Evil Music Labels Make For Easy Lawsuit

from the it's-for-the-victims dept

A class action suit on behalf of 11 plaintiffs accuses the major record labels of colluding to fix the wholesale price of music that they sell to online retailers like iTunes. The collusion isn’t the smoke-filled room variety, but based on a contractual agreement, oddly known as Most Favored Nation status, that requires the retailer to give all the labels the same deal as whoever has the best. It’s no surprise that labels want to aggressively influence retail pricing, but is a class action lawsuit the best way to solve a murky legal issue that the DOJ and Eliot Spitzer are already working on? Class action lawsuits have a tendency to not actually help the affected class, while the prosecuting firm can make out with a sizable cut of the settlement (this particular firm is well known for shareholder lawsuits, resulting in million-dollar out-of-court settlements). Independent of the legal action the labels are hurting themselves more than enough by making stupid choices with respect to online music. A lawsuit against an easy and unpopular enemy feels like piling on, just for the lawyers’ sake.

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Comments on “Evil Music Labels Make For Easy Lawsuit”

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jason says:

No Subject Given

FUCK EM! i don’t give a shit about the labels. in a perfect outcome, all of them would fall and leave nothing but indie label to provide what the market has been dry of since the late seventies; a constant stream of well-promoted, innovative music.
i hate lawyers as much as the next guy, but if this lawsuit is successful, perhapes the vultures will see major labels as easy targets and systematically dismantle the evil cunts!

– j a s o n | a n t h o n y | s t e r l y

Anonymous Coward #42 says:

No Subject Given

The trouble is that lables and the RIAA are making incredibly studid decisions (price fixing, payola, DRM) but there really isn’t any recourse that the public has. Lawsuits like this a great. The more attention that is paid to the insane ideas these people are putting forth, the better the chances are of them not occuring. I fear that while we all scream out here in the wilderness, the majority of people aren’t paying attention and in 2 years will will hit the DRM wall and say: Hey! I bought this! Why the f can’t I do what I want with it? By then, it will be too late.

Boris Jacobsen says:

Bastard Labels

I said this in response to another Techdirt item but it’s equally relevant here.

One argument the labels give for screwing over the buying public on prices is that the artists have to be paid. Well I had a modest record deal once upon a time, and have known people with major deals and the experiences are much the same. The labels screw the artists even more than the public, from grossly unfair clauses in unreadable legal jargon contracts, to blatant non-payment of royalties, to (in our case) selling rights to a publisher that we the band owned, without our permission. The labels have only ever been out for themselves.

I’m with jason (above) – screw the majors and let the indies, many of whom care about MUSIC, back into the game.

Russell Cole (user link) says:

Elliot Spitzer Knows how to get Elected

I cannot imagine an easier target to go after than the music industry, for a politician who wants to acquire populist appeal. This is the kind of populist politician that the Democrats need, who makes the right political moves without necessarily appearing as if he is using a political calculus to determine what is most advantageous to his career. He is astronomically more savvy than Hillary, for whom I would have great reticency voting, taking into consideration her wobbly stance on issues of social significance, such as free speach and her idiotic stance, which advocated limiting the distribution of GTA to segments of the population. She was obviously struggling, at that time, at least, to make herself appear as though she was supporting the interests of middle-class parents by addressing their concerns regarding the type of media to which their children were exposed. However, she ended up alienating much of the culturally libertarian, leftist base that values civil liberties more than an insincere politician, who is endeavoring to posture herself for the presidential election…down with Hillary; viva Elliot Spitzer.

David (user link) says:

Support the Major Labels

Really, I think its funny that bands like Cold Play were eating tuna 8 years ago, and then the major labels put them on the map and made them millionaires and put their music all over the world, then Cold Play says that Major Labels suck. You people talking crap about the major labels are correct in some of your criticism but wrong in your disdain. And the idiot saying that Indie labels are going to do what majors have is just ignorant; I own an indy record label and anyone familiar with the college or public radio genre knows that indy labels have little experience or business knowledge, and often they do not even have good music. Its like a bunch of punkers or emos who all look alike trying to lecture about individuality, while they sport the exact same haircut and listen to the same music. Most indy labels are based on rebellion of the majors, and lack even what the majors are offering. How about good music? I can find a lot of good music from the major labels and a few indys. And when groups like Death Cab For Cutie go with a major label, no one complains because we realize that indies simply do not have the business knowledge or infrastructure to go further. You RIAA supporters have probably stolen most of your MP3 files from starving indy bands so really, you should just shut up and go hang out with your emo buddies that all dress exactly alike and smoke the exact same brand of alternative cigarettes. Majors have succeeded in business where the indys never will, regardless of how much you foam at the mouth about it on forums like this, while your playing stolen MP3’s in the background on your Commercial Itunes player. Pathetic.

Jason says:

well from a legal users standpoint....

Well David, I have a bought and paid for Lyra that plays bought and paid for WMA files. I don’t care much for what the Big Guys are up to. I don’t think that they should just fold up and die. I do think they need to get a few clues. Like for instance…MY machine is MY machine not Sony’s or Fox’s. Like for instance that PRICE FIXING is illegal. Like for instance that not all of us are crooks and deserve to be treated like the valuable commodity that we are…PAYING CUSTOMERS. So far I have been just that, but when I start getting treated like I’m a pirate just BECAUSE I own a computer, well, then If I am going to be accused of the crime and suffer a penalty for it, I might just as well do it. The Big Guys need to learn that there are limits to the power they have. When they piss enough of the people like me off they will. Same story always comes around…Money talks..Bullshit walks.

Professor HighBrow says:

Support the Major Labels? What cave have you been

Most indy labels are based on rebellion of the majors, and lack even what the majors are offering.

This is just simply not true. Independent labels have promoted and released some of the most original material out there. And the name calling, “punks and emos” just shows that you aren’t even thinking, just jumping to conclusions. Maybe you like the BS that is on the radio, and don’t understand the fact that major labels rip off the artists AND the consumers. That’s a lose-lose deal. The only winners are the jerks that collude to price fix, fail to adapt to technologic change, and steal from the consumer.

They’ve lost class-action lawsuits before for this, and I hope they do again. That is why class action lawsuits are available in the first place; when a group of companies or even just one rip off a massive amount of plaintiffs.

I don’t care what happens to the money, at least it helps send a message that unethical business behavior will not be tolerated.

David, the next time some jerggoff label like Sony corrupts a bunch of material on your PC in effort to “protect” their content, maybe you will remember that you ought not complain. May your .wma files fail to function, and your “Indie label” [which you conveniently fail to name] fail. Maybe you ought to put a name to your claim, eh? This way bands will know to avoid you.

–Prof HighBrow

Boris Jacobsen says:

Really, I think it’s funny that people like David were eating cheese sandwiches 3 years ago, and then they set up an indy label which made them a few dollars here and there, then David says Indy Labels suck.

Part of the problem with Major Labels is the problem some of us have with capitalism itself. The labels make a very small minority VERY VERY rich and successful and shit on everyone else.

As for Indie labels, many have been on the verge of great success, through promoting left field artists that the majors wouldn’t touch…. until said artists are looking like becoming huge, at which point a major buys up the indie (a hostile takeover usually).

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