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Copyright Troubles For Sony 276

ljaszcza writes "Daily Tech brings us a story about Sony's run-in with the Mexican police. (Billboard picked up the story as well.) It seems that they raided Sony's offices and seized 6,397 music CDs after a protest from the artist, Alejandro Fernandez. Fernandez had signed a seven-album deal with Sony Music; he completed that commitment and then left for Universal. During the time with Sony, he recorded other songs that did not make it into the agreed-upon seven albums. Sony Music took it upon themselves to collect that material and release it as an eighth album. Fernandez claims that he fulfilled his contract with Sony, and residual material belongs to him. Hmm. Precedent from the Jammie Thomas infringement and distribution case gives us $80K per song. Sony vs. Joel Tenenbaum gives $22.5K per song. So 6,397 CDs at an average of 8 songs/CD is 51,176 infringing songs, with (IMHO) intent to distribute. The damages to Fernandez should be $1,151,460,000 using the Tenenbaum precedent or $4,094,080,000 using the Thomas precedent. Seems very straightforward to me."
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Copyright Troubles For Sony

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  • Some counterpoints (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hitman_Frost ( 798840 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @05:25AM (#29348699)

    One point regarding Jammie Thomas. She actually had 2500 illegally obtained tracks on her PC, but was only prosecuted for a handful of them so the $K22.5 I often see bandied around isn't strictly accurate.

    Sony are clearly in the wrong here however. Unless the contracts says music created during those recording sessions, not the songs that reached the final albums. As we haven't seen the contracts I wouldn't like to speculate.

    (Just being the Devil's Advocate, guys.)

  • Re:If only... (Score:5, Informative)

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <> on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @05:57AM (#29348855) Journal

    Why does the summary talk about "Precedent from the Jammie Thomas" when this case is in Mexico, while Jammie Thomas was in USA? Precedent's in USA aren't precedents everywhere (how many times this shit has to be told to americans?) and most of other countries actually have sane amount of compensations in copyright infringement cases, unlike USA.

  • by pipatron ( 966506 ) <> on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @06:00AM (#29348865) Homepage
    Yeah, except musicians and artist are normally not employed by the record companies. The article clearly says a seven-album deal.
  • by deathy_epl+ccs ( 896747 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @06:03AM (#29348889)
    Except for record contracts are NOT employment contracts. The bands are not employed by the record companies, the contracts are usually for the set number of albums. By standard recording contracts, the artist in this instance is the one who's most likely right.
  • Icorrect advocacy (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @06:12AM (#29348929)

    She wasn't CHARGED with those other files.

    If they were to be included in a further lawsuit (which requires the COPYRIGHT HOLDER to start a case, hence not included in this lawsuit), then 80k per track could be put forward as equitable under case law.

    So your spouting is farcical.

  • by pdabbadabba ( 720526 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @07:48AM (#29349407) Homepage

    Well, it doesn't actually matter that they're employees. Under US law (which we're apparently pretending applies in Mexico), any Work For Hire is generally considered the property of the party that did the hiring. The definition of a Work for Hire from the Copyright Act:

    Works Made for Hire. -- (1) a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment; or (2) a work specially ordered or commissioned for use as a contribution to a collective work, as a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, as a translation, as a supplementary work, as a compilation, as an instructional text, as a test, as answer material for a test, or as an atlas, if the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them that the work shall be considered a work made for hire. (17 U.S.C. sec 101)

    Of course it's an open question whether their contract said that their work was a work for hire, but it seems likely to me. This is generally how labels work. (That's why the label sues you for infringement, not the artist.)

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @09:47AM (#29350423) Homepage

    Once again this persistent MYTH that the labels actually provide
    the artists with anything more than what amounts to a big bank
    loan rears it's ugly head. Artists pay for EVERYTHING. What puny
    royalties they do get when the work sells has to be used to pay
    back any production costs.

    This is how a multi-platinum recording can leave the band in debt to the label.

  • Reply from a Mexican (Score:2, Informative)

    by greetings programs ( 964239 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @11:08AM (#29351565)
    Although the information is correct, the poster resoning is very silly. I am from Guadalajara, and I happen to know the guys on Alejandro Fernandez' Law Firm. I assure you almost nobody here has ever heard from Jammie Thomas or Joel Tenenbaum, or care about it, and our law system for better or for worse is completely different from the US law system. The law is more based on the written law. It is very rare that a case creates precedent, and of course to a case from the US. As much as I would love Sony Music get slapped with a big fine, you can expect they will only be slapped in the wrist and I almost sure that the lawswit aims more to prevent the distribution of the album and songs and scare some shit out of the stupid Sony execs. Besides, Alejandro Fernandez is well known for being a very spoiled brat, so take his words with a big grain of salt. His lawyer is also very aggresive, so we can expect some media frenzy about this. But not much more.

grep me no patterns and I'll tell you no lines.