Feeds

Music biz in unauthorised downloads shock

Should EMI sue itself?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

A posting in Robert Fripp's online diary provides some fascinating inside information on the poor and starving but caring, sharing music industry. Fripp and obscure but legendary band King Crimson have parted company with EMI/Virgin over digital download rights; not, apparently, because Fripp is agin downloading as such, but because he has just a couple of minor quibbles about distribution of the royalties.

Apple, you'll recall, gets to keep 4 cents out of the 99 cents price of a download. What does Fripp get? Read on: "the reason for the foundering of our re-licensing negotiation with EMI, last year, was on the subject of accounting for digital downloads. we were told - face to face - that digital downloads "were not important" and therefore should not concern ourselves with a royalty of 6 cents when EMI received c. 69 cents per download (the artist royalty subject to packing deduction, of course). we proposed a third party licensing arrangement, to receive 75% of receipts. and if downloading was not important, then why not? the reply, to support the investment in downloading technology EMI need a high royalty, is spurious. the investment in that technology came from IT, not record companies. a small part of that investment (a mere $4 million) was the result of an initiative by david singleton here at DGM (BootlegTV in seattle)."

King Crimson and Fripp never granted any digital download rights to Virgin, as the technology didn't exist when the original deal was struck in 1993. This expired at the end of 2003 (we presume the "2004" in Fripp's diary is a typo), with existing stock sale being permissible until 30th June 2004. King Crimson downloads however started appearing on iTunes Europe and OD2 in July, while various "partners" appear to have been selling back catalogue well after the cut-off date.

The diary quotes the caring, sharing EMI: "As you are aware, we have notified our digital partners a number of times about the loss of rights and believe that we have discharged our obligations to you in respect thereof - they are aware that they are not entitled to exploit your repertoire and if they continue to do so, you should pursue them for infringement of your rights." The response to this is entertainingly blunt, almost good enough to make us want to listen to a King Crimson track (almost...), but a lot of artists aren't going to feel able to tell labels where they can stick their 6 cent faits accomplits.

But hang on, what kind of process is going on where a company shares digital music it doesn't own with other companies? Good lord, it's not illegal filesharing, is it? Not unauthorised distribution, is it? Will EMI have to sue itself? ®

(Thanks to Roger Barnett for pointing this one out to us)

Related links

Fripp's diary
Much smoke to BPI's fileshare suits, but where's the fire?
How the music biz can live forever, get even richer, and be loved

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?