the importance of copyright
July 29, 2003 1:52 PM   Subscribe may be acquiring their “300,000 song” music catalog from distributors who have no rights to the digital distribution of the songs. In other words, piracy on a massive, corporate, for profit scale.
posted by alan (22 comments total)
Jesus. is partly fronted by Tommy Lee. Doesn't that say enough to stay away?
posted by rocketman at 2:12 PM on July 29, 2003

posted by me3dia at 2:36 PM on July 29, 2003

Holy crap, this is huge news. I can't say I'm surprised, seeing how they set up the store so quickly, they had to cut corners somehow, and it appears they bought the catalogs of companies that no longer have the rights.
posted by mathowie at 2:43 PM on July 29, 2003 is partly fronted by Tommy Lee.

i thought he went to florida and killed his mother?
posted by quonsar at 2:45 PM on July 29, 2003

Chalk up another of the multiple reasons BuyMusic sucks. (Though I have a nagging suspicion that once the Windows version comes out and/or users get over the Apple-worship/early-adopter phase, people will start coming out with compatibility/DRM-based gripes about the iTunes store, as well.)

(Top three spellchecker suggestions for "BuyMusic": "Bums", "Unmusical", "Abysms". Who says software can't have a sense of humour?)
posted by arto at 2:46 PM on July 29, 2003

Gosh, I can't understand why anyone would want to use a regular P2P service given the current circumstances. Really, DRM is your friend. Really. It's great.

I got smashed with this crap using Turbo Tax this year. Which, since I still have some choice in the marketplace, means they won't be getting my cash (or my family's) again.
posted by wah at 2:54 PM on July 29, 2003

This is what copyright laws are for, people trying to profit from other people's work, not witchhunting music sharers.
posted by Wingy at 2:59 PM on July 29, 2003

¡Viva el MeFi Swap!
posted by damclean2 at 3:18 PM on July 29, 2003

And's Marketing Veep used to hold the same position at Napster, Inc. Heh.
posted by brownpau at 3:29 PM on July 29, 2003

wah about Turbo Tax?
posted by crazy finger at 3:37 PM on July 29, 2003

once the Windows version comes out and/or users get over the Apple-worship/early-adopter phase, people will start coming out with compatibility/DRM-based gripes about the iTunes store, as well.

Yeah, except that has been out for 2 weeks, and the iTunes store has been around for a month or more. I don't see what early adoption has to do with sucking so much more in far less time.
posted by schlaager at 3:47 PM on July 29, 2003

Umm, hmm, makes me wonder about Tommy's quotes in the news articles heralding's opening. "Stealing music sucks."

Well he should know now because he's the new face of huge (and loop hole likely) corporations stealing intellectual property and selling it.

This stuff just makes me laugh. Loudly.

I'm curious as to what the RIAA is going to about folks trading indie music on P2P's? Or trading live recordings? I've found some truly awesome music that wouldn't have been available anywhere else.

Guess the IPO's a little further out than they thought, eh?
posted by fenriq at 5:03 PM on July 29, 2003

I don't know about this. I don't know anything about, but I had a feeling Jody might just not know who holds the copyright to the album in question, his talk of "old" cds (2000 is old?) was a red flag. Orchard is a demand driven label, selling his album for him on Amazon. I think maybe Jody just needs to talk to Orchard and straighten this out, not vent about BuyMusic to MacSlash. I also thought it was odd that the name of his album is misspelled in the quoted section of the article. Who knows whose fault that is, though.
posted by modofo at 5:56 PM on July 29, 2003

Looking at this again, BuyMusic isn't really liable here, it's Orchard's problem if they represented their catalog as their own wrongfully, but I'm not a lawyer so I could be completely off.
posted by mathowie at 6:29 PM on July 29, 2003

There's a bit more information on Jody's website. It appears his original distribution contract was signed in 1997-1998, and didn't include any digital distribution clauses. However, the contract has since changed without his knowledge, which Orchard may or may not have been entitled to do.

If it turns out Orchid illegally changed the contract, it's pretty clear they're the real bastards in this situation. To equate this to physical theft, BuyMusic is like someone who bought stolen property, Orchid is the one who stole and sold it.

Some other thoughts on this ...

BuyMusic's now infamous IE 5+/Windows only website policy blocks people from viewing the copyright dispute information page, without going through hoops. This is precisely what all the standards wonks (of which I'm sometimes a fellow wonk) are getting at. The BuyMusic website is more than a delivery mechanism for the windows only DRM media files.

Even if they're legally clean, BuyMusic still fucked up. From everything that's been published, it's pretty clear that Apple has gone out of their way to make sure everything was Kosher with the copyright holders, if not the artists. That's why their catalog started out relatively small and has been slowly growing. By rapidly acquiring their catalog and launching, there had to be people at BuyMusic who knew they're be screwing some artists.

I think that's the real lesson here. No matter what the future of music distribution holds, artists will continue to be denied the key to the KY closet on a regular basis.

Finally, I think it's interesting that this is the exact kind of situation that ASCAP, BMI and SESAC were created for.
posted by alan at 8:13 PM on July 29, 2003

Good businessmen copy. Great businessmen steal.
posted by weston at 8:39 PM on July 29, 2003

What modofo and alan said --- I'm not sure we can tell from here whether Orchard is selling music they don't have a right to, or whether Jody is getting legally screwed by the fine print in the contract he signed years ago.

As someone on macslash pointed out, many contracts contain language to the effect of "we can change this contract at any time. Failure to object to a change will be taken as agreement to be bound by the new terms. In order to object, you must defeat 15 of our chosen champions in single combat while naked and chained to a rock. p.s. we 0wnz0r j00."
posted by hattifattener at 12:52 AM on July 30, 2003

And they wonder why P2P is still so popular. iTunes is apparently good, but Mac only. BuyMusic is legially dubious, Windows only, and full or DRM. Emusic, I just couldn't get to download at all (the download manager steadfastly refused to make a connection with Emusic's server, and they never answered my email.)

How hard can an operation like this be? The market is out there for legal music downloads.
posted by salmacis at 1:05 AM on July 30, 2003

wah about Turbo Tax?

The DRM in Turbo Tax (I believe made by the Macrovision people) wrote in the Master Boot Record of the hard drive on which it was installed -- not a problem for some, but it overwrote settings and essential information on people with dual-boot systems (one OS of which is not Windows). Essentially, destructive copyright management.
posted by j.edwards at 1:08 AM on July 30, 2003

The DRM in Turbo Tax ...

It should be noted that this "feature" was not part of the Macintosh version. (And hopefully it never will be.)
posted by gluechunk at 6:24 AM on July 30, 2003

salmacis: I'm having the same problem with Emusic. Are you using the Linux client?
posted by dr_dank at 7:38 AM on July 30, 2003

salmacis, dr_dank: I signed up for the emusic trial just last week. Been running under Linux (Red Hat 7.2) and it works like a champ. Only problem I saw was that they used a bogus content-type when I tried to retrieve the download manager RPM. (It tried to handle through Real Player plugin (!!) rather than prompting for save.) I just re-fetched the URL with wget, installed the RPM, and all is hunky dorey. I wish more people would sign up with emusic so they could negotiate a better catalog.
posted by chipr at 10:25 AM on July 30, 2003

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