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!

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  • icon
    Ima Fish (profile), 14 Nov 2011 @ 12:35pm

    "Now there's a business model!"

    And you say that the copyright industry cannot come up with innovative business models.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Nov 2011 @ 12:38pm

    The policy is a "conduct of business" policy, and might actually really cover this sort of thing.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Nov 2011 @ 12:43pm

      Re:

      Well, I'm going to stop making insurance payments and when called on it, I'll send the bill to the recording industry.

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

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 14 Nov 2011 @ 12:55pm

      Re:

      The policy is a "conduct of business" policy, and might actually really cover this sort of thing.

      It might cover negligence - but no insurance company in the world will ever cover deliberate wrongdoing - and this looks pretty deliberate to me.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous, 14 Nov 2011 @ 12:45pm

    The fact that Canada's largest ever copyright infringement case was brought by artists against a record label says it all, doesn't it?

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

    • icon
      gorehound (profile), 14 Nov 2011 @ 2:08pm

      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.

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

      • icon
        Niall (profile), 15 Nov 2011 @ 5:10am

        Re: Re:

        So maximum amount per track... each track could have been heard by X people per actual unit produced... in fact, could potentially have been heard by the whole population of the planet, plus of course Little Green Men since we're beaming radio into space...

        ...How's my MAFIAA methodology going?

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

  • icon
    Richard (profile), 14 Nov 2011 @ 12:49pm

    Jammie Thomas

    Could Jammie Thomas's Home Insurance company pay her bill?

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

  • icon
    weneedhelp (profile), 14 Nov 2011 @ 12:52pm

    UMG's exec's waddle

    Because of their big balls.

    AC Said: "The policy is a "conduct of business" policy, and might actually really cover this sort of thing."

    If the policy was worded to cover this kind of extortion, they would have just paid. I doubt the non-payment of royalties until sued was in that contract.

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

  • icon
    weneedhelp (profile), 14 Nov 2011 @ 12:55pm

    UMG

    Underhanded Moneygrubbing Greedtards

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

  • icon
    WDS (profile), 14 Nov 2011 @ 1:01pm

    Who should pay what?

    I could actually see the insurance company being on the hook for any punitive damages, but not for royalties actually owed.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Nov 2011 @ 1:06pm

    Another article Masnick posts in order to rationalize ripping off music.

    Remember though, unless you only rip off Universal, instead of everyone- independents etc, you're a greedy hypocritical douche.

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

  • identicon
    anonymous, 14 Nov 2011 @ 1:14pm

    and they call 'file sharers' 'piates'! they will (try) to do anything possible to hang on to all of their ill-gotten gains, for as long as possible, even under circumstances such as this!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Nov 2011 @ 1:14pm

    I would love to do no work, and get paid to do it. Where do I sign up to be a music corporation?

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

    • identicon
      Lucifer, 14 Nov 2011 @ 1:22pm

      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.

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

  • identicon
    out_of_the_blue, 14 Nov 2011 @ 1:19pm

    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.

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

    • icon
      G Thompson (profile), 14 Nov 2011 @ 5:19pm

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

      Though unusual Change can occur. In that The poor can get rich, the rich can become poor. There is the possibility

      Strange and totally freaky people like yourself though...

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

  • icon
    fogbugzd (profile), 14 Nov 2011 @ 1:28pm

    >>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.

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

    • icon
      WDS (profile), 14 Nov 2011 @ 1:55pm

      Re:

      If you view things as threaded instead of flat you would see my comment you quoted was in response to an Anonymous Coward's claim that Mike was making the post only to justify ripping off artists.

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

      • identicon
        fogbugzd, 14 Nov 2011 @ 6:29pm

        Re: Re:

        I would love to read the posts threaded, but the lite version for smartphones does not allow for threading, and the full version screws up the display.

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

  • identicon
    NullOp, 14 Nov 2011 @ 1:50pm

    Ripped Off

    I once had a dream about being a famous recording artist. It ended up with the label I was with ripping me off. I plan on suing the record industry for this. It's just as valid as the BS their pulling!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Nov 2011 @ 2:00pm

    Labels and studios live in a doggie dog world where is every dog for himself is not about the craziness of claims is about what they can get away with it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Nov 2011 @ 2:09pm

    Labels and studios live in a doggie dog world


    This world's first name.. it wouldn't happen to be "Snoop", would it?

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

  • icon
    Al Roberts aka. me (profile), 14 Nov 2011 @ 4:05pm

    I like it, Is there any sort of torrent insurance available.

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

    • icon
      G Thompson (profile), 14 Nov 2011 @ 5:21pm

      Re:

      Probably not, though if you downloaded/uploaded a whole lot of torrent's at once the insurance company might pay as long as you have torrential flooding insurance!

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 14 Nov 2011 @ 5:15pm

    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.

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

  • icon
    MikeVx (profile), 14 Nov 2011 @ 8:01pm

    These entertainment company attitudes...

    Remind me of the motto of a corporation from another dimension. "Grab it all, Own it all, Drain it all."

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

  • identicon
    get out the 'cuffs, 15 Nov 2011 @ 7:36am

    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.

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


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