Universal Music Album Recalled... For Infringing Content?

from the seize-'em! dept

Probably the most aggressive major record label, when it comes to supporting ridiculously overaggressive attacks on infringement and things like taking down websites, would be Universal Music -- the company whose ex-CEO once gleefully declared to the world that he was too clueless to hire someone who understands technology (he has since moved on to lead Sony Music). Of course, we always discover that the most aggressive copyright maximalists are later caught infringing themselves... So it's not surprising to hear that the release of the album for Universal Music recording artist Tyga has run into some copyright problems. While the album had been sent to retailers and was available for pre-order on iTunes, it was yanked off iTunes, and a note was sent to retailers telling them to "pull and return" the album.

The issue? Apparently the title track, "Careless World," has some sound clips from a Martin Luther King speech... and no one bothered to clear it. Oops. Of course, many of us think that locking up MLK's works are a travesty, but his heirs have been incredibly aggressive over the years in claiming that they deserve to get paid for any attempts to honor MLK. Of course, if Universal Music wasn't such an extreme copyright maximalist we might have a bit of sympathy for their plight. But given that they've made this bed, there's a bit of irony in noting that they now have to lie in it.

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  • identicon
    SIlverBlade, 20 Feb 2012 @ 4:15pm

    The sick sadistic side of me imagines what would have happened here if SOPA was passed and something like this happened where it's the Record Label's own doing....would the appropriate punishment be for the content owners of the infringing sound bytes to shut down the entire CD pressing plant? That seems appropriate to me seeing how they would shut down an entire website with no recourse..

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2012 @ 1:47am

      Re:

      This is MLK's estate doing this, not Universal.

      Mike is too much of a pussy to go after them, so he goes after Universal, a company whose product he's addicted to.

      Masnick has admitted he doesn't use Netflix or iTunes; it's sort of his wink-wink at his pirate buddies that he rips off all his content. Not that it wasn't obvious already via this zealot pirate blog he runs, but he's been too much of a little man (as in tiny- really tiny) to just come right out and admit what he does.

      Because he's obviously so scared to do so. Boo hoo. Poor little, tiny, micro Mike.

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

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 21 Feb 2012 @ 6:10am

      Re:

      If they had already manufactured media, then I think it would be completely fair for MLK to be able to recover statutory damages of $150,000 per disk / tape / etc. that was pressed.

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

  • identicon
    vastrightwing, 20 Feb 2012 @ 4:20pm

    LOL

    I'm sorry... all I can do is laugh. LOL!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2012 @ 4:21pm

    I think this is one of those cases where the difference is in how they address it. They are doing "pull and return", which likely involves significant cost.

    If this was the other side, they would be calling the EFF, Lessig, and anonymous to "protect their rights".

    One thing about having to lie in the bed you made is having the guts and the acceptance to do it, instead of being whiny bitches.

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

    • icon
      Chosen Reject (profile), 20 Feb 2012 @ 4:34pm

      Re:

      People go to the EFF and Lessig because those accusing them of copyright infringement want thousands of dollars for 24 songs. This is one track per album. Will Universal end up paying thousands of dollars per 24 discs? Highly doubtful. This will cost them a lot, certainly, but if MLK's estate told Universal that they could either 1) pay to recall all of the albums or 2) pay MLK's estate thousands of dollars for every 24 albums, I'm willing to bet Universal would be more than happy to recall the albums.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2012 @ 4:34pm

      Re:

      Well said.

      Unfortunately, it would have been pilloried here and elsewhere no matter what it did because it is one of "them", and not one of "us".

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2012 @ 4:34pm

      Re:

      Or - here's a though - we could learn from the experience and realize that the system we support is completely ridiculous, and work towards fixing it.

      I mean, seriously, don't you think that locking up MLKs speeches behind copyright is beyond retarded? I think it is, and whoever just accepts that is beyond "beyond retarded".

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2012 @ 5:15pm

        Re: Re:

        Not at all. Rather, I think this is the proof that the system works in both directions, and is equally stringent to both sides of the discussion.

        "I mean, seriously, don't you think that locking up MLKs speeches behind copyright is beyond retarded?"

        What is beyond retarded is beating your head against the wall on a subject like this. It is copyrighted because of the way the laws were written at the time, and it would be incredibly unfair to just turn around and revoke those rights because you don't like them anymore.

        Grow up, move on. Make the future better, and that is usually done by not living in the past.

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

        • icon
          Harrekki (profile), 20 Feb 2012 @ 6:07pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          But you are ok with them taking works that were already in the public domain and placing them BACK into copyright status too, I assume?

          No one here is living in the past. they are pointing out errors of the past to show how ridiculous the now is, so we can make a better future. People who try to ignore the past are bound to repeat it. But then, I guess that's what copyright supports want anyways.

          Maybe you should stop dodging obvious issues with phrases like "beating your head against the wall" and "grow up". They are a sign of a weak argument, and immaturity.

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

        • icon
          Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 20 Feb 2012 @ 6:29pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Equally stringent to both sides? Then I guess Universal is already writing a check to MLK's estate for millions of dollars?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2012 @ 6:35pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Grow up, move on. Make the future better, and that is usually done by not living in the past.

          You're ridiculous!

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

        • identicon
          That Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2012 @ 7:33pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "It is copyrighted because of the way the laws were written at the time, and it would be incredibly unfair to just turn around and revoke those rights because you don't like them anymore."

          Then how do you explain what is actually happening, where they do not like the laws of that time and extend them again and again because they don't like them so they can find another way to make more money off of it?

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

        • identicon
          Lawrence D'Oliveiro, 20 Feb 2012 @ 10:34pm

          Re: ... and it would be incredibly unfair to just turn around and revoke those rights because you don't like them anymore.

          You mean, like the way the repeated extensions of copyright have always been retroactive, applying to works which were published under the old terms?

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

        • identicon
          Prisoner 201, 20 Feb 2012 @ 11:30pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "It is copyrighted because of the way the laws were written at the time, and it would be incredibly unfair to just turn around and revoke those rights because you don't like them anymore."

          So you are with us against all cases of copyright extension then? We should revert to the original, much shorter, opt-in copyright? Because retroactive copyright extension is revoking the rights of public domain because some people don't like them.

          If you are against MLK being public domain, but not against retroactive copyright extension, then you are either a hypocrite or a paid shill.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2012 @ 7:42am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "If you are against MLK being public domain, but not against retroactive copyright extension, then you are either a hypocrite or a paid shill."

            Oh come on Prisoner 201, you left out option C, he is both a paid shill AND a hypocrite (as most of them seem to be).

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2012 @ 4:51pm

      Re:

      Something (I think it was a lawyer) tells me that "oops! I made a mistake!" wouldn't cut it for anyone on the "other side" (humans) you speak of.

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

    • identicon
      abc gum, 20 Feb 2012 @ 4:54pm

      Re:

      Stop yer whining

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2012 @ 1:28am

      Re:

      if this was the other side, no matter what they tried to do, UM would have immediately issued court proceedings, demanded everything to do with that item removed, all websites, shops etc closed and statutory damages for each of 1,000 or so alleged infringements. there would have been no choice given to the 'other side' only aggression and law suits. and all from accusations!

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

  • icon
    sehlat (profile), 20 Feb 2012 @ 4:32pm

    Who Will Pay For Thi$ Mii$take?

    If we know anything about Hollywood Accounting, I'd bet money they'll find a way to charge these expenses to the artist.

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

  • icon
    Cynyr (profile), 20 Feb 2012 @ 4:47pm

    so they are paying MLK heirs $250k for each of those disks right? they already made the copies. even if they don't sell them , right, right?

    ohh nevermind, it will never happen.

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

  • identicon
    quickbrownfox, 20 Feb 2012 @ 4:58pm

    Poetic justice for Universal. May it proliferate.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2012 @ 6:24pm

    Where's ICE?

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

    • icon
      MahaliaShere (profile), 20 Feb 2012 @ 7:37pm

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 20th, 2012 @ 6:24pm

      And, where's that team of feds involved in raiding Megaupload?

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

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 20 Feb 2012 @ 11:13pm

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 20th, 2012 @ 6:24pm

        That was the Elite NZ AntiTerrorism team, the FBI were watching on a monitor half a world away eating popcorn.

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

  • icon
    Josef Anvil (profile), 21 Feb 2012 @ 1:01am

    One more time for the fun of it

    Paid at last, paid at last, thank God almighty! We are paid at last!!!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2012 @ 8:02am

    And Universal is doing the right thing and pulling the content. They are paying the price for their mistakes, namely all that money they invested in the CDs and promoting the album was wasted. It's an expensive lesson and I am sure someone will lose their job over the mistake.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2012 @ 11:26am

    Take down all of their web sites with no previous notice and keep it down for the 5 years it will take to resolve the issue in court. Assuming nobody accepts any pussy ass settlements.

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

  • identicon
    Another AC, 21 Feb 2012 @ 11:55am

    I am sure it was sold online somewhere, ICE should now have control over all of Universal's websites and keep them for at least a year with no explanation, that would make the most sense I think.

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

  • icon
    khory (profile), 21 Feb 2012 @ 12:36pm

    Sad

    It is very sad that use of a public speech would ever be a copyright issue like this. The entire idea behind Dr. King's speech's was to spread his message of equality and tolerance to any that would listen.

    I think Dr. King would be very disappointed.

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


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