DJ Arrested For Selling Pre-Release Promo CDs On eBay

from the ridiculous dept

Just days after a US court ruled that selling promo CDs sent out by the recording industry is perfectly legal, Techdirt reader cram writes in to let us know of a DJ and music reviewer in London who was arrested for doing exactly the same thing. The only difference in this case was that the guy was selling the CDs before they had been released. Still, this seems positively ridiculous. As we had just noted, while some places do treat pre-release leaks differently, UK law does not. Furthermore, he's being charged with theft and money laundering. He was turned in by the IFPI, which apparently thinks that jailing the folks who promote your product is a good thing. What's not entirely clear from the article is whether this guy was sent these CDs by the labels in the first place. However, it does sound like he got them as part of his role as a DJ and reviewer, since the IFPI even mentions that "people who have access to pre-release music by virtue of their job," should watch out. If he really was "stealing" them, that's one thing -- but if the industry was sending them to him to promote the CDs, then hopefully the UK courts will react similarly to the US courts and quickly throw this out. Once they've sent him the CDs, they're his. They're no longer the record label's. That he was arrested for selling something willingly given to him to promote seems ridiculous.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jun 17th, 2008 @ 8:36am

    And Copyright is good precisely why?

    Tsk. DJs today.

    They'll have pirate radio stations next.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Jun 17th, 2008 @ 8:43am

    The reselling of promo CDs is actually pretty common in the UK. Indy record shops usually have a rack or 2 of promo CDs. There's really nothing wrong with it, and I'll guess this guy was just selling of the ones that didn't fit hit personal taste / remit as a DJ. They give him free stuff, he uses his right to resell the gifts.

    This is utterly dumb. They're not pirate CDs, after all. It's just like that arrest of the mixtape DJ in the US who got arrested - another case where a person who's actually promoting music is prevented from doing so. Fantastic.

    I don't have complete faith in his success though. Look at the CDWOW cases where they were prevented from selling cheaper CDs under copyright law because the CDs had been sourced from outside the EU. Or the Lik Sang case, where they were shut down for daring to sell PSPs before they were officially released in the UK. Sometimes laws over here can be idiotic.

    Oh, FTA, Universal are behind the US arrest? That makes me so surprised and once again vindicates my decision to never buy major label product. Maybe someone can beat some sense into them before their inevitable bankruptcy somewhere in the future.

     

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      Jake, Jun 17th, 2008 @ 2:27pm

      Re:

      Indie record shops? Didn't think there were any left.

       

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        PaulT (profile), Jun 18th, 2008 @ 3:51am

        Re: Re:

        They're a dying breed alright, but there's a few left if you look hard enough. The one I had in mind while typing that up was Reveal Records in Derby, but that closed up a few months ago :(

        Still, my comment stands. There was always a small rack of promo CDs next to the counter and I used to love leafing through it to get bargains on recent and upcoming releases... Nobody was harmed, nobody was arrested, the record industry benefitted as I'd often buy something else along with the promos...

         

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    deadzone (profile), Jun 17th, 2008 @ 8:49am

    Great Job!

    That's one less dangerous criminal off the streets! He murdered someone and stole the cd's and then sold them right? Wait What?! All he did was sell promo cd's that were GIVEN TO HIM on E-Bay?!

    It's so stupid that it makes my brain hurt. WOW. It would be cool if these media company goons would work as hard to find new business models and stuff. Attacking your fans though... I guess that's one rather unique way of addressing the issue. I don't see the reasoning behind it, but hey, that's just me maybe.

     

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    Hoeppner, Jun 17th, 2008 @ 9:13am

    well there goes all his hope of ever getting more promo CDs. That's pretty much what the companies themselves should do, no need for all the legal junk.

     

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    tm, Jun 17th, 2008 @ 9:20am

    'the only difference'

    Okay, I know you write about this stuff a ton. You should know better than to say 'the only difference' is that it was before the release date. Dude, come on, it's in a completely different country with different laws all together. Yeah, some may be similar, but the legal system and laws are not the US. The case you sight, while interesting in timing, has no bearing whatsoever in the UK.

     

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      Nasch, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 4:58am

      Re: 'the only difference'

      Perhaps what that means was "the only difference in what the DJ did was..." He goes on to mention quite clearly that this was in the UK, and I'm sure you can credit Mike with knowing US and UK laws are different, and US case law has no bearing in the UK. Or if you think he is that dumb or uninformed, you should probably skip his blog.

       

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    Keybored, Jun 17th, 2008 @ 9:30am

    As a DJ/reviewer we are given CDs to promote by giving them airplay during our gigs. Happy party-goers will hopefully like the new music and go out and purchase it.

    It also helps us look good since have pre-released music in our catalog. We are not supposed to turn around and sell these promotional products. That DJ is most likely an Asshat (still my new favorite word).

     

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      PaulT (profile), Jun 18th, 2008 @ 3:55am

      Re:

      So, what do you normally do with the records you get that you don't like, will never play out, or get bad crowd reactions at gigs? Make a fort?

       

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      Nasch, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 5:01am

      Re:

      We are not supposed to turn around and sell these promotional products.

      What do you mean by "not supposed to"? Do the labels require you to sign an agreement to that effect? If not, they should not have any expectation about what happens to a gift after it is given. Note "should". Clearly they do have such expectations, and unfortunately UK law enforcement seems to agree.

       

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    sisterofDot, Jun 17th, 2008 @ 9:31am

    DJ

    Uh... Where's the rest of the story? Uh, well we have part of the story... but we don't know the rest so - EVERYBODY GUESS!

     

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    Corey, Jun 17th, 2008 @ 9:58am

    Research your story

    I don't know if this applies in this case, but in 1992-93 I worked at a radio station. When radio stations received records and CDs, they were technically "on loan" from the record company, and the company could ask for them back. They never did of course, but if this was the deal in his case, it does raise the question of who owns that particular CD.

     

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      J'smoove, Jun 17th, 2008 @ 11:16am

      Re: Research your story

      I'd have to agree with Corey. I received promos all the time direct from the labels. Most of them have print saying they have the right to take the music back on demand (Or be prosecuted). Of coarse, they never ask for it back. But I do believe this was a part of the agreement I made with the label upon receiving it.

      Here's an exact quote:

      "Lent for promotional use only. Any sale or unauthorized transfer is prohibited and void. Subject to return upon demand by owner. Acceptance of this record constitutes agreement to the above"

       

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        Mike (profile), Jun 17th, 2008 @ 11:58am

        Re: Re: Research your story

        I'd have to agree with Corey. I received promos all the time direct from the labels. Most of them have print saying they have the right to take the music back on demand (Or be prosecuted). Of coarse, they never ask for it back. But I do believe this was a part of the agreement I made with the label upon receiving it.

        As was pointed out in the US decision, since this "agreement" is never stated -- the label just sends CDs to you, you never "agreed" to anything -- then it is fair to assume that ownership of the disc has been transferred to you.

         

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        Rose M. Welch, Jun 17th, 2008 @ 12:51pm

        Re: Re: Research your story

        Yes, it probably did say that and it's great for your relationship that you agreed to do that... But American courts say that text on a disc isn't binding.

        What if it said, "Lent for promotional use only, at a rate of $5.00 per day. Any sale or unauthorized transfer is prohibited and void. Subject to return upon demand by owner. Acceptance of this record constitutes agreement to the above. Payment is due every fifteen days."

        Would you feel bound to that also?

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2008 @ 8:05am

        Re: Re: Research your story

        So, take the guy to court to get it back... why is the police involved? Just a waste of taxpayers $$$

         

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      Mike (profile), Jun 17th, 2008 @ 11:57am

      Re: Research your story

      I don't know if this applies in this case, but in 1992-93 I worked at a radio station. When radio stations received records and CDs, they were technically "on loan" from the record company, and the company could ask for them back. They never did of course, but if this was the deal in his case, it does raise the question of who owns that particular CD.

      Read the decision in the US case that we linked to. In it they address this question clearly.

       

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    Mojo, Jun 17th, 2008 @ 11:17am

    I think the record companies should be happy that people are still willing to PAY for their CDs!

     

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    Creighton, Jun 17th, 2008 @ 11:26am

    I also used to DJ and all I ever heard from others in the industry was that you're not supposed to resell the promo albums you receive... I kinda thought it was common knowledge? Hell as Cory stated most of the ones I had had PROMO ONLY really big on the outside of the case.

     

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      Mike (profile), Jun 17th, 2008 @ 12:01pm

      Re:

      I also used to DJ and all I ever heard from others in the industry was that you're not supposed to resell the promo albums you receive... I kinda thought it was common knowledge? Hell as Cory stated most of the ones I had had PROMO ONLY really big on the outside of the case.

      The thing is, the copyright owner doesn't get to set the law. Copyright is the law, and a record label isn't allowed to change copyright law just by putting a stamp on the front of a CD.

      Otherwise, think of where that leads. Eventually, all CDs will come stamped with "new" restrictions as per the record label.

       

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    dazcon5, Jun 17th, 2008 @ 12:06pm

    sheeple

    If sheeple would wake up and quit buying the complete shite that is most currently released, these companies would just die, but sheeple are always going to swallow any garbage that they are told is "cool" or "the next big thing".

     

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    Rose M. Welch, Jun 17th, 2008 @ 12:55pm

    I think people are missing a point...

    It is common knowlege among DJs that you're not supposed to sell the promo disks that you receive from the companies, and I would thoroughly applaud them if they cut him off from all future promo CDs and issued a press release about his lack of integrity.

    But they put his ass in jail. In America, it's hard to get put in jail if you beat your wife and kids, or if you drink drunk and go the wrong friggin; way on the highway for miles and don't notice the police behind you. Selling some CDs? WTF? I hope that country is happy with that use of funds.

     

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    Andrew, Jun 17th, 2008 @ 1:55pm

    What ever cd he sold must really suck

    If the industry was willing to arrested some one who bribed to promoted a cd they gave him it just to get buzz around some cd i bet that the cd really sucks.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2008 @ 9:44pm

    Cases like this are highly fact specific. To compare this matter with one in the US is intellectual laziness. Dig for the facts and then weigh in. Until then all that is being offered in uninformed propoganda.

     

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    Alex, Feb 1st, 2010 @ 12:17pm

    Courtesy

    While i don't think there's much of a case against this DJ so long as he signed no contract or agreed not to sell the record. However, Promo CDs would cost alot to the record companies to produce and distribute for free so i believe its courtesy to either play them or send them back so they can send the cd to someone else

     

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