As Trial Begins, Early Results Don’t Look Good for Limewire — This week, record labels and the P2P software company went in front of the jury. Limewire had already been found liable for copyright infringement last year; the trial is focused solely on the amount of damages it is liable for. Courthouse News Service offers some more insight into the first day of the trial. The lawsuit has already spawned two opinions on novel issues regarding copyright’s statutory damages — Loeb & Loeb provides background on them to bring you up to speed.

Star Wars and Transformers — Faza at The Cynical Musician has an interesting discussion of different approaches to merchandising in movies and how it may apply to the music biz.

Digital Radio Paid Musicians $36 Million More Than Paid Subscriptions Last Year — The RIAA released the 2010 numbers for its member labels this week. Among the insights is the fact that digital radio services like Pandora and Sirius XM are far outperforming streaming services like MOG and Spotify.

MPAA Blog — The Motion Picture Association of America, under the new leadership of former Senator Chris Dodd, has recently begun its own blog. Says Dodd in the inaugural post: “I found myself wondering what DeMille, Goldwyn, Louis B. Mayer, Jesse Lasky and Adolph Zukor would have said if they could have seen Avatar—in a theater, in 3D.  What an incredible journey: We’ve come all the way from The Squaw Man to the blue N’avi in less than a hundred years.  That century has been marked—and, in many ways, defined—by the giants of our industry, their incredible creative visions, and their mind-boggling technological innovations.  Movies have come to shape the American psyche—and dominate the attention of consumers—like nothing else.” Check it out — and I’m not just saying that because this site made their blogroll.

Is the Dedicated Songwriter Going Extinct? — “Disruption invariably produces winners and losers, and stand-alone songwriters may just become the losers. That was the sentiment among several top composers at the Rethink Music Conference in Boston” last week, “most of whom were great at describing the problem but lost when it came to generating solutions,” reports Digital Music News.

Wrong Assumptions and Netflix — Ethan Kaplan, former SVP of emerging technology at Warner Music Group talks about why the Netflix business model wouldn’t necessarily work for music. An interesting discussion about the differences between how we experience different media.

That’s it for this week. Keep the great comments coming, and if you have any stories you want to bring to my attention, feel free to contact me.

I leave you from this quote from the Supreme Court made over a century and a half ago: “Whilst the remuneration of genius and useful ingenuity is a duty incumbent upon the public, the rights and welfare of the community must be fairly dealt with and effectually guarded. Considerations of individual emolument can never be permitted to operate to the injury of these. But, whilst inventors are bound to diligence and fairness in their dealings with the public, with reference to their discoveries on the other hand, they are by obligations equally strong entitled to protection against frauds or wrongs practiced to pirate from them the results of thought and labor, in which nearly a lifetime may have been exhausted; the fruits of more than the viginti annorum lucubrationes, which fruits the public are ultimately to gather.” 1Kendall v. Winsor, 62 US 322, 329 (1859).

References   [ + ]

1. Kendall v. Winsor, 62 US 322, 329 (1859).

2 Comments

  1. As Trial Begins, Early Results Don’t Look Good for Limewire — This week, record labels and the P2P software company went in front of the jury. Limewire had already been found liable for copyright infringement last year; the trial is focused solely on the amount of damages it is liable for. Courthouse News Service offers some more insight into the first day of the trial. The lawsuit has already spawned two opinions on novel issues regarding copyright’s statutory damages — Loeb & Loeb provides background on them to bring you up to speed.

    The rulings from Judge Wood have been interesting, and I think they reflect the right reading of Section 504. However, the way the Act is set up leads to inefficiency, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

    If a plaintiff sues two or more joint tortfeasors in one action, he can only collect one award of damages between the defendants (that was her first ruling). But if the plaintiff sues each joint tortfeasor in a separate action, he can collect a separate award of damages from each of them (this is her second ruling). This obviously encourages plaintiffs to split their claims. It seems to me that damages should be set up to motivate plaintiffs to bring one suit against joint tortfeasors, rather than splitting it up like this.

    Say you have X who uploads an infringing mp3 to Y. X has violated the copyright holder’s distribution right, and Y has violated the reproduction right. In my mind this is actually two infringements. However, if X and Y were sued together in one suit, the plaintiff could only get a single award of damages, since X and Y are joint tortfeasors, and Section 504 limits the plaintiff to one award of damages where any two or more of the defendants are jointly and severally liable. This seems strange to me since even though there is actually two infringements, the plaintiff can only get one award of damages.

    But if the plaintiff brings two actions, one against X and one against Y, the plaintiff can get two awards of damages. The only difference is the number of actions the plaintiff brings. This is inefficient since the plaintiff will obviously want to bring two lawsuits instead of one.

    It gets even weirder when you add on secondary liability, like we have with LimeWire. Say that X uploads to Y, but X was induced to do so by Z. If X and Z are sued in one lawsuit, then the plaintiff can only get one award of damages. This seems fair since there was only one infringement.

    But if the plaintiff sues X and Z each in separate lawsuits, then the plaintiff can get two awards of damages, one from X and one from Z. The plaintiff can get two awards of damages even though there is only the one infringement. That doesn’t seem right to me.

    That is how the Act is written, and I think Judge Wood’s analysis is right on the money. However, it’s the Act that’s the problem. Why shouldn’t a plaintiff be allowed to recover two sets of damages in one lawsuit when there are in fact two infringements? And, conversely, why can a plaintiff recover two sets of damages when there is only one infringement? It doesn’t make sense to me.

  2. “Ethan Kaplan, former SVP of emerging technology at Warner Music Group talks about why the Netflix business model wouldn’t necessarily work for music. ”

    That’s a pretty good analysis. And it’s backed up by proof from the results of paid subscriptions such as Napster 2.0 vs freemium models like Spotify.

    “As Trial Begins, Early Results Don’t Look Good for Limewire ”

    This has to be the most handicapped trial so far…
    The RIAA is holding all of the cards, and Limewire seems to be holding just one. Their economist isn’t allowed, the RIAA brings their artists first, and they bring in a statistician from Pennsylvania to look at what exact data? This just seems like a one legged man in an ass kicking contest.