Rupert Murdoch, Pirate? Gave Away Jimi Hendrix CD Without Clearing The Rights

from the oops dept

Rupert Murdoch has been one of the more outspoken media industry folks about how evil "piracy" is in destroying his newspaper industry, usually pointing his anger towards Google, which almost certainly doesn't infringe on Murdoch's copyrights. So, it's interesting to find out that the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times in the UK has apparently been found guilty of pretty widespread copyright infringement, in distributing a Jimi Hendrix live CD to readers without first obtaining the requisite rights from the Hendrix estate (thanks to PeteProdge for sending this over). There's been an ongoing legal fight about this, and the Sunday Times has now lost. The article suggests that the paper may be facing damages of about $250,000, which seems pretty low, considering that we're used to seeing numbers like that thrown around for sharing just a few songs online, and in this case, over 1.3 million copies of the CD were given away.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Thomas (profile), 10 Aug 2010 @ 7:06am

    The media companies..

    define piracy as anyone else using their work. To them it is NOT piracy for them to copy or redistribute anyone else's work, regardless of copyright or IP rules. Why is anyone surprised they would do this? And of course they won't pay a realistic fine since they have the judges on their gift list. If an individual did what they are doing, they would be demanding multi-million dollar penalties and jail time.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2010 @ 7:08am

    PYRATE

    We hang stinkin pyrates!

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

  • identicon
    William Dodder, 10 Aug 2010 @ 7:28am

    Did they buy the CD's

    Did they purchase the CD's? If so my feeling is that they can do pretty much anything they want with the physical medium.

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

    • identicon
      John Doe, 10 Aug 2010 @ 8:03am

      Re: Did they buy the CD's

      I am with William on this, if they distributed CD's they purchased, than where is the infringement? If they burned their own CD's, then it is a different story.

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

      • icon
        robphelan (profile), 10 Aug 2010 @ 8:10am

        Re: Re: Did they buy the CD's

        yes, i agree. the article doesn't make it clear if the newspaper bought 1.3 million CDs and handed them out. If so, I don't see a problem with that & the estate should be happy someone bought so many CDs.

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

        • icon
          Pitabred (profile), 10 Aug 2010 @ 8:58am

          Re: Re: Re: Did they buy the CD's

          Do you honestly think that they'd have lost a court case if that were the situation?

          Seriously... I'm sure you probably work for the RIAA or something, but do try to not be so stupid.

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

        • icon
          btrussell (profile), 10 Aug 2010 @ 1:35pm

          Re: Re: Re: Did they buy the CD's

          Even if they did buy them, it was 1.3 million lost sales. :)

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2010 @ 9:04pm

          Re: Re: Re: Did they buy the CD's

          I highly doubt they bout 1.3 million CD's. Wouldn't that bankrupt them or something? It seems like attaching a bought CD to each Sunday Times paper will substantially increase the cost of each paper or make them sell those papers at a loss.

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

    • icon
      PeteProdge (profile), 10 Aug 2010 @ 8:26am

      Re: Did they buy the CD's

      In that case, I'd like to sell some CD-Rs I've made of Beatles songs. You can distribute them how you like. I'm sure there won't be a problem at all with that...

      ...*cough*

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2010 @ 7:30am

    1.3 Million copies? The damages from that are at least 4 times the global economy!!!!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2010 @ 7:38am

    Seems fair...

    Hmmm, if each CD had, say, 10 tracks then that's 13 million instances of infringement (per the calculations made against P2P users), and at a minimum of $750 per instance, they "should" owe at least $9.75 billion... and as much as $1.95 trillion.

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

    • icon
      duffmeister (profile), 10 Aug 2010 @ 8:47am

      Re: Seems fair...

      Doesn't commercial infringement multiply the penalty?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2010 @ 9:59am

        Re: Re: Seems fair...

        IANAL but, in the US, it doesn't look like it. There's actual damages, or statutory damages, which are either $750-$30,000 each or $750-$150,000 each for "willful infringement." There's a line about criminal infringment, which this might fall under, but it doesn't look like that raises the damages any.

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

  • icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), 10 Aug 2010 @ 7:43am

    Well, you have to understand that Murdoch isn't like, rich like Jammie Thomas and can't afford billions of dollars in damages.

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

  • icon
    AdamBv1 (profile), 10 Aug 2010 @ 7:43am

    This makes my head hurt.

    So wait, a person shares 2 dozen songs and gets whacked with $80 thousand in damages per song (yes later reduced to $2250) where the Sunday Times get off with just $0.19 PER CD?!? What kind of sense does this make?

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

    • icon
      DH's Love Child (profile), 10 Aug 2010 @ 11:04am

      Re: This makes my head hurt.

      IANAL, but this may end up killing damage awards in the future as defendants can now point to this as a benchmark.

      And if that's the case, 'pre-settlement' (aka extortion) letters will be worthless as it would be considerably less expensive to go to court.

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

    • icon
      ofb2632 (profile), 10 Aug 2010 @ 11:54am

      Re: This makes my head hurt.

      That is once again showing that Corporations get away with everything while sticking it to the private citizen.

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

  • icon
    Don (profile), 10 Aug 2010 @ 7:46am

    I think the Hendrix estate is smart in going for what they know they can safely get without going through the courts. But then again, only in the US are these cases absurdly in the millions.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2010 @ 8:53am

      Re:

      But the courts are the ones awarding absurd damages. It is exactly the courts and not arbitration or settling where they can reap the benefits.

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

      • icon
        TtfnJohn (profile), 10 Aug 2010 @ 11:20am

        Re: Re:

        The point you're missing is that it's only U.S. courts who are awarding damages beyond the GNP of, say, Rhode Island, for minor infringement.

        Courts in Canada, the UK, Australia etc wouldn't dream of those kind of damages simply because the punishment doesn't fit the "crime". That and the plantiff hasn't a hope in hell of ever collecting.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2010 @ 7:47am

    Simple math, 250000 divided by 1.3 million gives a little less than 20 cents per violation. That's ludicrous.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2010 @ 7:57am

    How is it that if you download a dozen songs, you get charged 8 grand for each. Give away 1.3million CDs and you get charged 20 pence each?

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

    • icon
      interval (profile), 10 Aug 2010 @ 8:01am

      Re:

      What a country, huh?

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

    • icon
      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 10 Aug 2010 @ 8:03am

      Re:

      The sad part is Jammie Thomas got smacked for unauthorized distribution for a few thousand times. The Sunday Times got smacked for 13 million unauthorized distributions and got smacked for less then $0.02 per song.

      The Sunday Times gets punished by paying 2 cents per song and we get the privilege of paying 99 cents per song.

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

  • identicon
    Bas Grasmayer, 10 Aug 2010 @ 8:03am

    eh

    Actually, that's a lot more reasonable.

    Let's hope lawyers of filesharers can make use of the verdict.

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

  • identicon
    out_of_the_blue, 10 Aug 2010 @ 8:23am

    You're blatantly wrong, Mike. Was not

    "pretty widespread copyright infringement", but "did not obtain the proper copyright clearance for the giveaway".

    And an oblique damage:
    "In May 2008 the claimants chose to pursue a claim for damages relating to loss of earnings from the delay to the concert film project."

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

    • icon
      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 10 Aug 2010 @ 9:27am

      Re: You're blatantly wrong, Mike. Was not

      So, you're saying that due to the giveaway in 2006 the claimants had to delay a film project in 2008 causing 150 thousand euros damage that the Sunday Times is liable for.

      Someone may need to explain that one to me.

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

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 10 Aug 2010 @ 12:14pm

      Re: You're blatantly wrong, Mike. Was not

      I don't understand either. How does that make it not "pretty widespread copyright infringement"?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2010 @ 8:36am

    Anybody else will to pay about $0.20 for a CD? I'm all for it.

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

  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 10 Aug 2010 @ 8:57am

    Co$t of piracy

    Let's see, 1.3M copies @ $15USD (about 10 UK quid) ~= $150M USD. That seems about right... Rupert can afford that out of pocket change.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2010 @ 10:10am

    Sunday Times didn't do their fact checking

    The Times did license the music....from a company (Charly) who didn't own the rights.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/08/10/sunday_times_hendrix_ruling/

    but of course this should never happen because it is incredibly simple to determine who owns the rights to piece of work which is why google should be responsible for stopping infringement, right Rupert?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2010 @ 5:02pm

      Re: Sunday Times didn't do their fact checking

      The Times did license the music....from a company (Charly) who didn't own the rights.

      Then they didn't have a license. Open and shut case.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2010 @ 9:09pm

      Re: Sunday Times didn't do their fact checking

      "The Times did license the music....from a company (Charly) who didn't own the rights."

      Charly should be punished for pretending to have privileges that it does not have.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2010 @ 11:51pm

        Re: Re: Sunday Times didn't do their fact checking

        Charly should be punished for pretending to have privileges that it does not have.

        I imagine they will be.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2010 @ 5:04pm

    Laws weren't made...

    for people like Rupert Murdoch. Laws are for the little people. But if we just have to, we'll give Rupert a little (very little) slap on the wrist in order to keep up appearances.

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

  • identicon
    Maigrir Vite, 11 Aug 2010 @ 11:13am

    As the saying goes...

    The shoemaker's son always goes barefoot.

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

  • identicon
    jimi, 31 Aug 2010 @ 3:11pm

    http://jimi-hendrix-fanclub.blogspot.com/

    Hello!Very good blog!
    We can send people from oficial blog of Jimi Hendrix's Fanclub
    http://jimi-hendrix-fanclub.blogspot.com/
    to your blog?
    Leave your link on my blog

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

  • identicon
    slaslaslash, 5 Oct 2010 @ 4:32am

    Hellow!

    I love your site, It is a pleasure to visit.

    I have added your site to my site.

    Please link my site to your site.

    Thank you!

    http://musicspecialgolf.blogspot.com

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.