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Canadian Record Labels Pay $45 Million to Settle Piracy Claims

Canadian Record Labels Pay $45 Million to Settle Piracy Claims

Artists win case centered around the practice of record labels using “Pending Lists” where they “presume” that a “license can be obtained from the copyright owner” and use their copyrighted works without their expressed permission. Record labels faced claims of $20,000 per each of 300,000 infringements for a total of $6 billion in damages.

It’s always ironic to hear about record labels being charged with piracy considering the lengths to which they go to try and convince the public of its immorality and harm done to society.

Enter the Canadian Recording Industry Association which for years used copyrighted music on compilation discs without the expressed permission of the songwriters and music publishers who own the works.

It centered around the practice of using “Pending Lists” in which case the record labels “presume,” according to the lawsuit, “that a license can be obtained from the copyright owner in exchange for the payment of the prevailing ‘industry rate’ payable for mechanical reproduction of musical works.”

At one point the lists had grown to over 300,000 works for which no license had been obtained and no compensation paid by record labels, thus in October of 2008 artists gave up trying to convince record labels to listen to their complaints and turned to the courts for help.

They had asked for $20,000 in damages per each infringement, meaning that the damages could have been as high as $6 billion! Faced with the certainty of a conviction for infringement, the CRIA has instead decided to settle the charges for $45 million.

“This is a very positive outcome for all parties,” said Graham Henderson, President, Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA), on behalf of EMI Music Canada, Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. “I commend the counsel representing rights holders and the major record labels for their constructive approach in reaching an agreement and their diligence in working through highly complex issues.”

The proposed agreement also establishes a new mechanism that will “expedite” future royalty payments to copyright holders.

“This is a very positive outcome for all parties,” said Graham Henderson, President, Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA), on behalf of EMI Music Canada, Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. “I commend the counsel representing rights holders and the major record labels for their constructive approach in reaching an agreement and their diligence in working through highly complex issues.”

I’m glad that the copyright holders arrived at what they felt was an equitable resolution of the matter, but I would have preferred the full $6 billion dollar judgment, especially since the music industry, at least in the US, always demands that infringers receive the fullest punishment the law allows.

Stay tuned.

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Jared Moya
I've been interested in P2P since the early, high-flying days of Napster and KaZaA. I believe that analog copyright laws are ill-suited to the digital age, and that art and culture shouldn't be subject to the whims of international entertainment industry conglomerates. Twitter | Google Plus
w00tever
w00tever

Yet a student gets fined $2000 per track she downloaded and didnt make a cent off of. I hope this precedent could be used to place a more fair value on tracks in piracy cases

LP
LP

CRIA is largely American record Labels in Canada rather then Canadian record Labels. The title of the article is somewhat misleading.

disinter
disinter

Like the RIAA, I don't see the CRIA being around in any significant form in the next decade or two. They missed the digital boat and chose to continue bailing out it's own sinking yacht of mainstream bullshit and it infuriates them to have to keep bailing out water alot slower than it's coming in and seeing all the little boats with pirate flags passing them by. Guess they wanted to go down with the ship and that is A-OK with me.

Drew Wilson
Drew Wilson

CRIA was simply hoping to get this black stain off their record as quickly as possible. Their credibility was already at rock bottom when the Canadian record labels ended their association with them a few years back, leaving mainly foreign record labels who painted a Canadian maple leaf on their logo and hoped no one would notice that they really aren't that Canadian in the first place.Then this lawsuit arose and it became apparent very quickly that CRIA doesn't even bat an eye as they don't even adhere to their own principles. Everyone knew, after the lawsuit that CRIA had made a very handsome fortune off of bootlegging and pirating material for commercial gain - which to most people - is highly questionable at best and criminal at worst. CRIA's credibility was pretty much non-existent at that point because the few things they stand for, they don't even practice what they preach.It was such a disastrous thing on the PR front for CRIA, that CRIA had to resort to using other people's press releases to talk about combating piracy - no doubt because they were so embarrassed by this scandal hitting the press.I think this is CRIAs version of the RIAA price fixing scandal, going back even further. It's hard to tell which one is more damaging because I think they are, at least, very close in terms of self-inflicted damage. The RIAA, like CRIA in this case, settled out of court, no doubt, hoping that a settlement will somehow magically purge the track record. To this day, people accuse the RIAA of price-fixing whether warranted or not (more often warranted I'm thinking)I think CRIA will find out that a settlement out of court, while technically not admitting guilt, is, in fact, admitting guilt in the publics eye. So this stain, while legally resolved, will last for several years to come. If you ever wanted a case where the biggest complainers wind up being the biggest offender to an issue, I think Canadians will look to CRIA and say how they were accused of the biggest commercial piracy scheme in Canadian history and they never technically denied it.I recall saying way back when this story hit the media that the damage was done the moment this hit the media. Whether CRIA are found guilty, settling out of court, or even find themselves receiving an innocent ruling, the damage was done the everyone found out what they had done. It was an unwinnable situation for CRIA, without a doubt - they lose, they lose or they lose. They have no one to blame but themselves for this.At the end of the day, where does CRIA stand in all of this? Canadians will still see them as the eye-patch wearing peg legged pirate just like the rest of us. The only difference is that CRIAs "sins" are far greater and they complain about it the most. It's a reputation that will probably take years, if not, decades to wear off.

James
James

Wow that's stupid. So 45 million divided by 300,000 equals $150 per song. I get the feeling that the Record labels are laughing at the outcome of that settlement.

mountain_rage
mountain_rage

If I was an artist I would of demanded the full extent of the payment, I would of taken them for all they have with the hopes they would get bankrupted.

Jared Moya
Jared Moya

Negative."The Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) is a non-profit trade organization that was founded in 1964 to represent the interests of Canadian companies that create, manufacture and market sound recordings." http://www.cria.ca/about.php#cria_is



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