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Investors, "Beware" of Record Companies 301

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The Motley Fool investment Web site warns investors to beware of 'Sony, BMG, Warner Music Group, Vivendi Universal, and EMI.' In an article entitled 'We're All Thieves to the RIAA,' a Motley Fool columnist, referring to the RIAA's pronouncement in early December in Atlantic v. Howell, that the copies which Mr. Howell had ripped from his CDs to MP3s in a shared files folder on his computer were 'unauthorized,' writer Alyce Lomax said 'a good sign of a dying industry that investors might want to avoid is when it would rather litigate than innovate, signaling a potential destroyer of value.'"
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Investors, "Beware" of Record Companies

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  • by techpawn ( 969834 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @11:08AM (#21894508) Journal

    Could these be first signs of another failing "industry"?
    It's signs of an evil company, not a failing industry. When the industry as a whole fights new innovation with lawsuits against individuals rather than adapt THEN it would be a failing industry.
  • by emeb2 ( 536129 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @11:30AM (#21894814) Homepage Journal
    A lot of discussion centers around the apparent change in the RIAA's position on ripping for personal use. With the recent change in their website removing language that suggests they're OK with it and the statements from the Washington Post article about 'steals one copy' it sounds like they're taking a harder stance on it. Meanwhile there is this article [] which quotes a representative who says that it's not an issue.

    I suppose they want it both ways - keep people on the edge and they're easier to control or something.

  • (Score:5, Informative)

    by ProteusQ ( 665382 ) <dontbother@n[ ] ['owh' in gap]> on Thursday January 03, 2008 @11:38AM (#21894916) Journal
    Might be a good time to listen to a [] few [] tunes [] from a label that's not evil.

    [Caveat: I don't work for them, own any part of the company, or know anyone personally who's released a CD through them. I just buy their stuff and dig Shannon Coulter's sultry voice.]
  • by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @11:40AM (#21894948) Homepage
    Microsoft is digging whatever they could find in their "Imaginary Property" port folio of patents to find something with which they could scare client who would potentially consider fleeing to open-source. They're basically trying to invent new ways to kill their adversary.

    **AA are suing who ever they can going through complicated legal justification trying to explain why "Fair Use" never applies, trying to persuade that "Format shifting" represents "Unlawful evil piracy", etc. They're basically trying to find ways to stop everything that normally should be allowed by the law (and somewhat managed to partly achieve this goal with DMCA).

    On the other hand the situation with GPL is much simplier.
    The copyright law is simple : Thou shall not copy. (outside the list of exception, like personnal backups, etc. against which the **AA are fighting).
    The GPL is a license : it gives additional rights, more specifically it gives you the right to freely distribute copies of GPL software, as long as you pass along the accompanying freedom to the next in the chain.
    If you don't follow the license, you lose those additional rights and everything reverts to the official copyright law. Which says No-No to distributing software which you don't own personally.
    They're basically making sure that the users retains their freedom by using pre-existing legal infrastructure.

    You'll notice that :
    - GPL isn't threatening to sue users at all. The whole "FreeSoftware" concept is about giving freedoms to users. They threaten to sue companies that would be taking away those freedoms. And in fact they don't threaten as often, as they help misguided companies who don't really understand the GPL. There are only a couple of suit-threats that we've heard here on /. whereas most of the time is companies who don't really understand how they should behave to follow the GPL. Most of the time it's more a polite exchange of explanation (you should publish that piece of code...) than threats.

    The end users benefits of the GPL, whereas with the former the end user is the target.

    - There are no auto-settlement-bot spilling standart cease-and-desist suit-threat

    - GPL isn't trying to twist the interpretation of the law to try to remove rights that where granted in the first place (They're not arguing what is "Fair Use" and trying to limit it). The GPL is based on pre-existing laws.

  • by phobos13013 ( 813040 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @11:47AM (#21895052)
    Take a look at Warner Music Groups stock price over the last two years [] (WMG is the only publicly traded music label, in the last year it has decreased by almost $20! You screwed yourself in 2007 if you sided with the RIAA. But look at the long-term, its not just the lawsuits that make music labels a bad investment now or the last five years. Its a dying industry without the lawsuits. The digital age is here, nothing can be done to stop it. There never was anything that could be done. The industry can still exist, but its market share had decreased enormously and they need to accept it. Sorry for anyone who bet the farm on these guys, cause all you have is a cow left. Not even a cash one sadly.
  • by guruevi ( 827432 ) <`moc.stiucricve' `ta' `ive'> on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:25PM (#21895772) Homepage
    Sure, the artists you hear on the radio won't immediately leave the RIAA but after a while some groups and artists notice that they are not getting what they deserve and can get much better income elsewhere. Then they'll start switching. Another problem is that once you signed up with the RIAA, you can't really go back. Everything released from then on is their property and if you leave then you can't take your own work with you.

    RIAA-safe albums as found on (the top100) include some well known names though. Some artists that have actually dumped the RIAA include Madonna, Nine Inch Nails, Oasis, Jamiroquai, Radiohead, Courtney Love and Canadian labels Anthem, Acquarius, The Children's Group, Linus Entertainment, Nettwerk and True North Records and there has been some commotion between EMI and the RIAA too so they might pull out completely pretty soon too.
  • by RobBebop ( 947356 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @01:21PM (#21896676) Homepage Journal


    Madonna signed with LiveNation concert promotion group (I don't know if they are embedded or not).

    Harvey Danger (90's one hit wonder) released a free CD

    Barenaked Ladies have interesting views on releasing music (I can't remember the details, but they distribute through a non-traditional site)

    Beastie Boys have put out at like one Creative Commons song and I think their latest album was somehow independent

    But my favorite is any musician with decent music posted on Jamendo [], where provides BitTorrent downloadable Ogg-Vorbis albums under Copyleft licenses. The site is a virtual treasure trove of exciting artists waiting to be discovered.

  • Re:Incorrect (Score:3, Informative)

    by bravo_2_0 ( 892901 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @01:57PM (#21897400)

    "Once Defendant converted Plaintiffs' recording into the compressed .mp3 format AND they are in his shared folder, they are no longer the authorized copies distributed by Plaintiffs."
    This is a pretty unequivocal statement. If you make your personal copies available for distribution, they are no longer your personal copies since distribution is not the purpose, right, or intention for maintaining personal copies .

    No it isn't. Just becasue a folder is defined as shared does not mean you can or want to distribute music from it. The problem is that they don't define what a shared folder is. I have folders on my machine that are shared within my home network but not to the internet. So does this mean I can't place music in them? There is a BIG difference between locally shared folders and ones that are made available to the internet.
  • by gambolt ( 1146363 ) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @02:27PM (#21898044)
    After dropping them from the label, virgin records put out a "greatest hits" album for Cracker without bothering to even consult with the band on song selection. The band responded by making new recordings of all their classics and releasing their own greatest hits album on the exact same day as the label. Theirs sold much better.

    Also included is david lowry's retelling of how they got dropped, it ain't gonna suck itself [].

  • Re:Mod Parent Up... (Score:3, Informative)

    by mgblst ( 80109 ) on Friday January 04, 2008 @10:47AM (#21909028) Homepage
    This is a moronic statement. Why would they continue selling cigerattes if every packet was a loss for them - this statement simply makes no sense at all. If they make money from the food holdings, then why not stop selling cigarettes, or sell of the brand, and keep with the food.

    This sort of mindless rant doesn't help anyone. You do realise that taxes are a percentage of the cost of cigarettes??

The road to ruin is always in good repair, and the travellers pay the expense of it. -- Josh Billings