Two tales of the music landscape, one cool and the other moronic

When it comes to the music business and technology there is no other organization more moronic or totally out of touch with how the business that they are trying to protect like a mad bulldog is changing under their feet than the RIAA.

This is the trade organization for the music business that has no problem suing single mothers trying to eek out a living or grandmothers who probably wouldn’t have the clue of what a torrent is or even who Lady Gaga is. One of the more famous lawsuits that they have been involved in started back in 2007 and saw them sue Jammie Thomas-Rasset for supposedly sharing 24 songs on KaZaA and win a judgement against her of $1.5 million.

After several appeals Thomas-Rasset managed to have one judge see some semblance of sanity, even though she still lost, and said the original award was unconstitutional and reduced it down to $54,000. Well needless to say the RIAA wasn’t happy about this and have filed an appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis.

Now the RIAA is appealing the case in the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis, saying that the court’s failure to classify Thomas-Rasset’s actions as a “distribution” under 106(3) of the Copyright Act wouldn’t deter her (and others, presumably) from repeating her actions and violating the Copyright Act again. The RIAA is hoping to vacate the jury’s verdict based on the interpretation of “distribution,” which would result in a third trial.

via Ars Technica

I’m sorry but this is just getting to be stupid and one can only hope that whatever judge, or judges, this comes up in front of sees this as nothing more than the vindictive action by the RIAA.

Now on the opposite side of the legal coin; and one that could have big repercussions throughout the music and online world, is the decision handed down by a Federal judge in New York that has found that cloud-based music lockers are for the most part, legal.

Of course music companies have long maintained, and argued previously, that music lockers are nothing more than companies profiting from encouraging users to violate copyright laws. As well one of their more ridiculous arguments was that playing music from these cloud-based music lockers constituted a “public performance” and as a result require a special license.

Well Judge William H. Pauley said in his ruling in the case of the music industry against MP3tunes, the cloud-based music locker founded by the perpetual thorn in the side of the music business Michael Robertson, that “MP3tunes did not promote infringement”, a cornerstone of the music businesses claim against MP3tunes.

While part of the ruling didn’t go entirely in Robertson’s favor the important part here is the decision about the legality of cloud-based music lockers.

The record companies claimed that services like these duplicate files in ways that violate copyrights, that they don’t do enough to stop repeat infringers, and that playing back songs from a locker constitute a “public performance,” which would require a license for the material. The judge rejected all these claims, finding that MP3tunes is protected as a service provider under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The plaintiffs also argued that works recorded prior to 1972 were not protected by the DMCA, but the judge overturned this charge as well.

The record companies alleged that MP3tunes was responsible for 33,000 copyright violations, but Judge Pauley’s ruling reduced that number by 99% to only 350 works. The violations are specific, involving MP3Tunes’ technical failure to distinguish authorized copies of some songs, given away during “viral” marketing campaigns, and unauthorized copies that were still protected. The ruling found that these arrangements “contributed to the unauthorized use of EMI’s copyrighted works,” though MP3tunes founder/CEO and main defendant Michael Robertson says MP3tunes is “prepared to continue battling for the last 1%” of works cited in the case.

via ReadWriteWeb

AS much as we would like to believe that this will end the battle between the music industry and companies trying to bring change to the music landscape the fact is that this isn’t the last time we will see appeals and judgements like these.