Spanish Indie Labels To Sue The Gov't For Not Stopping File Sharing

from the that's-one-strategy dept

We've discussed recently how Spain seemed to be one of a very small number of countries whose legal system seemed to be doing a decent job in responding to copyright issues. It has rejected three strikes, said that broadband is a basic right, said that personal file sharing is legal and even fined "anti-piracy" groups for "bad faith actions." Of course, all of those reasonable moves have made Spain something of a target. Industry lobbyists have convinced the government to propose new copyright laws.

But it's not just the big entrenched players. Reader Tor sends over the troubling news that a group of indie labels in Spain are suing the government for "negligence" in failing to stop file sharing. Specifically, they're really upset about the rulings that have found personal, non-commercial file-sharing is legal. They want the right to sue their biggest fans. Apparently, they haven't been paying attention to how that's worked (i.e., it hasn't) elsewhere:
"The measure would not resolve the most relevant problem, which is the actual impossibility of us taking civil action against those final users who appropriate music without paying, and systematically violate intellectual property rights," he adds.

"We think the Administration is responsible for our plight," says Carton. "We demand that the government take effective measures imminently to protect the rights and interests of the record industry, as well as the intellectual property rights of the agents that intervene in the creative musical process within Internet."
This is pretty disappointing. Last year, I actually bought a bunch of CDs (yes, physical CDs) from an indie label in Spain that I only heard about after a friend sent me some MP3s suggesting I might like a couple of the bands on the label. After checking out their websites (and being able to listen to some of the songs) I ended up ordering a bunch of CDs from the label. Just last week, I bought two more albums (downloads, via CDBaby) from the same label. Yet, according to these labels (and I can't tell if the label whose CDs I purchased is part of the lawsuit), they would have been better off suing my friend. Indie labels should be leading the way here: focusing on giving fans real reasons to buy, rather than suing the government for not putting up more protectionist barriers to pretend it can hold back what the technology allows.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Brian (profile), Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 12:42pm

    Sometimes I think that a majority of the problem is that people think the government is some all powerful entity that can do anything regardless of how impossible it actually is. They have problems and the government is supposed to some how step in, wave a magic stick, and boom everything is flawlessly solved. The big and small labels want the government to come up with some foolproof way to stop all forms of file sharing, its impossible, but they think if they tell the government to do it then its magically going to get done and be possible. If these labels would add value to their songs, give me a reason to buy, file sharing as a "problem" WILL disappear because it will then be the solution.

     

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 1:07pm

      Re:

      There's this old story about a king who sat his throne on the beach and commanded the tide not to come in... Often I'm reminded of that tale.

      Fact is (like you said) reality never gave a shit what any government ever had to say.

       

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      bigpicture, Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 4:47pm

      Re: Irony

      It's that there has to be some sort of irony or "catch 22" in there somewhere. The government is elected by "the people" and is supposed to represent the interests of "the people". So when they sue the government they are suing "the people". "The people" are the ones who are file sharing, the people are the ones who elected the government, who is supposed to represent "the people" and not business. The government is supposed to protect "the people" from being exploited by business.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 12:48pm

    Maybe if you turn in your friend you can get a reward of up to a million dollars!

     

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 12:52pm

    HEY if they can do that

    why cant we sue indie labels for BEING FUCKING LAZY ASSWIPES

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 12:55pm

    "We demand that the government take effective measures imminently to protect the rights and interests of the record industry...."

    Wait, what?

    I thought the role of the government was to protect the rights of it's people...not the record industry? Silly me I guess....

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 1:04pm

    Wow. This is just crazy! Think about this. A copyright is a government granted monopoly. These musicians are suing the government because they feel their government gravy train does not earn them enough money.

    Here's an idea. Stop sucking off the government's teat and earn your living through making and selling a great product people are willing to buy. If the only way you can get customers to pay is by suing them, you're doing something drastically wrong.

    Of course someone will say that the government needs to protect these musicians from theft. That's not how copyright works. Copyright is not a property right. Once again, copyright is a government granted monopoly. And the government in Spain has limited the monopoly to be very pro-citizen. Thus, there is simply nothing for the government to protect.

     

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    Whisk33, Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 2:07pm

    Bigger problem

    Sounds like the bigger problem is that people are mad that the government said something is legal...

    That would be like me suing the US for allow blacks and whites to drink out of the same faucet. Or suing the gov because of women's suffrage, or suing for allowing freedom of speech/press or anything else that we have deemed legal...

    I'm surprised you are focusing on the copyright portion of it because the concept of suing over laws you disagree with seems more interesting to me.

     

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    Brikardo, Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 4:00pm

    Here the list of labels involved:
    Pias Records Spain, Popstock, K-Industria Cultural, Producciones Blau, Bcore Disc, Blanco y Negro Music, Discmedi, Distribuciones Disclub, Fonogramas Metropol, Ok Records, Columna Música, Gorvijac Music, Kasba Music, Meta Network, Música Global Discográfica, Open Records y Picap
    (from http://www.elpais.com/articulo/cultura/discograficas/independientes/alzan/Gobierno/elpepicul/2010013 0elpepicul_1/Tes)
    For instance Pias Records distributes Tom Waits and Franz Ferdinand, Popstock distributes Radiohead.
    Anyway BCore Disc and Kasba Music later stepped down when they found out that the manifest was asking for fnal users to be punished (from http://www.publico.es/culturas/291255/division/sellos/independientes).
    In any case these are just a very small fraction of the spanish indie labels and if you ask me they're not the ones actually helping spanish music or music in general for hat matter, so I don't believe those CDs you got were coming from them. The claim got some media attention, though...

     

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    Jimmy, Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 6:01pm

    More and more I wish there was some way of bypassing labels and paying artists directly.

    I'm finding it increasingly difficult to morally justify purchasing music and films these days, knowing the kind of corrupt campaigns my money will be used to fund (campaigns where anyone who dares to stand up and object gets accused of being a freeloading criminal).

    I would liken the whole scenario to an abusive personal relationship, but you know what? There are people you can turn to in those kinds of situations. Here, with increasing regularity, the authorities side with the abuser. I can only hope the Spanish government continues to stand up for the people it represents.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2010 @ 2:50am

    If copyrights are an artificial monopoly granted by the government, then, all the government have to do is to remove the grant...

    That should close this lawsuit...

     

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    Michael, Mar 3rd, 2010 @ 4:31am

    Crazy

    This is total insanity.

    You actually bought some of those little plastic disks? What do you do with them? They do not fit into my USB, SD, or XD card slots. I thought people got them for decoration, but they always seemed to me to be something that just takes up space.

    I hear there is some kind of box you can put them into that will allow you to turn them into mp3's, but in some places, that is arguably illegal, so downloading them seems like a better option.

     

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    trey, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 8:22am

    Sue your fans: make more money

    I deal a lot with spanish bands and bookers and I think the indie scene in Barcelona is one of the most vibrant and innovative on the planet BUT there will be always people who look to others to solve their problems.

    Do these represent the spanish indie scene that Ive gotten to know for the last decade? No.

    Manu Chao's buddies in Barca have a music/social cause website that promotes indie music from spain and elsewhere in europe: http://www.radiochango.com/ It is one of many sites where you can find bands that share a common love of music and similar ethos. Many of these bands have gotten to where they are through word of mouth, tape trading (yup, the Grateful Dead idea of sharing live music is alive) and many other social forms.

    I just hope that these idiots dont tarnish all the fine indie musicians, labels amnd music lovers of Spain with the same dumbdumb brushstroke.

     

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