SEVERAL CANADIAN ARTISTS have formed a group to sue the CRIA (Canadian Recording Industry Association) and the four major music labels EMI, Sony BMG, Universal and Warner for copyright infringment.
This isn’t the first time one of the artists took action to try and get what’s rightfully theirs, but it’s the first time several artists have gotten together to hit the labels, and hit them hard. In this particular case the artists complain about labels creating compliation CD’s without actually owning some or all of the songs used. According to Afterdawn, the number of songs the CRIA members allegedly “forgot” about amounts to an astonishing 30,000, which sounds like a pretty bad case of forgetfulness to us. If you use the record labels’ “scientifically” established statutory damage amount for infringing copyrighted songs of $20,000 USD, the bill adds up $6 billion.
It seems to be very common for record labels to sell songs they don’t actually own the rights to sell. Or, like in the case of musician Edwin Collins, labels continue to sell songs despite their copyright license having expired.
For the former “I Never met a girl like you before” star from Scotland this resulted in a very bizarre situation where he was not allowed to upload his own songs to his Myspace site, despite being the sole copyright owner. Warner claimed to own the copyright and forced Myspace to remove and block the songs, even though their copyright license had expired years ago.
For years artists all over the world have been complaining about labels using their songs not only without paying them, but without even informing them. As a result of some artists taking action and going public, more artists are now starting to wonder if they are actually aware of where and for how much money their works are being sold. We are sure quite a few of them are checking to find out if their labels maybe “forgot” some copyright fees here and there as well.
This should create some interesting discussions at the RIAA and IFPI members offices featuring lines like, “can they really do this?” and “wait, those copyright laws actually apply to us as well?”
We’ll be on the lookout for further developments in this case.S|A