs of recording and marketing an album was prohibitive for the average person, but these days the most expensive part of making an album is the musical instruments and amps; studio time is dirt cheap. Duplication is dirt cheap. And there's the internet for it to be heard. What use are the record labels to anyone these days? Their purpose for existance is obsolete.

                    And in my opinion, culture would be far better off without the likes of Britney Spears or NSync. I hear far better, more original music played by far better musicians in the local bars. Musicians are a dime a dozen, songs should be as well.

                    • by west (39918)

                      I think you might well be among the 5% who would be better off. However, I still maintain the vast majority of music listeners would be worse off for their lack of Britney or whoever the hot young thing is.

                      I hear far better, more original music played by far better musicians in the local bars.

                      Agreed, but how many of them would like to make a living off what they do and how many *actually* make a living off it.

                      Despite the lowered costs of production, without the promotion of the *AA's, it's almost impossib

          • by rtb61 (674572)

            Wait a second there buddy, copyright infringement is a civil matter due to law it is not a moral matter. When people are hungry and you copy a food recipe that makes unpalatable food palatable and you feed who of sane mind would prevent it. When people are celebrating and they play music that brings back their shared memories who of sane mind would prevent it. When people are poor and can barely earn enough to feed clothe and house themselves and can not afford health insurance who in their sane mind would

            • by west (39918)

              copyright infringement is a civil matter due to law it is not a moral matter.

              What? Whether it's a legal or civil matter has no bearing on the morality of the action.

              You then quote a few straw-man scenarios where circumstances would make the moral obligation a lot smaller. I agree. In fact, I think that outright theft is reasonably moral in certain extreme circumstances.

              However, that's all irrelevant to the what we see in the vast majority of everyday cases, and the misdoings of the *AA is irrelevant to the morality of the simple act of theft. Even if you're strongly anti-drug, s

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            Illegal != immoral. Music pirates spend more on music than non-pirates. The RIAA's problem is they don't want you hearing indie artists; DL an indie song and you might buy the CD, depriving the RIAA label of the sale of the CD you could no longer afford because you pirated the indie CD and then bought it.

            The RIAA has radio, TV, and movies to get their music out to you. Antipiracy is a fight againt the competetion.

            When someone told me how funny Terry Pratchett's books were, did I schlep down to B&N and s

            • by west (39918)

              Illegal != immoral

              Agreed.

              Piracy sells content.

              Possibly true, but morally irrelevant. The producer does have the right to sell it how it likes. If it does so badly, then bankrupt them by not buying the product. But you still can't morally steal the product.

              As for libraries, they are an interesting grey area. Personally I have no moral trouble with them, the limited copies that they distribute do little financial harm and greater social good, although I could entertain arguments about why they are immoral

              • by mcgrew (92797) *

                Copyright infringement is no more "theft" than rape is murder. If I steal your CDs, you no longer have those CDs. If I copy those CDs illegally, nobody has lost anything. If I read a library book, the author and publisher no more loses anything than if I download it off the internet.

                For me to believe something is immoral, I have to believe that someone has been harmed from the act. Murder, rape, adultery, theft of physical items, slander, these things all harm people and are immoral. For me to believe copyi

                • by west (39918)

                  First: your premise:

                  For me to believe copying a file is immoral you're going to have to convince me that someone has been harmed.

                  So, if you cheat on your spouse and they don't catch you and you don't give them a disease, it's moral?

                  Urk!

                  Second, the particulars:

                  In tenth grade, I copy your essay and submit it as my own. I get an A, you get an F. You still have your essay, all I've done is removed the ability for you to exploit your work for your benefit. No harm done?

                  Well, by pirating the work, you have removed the ability of the creator to exploit his or her work in the one fashion that probably matters (especial

                  • by mcgrew (92797) *

                    So, if you cheat on your spouse and they don't catch you and you don't give them a disease, it's moral?

                    The spouse suffers harm whether he or she finds out about it -- and as the victim of adultery (I'm now divorced) I can tell you that if you cheat on her, she's going to find out. I had no trouble at all seeing the signs of my ex-wife's adultery, and it happened more than once.

                    In tenth grade, I copy your essay and submit it as my own. I get an A, you get an F. You still have your essay, all I've done is rem

      • I'm pretty sure I don't pay the same to my insurer as Universal Music, so that's hardly unexpected.

        • by delinear (991444)
          The labels have spent the last decade telling us how downloading is theft. Insurance policies won't pay out for liability arising from a criminal act. Mixed messages from music labels about the nature of the "crime"? Say it ain't so :)
          • Is it a "criminal act" if it was settled outside of court?

            More to the point, do you have a source that says you cant get an insurance policy that covers fines from lawsuits?

      • You miss the REAL point - that if they can get people to think that insurers are liable for copyright infringement fines, the next step is to sue you, and then go after your insurance policy to pay the damages ... after all, your insurer probably has deeper pockets than you do.

        How many people will pay up a few bucks rather than have their insurance premiums go through the roof, or even become unable to get insurance.

        1. **AAfia sues their own insurers to cover copyright violations.
        2. **AAfia sues your

        • You miss the REAL point - that if they can get people to think that insurers are liable for copyright infringement fines,

          The real question here is what insurance policy is covering this. If the RIAA tried to get your homeowners or car insurance to pay for a settlement, Im sure they would both tell the RIAA to get bent, as the policy would not cover that.

          Im told that it is possible to get insurance for just about everything, including to cover legal costs; the idea that this is some plot to make car insurers somehow liable for a user pirating off of limewire is kind of kooky.

      • Re:Hmmm. (Score:5, Informative)

        by canajin56 (660655) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:51AM (#38073164)
        Actually if you did this you'd get a trillion dollar fine. This is a $200 payment for each song they infringed. Not per copy, per song. They sold them over and over and over and over. They paid a microscopic fraction of the profit they made by selling songs they did not have rights to.
      • so many sound recordings that you'd net a $50 million fine, would your insurer be willing to pay that?

        I suppose it depends if you both agreed to insurance terms that covered that. If so, I would say that you would be perfectly right to go after them to fulfill their end of the bargain.

    • You are naive and green at the Gills. The labels don't fight fair, silly. And they certainly are not just interested in people enjoying their music.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      only if you settle that it's not a crime!

      settlements are perverse. I don't mind two parties settling for compensation between each other - but that history is altered with that settlement is no good for any purpose.

      the process should be to first discover what happened and then decide what's appropriate compensation or penalty.

  • by Robert Zenz (1680268) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @03:43AM (#38071288) Homepage
    ...that the law to disconnect copyright infringers from the internet would have gone through.
  • by Zocalo (252965) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @03:51AM (#38071324) Homepage
    Universal's insurer agreed to indemnify against copyright cases, and this was a copyright case. I suppose Universal should perhaps have checked that they would have been covered before agreeing to settle the case, but other than that the only out clause I can see for the insurer is that they didn't technically "lose" the case - they agreed to a settlement without admission of guilt.

    Still, it boils down to media company vs. insurance company vs. lawyers, and I think it's pretty obvious the only winner out of that triumvirate is going to be lawyers. Oh well, I guess two out of three will just have to do.
    • by freedom_india (780002) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @03:55AM (#38071348) Homepage Journal
      Agreed to indemnify if Universal lost the case. In this scenario, Universal refused to accept responsibility. Hence they can't get their money from insurer. Or they could accept liability and responsibility, and open themselves for more lawsuits.
    • by dkf (304284) <donal.k.fellows@manchester.ac.uk> on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @04:20AM (#38071422) Homepage

      Still, it boils down to media company vs. insurance company vs. lawyers, and I think it's pretty obvious the only winner out of that triumvirate is going to be lawyers. Oh well, I guess two out of three will just have to do.

      You're forgetting the rule that nobody out-evils an insurance company. After all, someone had to teach it to the lawyers...

      • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:30AM (#38074434) Homepage Journal

        OMG, ain't that the truth. Last winter, I was driving the kids home from school when a woman lost control of her SUV, slid through an intersection in front of me, and caused me to run into her. Everyone was mostly OK (and the kids were thrilled - "that was awesome, Dad!") but my car needed a little work and I wrenched my back.

        I went to a chiropractor (read about my previous experiences [slashdot.org] before you start in) for a few visits and felt great afterward. The body shop did a nice job fixing my car. When everything was done, her insurer, GEICO-the-thieving-bastards, called me to offer a settlement. I wasn't about to sue them or anything, but they basically wanted to buy my agreement to end the matter once and for all. It was a small amount - let's call it $1,000 for roundness - but I was willing to cash the check they were offering to write. It sounded fair.

        So the check came, for $200. As it turns out, they hadn't paid any of my medical bills and not all of my car repair bills. That $1,000 settlement included the final payments on the bills those assholes were already legally obligated to pay. I checked with the state board of insurance, but they thought it was a perfectly reasonable thing for GEICO-the-thieving-bastards to do.

        I am physically incapable of seeing a commercial for GEICO-the-thieving-bastards without yelling "fuck you, lizard!" at the TV. When the zombie apocalypse happens, that's one pack of jackasses who won't be allowed in my bunker. I'll wait for them to get eaten or infected and double-tap them for pleasure.

    • by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @05:09AM (#38071594) Homepage

      Legally they may be in their right. Morally, not so much. They actually settled for 5$ million _less_ than they had already agreed to pay. And now they are trying to get the insurer to pay the money they already should have paid if they hadn't frauded and there wouldn't have been a case in the first place.

      This is just sickening greed. They already got a profit of 5$ million dollars out of their cheating and are now seeking even more rewards for their fraud. If this isn't legally wrong, it should be.

      • by digitig (1056110)
        What's the issue? If the insurers lose then they will just put it on Music Canada's premiums for next year. And if Music Canada try to hop to another insurance company, I think it's a fair assumption that all the other companies will be aware of this case.
    • by stiggle (649614) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @06:51AM (#38071976)

      So if they've got insurance for copyright indemnity - why are they chasing John Doe cases when they can just claim on their insurance instead?

      • What makes you think they don't try to do both?
      • by delinear (991444)
        Because insurance companies have the money to fight back against their riduclous "every infringement is costing us $X hundred thousand" claims, whereas the average John Doe will find it cheaper to settle for a few grand than pay for the legal representation to fight it in court.
    • Universal's insurer agreed to indemnify against copyright cases, and this was a copyright case. I suppose Universal should perhaps have checked that they would have been covered before agreeing to settle the case, but other than that the only out clause I can see for the insurer is that they didn't technically "lose" the case - they agreed to a settlement without admission of guilt.

      I wonder if this settlement is actually something that should be covered at all. I think the case was not about illegal copying per se, but about copying and then not paying fees that were due, and the settlement is just a late payment of those fees.

      Let's say you do $50,000 worth of work on my house. I don't pay, you take me to court, and we have a settlement where I agree to pay the $50,000. What reason would there be for an insurance to pay at all? I should have paid the $50,000 in the first place, and

      • This insurance is probably like home Title insurance. Title Insurance backs the claim to the property, or in this case that the artists genuinely own the works they have sold the label.

        I don't think this covers things you acknowledged but didn't PAY for. In the same way title insurance doesn't keep the Bank from taking your house for not paying.

    • It depends on what they insured against. Some policies insure against damages from lawsuits. However in this case, the label is being forced to pay what they should have been paying all along which the insurer will argue. This will be an interesting fight.
    • by mapkinase (958129)

      I think Universal is ouroborosing itself. Any payment one gets from insurer leads to automatic increase in the payments by insured in the next cycle. It is not supposed to be like that at all, but this is true. Even the most legit claims lower your "score" and lead to coughing up extra money in the next round.

      • Which is why every time I have been hit in a car accident I hope the other person has a different insurance company than I do. The 2 car accidents I have been in were not my fault. The first one I was stopped waiting for the person in front of me to make a left off of the 2 land highway and got rear ended, and the second one I was turning right off a major road and was rear ended by a high school girl who passed everyone else behind me because they were going slow and merged into the back of my car and spun
    • by sjames (1099)

      There are limits to the level of negligence an insurer will tolerate. Your auto policy won't pay out if you park your car in the worst part of town with the keys left in the ignition and the doors unlocked if they know about it.

      Universal practically begged for this lawsuit by "forgetting" to make payments for several years.

  • These guys can't get enough.

  • by narcc (412956) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @04:00AM (#38071362) Journal

    $50 million to compensate for hundreds of thousands of infringing uses of sound recordings.

    $50 million is only like 2 or 3 pirated mp3's here in the states.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    CRIA river

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @04:19AM (#38071414)
    I've got ninety thousand pounds in my pajamas
    I've got forty thousand French francs in my fridge
    I've got lots and lots of lira. Now the deutschmark's getting dearer,
    And my dollar bills could buy the Brooklyn Bridge.

    There is nothing quite as wonderful as money!
    There is nothing quite as beautiful as cash!
    Some people say it's folly, but I'd rather have the lolly,
    With money you can make a splash!

    There is nothing quite as wonderful as money!
    There is nothing like a newly minted pound!
    Everyone must hanker for the butchness of a banker
    It's accountancy that makes the world go round!

    You can keep your Marxist ways, for it's only just a phase...
    Money, money, money makes the world go round!

    Money! Money! Money! Money! Money! Money! Money! Money! Money!
  • "Over" $50 million? (Score:4, Informative)

    by HTH NE1 (675604) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @04:30AM (#38071460)

    The first link (2011 Jan. 11) says it was $47.5 million and that they had set aside $50 million to resolve it in case it ever went to court. (Perhaps that was not reserve funds as we were led to believe but instead the size of the insurance policy?)

    The second link (2011 May 31) rounds that up to a $50 million settlement. (Meh, what's another $2.50 million?)

    How did it get to be "over $50 million"? Contempt citing/accrued interest/late fees for taking so long to pay out, or just bad reporting not clarifying whether it was in Canadian dollars or the reporter had converted it to US dollars?

    • by lennier1 (264730)

      How did it get to be "over $50 million"?

      All the booze and hookers for those lawyers didn't come cheap.

    • Yet another example of hidden inflation, they really should include copyright settlements in the CPI.
    • They got off easy. The RIAA formula for calculating losses due to piracy would yield a figure closer to $600 billion. The music industry suffers greatly at the hands of pirates, and in such a blatant case of commercial piracy I expect that the RIAA and its sister organizations will step up to demand that these pirates are punished to the full extent of the law!

      I wonder if the executives of those pirate companies would steal a car? No? Well, why is stealing music any different?

  • Chutzpah and Schadenfreud come to mind.
    • by Rogerborg (306625)

      Indeed, I can't wait to hear that they took out one of those "never pay" polices. Very cheap if you don't have to claim on it.

      Actually, I imagine that their insurer's response to the demand to cover $50 million that they essentially volunteered to pay will be two words: "Make us."

    • by Kozz (7764)

      Chutzpah and Schadenfreud come to mind.

      Gesundheit.

  • They got off cheap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @06:04AM (#38071802)

    There were 300,000 infringing works and the statutory damages were 20,000. That's 6 billion bucks.

    50 million is chump change. The music industry is willing to take people's retirement savings, ruining their lives, but they get only a slap on the wrist.

  • Hammer Clause? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mal-2 (675116) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @07:38AM (#38072208) Homepage Journal

    It seems to me some interpretation of the Hammer Clause [maloneyllc.com] probably applies here. Basically, if an Insured makes a settlement without the consent of the Insurer, then the Insurer is only on the hook for the amount that THEY WOULD HAVE AGREED TO SETTLE FOR. This is usually used to discourage a company from fighting a case on principle and losing more than they would have by settling. In this case, it would seem that the CRIA members might have paid LESS if they had gone to trial -- but in any event, if the Insurer did not authorize the settlement, then they aren't going to pony up for it above and beyond what they would willingly have settled for, nor will they pay for legal fees beyond the point at which they would have settled. The law probably is different in Canada, as I know it varies in other significant aspects from U.S. law. (For example, the law says policies sold to the public must be written in plain English/French and not legalese -- or at least the legalese has to be explained in plain language, and in the case of a conflict, the plain language prevails.)

    • by Mal-2 (675116)

      I should add that while not all policies have a Hammer Clause, there are certain classes (like Professional Liability, IP Infringement, Errors & Omissions, Malpractice, and the like) where it is more common than not. While you can get a policy that lacks such a clause, it will typically cost you 40-50% more than one that does but otherwise has the same limits. It should be pretty obvious why -- the Insurer knows they can settle and close their books on a claim that much faster (even if it's not the smal

  • Why is it surprising that they would want to make a claim?

    Of course insurance companies have more experience with getting out of paying claims than record labels do stiffing copyright holders.

    • Well if you have a judgment against a individual or company you can legally have their assets frozen if they don't pay in a certain amount of time in the US. I don't know if there is a similar rule in Canada but if they do and won't pay the individuals I would go to a judge and get a court order to have their assets frozen until I get paid. I had to threaten this against an insurance company the wouldn't pay even though I had a judgment in my favor. I called them and made it clear that since the time had ex
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @10:43AM (#38073748) Homepage Journal
    What policy do I have to take out in order for my insurance company to be on the hook for liabilities from illegal activities that I choose to engage in? I'm pretty sure there were some tidy paragraphs in my policies stating that I'm essentially fucked if damages occur due to me breaking the law. My homeowners won't pay shit if I burn down my house trying to run a meth lab, for example. If I go on a crime spree and try to make a high-speed getaway and destroy my car in the progress, I'm betting my auto insurance company will tell me to fuck off. Do I have to incorporate in order to get the awesome "Get away with murder" insurance policy that these companies (seem to think they) have?
  • What a great scam!
    Expect insurance to cover any litigious liabilities, and then sue the insurance!
    If they lose the case against the insurance company, will they go after the insurance company again to cover the costs of the first case? Just repeat forever.

    Man, the recording industry lives by their own rules of common sense and decency (or lack thereof).

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