UMG Finds Perfect Biz Model: Cheat Artists, Then, If Caught, Demand Insurance Company Pay Instead

from the wow dept

The sheer chutzpah of Universal Music is really quite stunning. As you may recall, in 2009, it came out that the major record labels had been screwing over musicians in Canada with a bit of sleight of hand called “exploit now, pay later if at all.” The way it worked was that labels would put old works on compilations without getting artists’ permission, then put the artists’ names on a “pending” list, which was supposed to mean that payment to those artists was “pending.” Except the pending lists were never touched and the royalties were never paid. Labels not paying artists royalties is a pretty common issue, but here they weren’t even getting any credit at all. Pretty sneaky. Realizing they had been caught red handed, the labels “settled” by agreeing to pay the $45 million in royalties owed.

However, it turns out that Universal Music Group actually seems to think that its insurance company should be paying the $14.4 million it owes (UMG’s share of the $45 million). It’s now suing its insurance company for refusing to pay. If you think about it for a second, you realize just how insane this claim is. Basically, Universal Music is claiming that it can simply not pay any royalties at all, then wait to get sued… and if it loses and has to pay, it believes its insurance company has to foot the bill. Now there’s a business model!

Filed Under: , , , ,
Companies: universal music

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “UMG Finds Perfect Biz Model: Cheat Artists, Then, If Caught, Demand Insurance Company Pay Instead”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
gorehound (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The only thing wrong in this suit was the Artists should of demanded the maximum amount per each track as that is what these asshole RIAA PIGS do.All of those Canadian Artists should of hammered the bigwigs and give it back to them.

No new Artist needs to sign with any of these bloodsuckers anymore.You can do it all on your own with the NET and not have to lose your income.Your Musical Act will receive 100% of the money as opposed to whatever a bigwig thorwsd to you and what they throw is shit.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I would guess that they believe that the label is the “real” copyright owner, and that they have an absolute right to their profits. Having to pay money to those “artist” leeches interferes with profits, after all.

I wonder if such a scam would make the label’s site ‘dedicated to theft of property’?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Not really, a demon with a thousand names is difficult to separate from truly independents right now.

So unless those people are in a place where makes sure their customers rights are respected don’t expect nobody to respect you independent of what you call yourself this days.

Are you in Jamendo if not, I’m sorry, if people rip you off they are doing society a favor.

Lucifer says:

Re: Re:

A dark thick smoke fills the room.
As the lights dim you start to smell the distinct aroma of sulphur & burning flesh.

A dark figure approaches you with a small stack of paper with fine print and places it down in-front of you, you feel a small prick in your finger & notice a drop of blood forming at the tip.

He states, just sign at the bottom of this stack, and I’ll make you an offer you just can’t refuse.

out_of_the_blue says:

Big banks speculate, keep profits, stick taxpayers with losses.

Glad you’re at last catching on to how capitalism works, Mike. Secret to gettting rich is figuring how to trick or force someone else into paying. The Rich are born into effective lifetime entitlements to the highest levels without effort, while the poor are doomed to labor.

fogbugzd (profile) says:

>>I know I should just ignore this, but could you please explain how being opposed to ripping off artists means you are in favor of and justifying ripping off music.

There isn’t a hint of anything in the article saying that Universal ripping off artists justifies ripping off anything. At most the article highlights the hypocrisy of a major record label itself ripping off the artists that it claims to be supporting.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

As UMG is now trying to avoid paying what was a very generous settlement agreement I think the artists should move to have UMG removed and the original charges brought back up.

I think the original computed damages was over 6 billion or something like that. UMGs share should be enough to make it more fun.

I am surprised that no one has pointed out the obvious thing happening here. UMG is showing once again that the industry is all for someone else paying to help them out. They want YouTube/HotFile/et al to spend money to create a system to protect their copyright, when their own attempts show its nearly impossible to do cheaply. But lets pass some more laws and make everyone else pay for our free ride.

I wonder what would happen if we started shaming Congresscritters who take money from UMG for supporting a business who feels they are to big to fail and want someone else to come in and pay to fix their wrongdoings.

get out the 'cuffs says:

MAFIAAs in love - the prison edition

wait a second, isn’t that sort of ‘piracy’ .. for commercial gain .. illegal? Thats not a breach of contract, thats a direct copyright infringement case, complete with jail and everything. Why is an insurance company even involved with this obviously illegal activity?
Time to use the labels own arguments against them in court.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...