Students Give Out Burned CDs At Prom
from the ooops dept
Some high school students organizing a prom in Wisconsin thought it would be a great idea to give out a CD to each of approximately 500 students who came to the prom – as a nice memento. They spent $1,845 to have the CD cases professionally made, but didn’t think about actually paying for the songs. They just burned the CD’s three songs themselves. The RIAA won’t say what they’re doing, but clearly they’re looking into the situation. Obviously, the kids involved broke the law. It’s an open and shut case of copyright infringement. However, take a step back and ask the more important questions: did the recording industry “lose” anything in doing this? First off, it’s unlikely they would have allowed the students to create the CD in the first place – so it wasn’t as if they lost out on the fees they would have charged. Even if they somehow were convinced to allow it, they likely would have charged an amount that would have been too costly for the students. Again, they wouldn’t have lost anything because no money would have been paid. Finally, since the students did go out and put a grand total of three songs on the CD, how many “sales” can the industry claim they lost? The students didn’t receive a whole CD, and it’s likely that some of the students liked one, two or all three of the songs on the CD – and may have been intrigued enough by the songs to go out and purchase the CD that they came from. The law here is clear. The students were wrong. However, shouldn’t we look at whether or not that makes any sense? Update: In the comments, someone has posted a useful followup link saying that Columbia Records has gotten in touch with the school to say they won’t do anything about the CDs. Of course, one could interpret this as them knowing just how bad the PR backlash would be. The more important point is that the school needed to worry about this in the first place.