Feeds

Indie music scores class action victory

Trade the cash for the beef for the body for the hate

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Self-styled digital "copyfighters" love to think they're doing good by battling the "evils" of major record companies. But as with most things on the web, it's empty talk. When there's a real battle on, they're nowhere to be found.

Indie labels and songwriters find themselves a little bit better off today as the result of a class action settlement between broadcaster XM Satellite Radio and Merlin, the independent digital licensing network. XM allowed radio devices such as the Inno and Helix music players to store broadcast songs permanently, a clever idea, which was nicely implemented. Except for one small detail: XM didn't want pay the creators of the music – and argued it had a legitimate exemption for home recording, which was designed to cover format shifting of songs you'd already bought. The RIAA swung into action. But the resulting private settlement between XM and the majors in 2007 and 2008 excluded the independents.

It was a similar story with P2P service Kazaa. IFPI sued on behalf of the global recording industry, and reached a $100m settlement in 2006. But the $100m went to just four major labels: Universal, Sony, Warner Music Group and EMI.

Now Sirius, which merged with rival XM in 2008, has announced a class action settlement for independents and publishers. Merlin and the Harry Fox Agency, which collects mechanical royalties for songwriters, are able to file on behalf of indies and composers. Merlin, which came together to represent independent labels in negotiations with digital services, and in that capacity, acts as a "fifth major". (Merlin members can opt out if they so wish.)

"It might once have been argued that it is the proper job of bodies such as the IFPI, the BPI and the RIAA to resolve such disputes as part of their anti-piracy activities, but it was the major labels themselves who settled out of court with XM, variously in 2007 and 2008, leaving the indies, until now, out in the cold," an indie source told us.

"In the new era of digital services, the larger rights-holders have decided to fight the fight themselves and reap their own rewards."

Freetards need little invitation to type thousands of words of poorly informed, self-justifying vitriol on "Big Music". But they're never around when they're needed. Naturally. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.