Universal Music Album Recalled... For Infringing Content?

from the seize-'em! dept

Probably the most aggressive major record label, when it comes to supporting ridiculously overaggressive attacks on infringement and things like taking down websites, would be Universal Music -- the company whose ex-CEO once gleefully declared to the world that he was too clueless to hire someone who understands technology (he has since moved on to lead Sony Music). Of course, we always discover that the most aggressive copyright maximalists are later caught infringing themselves... So it's not surprising to hear that the release of the album for Universal Music recording artist Tyga has run into some copyright problems. While the album had been sent to retailers and was available for pre-order on iTunes, it was yanked off iTunes, and a note was sent to retailers telling them to "pull and return" the album.

The issue? Apparently the title track, "Careless World," has some sound clips from a Martin Luther King speech... and no one bothered to clear it. Oops. Of course, many of us think that locking up MLK's works are a travesty, but his heirs have been incredibly aggressive over the years in claiming that they deserve to get paid for any attempts to honor MLK. Of course, if Universal Music wasn't such an extreme copyright maximalist we might have a bit of sympathy for their plight. But given that they've made this bed, there's a bit of irony in noting that they now have to lie in it.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    SIlverBlade, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 4:15pm

    The sick sadistic side of me imagines what would have happened here if SOPA was passed and something like this happened where it's the Record Label's own doing....would the appropriate punishment be for the content owners of the infringing sound bytes to shut down the entire CD pressing plant? That seems appropriate to me seeing how they would shut down an entire website with no recourse..

     

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  2.  
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    vastrightwing, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 4:20pm

    LOL

    I'm sorry... all I can do is laugh. LOL!

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 4:21pm

    I think this is one of those cases where the difference is in how they address it. They are doing "pull and return", which likely involves significant cost.

    If this was the other side, they would be calling the EFF, Lessig, and anonymous to "protect their rights".

    One thing about having to lie in the bed you made is having the guts and the acceptance to do it, instead of being whiny bitches.

     

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  4.  
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    sehlat (profile), Feb 20th, 2012 @ 4:32pm

    Who Will Pay For Thi$ Mii$take?

    If we know anything about Hollywood Accounting, I'd bet money they'll find a way to charge these expenses to the artist.

     

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  5.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Feb 20th, 2012 @ 4:34pm

    Re:

    People go to the EFF and Lessig because those accusing them of copyright infringement want thousands of dollars for 24 songs. This is one track per album. Will Universal end up paying thousands of dollars per 24 discs? Highly doubtful. This will cost them a lot, certainly, but if MLK's estate told Universal that they could either 1) pay to recall all of the albums or 2) pay MLK's estate thousands of dollars for every 24 albums, I'm willing to bet Universal would be more than happy to recall the albums.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 4:34pm

    Re:

    Well said.

    Unfortunately, it would have been pilloried here and elsewhere no matter what it did because it is one of "them", and not one of "us".

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 4:34pm

    Re:

    Or - here's a though - we could learn from the experience and realize that the system we support is completely ridiculous, and work towards fixing it.

    I mean, seriously, don't you think that locking up MLKs speeches behind copyright is beyond retarded? I think it is, and whoever just accepts that is beyond "beyond retarded".

     

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  8.  
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    Cynyr (profile), Feb 20th, 2012 @ 4:47pm

    so they are paying MLK heirs $250k for each of those disks right? they already made the copies. even if they don't sell them , right, right?

    ohh nevermind, it will never happen.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 4:51pm

    Re:

    Something (I think it was a lawyer) tells me that "oops! I made a mistake!" wouldn't cut it for anyone on the "other side" (humans) you speak of.

     

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  10.  
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    abc gum, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 4:54pm

    Re:

    Stop yer whining

     

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  11.  
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    quickbrownfox, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 4:58pm

    Poetic justice for Universal. May it proliferate.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 5:03pm

    Re: Re:

    Us being the public? You know, the reason cultural works are even made?

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 5:15pm

    Re: Re:

    Not at all. Rather, I think this is the proof that the system works in both directions, and is equally stringent to both sides of the discussion.

    "I mean, seriously, don't you think that locking up MLKs speeches behind copyright is beyond retarded?"

    What is beyond retarded is beating your head against the wall on a subject like this. It is copyrighted because of the way the laws were written at the time, and it would be incredibly unfair to just turn around and revoke those rights because you don't like them anymore.

    Grow up, move on. Make the future better, and that is usually done by not living in the past.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 5:50pm

    Re:

    "We'll only sue if it benefits us, damn you!"

     

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  15.  
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    Harrekki (profile), Feb 20th, 2012 @ 6:07pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    But you are ok with them taking works that were already in the public domain and placing them BACK into copyright status too, I assume?

    No one here is living in the past. they are pointing out errors of the past to show how ridiculous the now is, so we can make a better future. People who try to ignore the past are bound to repeat it. But then, I guess that's what copyright supports want anyways.

    Maybe you should stop dodging obvious issues with phrases like "beating your head against the wall" and "grow up". They are a sign of a weak argument, and immaturity.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 6:24pm

    Where's ICE?

     

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  17.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Feb 20th, 2012 @ 6:29pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Equally stringent to both sides? Then I guess Universal is already writing a check to MLK's estate for millions of dollars?

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 6:35pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Grow up, move on. Make the future better, and that is usually done by not living in the past.

    You're ridiculous!

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 6:36pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, "us" being consumers. You know, the ones who are generally expected to pay for what they consume.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 7:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You mean "us" being citizens before being consumers? How does one consume an historic speech?

     

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  21.  
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    That Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 7:33pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "It is copyrighted because of the way the laws were written at the time, and it would be incredibly unfair to just turn around and revoke those rights because you don't like them anymore."

    Then how do you explain what is actually happening, where they do not like the laws of that time and extend them again and again because they don't like them so they can find another way to make more money off of it?

     

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  22.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 20th, 2012 @ 7:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I hate when i don''t notice I'm logged out

     

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  23.  
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    MahaliaShere (profile), Feb 20th, 2012 @ 7:37pm

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 20th, 2012 @ 6:24pm

    And, where's that team of feds involved in raiding Megaupload?

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 10:34pm

    Re: ... and it would be incredibly unfair to just turn around and revoke those rights because you don't like them anymore.

    You mean, like the way the repeated extensions of copyright have always been retroactive, applying to works which were published under the old terms?

     

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  25.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 20th, 2012 @ 11:13pm

    Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 20th, 2012 @ 6:24pm

    That was the Elite NZ AntiTerrorism team, the FBI were watching on a monitor half a world away eating popcorn.

     

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  26.  
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    Prisoner 201, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 11:30pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "It is copyrighted because of the way the laws were written at the time, and it would be incredibly unfair to just turn around and revoke those rights because you don't like them anymore."

    So you are with us against all cases of copyright extension then? We should revert to the original, much shorter, opt-in copyright? Because retroactive copyright extension is revoking the rights of public domain because some people don't like them.

    If you are against MLK being public domain, but not against retroactive copyright extension, then you are either a hypocrite or a paid shill.

     

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  27.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), Feb 21st, 2012 @ 1:01am

    One more time for the fun of it

    Paid at last, paid at last, thank God almighty! We are paid at last!!!

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2012 @ 1:28am

    Re:

    if this was the other side, no matter what they tried to do, UM would have immediately issued court proceedings, demanded everything to do with that item removed, all websites, shops etc closed and statutory damages for each of 1,000 or so alleged infringements. there would have been no choice given to the 'other side' only aggression and law suits. and all from accusations!

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2012 @ 1:47am

    Re:

    This is MLK's estate doing this, not Universal.

    Mike is too much of a pussy to go after them, so he goes after Universal, a company whose product he's addicted to.

    Masnick has admitted he doesn't use Netflix or iTunes; it's sort of his wink-wink at his pirate buddies that he rips off all his content. Not that it wasn't obvious already via this zealot pirate blog he runs, but he's been too much of a little man (as in tiny- really tiny) to just come right out and admit what he does.

    Because he's obviously so scared to do so. Boo hoo. Poor little, tiny, micro Mike.

     

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  30.  
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    The eejit (profile), Feb 21st, 2012 @ 3:25am

    Re: Re:

    Wow, libelous much? they lost their potential because of interfering oligopolists who like to think the universe is mediacentric.

     

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  31.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Feb 21st, 2012 @ 3:36am

    Re: Re:

    you, sir/madam, are a moron.

     

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  32.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 21st, 2012 @ 4:50am

    Re: Re:

    This is MLK's estate doing this, not Universal.


    Universal is the one who failed to clear it. Thus they were the ones who infringed. That was the point the original commenter was making.

    Mike is too much of a pussy to go after them, so he goes after Universal, a company whose product he's addicted to.


    Yeah. I'd never call out MLK's estate.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20081117/0136362849.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/artic les/20090521/0346544960.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120116/00402117411/how-ip-laws-hav e-locked-up-martin-luther-kings-brilliance.shtml

    Or, perhaps you're just full of it? Nah...

    Masnick has admitted he doesn't use Netflix or iTunes; it's sort of his wink-wink at his pirate buddies that he rips off all his content.

    That's completely false. I do not and have not "rip off" anyone. I have told you before, that I use legitimate services. I try to get direct from artists whenever possible, or I will use Amazon or CD Baby for music. For movies, I rent from Blockbuster and Redbox.

    Just because I don't use iTunes or Netflix doesn't mean I infringe.

    Why do you lie?

    Because he's obviously so scared to do so. Boo hoo. Poor little, tiny, micro Mike.

    My goodness are you ridiculous.

    Look, some of us would like to have grown up conversations. When you think you can do that, please join in. Until then, please grow up.

     

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  33.  
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    martyburns (profile), Feb 21st, 2012 @ 5:00am

    Re: Re: Re:

    We need a special 'Told!' button for posts where Mike (or anyone really) totally comes back at the trolls who fail to return with any reasoned argument.

     

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  34.  
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    DannyB (profile), Feb 21st, 2012 @ 6:10am

    Re:

    If they had already manufactured media, then I think it would be completely fair for MLK to be able to recover statutory damages of $150,000 per disk / tape / etc. that was pressed.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2012 @ 6:23am

    Re: Re:

    Why don't you tell us how much YOU spend daily on legal licensed music. And provide receipts, otherwise you're a freetard douchebag.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2012 @ 7:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "If you are against MLK being public domain, but not against retroactive copyright extension, then you are either a hypocrite or a paid shill."

    Oh come on Prisoner 201, you left out option C, he is both a paid shill AND a hypocrite (as most of them seem to be).

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2012 @ 8:02am

    And Universal is doing the right thing and pulling the content. They are paying the price for their mistakes, namely all that money they invested in the CDs and promoting the album was wasted. It's an expensive lesson and I am sure someone will lose their job over the mistake.

     

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  38.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Feb 21st, 2012 @ 8:26am

    Re:

    But shouldn't there be huge punitive damages involved to "educate" Universal? Isn't that how it works?

     

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  39.  
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    PRMan, Feb 21st, 2012 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re:

    At least $150,000 per sold CD. In fact, they're professional pirates, so throw the book at them! Jail time.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Feb 21st, 2012 @ 8:34am

    Re: Re:

    At least $150,000 per sold CD. In fact, they're professional pirates, so throw the book at them! Jail time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
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    The eejit (profile), Feb 21st, 2012 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Generally by being born and able to understand what just happened.

     

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  42.  
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    DH's Love Child (profile), Feb 21st, 2012 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re:

    and don't forget statutory damages. $64k per infringement X how many millions of CD's sent out.

     

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  43.  
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    The eejit (profile), Feb 21st, 2012 @ 9:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well, he can't be both - his crumple zones aren't big enough!

     

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  44.  
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    The eejit (profile), Feb 21st, 2012 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It was clearly wilful, so I'd push for the full $150k per. so that would be....trillions of dollars.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2012 @ 11:26am

    Take down all of their web sites with no previous notice and keep it down for the 5 years it will take to resolve the issue in court. Assuming nobody accepts any pussy ass settlements.

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Another AC, Feb 21st, 2012 @ 11:55am

    I am sure it was sold online somewhere, ICE should now have control over all of Universal's websites and keep them for at least a year with no explanation, that would make the most sense I think.

     

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  47.  
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    khory (profile), Feb 21st, 2012 @ 12:36pm

    Sad

    It is very sad that use of a public speech would ever be a copyright issue like this. The entire idea behind Dr. King's speech's was to spread his message of equality and tolerance to any that would listen.

    I think Dr. King would be very disappointed.

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2012 @ 4:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Trillions of dollars? I think that's enough to declare all their claims to settlement via the RIAA over the years null and void.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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