By now, many of you have read reports about illegal file-sharing service LimeWire shutting down due to an injunction ordered by a federal court. Individuals with questions about their LimeWire service should direct their questions to LimeWire. As you may know, LimeWire was found liable last summer for copyright infringement for inducing its users to illegally trade staggering amounts of copyrighted music recordings on its network.
The operators of LimeWire continue to tout how “proud” they are of their service. To be clear, for the better part of the last decade, LimeWire and its operators have violated the law, and in doing so, enriched themselves immensely. In January, the court will conduct a trial to determine the appropriate level of damages.
It’s also worth noting: LimeWire was responsible for millions in lost sales to countless up-and-coming artists, those who already grace our earphones, and big and small music labels alike. Services that flout the law do not deserve a place in today’s music marketplace where hundreds of existing, accessible, innovative legal sites offer users their favorite music at affordable prices – sometimes even free. There are now more than 11 million legal tracks online and more than 400 licensed music services today. A few of these legal sites can be found on our website or on the music community website Music United, not to mention audio or video streaming sites like Pandora, MOG, Vevo and Rdio. In order for the legitimate marketplace to thrive, there needs to be a level playing field where illegal sites are held accountable and do not suffocate innovative, legal services whose business plans include compensating creators for their music. That’s why the recent injunction represents a significant step in the bright future of digital music.
For those LimeWire users affected by the shut down, we encourage you to consider the many easy-to-use legitimate options available in the marketplace. Not only do you help contribute to the investment in the next crop of talented artists, you stay on the right side of the law and might also save your computer from virus or spyware.
The RIAA recently joined with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, NBC Universal, the Copyright Alliance, MPAA, NMPA, and more than 40 other organizations and companies to send a letter of support to Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) for his bipartisan bill, S. 3804 or the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act.” This important legislation aims to crack down on illicit foreign websites that primarily traffic in counterfeit goods such as American music and movies. We lend our voices to chorus of those that have been affected by online theft and support this legislation, and we encourage Congressional action during the remainder of the year in order to protect American goods and the jobs that create them.
Read the letter here.
We send our props to the Grammy-winning alt-rock band Phoenix for rocking a great show last night at Madison Square Garden (with surprise special guest Daft Punk). After the lively show the accolades didn’t stop coming in, as RIAA G&P Director Kate Harold was on hand to present the band with their first-ever Gold plaque for selling more than 500,000 copies of their hit album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (see photo below). Together since the mid-nineties, the French foursome hit mainstream U.S. when their song “Too Young” off earlier album United was featured in the 2003 film “Lost in Translation.” Not long after the band started cranking out the hits, and off their newly-minted album came popular tracks “Lisztomania” and “1901.” Kudos to the band for their first Gold album, and for inspiring young choirs like the PS 22 Chorus in Staten Island, NY to tackle a new genre:
Photo credit: Jen Maler
Photo tags from left to right:
Chris Gentry, Coalition Management; Christian, Phoenix; Deck D’Arcy, Phoenix; Daniel Glass, President, Glassnote Records; Kate Harold, Gold & Platinum Awards Program Director, RIAA; Thomas Mars, Phoenix; Laurent Brancowitz, Phoenix; Simon White, Coalition Management
Blog by Cara Duckworth, Vice President, Communications, RIAA
The school year has officially kicked off, and university newspapers are busily covering a variety of campus issues. Near the top of the list are policies on using university networks to illegally download and upload copyrighted works. In just the last week, three school newspapers -- Central Michigan University’s “Warnings, fines in store for students caught pirating music, movies on campus network,” University of Nevada, Reno’s “Students at risk for piracy lawsuits,” and University of Utah’s “U works to curb illegal downloading” -- have examined the issue.
Each university has its own approach, and that’s how we think it should be. There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. What’s key is a concerted, coordinated effort that utilizes a variety of technological and educational tools and makes clear there are risks when it comes to illegal downloading. These articles in particular also illustrate a useful and noteworthy trend: colleges stepping up their efforts and working hard to educate students about the law and enforce school policies when they are ignored. That’s no doubt due in some measure to new federal rules that recently went into effect requiring every college and university to implement policies that address illegal file-sharing on their school network.
The good news is that students remain some of the most avid music fans. That’s a great thing. Our ongoing challenge is to steer more of them toward licensed, legitimate services that reward artists and everyone else in the music food chain involved in creating that great song -- and away from illegal sites that clog university networks designed for legitimate academic purposes.
We look forward to more campus reading to come and are always available to answer any questions students and reporters may have.