"Suing our fans is destructive and hypocritical"
May 5, 2006 12:00 PM   Subscribe

Canadian musicians protest file-sharing lawsuits. The Barenaked Ladies, Broken Social Scene, Sloan, Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan, and many other Canadian artists have formed a coalition to protest the hard line taken by the recording industry against file-sharers, and call for copyright reform. Is there a better way to protect intellectual property rights than suing file-sharers?
posted by Johnny Assay (35 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I forget - has anyone conclusively shown that suing file-sharers decreases file-sharing activity?
posted by Afroblanco at 12:10 PM on May 5, 2006


All I know is more records were sold during the original Napster years than before or since.

File-sharing doesn't tank sales. Shitty music does.
posted by rollbiz at 12:12 PM on May 5, 2006


Relatedly, mentioned in this Globe and Mail story:
Six of Canada's leading independent record labels — Anthem Records, Aquarius Records, The Children's Group, Linus Entertainment, Nettwerk Records and True North Records — pulled out of the CRIA [Canadian Recording Industry Association] this month.

In a letter to CRIA president Graham Henderson, the six labels said that "it has become increasingly clear over the past few months that CRIA's position on several important music industry issues [is] not aligned with our best interests as independent recording companies.

"We do not feel that we can remain members given CRIA's decision to advocate solely on behalf of the four major foreign multi-national labels," the letter said.

The six companies then threw their support behind the Canadian Independent Record Production Association (CIRPA).
I think it's quite awesome that they're doing this.
posted by blacklite at 12:20 PM on May 5, 2006


I guess it's awesome.. except I downloaded the entire Broken Social Scene discography recently, so I'm not sure how awesome it is for them.
posted by mert at 12:21 PM on May 5, 2006


I don't know, I have quite a few Broken Social Scene tracks myself, but now that I do, I'll probably pick up their next album.
posted by blacklite at 12:23 PM on May 5, 2006


The most commercial music I ever bought in my life was during the Napster Years. I was exposed to pounds of pounds of music I would not normally have heard, and the music that touched me inspired me to seek it out in stores or on-line.

Chatting with others reveals that my experience is hardly unique.
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 12:32 PM on May 5, 2006


If Avril Lavigne is behind it, by god I'm behind it as well.
posted by NationalKato at 12:41 PM on May 5, 2006


More artists should be willing to take a stand like this.. too bad they are all Canadian... no one is going to pay any attention...
posted by WhipSmart at 1:26 PM on May 5, 2006


Yeah, besides, if they sue me I should be able to sue them for crappy filler tracks and not having nearly enough "Stars" tour dates in Toronto.

Although I find the inclusion of "The Children's Group" a bit odd. I don't expect many people are grabbing illegal torrents of "The Mozart Effect" or "Opera for Kids". Not that they should, but it just seems irrelevent to the issue of downloading popular music.

The CIRA seems to be having a tough time ever since that fundrariser they held for a MP who lost.

no one is going to pay any attention...

Except maybe the Canadian MPs who will be re-writing Canadian copyright law in the next few years. Which would be a big deal to, you know, us Canadians.
posted by GuyZero at 1:31 PM on May 5, 2006


More artists should be willing to take a stand like this.. too bad they are all Canadian...

I'm more concerned with the fact that it's no longer 1996. Sarah McLachlan is still alive and making music? Do the Barenaked Ladies release stuff outside of Canada anymore?
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:33 PM on May 5, 2006


Do the Barenaked Ladies release stuff outside of Canada anymore?

Tyler's kids go to the same school as my kids.

Just thought you should know.
posted by GuyZero at 1:40 PM on May 5, 2006


More artists should be willing to take a stand like this..

"Founded in 1988 by singer-guitarists Steven Page and Ed Robertson, Toronto’s Barenaked Ladies have sold over ten million records worldwide on the heels of hits like “One Week,” “Pinch Me” and “Brian Wilson.”

...

Some great news for our fans around the world. Aside from the US, Canada and Australia, the BNL iTunes Original has been added to all the other iTunes stores!
Not all of them feature iTunes Originals as they do in US and Canada but you can find it listed as a regular album. Enjoy!

Thanks again!


It's not a stand, a stand would be putting their music sales where their mouth is. This is a Bare Naked Publicity Stunt - and not a bad one from what is obviously a very commercially-oriented (BARENAKED ON A STICK!
... is a USB flash memory drive containing songs, videos, and exclusive content from the Barenaked Ladies, and will go on sale November 22, 2005!)
and commercially successful band. It's all about the Benjamins.
posted by three blind mice at 1:43 PM on May 5, 2006


I never used napster because I was living in the dorms and had access to all the music I could ever want right off of other people's file shares.

When that ended I did buy a few CDs, and before that I was too poor to afford any.

Now I don't buy music out of principle. Fuck the recording industry.
posted by delmoi at 1:48 PM on May 5, 2006


Mayor Curley - I can imagine how sad it may look to Americans, but that's a dazzling all-star line-up in Canada.

We're... we're not a musical people.
posted by Simon! at 2:00 PM on May 5, 2006


I bought the last Broken Social Scene CD, meh.

On the other hand I do end up listening to and liking a lot of Canadian bands, from listening to the CBCRadio3 podcast. Great stuff, mostly small label or unsigned bands.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:23 PM on May 5, 2006


We're... we're not a musical people.

Wow. Tell that to Stars, Arcade Fire, Danko Jones, The Constantines, Neko Case, The New Pornographers, The Deadly Snakes, Royal City, Illuminati, Cuff the Duke, The Dears, The Tragically Hip, Bob Wiseman, The Hidden Cameras, The Phenomes, I Am Robot and Proud, Gentleman Reg, Feist, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Do Make Say Think, NoMeansNo, The Organ, Controller.Controller, Jim Guthrie, Someone is Flying, Lullabye Arkestra, Shikasta, Barcelona Pavillion, etc etc...
posted by dobbs at 2:47 PM on May 5, 2006


The problem with the RIAA is they don't give a damn about the artist. They're doing it for the industry, and they're doing a shitty, heavy-handed job of it.

Those morons won't even let people sing pop songs at open mic nights.

Dear Al Qaeda: the RIAA Hates You!
posted by rougy at 2:49 PM on May 5, 2006


Yay NoMeansNo!
posted by beerbajay at 3:58 PM on May 5, 2006


Although I find the inclusion of "The Children's Group" a bit odd ... but it just seems irrelevent to the issue of downloading popular music.

That is about another issue. The CRTC launched a commercial radio review and The Children's Group (ditto for the other five labels who left CRIA) didn't like how CRIA was handling things.
posted by squeak at 4:04 PM on May 5, 2006


Is there a better way to protect intellectual property rights than suing file-sharers?

No.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 4:10 PM on May 5, 2006


Now I don't buy music out of principle. Fuck the recording industry.

Ditto.
posted by Bort at 4:16 PM on May 5, 2006


Now I don't buy music out of principle. Fuck the recording industry.

Great, so what's the motivation for all the people listed here?

Really, all you're doing is reinforcing the position of the record industry. They can say to artists "people who don't like us are never going to pay for music no matter what. So why fight us with your indie lables and cdbaby.com? You're not getting support from these parasites anyway."

Go give money to artists who don't support this bullshit. There are plenty of them out there. You might have heard of google? It'll help.

(Oh, and I'd like to second that Yay! NoMeansNo.)
posted by lumpenprole at 4:36 PM on May 5, 2006


Dobbs, great list, with just one quibble: Neko Case is American. She works with Canadians, and The New Pornographers are certainly a Canadian group, and she has lived here. I'd be happy with her as an honorary Canadian. I also have one band to add to that list, Neko often tours with The Sadies, whom I have to say are fantastic.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 4:36 PM on May 5, 2006


Those morons won't even let people sing pop songs at open mic nights.

I think that's ASCAP and BMI, actually. And notably, they don't ever go after individuals who do it. My understanding is that you can sing around a campfire or at somebody's house and you're fine. It's only if you do it in a business setting they'll react, and they'll react by asking the the business to pay dues in line with their type and scale of commerce, not by suing audience members or performers. Heck, I once contacted the publishers knowing I was going to be performing some songs I didn't write during a small performance series -- and they told me not to worry about it, that was totally the business of the venue.

The funny thing is this actually creates opportunities for local independent musicians who write their own material. All the Utah Borders Bookstores have booked their weekend cafe performers through an artist's network here for a few years (why performers can't do covers, but Borders can play CDs over the PA system is a mystery to me, but whatever).

I'm not saying there can't be a racketeering flavor to the whole thing, though. One of my friends who played at a local restaurant and the restaurant owner/manager got shook down by BMI a few years ago, even though they had a strict no-covers policy. The BMI rep wasn't ready to take it at face value that the material was all original, and if I remember correctly, when it became clear that nobody was convinced by the "surely you must be playing *something* in our incredibly vast catalog" argument, switched to the "well, sign up and pay dues, and you just won't ever have to worry about getting into a legal dispute" argument.

But ultimately, nobody got in trouble or had to go to court.

Which is one of the reasons I think the RIAA isn't involved.
posted by weston at 5:12 PM on May 5, 2006


I would just like to take this time to point out that I went to high school with two members of Royal City, and I dated a friend of Gentleman Reg's around that time too. Canada really is a small, small place.
posted by Hildegarde at 5:18 PM on May 5, 2006


Chatting with others reveals that my experience is hardly unique.

It's not.
posted by dreamsign at 5:47 PM on May 5, 2006


But when big stuff as U2 or Springsteen gonna take side ?????
posted by zouhair at 7:38 PM on May 5, 2006


None of the people listed in the FPP are currently popular...

This looks like a fan friendly move by people who have careers on their downside.

Given the behaviour of the record industry I have no moral problem with downloading music. I used to sometimes buy $100 worth of CD's at a time and when I first bought a disk I couldn't play with my computer I became unhappy, then I realized most of my disks were 90% filler material.... now I find they are putting malware on my PC and I am willing to loose the dogs of war.

With all that said. I can not think of an album I want to download for free. This is a sign of age I think.
posted by Deep Dish at 8:52 PM on May 5, 2006


Weston - I think you're right, and I think it's good that people sing their own songs as a result of this "opportunity."

But, basically, it's bullshit.

It's bullshit to scare people, at open mic nights, be they the singers or the proprietors, of some ASCAP asshole sitting in the audience.

I'm sorry, that's just total crap.

They don't own that, despite the laws that they wrote.
posted by rougy at 10:49 PM on May 5, 2006


Mayor Curley writes "More artists should be willing to take a stand like this.. too bad they are all Canadian...

"I'm more concerned with the fact that it's no longer 1996. Sarah McLachlan is still alive and making music? Do the Barenaked Ladies release stuff outside of Canada anymore?"


Sarah's been releasing material continuously since her debut (Touch). I've heard that she's heading to the studio again soon for a new album as a followup to Afterglow.

delmoi writes "Now I don't buy music out of principle. Fuck the recording industry."

Except you're not fucking the music industry, you're fucking the people who provide the content. Sure, a lot of groups these days are moving towards interacting directly with their fans, a model which I think is going to see a lot of big-time success. But refusing to buy music 'in principle' fucks the record label execs roughly as much as this ridiculous 'don't buy gas' thing on May 15th will fuck the oil companies. That is, not at all. The people who suffer are the artists and the storeowners, not the execs.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:31 PM on May 6, 2006


My favorite thing about all this is how my copy of Broken Social Scene's You Forgot It In People is copy-protected. Hardy fucking har.

(Apparently Arts and Crafts put out a pressing or two with copy protection, and then quickly changed their mind.)
posted by chrominance at 11:49 PM on May 6, 2006


But when big stuff as U2 or Springsteen gonna take side ?????

Ask U2 about Negativland. They've been there already, and it didn't turn out well for anyone involved.
posted by moneyjane at 1:43 PM on May 7, 2006


Deep Dish writes "None of the people listed in the FPP are currently popular..."

I would disagree with that one. While it's been awhile since the Bare Naked Ladies had a hit, bands like Broken Social Scene and Stars (I know they're not in the FPP) are currently quite popular, especially inside Canada. Stars have appeared on the OC, which usually means you've already become too popular for the cool kids. Arts & Crafts and similar labels are the only ones putting out music in Canada that isn't from a Canadian Idol reject, so I think that's pretty influential.
posted by dripdripdrop at 11:49 AM on May 8, 2006


The BNL are making an excellent living wage out of their music work, afaik. I'm not entirely sure having a current hit is all that important a metric.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:18 PM on May 8, 2006


Ask U2 about Negativland. They've been there already, and it didn't turn out well for anyone involved.

There's a difference between what a band will accept and what their record company does in their name. Negativland's interview with the Edge is really quite illuminating in that regard.

Btw, nice blog. Glad you've decided to come out of the shadows and join us!
posted by skoosh at 10:36 AM on May 11, 2006


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