Why do we continue to fund our own demise. We shop the Corporatism Fascist Global Police State Outlets which then fund against working sovereigns everywhere. We need to suspend consumer spending and shop only where decent living wages are paid, worker rights are observed and enforced as well as the sovereign independent individual is shown respect and given the dignity all sovereigns deserve.
LIVE for Dignity and Respect,
According to briefs filed last month by the RIAA and Universal Music Group, it’s illegal to sell, give away, or even throw out “promo CDs.” Of course, this is exactly the argument that UMG made, and lost, in court last year. Despite that loss, and despite the open secret that many music reviewers have been dumping promo CDs in used record stores for years, UMG has opted to appeal. And this time they got the RIAA to weigh in on behalf of the industry, echoing UMG’s view that promo CDs are owned by the labels forever.
So, Stereogum, Idolator, Pitchfork, Gorilla v. Bear, Fluxblog, and (my personal favorite) Large Hearted Boy, are all of you pirates if you can’t account for every promo CD you’ve ever received (you do get them, don’t you)? Not according to the district court that ruled in favor of Troy Augusto, an eBay seller that specializes in selling collectibles, including promo CDs.
Which brings us to UMG’s appeal. Today, with the assistance of the San Francisco law firm of Keker & Van Nest, EFF filed a brief on behalf of Mr. Augusto, explaining why the appeals court should affirm the district court ruling.
Here’s the short version: it’s absurd to suggest that a copyright owner can give away hundreds of thousands of CDs, slap a “not for resale” sticker on them, and claim to own them forever. That’s exactly what the “first sale” doctrine is meant to prevent. After all, if UMG were right, then Hollywood could slap a “not for rental” sticker on DVDs, thereby shutting down video rental businesses like Redbox. And book publishers could slap a “not for library lending” sticker on books. That’s not the law, at least not since 1908, when the Supreme Court ruled against a “may not be sold for less than $1” label in this book.
We don’t expect to get a ruling from the appeals court until sometime next year (the wheels of appellate justice move slowly), but until then, the district court ruling in favor of Mr. Augusto remains the only published ruling addressing whether selling promo CDs is legal. We’re looking forward to the Ninth Circuit upholding it, and letting music reviewers breathe a little easier when they clean out the attic.
Legal Analysis by Fred von Lohmann
Commentary by Danny O’Brien
While there were rumors today that Comcast and AT&T might be entering into an agreement with the RIAA in the United States, it was in Ireland where the recording industry made its latest “three strikes” subscriber termination deal with the telecom industry — using the courts and the threat of mass Internet filtering obligations as the inducement.
The Irish Recorded Music Industry (IRMA), the local recording industry organization, and Irish internet service provider Eircom announced a settlement this morning, ending a lawsuit in which IRMA was demanding that the ISP pro-actively discriminate content on their networks.
According to a text obtained by Irish tech journalist Adrian Weckler, the settlement says that the ISP will, when given a list of IP addresses by the music industry:
1) inform its broadband subscribers that the subscriber’s IP address has been detected infringing copyright and
2) warn the subscriber that unless the infringement ceases the subscriber will be disconnected and
3) in default of compliance by the subscriber with the warning it will disconnect the subscriber”
In settling, Eircom has chosen not to defend a case which could have ended in court-mandated surveillance of all its customers. But this agreement now denies Eircom’s own customers all future access to due process when accused of infringement. All that is needed to terminate an Internet connection is three accusations from a narrow set of third-party companies. As Eircom’s head of communications Paul Bradley says:
“What happens at the moment is that music labels need to go to court to get an order asking us to shut off a subscriber’s connection. Under the compromise, they will come to us, using the same standard of proof they would have given the court.”
The difference is that an ISP is not a court; and its customers will never have a chance to defend themselves against the recording industry’s accusations and “proof”. To whom, without judicial oversight, has the ISP obligated itself to provide meaningful due process and to ensure that the standard of proof has been met?
The agreement, according to reports, also stipulates that IRMA will take “all necessary steps” to put the same agreements in place with Eircom’s competitors, presumably using the same strategy of threatening the companies with legal action unless they sign up.
Now we’ll see how fiercely other ISPs defend their users’ rights; or, if they do comply, how ISPs enjoy being seen as allies of the recording industry in this famously unpopular war against their own customers.