Band Tells Fans To Boycott Its Albums, Saying Its Label Doesn't Pay

from the but-you-can-get-them-elsewhere dept

Over the years, record label Victory Records has worked up quite the... um.... reputation from artists it has signed. Let's just say that a number of them are less than pleased. Reader Aaron points us to the latest such example, where the band Streetlight Manifesto has put up a, well, manifesto, asking fans to boycott its albums, because of an ongoing dispute with the label, who it claims isn't passing along royalties owed:
We’re writing today to ask you to please boycott all Streetlight related items by not purchasing any of our records or merchandise from Victory’s website, any traditional CD stores, online third party retailers or any digital distribution service (iTunes, Amazon etc). Victory has a long-time reputation of pocketing all of the proceeds from a band’s music and merch, with shady accounting and generally bully-ish behavior. If you want to support Streetlight, our music and our ability to tour and continue to release music, please make all SM related purchases from our own webstore, The RISC Store (www.riscstore.com), or come out to a show and buy a shirt or cd from us directly. In regards to getting the music we make, you can buy directly from us, or, alternately, we’re sure you can find a way to get the tunes onto your computer that may not be, ahem, traditional… Speaking a Bit metaphorically, there is a Torrent of methods to accomplish this, and Google is your always loyal friend…
Yet another reminder that labels very often do not speak for, nor represent, the best interests of artists.


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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 9:29am

    "Speaking a Bit metaphorically, there is a Torrent of methods to accomplish this, and Google is your always loyal friendů"

    I lol'ed.

    Always nice to see artists and bands keeping up to date with society and progress.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 9:51am

    One word...

    Amen.

     

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    fogbugzd (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 9:51am

    >>Always nice to see artists and bands keeping up to date with society and progress.

    Musicians that I know are the ones most adept at getting music from lockers, torrents, direct sharing, and other methods.

    It's not too surprising, really. Most musicians near the leading edge are very keen on hearing what other musicians are doing. After all, everything really is a remix. A lot of stuff they are likely to be listening to is freely (and often legally) shared.

     

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    Best moment to give them the Copyleft Talk

    Now that the band is boycotting its usual distribution ways, someone with good knowledge should convince them to switch their music to CC-BY-SA or better.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:35am

      Re: Best moment to give them the Copyleft Talk

      "someone with good knowledge"

      of what ?

      perhaps someone should teach them how to play music !!!

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2012 @ 12:20pm

      Re: Best moment to give them the Copyleft Talk

      While I'd be happy to see more people embrace Free Culture licenses and the remixing of their work even for commercial purposes (as we do constantly in the open source world to great effect), I think they would want BY-NC-SA or BY-NC-ND

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 9:52am

    But if you buy directly from the artist you're just hurting the artists!

    You see, if the artist gets too much money (as in any money) from their music sales they won't be encouraged to create more music!

    The artist will just spend all their time sleeping on piles on money, and complaining about making too much money come tax time! It may sound funny complaining about making too much money, but believe me, it's no laughing matter when you have to pay over 30% of your income to uncle Sam!

    Artists need good Samaritans like Victory Records to take the heavy sacrifice of dealing with these kinds of problems caused by making too much money!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:03am

    I am sure the band was more than happy to take the advance and use it to record their album. Sounds like they are lining themselves up for a pretty solid lawsuit (that they would lose pretty fast with public statements like this).

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:10am

      Re:

      Boo hoo. Poor little record label is being robbed by the artist they are robbing of royalties. It's a truly sad story.

       

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      DannyB (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:14am

      Re:

      The wheel is turning. The wild west days of Hollywood Accounting are coming to an end.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:17am

      Re:

      Yup, because they received money, which was part of their contract, they have absolutely no reason to think they're owed the rest of the money in their contract. I mean how greedy can a band be, to want to actually get the money promised to them in a contract?!

      They should just be happy that the almighty label granted them the privilege to make music.

       

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      Sneeje (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:17am

      Re:

      The problem with this statement is that you can not go on to say that labels act in the best interests of the artist. If they did, they would be making certain a) they weren't being taken advantage of via contractual terms, and b) they were getting paid timely for what they were owed.

      Yes, artists need to take responsibility for their agreements, but I think we'd all agree that at the point the agreements are always signed, that the information and power advantage is massively in the label's favor, leading to inequitable results.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:28am

        Re: Re:

        obviously, labels act in the best interest of labels, that is their responsibility as a business, the bands obligation is to work in the best interest of the band. You form an agreement between the two groups for mutual benifit, and you lock that into a formal contract, that BOTH groups AGREE on.

        If the band has failed in part of their contractual obligation, which is probably the case.

        the label would have made it clear to the band that the payments contracted to pay would be contingent on sales of the music.

        If the band failed to create music that is good enough to sell, no amount of promotion will change that.

        you can flog a dead horse but you cant lead it to water, (or something). and make it drink !

        clear, if people are not willing to pay for the music, the label is not going to piss money away trying to promote it, it appears that also the band is working contrary to their contract and trying to give their music away.. reducing their sales even further. not helping at all.

        here is a clue, produce something people actually WANT !!!

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:08pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "If the band has failed in part of their contractual obligation, which is probably the case."

          You are speaking from a perspective of biased speculation that is not supported by any citation of facts whatsoever.

          FAIL.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2012 @ 3:01pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Hell, without being able to see actual statements from the label to the band, everyone here is speaking from a perspective of biased speculation. None of us have any idea of how many units this band has moved, nor are we privy to the details of their recording contract.

            It's similar to the recent Wale debacle. It would help his case a little more if WZRD wasn't just absolutely terrible. If I were a label, I wouldn't promote that garbage either.

             

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          Torg (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:13pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          This isn't a band getting pissy about a lack of sales. They aren't getting paid for their sales. The label has failed to meet its contractual obligation to give the band money for sales that actually happened. That is the problem, not advertising. People are willing to pay for the music, but none of their payment is going to the artist. I could keep rephrasing it any number of different ways if this concept is too complicated for you.

           

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          JMT (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 8:02pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "obviously, labels act in the best interest of labels, that is their responsibility as a business..."

          So why don't the labels just come out and admit that, instead of lying about how they "support" artists?

          "If the band has failed in part of their contractual obligation, which is probably the case."

          So you admit you actually have no idea, you're just desperate to defend the labels' shrinking position of power in the music industry.

          Ask yourself what's more likely. That the band is demanding royalties for sales that haven't occurred, or that the label hasn't paid them royalties owed for sales that did occur, as claimed. Given the well-documented history of labels' treatment of artists, I'd say the latter is far more likely, wouldn't you?

           

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            PaulT (profile), Mar 6th, 2012 @ 1:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "So you admit you actually have no idea, you're just desperate to defend the labels' shrinking position of power in the music industry."

            It's a day with a 'y' in it, isn't it? Well, Tuesday, so it must the day where they attack artists rather than the day they attack customers.

             

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      tony_tidbits, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:30am

      Re:

      As a long time supporter of hardcore music, and friends with many bands involved. I can say unequivocally that VICTORY records is a SCAM and has ripped off more bands than it has ever helped. Advance money from VICTORY? LOL. Only "King Of Hardcore" Rick Ta Life has screwed more bands.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:19am

        Re: Re:

        So Tony, are all these 'hardcore' bands composed of idiots ?

        That both dont talk to each other, or to you !

        Did VICTORY turn up at their garage during a jam session with guns and knives and by force make them sign a contract and give them some money ?

        can you confirm that both parties met their contractual obligations ? that the band agreed too, and signed off on.

         

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      Torg (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:35am

      Re:

      I'm sure that the band took that advance in the understanding that they'd be paid for the album sales. Contracts go both ways.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2012 @ 12:22pm

      Re:

      You're surprised we have no sympathy for a system of indentured servitude?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:14am

    The last part is funny, but if they end up in court with their label over the contractual issues, having encouraged their fans to pirate their label's copyrighted works is unlikely to have been a good plan.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:18am

      Re:

      Problem is if they are telling the truth and the label is screwing them out of owed royalties the label will not want to take them to court and have that shit exposed.

       

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      Richard (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:20am

      Re:

      having encouraged their fans to pirate their label's copyrighted works is unlikely to have been a good plan.

      In the short run maybe - but longer term creating this situation with bad deals will prove to be a really bad plan for the label in the longer run. Who is going to sign up with them now?

       

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      Torg (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:40am

      Re:

      Where did they encourage piracy? All I see is a band pointing out that fans can get their music through non-traditional means. That doesn't necessarily mean piracy. Everyone knows no artist would ever want their work to be pirated, so you must have misread it.

       

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      Colin, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:40am

      Re:

      I didn't see any encouragement. They're saying you can buy it directly from them, or you can torrent it. Are you denying that both are realistic, legitimate options? They didn't say fans SHOULD do it, just that they can. Big difference.

       

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        Zacqary Adam Green (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:40pm

        Re: Re:

        They're not even saying you can torrent it. They're implying it, but not saying it. It's like getting around a gag order by saying, for example, "I'm not allowed to talk about my settlement with Acme Inc., so on a completely unrelated note, once upon a time there was a big corporation called Shmacme Shmincorporated, and (etc.)"

        They can lawyer their way out of that easily.

         

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      Torg (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 1:14pm

      Re:

      Actually,I'd like to see these people taken to court. A record label suing a band for encouraging piracy would be the best publicity a pirate could ever hope for.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 3:04pm

        Re: Re:

        Don't you mean a band could ever hope for?

        In today's day and age, especially if the mainstream media picked up the story it would drive people to the band's own store for content in droves just like suing Napster did for the subscribership to the service when that happened.

         

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          Torg (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 3:21pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          That too, yes, but I'm not a band. My focus is on the "let's see them try to claim that piracy hurts artists while they're suing an artist for promoting piracy" aspect.

           

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      Bergman (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 7:05pm

      Re:

      And who is a pirate here, anyway?

      The label holds the copyrights in exchange for money, their contract with the band spells this out. The label is not providing the money, so it's strongly arguable the label doesn't hold the copyrights either...the band does.

      So if the copyright holder tells people to torrent the copyrighted works, that is in itself a legally-binding license to copy. No piracy there.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:20am

    yeah I saw them in concert last summer and at they end of the show they said "I hope you all go out and steal our records"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:25am

    and yet another reminder for the politicians and law makers to actively ignore! representing and/or supporting the artists? yeah, my arse they are!

     

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    Pjerky (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:25am

    Its nice to see artists fighting back against their corrupt labels. I really hope this band is able to dump their label entirely.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 4:42pm

      Re:

      But why did they sign up with a known-abusive label in the first place? Artists are supposed to have lawyers, who are supposed to be competent enough to keep their clients out of the hands of known bad guys. Who is the hopeless lawyer?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:30am

    Here's an idea...

    How about an amendment to the law that says that if it is proven that contractors (ie. record labels in this case) are found guilty of breaching the contract via illegally withholding owed royalties, cooking the books to coverup royalties owed, etc. then the period for termination rights for the creator is shorten to now. That would stop this nonsense.

     

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      silverscarcat (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:41am

      Re: Here's an idea...

      Or we could just start a progressive simple tax on all copyrights...

      1 dollar for year 1.
      2 dollars for year 2.
      4 dollars for year 3.
      8 dollars for year 4.

      By the time year 20 comes along, it's over 500,000.
      year 21 is over a million dollars.

      You don't pay the tax, the copyright in question instantly gets seized by the government and turned over to the public domain.

       

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        monkyyy, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:08am

        Re: Re: Here's an idea...

        why not a more complicated one
        start with 0 the 1,1,2,3,5,7,12,19,31,70 etc.
        i think one year of of being free would be better

         

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        tracker1 (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 3:00pm

        I like it.

        I'd say years 0-5 are $0 + registration (if so chosen) fees (registration still costs)... then the doubling scale you mention. After 10 years without registration, or payment, the "property" (work) becomes public domain.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:48am

      Re: Here's an idea...

      Mine idea is simpler and fair. You abuse a copyright, you can lose the copyright.

      Hell why don't we add to it while we are at it.

      Prove that the label failed to promote it adequately (provided that the obligation to promote is in the contract because afterall WE unlike the record labels are FAIR) and the termination right is granted immediately as well.

       

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      IAMSLATTERY, Mar 6th, 2012 @ 3:46am

      Re: Here's an idea...

      Your 'idea' is already in the law books. You break a contract the contract is no longer any good.

       

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        Jesse Townley (profile), Mar 6th, 2012 @ 2:28pm

        Re: Re: Here's an idea...

        Exactly.

        If a contract is not being lived up to, then the signers have an option to terminate if the contract is not fulfilled.

        A lot of times music contracts have a last-chance clause, along the lines of "if the terms aren't being fulfilled, then the parties have 30 days after written notice of breach of contract to correct the breach" and then after that time period, the rights revert to the artist/licensor.

        Our contracts have something like this, and I cannot imagine that Victory, who are a much larger, more business-like label, don't have the same or stronger language.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:12am

    read the freaking contract - and stop whinning band..

    someone should teach that band how to compose a CONTRACT, and inform them that THEY CHOSE that label. NO ONE held a gun to their head and forced them to enter into an agreement with that label..

    someone should teach mansick that as well...

    you know what 'they' say about idiots who do not read any contract they enter into. They have NO ONE to blame but themselves.

    I guess the real reason, is that the band failed to meet it's obligations, and are simply "JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH".

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:18am

      Re: read the freaking contract - and stop whinning band..

      This isn't an issue of a bad deal in the contract. This is an issue of the label IGNORING the deal in the contract and not paying what they agreed to pay.

       

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      Torg (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:29am

      Re: read the freaking contract - and stop whinning band..

      The contract said the label would pay X amount per sale. The label is not paying X amount per sale. That is very much the label's fault.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 1:08pm

        Re: Re: read the freaking contract - and stop whinning band..

        And you know what the contract said because...?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2012 @ 12:29pm

          Re: Re: Re: read the freaking contract - and stop whinning band..

          Because that's the band's accusation.

          We don't "know" anything. Nor do you, or the angry OP we're replying to.

           

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      Squirrel Brains (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:43am

      Re: read the freaking contract - and stop whinning band..

      Your response to this assumes many facts that are not in the record. Please, if you have information that would back up your claims, then provide it so that we all can understand the situation better. On what basis do you assume that the record label must be living up to their obligations?

      If you believe in that idealistic view of contracting you are putting forward, you are either naive or have never been involved in contracting with parties of disparate power.

       

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      DannyB (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 11:57am

      Re: read the freaking contract - and stop whinning band..

      > someone should teach that band how to compose a CONTRACT,
      > and inform them that THEY CHOSE that label. NO ONE held a
      > gun to their head and forced them to enter into an
      > agreement with that label..

      Then complain that more musicians are becoming lawyers instead.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:39pm

      Re: read the freaking contract - and stop whinning band..

      So there's evidence the label isn't living up to their end of the contract and your response is that the band didn't write the contract well enough and that, in spite of having no evidence to back it up what-so-ever, that the band is the one failing to meet it's obligations?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:37pm

        Re: Re: read the freaking contract - and stop whinning band..

        It's darryl, ladies and gentlemen. A band can sign up with a label and the label could change the contract after the signing and somehow he'll still blame the band.

         

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      JMT (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 8:27pm

      Re: read the freaking contract - and stop whinning band..

      "you know what 'they' say about idiots who do not read any contract they enter into. They have NO ONE to blame but themselves."

      So when somebody reneges on a contract with you, do you just blame yourself and call yourself an idiot?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2012 @ 4:50am

      Re: read the freaking contract - and stop whinning band..

      Aww Darryl, I find it beyond hilarious that you wrote "you know what 'they' say about idiots who do not read..." and then wrote what you did.

      Did you even read the article? Because it has nothing to do with the band's contract. Here, let me put it as simply as possible for your mind (seeing as how you obviously did not take a reading comprehension class at any point in your life). THE LABEL IS NOT PAYING ON OWED ROYALTIES. End of story. Album sold. Band is waiting on royalties they're owed. The label is not paying up.

      This has literally nothing to do with, well "they didn't read their contract, so they're idiots". Also, I'm not into the band or their style of music, but even I've heard of them. So obviously, for someone who is completely not into their music to know about them, they must be good enough to gain some fame and acknowledgment.

      Darryl, seriously, if you've graduated from school, I want you to go back to every school you've ever been to and slap your English teachers. I don't advocate violence, but if they passed you, and at whatever age you're at you obviously show no signs of having learned a thing from them, then they deserve it.

      Oh, and I'm only saying that, because of the "someone should teach masnick that as well" line. You seem to be quite quick to point out how others should be taught or what classes they apparently failed in school, well one good turn deserves another. And if you respond with, "Ah, I see so rather than address my points you resort to insults, how grown up of you." I say, one good turn deserves another. It's okay for you to do exactly that, but no one can do it to you? I see, here, I have a mirror for you to look into. Know what that is staring right back at you, a hypocrite. Hypocritus Darrylus it's called. A new type, only recently, and most unfortunately for civilization, discovered.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:36pm

    I hope Victory Music finds a way to track all of the illegally downloaded content and sends the bill for the tracks to whoever made that post. Legally, where does the liability lie when someone instructs others to break the law?

     

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      Chargone (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 1:06pm

      Re:

      not a lawyer, but to the best of my knowledge the ones actually breaking the law are responsible, but depending on the instructions and law in question the one giving the instructions may get done for conspiracy to commit, or for being an accessory, or some other similar thing that is technically a lesser crime but still gets them for their role in it.

      unless they know, and cause profit for, the right people, of course. then those charges most likely never happen.

       

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      JMT (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 8:31pm

      Re:

      "Legally, where does the liability lie when someone instructs others to break the law?"

      The liability lies somewhere far out of range of anything this band said.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2012 @ 12:30pm

      Re:

      The band owns the copyright to their music, the label merely has rights to distribute and license it, etc.

       

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    Michael, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:49pm

    It boggles my mind that anyone would consider signing a contract with any label. Stop signing away your work to the middle-men! Make your music, own it, promote it, do what you want with it. The end.

     

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    Erik (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 12:50pm

    Seriously LOL at some of the ignorant people commenting here. Not gonna bother even trying to point out the epic logic fails, but I especially got a laugh out of the person saying that Streetlight should get in trouble for implying that people can download THEIR music for free.

    Props to Streetlight. One of the best bands around today for so many reasons.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 1:05pm

      Re:

      I will boycott them for telling people to break the law. In fact I am going to set up a web site expressly to boycott Streetlight Music. Then I will start a campaign to stop illegal file sharing sites and encourage others to join my crusade against piracy. Maybe we could offer rewards for those who turn people in for pirating content.

       

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        Torg (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 1:09pm

        Re: Re:

        Go ahead with that. Setting up a website telling people to boycott a band for giving away its music for free couldn't possibly backfire.

         

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        Ed C., Mar 5th, 2012 @ 1:44pm

        Re: Re:

        Or how about campaigning against sites that charge money for music they didn't pay for? Can you think of anything lower than that? You could even offer rewards for those who turn people in for ripping off artist! These bandits should face cold hard prison terms for breaking the law. Maybe then, others will think twice about not paying artist the royalties they agreed to.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 6:52pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          That's not how it works, Timmy. Big boss label continues ripping off its artists like normal and the people responsible won't face the same punishments as the pirates. But be my guest with that law of yours. Arrest the owners of sites that "charge" (ask for money) for digital content without the consent of the "original creator", and make this right non-transferrable so the musician has the final say. You'll have to reform copyright a bit of course, but the money launderers will get sent to jail! Isn't that great?

           

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            Ed C., Mar 5th, 2012 @ 10:32pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I guess reading comprehension isn't your strong suit, and satire is obviously beyond your grasp. Since I can't draw you nice pictures, I'll try to take it down to a level you'll understand.

            Labels sell copies of music.
            Labels make money.
            Labels agreed to give part of money to artists.
            Labels use bad math to say money disappeared.

            Get it?

             

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 3:10pm

        Re: Re:

        Yeah... Good luck with that. LOL!

         

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        The Groove Tiger (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 5:12pm

        Re: Re:

        You do that, I'm going to boycott cows for not giving me skimmed milk!

        And while I'm doing that, I'm boycotting the moon! Take that, moon!

         

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        PaulT (profile), Mar 6th, 2012 @ 1:49am

        Re: Re:

        Ironically, of course, this would mean you're just doing exactly what the band wants you to do, albeit for different motives.

        "Maybe we could offer rewards for those who turn people in for pirating content."

        Yeah... that would work... If rock fans are known for anything, it's ratting on people who circumvent unpopular rules (rolls eyes).

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2012 @ 12:32pm

        Re: Re:

        It's not breaking the law when the copyright holder (the band) allows it. Sharing files is not illegal, sharing them without authorization is. You're really so deeply indoctrinated by the RIAA smear campaign that you now believe completely that "filesharing = bad"

         

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    Erik Smith (profile), Mar 5th, 2012 @ 3:45pm

    How anybody that's not a part of a record label can side with the record label against a band that wishes to get their own music heard in any way possible is beyond me. Not sure if trolling or serious.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 5:46pm

    I can see it now...

    Someone at the label will realize this horrible breach of justice, and quickly go to the lawyers to get the standard contract amended to fix this horrible act... by making it illegal for signed bands both present and future to talk about how much they may or may not be getting from the label.

     

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    Lance, Mar 6th, 2012 @ 10:31am

    quite a noble gesture

     

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    Gone Dee, Mar 6th, 2012 @ 5:11pm

    I like it !

    With Hollywood trying to shove SOPA and ACTA down the worlds throats its time to cut out those greedy buttheads. Maybe this will be the start of a band actually selling there own music ?

     

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