Sunday, December 30, 2007


The Recording Industry Of America has reached a new plateau in it's desperate attempt to increase profits.

For the past few years the RIAA has initiated over 20,000 lawsuits against many consumers it claims downloaded music illegally. Damages in the thousands are thrust upon unsuspecting music lovers who may have just a few songs on their computers that they can't account for. Earlier this year, a Minnesota woman was ordered to pay $220,000.00 for 24 songs she was sharing online.

Now The RIAA has decided that even if you simply copy music CDs that you already own onto your computer, you are breaking the law! In a federal case against Jeffrey Howell, of Scottsdale, Ariz., the Industry maintains that the 2,000 or so songs on Howell's computer constitute copyright infringement. Never mind that Howell paid for all the songs and wasn't sharing them with anyone.

According to the RIAA web site: "If you make unauthorized copies of copyrighted music recordings, you're stealing. You're breaking the law and you could be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damages." The RIAA apparently sees illegal downloading and file sharing online and making a "personal use" copy of music you already paid for, as equally egregious acts.

The Industry is too short sighted to realize that, by limiting copying of music for personal use, their product loses much of it's value. How many people would buy CDs if they couldn't transfer them to listen on their iPods, on their computers or keep a copy in their cars? Lessening the value by restricting use can only weaken demand, negatively effect sales and bottom line profit.

According to Ray Beckerman, a New York lawyer who represents six clients who have been sued by the RIAA, "The basic principle in the law is that you have to distribute actual physical copies to be guilty of violating copyright."

The Industry promises to continue shooting itself in the foot. They "will continue to bring lawsuits" against those who "ignore years of warnings," RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy said in a statement.

Unfortunately, The RIAA's rabid enforcement tactics are a negative publicity nightmare. And their latest legal crusade may backfire. A series of court rulings over the last few decades that found no violation of copyright law in the use of VCRs and other devices to make personal copies for the purpose of making portable a legally obtained recording.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Boss Is Number Two!

According to Rolling Stone, Bruce Springsteen's "Magic" is the second best album of 2007. RS credits The Boss for being "at his toughest and most focused, going for the grimly detailed style of 'Darkness on the Edge of Town' and 'Nebraska'".

Great to see Bruce at the top of his game again, with The E Street Band in tow as they continue their current tour.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Material Girl To Be Inducted Into Hall of Fame

In 1996, Madonna was invited to present David Bowie with his Hall Of Fame credentials and now she gets her own.

Madonna's debut single, "Everybody," was released twenty-five years ago in 1982. She will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year, along with John Mellencamp, Leonard Cohen, The Ventures and The Dave Clark Five.The induction ceremony will take place on March 10th, 2008 at New York's Waldorf Astoria.

Among the artists who were nominated this year but did not get in are the Beastie Boys (who were eligible for the first time) and Donna Summer.

Past Inductees:

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Patti Smith, R.E.M., The Ronettes, Van Halen

Black Sabbath, Blondie, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Miles Davis, Sex Pistols

Buddy Guy, Percy Sledge, The O'Jays, The Pretenders, U2

Bob Seger, George Harrison, Jackson Browne, Prince, The Dells, Traffic, ZZ Top

AC/DC, Elvis Costello & the Attractions, Righteous Brothers, The Clash, The Police

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Song Downloads For Pennies?

Mp3Sparks is a Russian based site that offers song downloads in several formats for much less than other sites. Apparently, when AllofMP3 was shut down due to pressure from US music industry groups last summer, its' parent company Media Services, quickly replaced it with Mp3Sparks.

The RIAA is not happy about this but attempting to enforce its' rules on a Russian enterprise is an uphill battle. Mp3Sparks insists that what they are doing is legal according to Russian law.

The beneficiaries of this site are able to download music at a fraction of the price of other services like iTunes, Amazon, etc.

Question: Would you give your credit card number to an online Russian company that has already had one download site shut down, in order to save substantially on music purchases?