The Artist And The Copyright Infringement Loophole

By Jeff Price

I am not the first person to write about this topic, but with the recent ruling by a federal judge reducing LimeWire’s possible copyright infringement damages from 1 trillion (no, I am not kidding), to a possible 1.5 billion dollars, I thought it important to bring up again.

In the US, courts have ruled that peer-to-peer file sharing services like the original Napster, LimeWire etc are infringing on a record label’s copyright and can be sued for damages.

LimeWire, just like the original Napster, was sued by a consortium of labels (predominantly the major labels) for infringing on the labels’ copyright by allowing people to use the LimeWire software to distribute and download the labels’ recordings for free.

This same infringement also applies to the songwriter (the publisher) as it is not only the record labels’ recording of the song but also the song itself that is being illegally distributed and downloaded (you can read more on copyright in the Free TuneCore Music Industry Survival Guide: How Not To Get Screwed; Six Legal Rights That Drive The Music Industry)

Although damages for the LimeWire case are not set to be awarded until May, 2011, and there most likely will be legal appeals before the dust settles, at some point some money will be paid to the labels by LimeWire.

Now here’s the really important point:

When an artist signs to a record label he or she transfers his or her rights to the label. Because of this rights transfer, the copyrights to the recordings of the songs are exclusively owned or controlled by the labels.

This same concept applies even if the artists license his or her recordings to the label.  With a license there is an exclusive rights transfer for those recordings for the duration of the term of the license.

Therefore, the band gets no money from these damage payments and/or settlements as this is money collected on copyright infringement, not on revenue made by licensing or selling the music (which the band does get paid on).

Or said another way, of the hundreds of millions of dollars paid to and collected by the labels for copyright infringement, not a penny has gone back to the artist.

The labels position is, as per the contract, bands get paid a % of the money collected from the sale or license of the music.  There is nothing in the agreements that also states that bands get to make money from entities infringing on the copyright of the recordings.

Despite this position making logical legal sense, I can’t help but think it’s just plain wrong.  I wish I could provide a concrete legal reason as to why, but I cannot.  Suffice it to say, paying the bands some portion of this money is just the right thing to do.

The importance of this issues ties into TuneCore’s mission for 2011; to arm artists with the knowledge that enables them to make informed decisions, control their rights, make money, and pursue their passions on their own terms.

To coincide with this, we have already begun to build and launch a global system that, with your permission, enables TuneCore to get and pay you your money already sitting with public performance organizations around the world.

We recently announced the hire of Jamie Purpora, TuneCore’s new President of Music Publishing Administration.

There will be more announcements coming shortly.

In the meantime, though we may sound like a broken record, we cannot stress enough the importance of arming yourself with knowledge, learning the basics of copyright, and understanding the issues.  These tools will allow you to make the best decisions to achieve your musical goals.

  • This is an excellent point, but I don’t really see how to remedy it without having it written into the original contract that the artist signs with the label.
    I suppose artists could band together somehow… but with labels cash reserves running dry, I can’t see any leverage point. There just isn’t any incentive for labels to give up any money they’ve collected from lawsuits unless there is something in it for them.

  • Adrian Elton

    Surely there is a legal argument (and I’m not a lawyer) to say that in receiving damages for copyright infringement, the labels are now making money back, soley on the basis of losses incurred, by way of the saleable property having been stolen in the first place. This is effectively a deferred payment as this is what the damages seek to remedy and therefore what the damages represent. In other words, they’re not just some unrelated revenue stream. Surely the effected artists could launch a class action if those monies (or specifically the amounts they are contractually entitled to according to their deals) are being withheld from them. To not distribute proportionally what’s owed to the artists makes the record labels the next link in the chain of parties who are benefitting from the ill gotten proceeds of the original crime.


  • Sean Cohen

    Music is free now so what’s the big deal? Nobody is going to get rich from making music; it’s all about making music for fun as it should be, as it used to be. I think having a job and being in a band is far healthier than throwing all your eggs into one basket and hoping to make any kind of living from it. It’s over and thank heavens.

  • Replier

    I don’t even know where to begin with your comment so maybe I shouldn’t. Music is free now? You seem to be the very person Tunecore is trying to protect bands and musicians from.



  • franklin

    I’m an artist/ law student, and I’m not defending the labels. That said, i beleive the reason artist do not receive any of the damages in a copyright infringment case is do to the following reasons:
    First, I beleive copyright infringement damages are statutory and not calculated on how much money the record company or the artist lost. That why there was the possibility of one trillion dollars in damages.
    Second, the record company owns the copyright in the actual sound recording, while the author owns the copyright in the song itself. So the record labels probably sued to defend their rights in the sound recording.
    I beleive an individual author could sue LimeWire, yet that may pose some problems because limewire won’t be able to pay them after this lawsuit, the public does not like it when artists sue copyright infringers (see Sean Cohen’s comment), and lawsuits are exspensive. Also, this was a close case. Limewire did not pysically copy the music, but provide an avenue for others to do so. That said, the record companies had two goals in the lawsuit. One, shut down or hinder limewire and other companies like it. Two, try to win money. The artists only goal, by himself, would be to make money. A class action against limewire, in theory, would have been a possibility, however, the task of identifying and contacting every artist who has had a track copied on limewire would be near impossible for a mid, to large sized law firm. Also, there was no garauntee the class action would win since this was probably a close case to some extent. Now, no lawyer would bring this suit against limewire on behalf of an artist because limewire will be broke and their product is useless if users cannot steal songs.
    I don’t know if that answers your question. I would suggest looking at the court documents if they are available and maybe someone with more legal knowledge than me could answer the question more accurately.

  • patricia

    I agree with the Replier to Sean Cohen.. We have a right
    to receive some compensation for all the work we do in
    getting our music up and running. Nobody has the write to
    ask another person to work for nothing. When you receive
    some money for all your hard work, you’ve earned it and
    you deserve it.. Keep up the good work Tunecore

  • As I’m working on a project about electronic music, I’ve been learning about industry history as well.
    From the beginning, piracy and changes in technology caused the industry to panic, but it always recovered.
    In the 19th century Emile Berliner invented the Gramophone, which is the namesake of the Grammy awards, and the gramophone record is the ancestor of the modern vinyl EP.
    Illegal copying of records and technology did lead to the demise of the Berliner Company, but from its ashes rose the Victor label, whose descendants still are a big part of the industry.
    There was fear when radio was new on the scene, but in the 60s and 70s especially, young people bought many of the records they heard on the radio, creating quite a fruitful period for the industry.
    When tape came on the scene, they were afraid of that too, but people still bought records, and tapes.
    Of course, I will not get started with the present issue of of CDs and digital distribution.
    The point is, the industry has survived, thrived, and always found a way.
    The modern industry seems to be different though.
    The problem is not that the industry itself is bad, a lack of resources, or a lack of new technology.
    The problem is some of the industry is not being lead by people who are willing to innovate/hire innovators and flow with change instead of fighting it.
    As for music being dead, and people being able to succeed at it, I think there is a lot of potential yet unexplored.
    Like any sort of adventure, it requires a lot of creativity and outside the box thinking, an approach which goes beyond just selling on iTunes or getting signed.
    Beyond Music if you will.
    As a musician and a fan, I ask myself and everyone reading this:
    As a musician, performer, or a producer, are you creating something people want to experience, that people want to buy and support?
    Many innovations in art and industry were driven by passion.
    Passion helps people succeed because it gives them a reason to drive forward.
    Got Passion?

  • As a musician planning to release his next album through TuneCore, I actually want to speak in defense of Sean.
    I’m GLAD for piracy because I agree that music ought to be a labor of love and a pursuit of passion, not a moneymaking scheme. Keeping music a “Lucrative Business” doesn’t cause brilliant, committed artists to make music; they’d do it regardless. All it does is enable the useless Justin Biebers of the music world who see it as an opportunity for profit. Think how much better it would be.
    And, for what it’s worth, I find it asinine to suggest that libraries and art museums can make access to literature and art free to all and it’s a public service, but doing the same for music constitutes theft. If the government had WANTED music to be locked away behind the gates of profitability, they wouldn’t have set rules mandating the legality of covers by any recording artist, irrespective of permission. Piracy wasn’t an issue they foresaw; their intent was clearly to prevent one group from profiting off the work of another.
    For what it’s worth, I don’t have a problem with musicians hoping to profit from their work, I really don’t. Authors have, for decades, made money from the sale of books that are available in the library. Artists have done the same with prints. All those are VOLUNTARY sales of a duplication of publicly available work. What I want to know is why musicians think it’s acceptable to squeeze money out of people instead of ask for their support nicely like EVERY OTHER ARTIST IN HISTORY. We should aim to be making fans into patrons of the arts, not clients of the electric utility.
    I will be, as I said, selling Nightclub Fight Club’s next release through iTunes with TuneCore’s help. But I’ll be PERSONALLY putting it on several BitTorrent sites and asking those who are downloading it to buy it if they like it. If they don’t, no bad blood. I’d rather have 10 new fans than 10 new dollars. I wish more musicians could break out of the money grubbing mentality the label-driven industry has groomed them for and learn to see it this way. You should be happy you have so many people loving your music, not complaining you can’t monetize it.
    In the circles I came from, they have a word for musicians like you.

  • Dan

    Artist agreements (at least ones that have been looked at by a halfway decent artist attorney) all contain a catch-all royalty provision that gives the artist a percentage of the label’s net receipts from all other sources that are directly attributable to the artist’s masters, and the labels *do* share infringement judgments with the artists under this provision.
    These provisions are always based off the net, though, and since the labels (and not the artists) go out of pocket to the tune of tens of millions of dollars fronting the legal fees necessary to fight these suits against LimeWire, Grokster and the like to preserve the viability of copyright, what’s left over on a net basis even after you secure a judgment against one of these relatively judgment-proof online services and then prorate it over the entire catalog of masters isn’t often much.
    Since artists aren’t really in a position to band together and mount complex lawsuits like this on their own, and the publishers (whose business model is still in much better shape than the labels) have nonetheless pretty much sat on their hands and let the labels do all of the heavy lifting against the onslaught of online file trading, it’s a little simplistic to cast this as one of those old good artist vs. evil label issues.
    Artists and labels are fundamentally on the same side of this issue. Even if the labels aren’t “making” a lot of money for the artists on these lawsuits, artists should still be glad the labels are pursuing them (and that there’s no financial investment or risk to the artists involved). Without copyright, no one has a viable business.

  • A.P. Brittain

    The Idea of Intellectual property is philosophically bankrupt. I agree with poster Sean Cohen and with JP the RObot. Music is a collection, and arrangement, of sonic information and has not intrinsic value on it’s own. Trademarking is the better way to look at it: your music is culturally associated with the musician that wrote and performed it, and so anyone else using your music is not in danger of obscuring your renown or fan-base. It would be like me stealing the Mona Lisa from the museum, butting it in my house and telling my house-guests that I painted it. Totally absurd.
    Independent Musicians should be focused on making money from their work in other was besides selling the music itself as a transferable property. I am a member of a fledgling rock band, and now that some of our material is starting to come together I signed up TuneCore, thinking it would be a great way for our first album to reach a very large audience. But the cold hard reality of the situation is that for every person who buys our album on iTunes, 10 people will copy it/burn it/download it/”pirate it”. And guess what? None of us care about that.
    1. It’s free song-to-ear-to-word-of-mouth promotion and advertising and –
    2. We don’t confuse “potential profits that could have been made if the ‘pirates’ bought it instead of downloading it” with “actual monetary losses.”
    In the 21st century, if someone is going to BUY your music then so be it, but you can no longer EXPECT to have your music bought. Mostly it will be “pirated”. Yes it takes hard work, but just focus on making the music you want to make, Play shows, sell loot, sell and album here and there. But it is and always has been ABSURD to EXPECT that your music is some kind of abstract non-tangible “property” that can be “stolen”. Thats F-ing ridiculous. I’m beginning to consider leaving TuneCore and using some other service, because the community is so violently Pro-copyright that it disgusts me. You Pro-copyrighters are living in the stone age.

  • Don’t fault TC for its userbase. They provide a service ESSENTIAL to the democratization of music and removal of industry gatekeepers in a way no other company (save CDBaby) has ever done.
    I said I’d contribute to the piracy of my own album by leaking it to the net. TuneCore won’t suspend my service over that; a label, on the other hand, may damn well call “conflict of interest” and attempt to drop me. TuneCore HELPS musicians in our “pay-if-you-want-to” business approach by enabling us to distribute freely without worrying about what it will do to their bottom line.
    And yes, its userbase is full of vehemently greedy individuals, but so what? The music world is also full of Nicki Minaj fans and I wouldn’t give up hip-hop because of them!
    Remember that even if the users feel a way, the business doesn’t have to. Bottom line is, TuneCore wants happy users because it’s subscriptions, NOT sales, which drive their business. Gestapo Salesman Musicians will probably do a SERIOUS cost-benefit analysis of their second CD’s release once the first flops; we’ll do it anyway because for us, it’s $50 to spend for what we WANT, like a videogame or a trip to a restaurant. We’re the more lucrative customers. The TC users can hate our position, but TC itself almost certainly does not.

  • Joe

    Unfortunate Some webs, still giving Music for free just to get popular but want about the artist who spend Many hours and days working in their songs and videos get nothing out of this practice, who loos??? with this practice? the composer, and creators,cuz wy to buy some music when you can get it for free!!! unfortunate Napster, and some others still offering, your music for free,is that fair? are this practice legal? to Me is so unfair, cuz they live the author with out options and using our music to get ratings on this webs, with out getting nothing back, is just not fair,is TO MANY FREE DOWNLOADS, with this kind of practice, who is going to buy music??? and wy souled any one spend any money when you can get it for free, I believe, that decision, should be up to the artist, and not to a web holder, cuz we the artist do not Make much money hardly any, and with this practices we are literally f**ked up…

  • A silent scream

    The logic of the “pro-pirates” here is boggling to my mind. According to their way of thinking,if I planted a field of apple seeds (from pre-existing apples I harvested), nurtured them for 10 years with my sweat and tears, used my savings to fertilize,harvest, and package them, then I should just give them away because apples are a pre-existing fruit and everybody should have the “right” to take/eat my apples because I didn’t create apples,I just put my heart,soul, and personal savings into growing them for the benefit of all mankind.
    It’s easy to say music should just be free for all and musicians should just be “happy” to have a million people steal their songs to play over and over and let other bands copy those songs and perform them for profit in clubs and such, but the problem with this is there is no reward for the pain,sweat,financial cost, and sacrifice that goes into writing/playing/recording an original song other than bragging rights. Using their same logic, I should just let some record label make a CD of my music and sell it without giving me anything other than recognition. Hooray, I’ve got 1,000,000 fans and a #1 album and I’m working at Burger King to pay my rent, eating beans and rice!!! But at least I’ve got fans! Yep, that’s just what I wanna do!!!

  • AP Britain, why don’t you charge for the transfer of music and do concerts for free?
    I am a song writer and a studio musician. I don’t do concerts.

  • That makes zero sense. If I take your apples, you no longer have those apples. Piracy IS NOT THEFT because I can gain something without someone else having to lose it. All you “lose” when someone pirates your album is a POTENTIAL sale, not anything TANGIBLE.
    By your reasoning, the sale of used books should also be illegal because if two people read a book, the author and publisher should be compensated twice. It should be illegal for a teacher to show a Bill Nye DVD in class because the people who made that show ought to be compensated for every viewer the DVD has. In fact, the use of ANY product by multiple people (either at once or sequentially) amounts to “theft of hard work” because when a product changes hands, a potential sale is lost. Used car sales hurt automotive designers. Used clothing stores like Goodwill and Plato’s Closet hurt fashion designers. Used video game retailers destroy game designers.
    Oh, but all of these things are integral to how our society consumes product! So that’s okay. Screw the clothing designer, *I PAID* for these jeans, I should be allowed to sell them or give them to a friend! Right? Two people get use out of it but the designer is only compensated once, but who cares? We the people have a fundamental right to do this!
    Except when I pay for a CD and give a copy to my friend, suddenly I’m a miserable criminal destroying the music industry? What? Look, I know it’s financially worse for the artists; my argument is WHO CARES? People should have a right to share work once they’ve paid for it. I’m not breaking into the artist’s home and STEALING copies of his CD, for goodness sake. What I’m doing doesn’t deprive him of anything but a POTENTIAL sale, and if you want to call that “stealing”… well, let’s just say we’re all miserable thieves, even if we never once downloaded a single MP3 (unless all your clothes, cars, houses, books, movies, videogames, and everything else you own came to you firsthand).
    And here’s the other thing:
    “Hooray, I’ve got 1,000,000 fans and a #1 album and I’m working at Burger King to pay my rent, eating beans and rice!!! But at least I’ve got fans! Yep, that’s just what I wanna do!!!”
    Look, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to get out of Burger King and make some money from your music. But to suggest that you’d be unhappy with a million people loving YOUR music, the labor of YOUR “sweat and tears”, unless it was fattening your pocketbook? You’re not a real musician, you’re a profiteer, and real musicians won’t miss you when you’re gone. TRUE artists may want to get paid for their music, but the real reward is the creating and sharing of their art, and if that’s all they get, they should certainly not be disappointed. There’s nothing wrong with aiming higher (and you should), but you should never, EVER put love of MONEY before love of MUSIC. That attitude is the reason people like Sean Cohen exist, because they can see how piracy is removing money-grubbers from what used to be a pure and spectacular art form; money grubbers who pretty much single-handedly reduced musical culture from The Beatles to Soulja Boy.
    Here’s a thought experiment: if you actually think what you’re doing is a “service” that deserves compensation, why have you not considered doing commission work? Let your fans pay you $1000 to write the next song on your album about whatever they decide. $500 to name it after them. $1500 to let them play guitar and sing on it. Why not sell off every last piece of your musicianship to the people who pay the most?
    Sounds pretty horrifying, right? Why would you let the money dictate your art, your creation? You’ll make the album YOU want to make… but then there’s the rub. You’re making the album YOU want to make. You’re not doing this for any reason other than YOU, sharing it with others is an afterthought. You aren’t making it for them, you just expect them to pay for the privilege of enjoying it. So all those hours you’re spending, all that “sweat and tears” you’re talking about? It’s not FOR the people with the wallets, it’s for your OWN creative expression. You just feel like because you’ve devoted time to it, you’re entitled to compensation when anyone else shares in the experience. If there’s someone to send the bill to, you’ll find a way to send it.
    I foresee a day in the future when you’ll be rallying behind the whack jobs who think it’s okay to bill your friends and family admission to eat a meal at your house because of the effort and expense you put in. Actually, you’d even have MORE of an argument there, if only because you put in extra work to feed them; when you make that album, you’re not putting in extra work for anybody but yourself.
    And if you ARE, if you’re doing music only because you want to sell it, then you should consider getting into investment banking. You’ll be making money doing nothing but trading other people’s work and ideas around and it pays a LOT better than the world of musicianship. In fact, I can think of hundreds of careers that will earn you more in your lifetime on average than music. Music is for people who love making it, not people who love money.

  • Piracy can be beaten to near death as follows:
    Require ISPs to suspend infringers from internet access until 3 months worth of Internet access subsriptions are paid to the ISP for their troubles in policing the internet and potential losses caused by suspending the infringer. Simple and practical.
    How to force ISPs to police the internet for copyright infringement? Constantly advertise to the public how ISPs benefit from piracy as a result of additional bandwidth used and simply ask the public to consider the moral implications of piracy and of ISPs spending vast amounts of amount to lobby government in keeping piracy alive and profitable for ISPs at the expense of the content industry.
    Moreover, the public will automatically feel injustice is being made to the content industry and many will naturally contact government representatives to take appropriate action. People are good in general and they will defend the victim.

  • Theft is theft whether it is tangible or not.
    Music is tangible by the way. If you can smell, taste, touch, see or hear the product, it is tangible.
    If you want to give away your music that is your prerogative…but don’t preach to the rest of us in giving away our product simply to gain popularity.
    We don’t live in heaven where our survival is guaranteed. I am a songwriter and recording artist. I don’t do live performances. If you wish to verify, refer to my ‘live performance policy’ at

  • Your argument would be more compelling if you werent totally wrong.
    Ethical implications (which I detailed in the post you replied to) aside, piracy is NOT legally theft. Just not. It is unlawful copying.
    Stealing is a CRIME, prosecuted by the state. Infringement is a purely civil matter. I’m not taking that which is yours; that’s a crime. I’m just naking a copy without permission. Legally they are two wholly separate concepts so to say “it IS theft” shows not only a narrow philosophical view of it, but an ignorance of copyright law.
    Secondly, tangible means “can be percieved by sense of touch”, not ANY sense. Duh.
    Third, I’m not making the “oh derp dorp still can sell concert tickets durr hurr” argument many pro-pirates make. I’m saying you should build your business around people WANTING to pay for your music, not simply HAVING to.

  • franklin

    Sorry about my last post. I was writing very fast because I thought this subject was interesting, and I forget sometimes that I suffer from dyslexia. Sorry for the bad grammar.
    Anyway, I think the issue here with the record label’s law suit is interesting for a few reasons, and the points I have read here are interesting as well.
    First, the argument that someone would not buy a song and would only use it if they can get it for free has no real basis concerning copyright law. Copyright law is guaranteed in the U.S Constitution, which is typically a vague document. However, the framers said that copyrights were important to further the arts and sciences. The understood policy is that artist will not make new works available to the public if they cannot profit from it. Simply put, making illegal use of one’s copyrighted for any reason is a Constitutional violation. If you disagree with this policy than try to round up support from 2/3rds of congress or 2/3rds of the states, get your new amendment ratified, and have the Constitution changed. It is fine if you disagree with this policy or copyrights in general. Just keep in mind that your attitude about the policy of copyrights should not be consistent with your actions when dealing with copyrighted works. If music is not worth paying for than it is not worth listening to.
    Second, the idea that music is more like a patent than a copyright is nuts. Patents are functional and copyrights are expressive. You would have to get the Supreme Court to overturn a hundred years of case law for your idea to be accepted.
    Third, the idea that artists should get paid from this limewire lawsuit because the labels might be compensated is a little flawed. The labels paid for this litigation based on copyrights that they owned in the sound recording. The artist, who owns a copyright in the song, can also sue in this case, but won’t because there is no money to be had from limewire. The labels will probably not see half of the final settlement because limewire will be bankrupt. I doubt they are worth a billion dollars and once they declare bankruptcy the amount record labels get paid will probably go down to several million. In the end of this litigation, limewire will be gone and other similar companies will police their content, close down, or go to Africa where they won’t be sued. Everybody wins here.
    I agree that artists need to be paid for their work. I have never heard of a contract that gives artists rights off of lawsuits for a copyright that they do not own, nor a lawsuit that gets divided between someone other than the Plaintiff and his lawyer. I could be wrong, but if someone is damaged by another party than they need to be part of the litigation to get their financial share. Perhaps mechanical royalties should cover the monies labels earn from lawsuits, but I think that would require joining the artists as parties. This would be extremely burdensome upon the courts. Regardless, right or wrong the artists still win because there will be one less place people can illegally download their songs.

  • “Require ISPs to suspend infringers from internet access until 3 months worth of Internet access subsriptions are paid to the ISP for their troubles in policing the internet and potential losses caused by suspending the infringer. Simple and practical.”
    And also a total violation (at least in the US) of a person’s constitutional right to privacy. ISPs pass mystery bytes back and forth down the information superhighway; that does NOT give them the right to look at who’s passing what around. Does the water company have the right to look into your home and know what you’re doing with your water? Of course not, it’s none of their damn business.
    But you feel it’s okay for private companies to monitor what files and websites I visit, view, and download? Never mind that it’s not their business to “police” the internet (especially since, as I told you before, PIRACY IS NOT A CRIME, IT IS A CIVIL MATTER, so “policing” is totally inappropriate because it only exists between the copyright holder and the copier), they can’t do it. They have no right to KNOW what I do on the internet, much less tell me whether it’s right or wrong and punish me for it. That’s completely outrageous.
    “How to force ISPs to police the internet for copyright infringement? Constantly advertise to the public how ISPs benefit from piracy as a result of additional bandwidth used and simply ask the public to consider the moral implications of piracy and of ISPs spending vast amounts of amount to lobby government in keeping piracy alive and profitable for ISPs at the expense of the content industry.”
    Yeah, too bad the largest amount of piracy traffic is high-bandwidth bittorrent and other P2P downloaders, the vast, VAST majority of which are on high-speed, unlimited bandwidth connections. Piracy means more bandwidth consumed for no extra monthly fee, at least if you have Cable or DSL (and I know of very few dial-up pirates, though I’m sure they exist). There’s no profit in it unless you can convince the public that there are a significant number of people who got the internet ONLY to commit acts of piracy (and good freaking luck with THAT).
    “Moreover, the public will automatically feel injustice is being made to the content industry and many will naturally contact government representatives to take appropriate action. People are good in general and they will defend the victim.”
    Which must be why the RIAA ceased all lawsuits against illegal downloaders and targeted services. Oh, I forgot, the average person thinks of piracy as less “wrong” than littering and sees all who pursue infringers as corporate giants beating the little man to death to beef up their bottom line and try to put the fear of God in potential future infringers.
    Seriously, are you kidding me with this last point? You think the average person on the street is thinking “poor abused labels and artists, it’s just so unfair that people download some MP3s or watch videos on YouTube without giving them money, we should punish them and help those poor financial giants”.
    Never mind that most labels and artists really AREN’T financial giants, the missteps of the few giants IN the industry (and the RIAA representing them) have already destroyed any and all public goodwill around the stopping of piracy. If you want to avoid a PR nightmare, you basically have to lie and pretend you’re really NOT punishing pirates even though you are. Otherwise the public will feel about you as they feel about the RIAA now. And the RIAA is STILL fighting that publicity battle today.

  • According to my dictionary Tangible is also defined as “clear and definite”. It’s obvious a music recording is “clear and definite”.
    I maintain, theft is theft. Obviously lawmakers are having a difficult time determining the similarities between stealing a CD in a store and stealing music by internet piracy or copying from a friend.
    By the way, if you like my music, buy it and listen to it. If you don’t like my music, don’t buy it and don’t listen to it. Having a copy of my music is illegal by any other means than purchasing from an authorized retailer.

  • Two quick things here.
    “First, the argument that someone would not buy a song and would only use it if they can get it for free has no real basis concerning copyright law. Copyright law is guaranteed in the U.S Constitution, which is typically a vague document. However, the framers said that copyrights were important to further the arts and sciences. The understood policy is that artist will not make new works available to the public if they cannot profit from it. Simply put, making illegal use of one’s copyrighted for any reason is a Constitutional violation.”
    That’s one way of looking at it, and the argument is certainly valid.
    BUT, I posit that if they framers of the constitution believed a creator needed to be compensated EVERY TIME a new person viewed their work, they wouldn’t have created the LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.
    Think about this. The very place where they KEEP records of all registered copyrights is also a place designed specifically so that the content of over 32 million books would be available to every single American citizen without charging a dime. 50 million people can enjoy a book and the author gets compensated literally ONCE. Obviously the framers of the Constitution didn’t think that authors would stop writing books just because they couldn’t squeeze money out of every citizen who wanted to read them.
    Not saying either of us is 100% right (and frankly, what the framers wanted is a moot point because they had absolutely NO concept of what art and entertainment would become in the digital age) but keep in mind you can argue that point fairly successfully both ways.
    “Regardless, right or wrong the artists still win because there will be one less place people can illegally download their songs.”
    It is a maxim of the internet that piracy is a Hydra. They shut down oink, and what and waffles came up in its place. Why? they both wanted to be “the next oink”. Shut down Napster and Gnutella, Aimster, and Kazaa came up in its place. Why? they all wanted to be “the next napster”. Shut down Kazaa and you get Limewire AND the BitTorrent protocol (which, incidentally, revolutionized piracy). They’ve tried a dozen times to shut down The Pirate Bay, and it actually led to the formation of The Pirate Party, which has a representative with a seat in the Swedish government. All those music blogs they’ve been shutting down did nothing but make room for twice as many as people scrambled to find a new place to get music for free.
    It’s a hydra. Cut off one head, two grow back to replace it. The more viciously you cut, the worse you make the problem. So if you really, REALLY believe that piracy must be stopped, you still have to acknowledge that trying to bludgeon it to death is about as effective as trying to put out an oil fire by spraying it with water (hint: you’re just making it worse). The best idea is to do what I’ve described; encourage people to buy rather than attempting to force them, and work with new technologies and revenue streams to stay one step ahead of pirates by offering something they CAN’T, rather than digging in your heels and pretending that technology doesn’t change around you.

  • You are basically saying a cop cannot investigate someone for abusing/dealing drugs in their vehicle because it is a violation of their privacy. I am pretty sure if you are downloading at a Torrent site, chances are greater you are illegally downloading lawfully protected content. ISPs like cops would have the right to investigate where violations tend to occur.
    If you show me you are an educated constitutional expert, I will take your argument seriously.
    Yes, pirates should be punished and any person with good morals, which is most of the population, would totally agree. That is why targeting the population in ad campaigns is the best way to go to make politicians obtain the political will to bring fairness to the situation.

  • To be more clear, ISPs would only compare the unique signature from a file downloading with the unique signature from copyrighted files supplied to the ISP’s database (or government central database more likely). If there is no match between the downloading/downloaded file and any file in the central database then there is no violation.
    Kinda of like taking a breathalizer test in a police crackdown on all motorists for potential drinking and driving violations.
    Calling it a day.

  • franklin

    JP the robot,
    Of course I see your argument, however it is very flawed. The library of congress argument is incoherent. The purpose of the library of congress was for, wait for it…… Congress. The library is open to the general public for academic research and tourists. Only those who are issued a Reader Identification Card may enter the reading rooms and access the collection. The Reader Identification Card is available in the Madison building to persons who are at least 16 years of age upon presentation of a government issued picture identification (e.g. driver’s license, state ID card or passport). However, only members of Congress, Supreme Court Justices, their staff, Library of Congress staff and certain other government officials can actually remove items from the library buildings.
    So let’s be honest. I’m not 50% right. I’m 100% right. To be honest, it makes me a bit angry when people try to make a point based on B.S. We can argue libraries, in general, if you want. The general policy is that people, if too poor to buy these copyrighted works, can have access to them for a limited time. I don’t think anyone on this forum is against this. Their problem is with people who don’t have a library card or who listen to their works for a limited amount of time, but instead, illegally download their material or another artist’s material so they can have it forever.
    Yes, technology is a hydra as you call it. That is a wonderful excuse to steal an artist’s work. It does not matter if it is a song, a book, a work of art an artist has a right to profit off their work. A hundred years ago the general public had no reason to be concerned about an artist’s right, but now, because of computers ect., they do. The public should have basic understanding of copyright law. Using false analogies won’t solve the problem. Saying that stealing is easy won’t solve the problem. Blaming the only group who has the power to fight these battles, record labels, won’t solve the problem.
    Perhaps we should give up and change our Constitution and encourage our European allies to do the same. Perhaps Constitutional guarantees should be ignored because some asshole figures out a way to steal songs. Sweden and the rest of Europe are bound by the Berne convention to prosecute those who violate international copyright law. (i.e. pirate bay) I believe it will happen because Swedish record labels don’t want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on an artist so people can download their cds for free. The majority of the Swedish legislature will finally bend to the will of copyright holders. Hopefully, most people will choose I-tunes over some free site. Al I know is that the harder we make it for people to download songs illegally the less it will happen. You can tell me over and over again that technology is a hydra and I will, one, tell you to stop playing D&D, and, two, give me a reason technology can’t work in a way that benefits artists. I don’t have the answers. If I did I would still be playing music and not attending law school. However, let’s not use the ‘technology is moving so fast’ argument to justify violating an artist’s Constitutional rights. I am not digging my heels in the ground, but simply stating that it will take lawsuits, public awareness and new technology to fix the problems of piracy. Artists , labels, and ect. must adapt, but not to such an extent that they give up their god given rights.


  • I’m not a constitutional expert (whatever that means) but I AM educated and as part of my uni coursework have read much of the copyright law text.
    And I’m telling you, treating ISPs as police is INSANE. First of all, even the POLICE don’t arrest copyright infringers because (unless redistributed for profit) it’s NOT A CRIME. It’s a civil matter. Secondly, even if it WERE a crime, a private company has no right to act as a police force. Even if the police can search my car for drugs, my mechanic can’t.
    THIRD, police require probable cause to investigate and hold trial before punishment. An ISP cannot unilaterally monitor my service, make a conclusion about ny activities without allowing me to defend myself, and punish me without judge or jury. You want to let ISPs act as police, they have to play by the same rules the police do.
    Also, torrent sites have many legitimate uses so you can’t claim “infringer” from a visit to a torrent tracker any more than you can claim “murderer” from a visit to a gun shop.
    Finally, please understand that ethically an philosophically, piracy is NOT theft. You are entitled to your objections to either but don’t confuse the two. The key difference is piracy, UNLIKE theft, is zero-loss. If I steal a CD from you, you no longer have it. When I pirate it, I gain something without paying but NOBODY LOSES ANYTHING, except a POTENTIAL for profit. Both may be wrong to you but that difference is important.

  • First of all: D&D? Lol is that still around?
    Now as to your libraries argument, it’s cogent but makes the assumption that the reason libraries place limits on checkouts is to coerce readers, through inconvenience, to decide to purchase. It’s as if you forget libraries have budgets! If you want a book to be available to 50 people, but you can only afford 5 copies, forcing people to bring them back after a certain amount of time is the best way to ensure the maximum number of people have a chance to access it. Checkout restrictions don’t exist to increase book SALES, they exist to increase FREE access. Had the technology existed in the Founding Fathers’ day to distribute information to everyone at zero cost, I think they’d have been all for it.
    You can disagree but don’t pretend yours is the only remotely defensible position.
    As to your second point, don’t mistake me. I wasn’t saying piracy (not stealing. PIRACY. A law student should be aware of the distinction) is easy so that makes it okay. I was saying that if your method of enforcement fails, it should be changed. Prohibition didn’t stop the drinking so they repealed it and moved from a system of punishment to a system of treatment. So why, when anti-piracy crackdowns fail, do you not want the approach changed?
    Understand I was a pirate before it was easy and will continue to be forever. The ease of piracy has nothing to do with my position. I’m just saying, IF I agreed with you that piracy is morally wrong, I’d be able to see that using force to limit piracy only exacerbates the problem. Same as prohibition.

  • A silent scream

    (“Understand I was a pirate before it was easy and will continue to be forever.” JP the robot)
    Now I see why you are defending your position so passionately! Piracy is not theft? That’s the argument you keep using so you can sleep at night knowing that you’ve made an unauthorized reproduction of SOMEONE ELSE’s work. So to make a copy of something (without physically removing it) and then redistribute it, that is not stealing right? So If I hacked into your computer and copied your thesis, then gave it to my teacher, I’m ok right? Because I didn’t physically steal it, did I, I just duplicated it?
    The whole point of copyright registration is to protect the creator from unauthorized duplication of a protected,registered work. The fact that money/profit is the motivating factor behind it is irrelevant, it’s a system put in place to protect the artist/creator from others using or duplicating their ideas,images,words,or music without their consent. Period. Whether or not you think it’s morally right or wrong doesn’t change the fact that you are still breaking the law.
    If I want to profit from my music, then I want to profit from my music. You can call me a capitalist pig or whatever, doesn’t bother me one bit. That’s why I love America. It’s one of the few societies where a person can financially profit from their ideas and effort.
    I understand your point of view JP, I really do. And in a perfect world, No one would go hungry and everyone would share all of the ideas,food,music,art,etc. “free of charge.” But to have that Utopia, everyone would have to equally share in the work too. And therein lies the problem. Too many want to just stand back and reap the rewards without contributing to the process (work) that it took to achieve the success. That was my point when I used the apple analogy. Nobody stole the trees, I still own them, instead,they just waited for the fruit (which was a result of MY labors) then helped themselves without even asking me first if it was OK. You are perfectly free to convince yourself that the unauthorized duplication of an idea,song,book, etc. is not stealing, that’s your prerogative. Myself, I’ll continue to call it what it is, theft.

  • A.P. Brittain

    Awesome! Let’s just implement a corporatist police state while we’re at it.

  • A.P. Brittain

    Frankly sir, I don’t usually follow laws that I find ethical reprehensible or philosophical indefensible. Although that may sound shocking, I’m sure that upon polling a representative sample of US citizens on specific examples, you’ll find that the majority of people blatantly break many laws each day simply because they don’t view them as reasonable.
    And I’d don’t care weather you are a capitalist businessman or not. What bothers me is that you revel in the idea of using the current government policy to enforce your style of business, to your benefit, upon everyone else. The political term for this is “Rent Seeking”, and it makes you a “Special Interest”. As far as I’m concerned that just makes you a legal cancer and an authoritarian asshole. It’s not just you though, its everyone who agrees with you.
    So in that regard, fuck you. And also fuck poster Franklin, who by his own comments appears to be an ex-musician who now wants to be a lawyer, so that conceivably he can complete some vindictive vigilante crusade against all the “pirates” who “stole” from him in the past. How Juvenile. Looks like the pirates won this round franklin, what with the music industry now out one musician (read: It’s because you’re a greedy sellout douche).
    And yes, pretty much all of this post has been ad hominim. But I’m ok with that, because I don’t like you people. I hope you die from suffocating under the mountainous weight of all the CD’s you couldn’t sell because your jihadist interpretation of copyright law and your iron-fist enforcement of royalty payments have destroyed your fan-base and totally chilled the market for your music.
    JP the robot is fighting the good fight on here but is ultimately wasting his breath, breath witch could better be spend on singing songs and thus contributing to the culture.
    Have a great day.

  • My artist name is Chease an I have three unfinished songs on the independent island set jam subsidiary. So I hope its a good move share my music with other struggling artist. An however thinks my style has merit.
    Holland at me Brooklyn all day!!!!

  • Alright, now you’re just being ignorant on PURPOSE.
    Look, if you have ethical objections to piracy, that’s fine. Object. I think you should, your views are your right and these kind of discussions are healthy. But at LEAST get the facts straight. Throwing out the philosophical differences between the two, the FACT, repeat THE FACT is that US Copyright Law, in both practical enforcement AND legal wording, DRAWS A DISTINCTION BETWEEN PIRACY AND THEFT.
    CRIMES are prosecuted by the government. Civil matters are handled between two private parties. Theft is a CRIME. If I steal your bike, the STATE will enforce the law and arrest me. If I pirate your CD, the state WON’T DO JACK SHIT. Sorry for the caps lock cruise control but I don’t know how to better make you read that point, because it is simple FACT.
    For Chrissakes didn’t you ever wonder why it was the RIAA and not the US government that was taking major violators to court? Because it’s a CIVIL MATTER, NOT A CRIMINAL ONE.
    Holy jihadist christ cockslapping monkey butt velvet rope underpants FUCKORAMA, get this through your head! You can object to piracy all you want, but trying to call it “theft” is just plain stupid. You can go ahead and call piracy murder and rape if you want, too, but that doesn’t make you right. It just makes you look like an ignoramus.
    So please, I hope we continue this discussion, but lets do it based on the merits and pitfalls, the rights and wrongs, of piracy. NOT of theft. Because yes, there is LEGALLY a difference. That is 100% fact and it cannot be disputed. Read the US Copyright law or any case study of it if you don’t believe me.
    “So to make a copy of something (without physically removing it) and then redistribute it, that is not stealing right? So If I hacked into your computer and copied your thesis, then gave it to my teacher, I’m ok right? Because I didn’t physically steal it, did I, I just duplicated it?”
    Actually, that WOULD be a crime. It’s what’s called “for-profit copyright infringement” and it’s the one case where infringement is criminal. See, you’re not just copying my thesis. You’re redistributing it for your OWN gains, by pretending its yours. That is NOT what music pirates are doing. If I download your record and then try to resell or redistribute it pretending it’s my OWN music, then I *HAVE* committed a crime and that should be dealt with accordingly.
    And keep in mind, too, you’re talking about hacking on to my computer. Nobody is hacking into the private files of musicians and accessing things not meant to be accessed, they’re redistributing already published works, works that at least SOMEONE purchased (to start the copying chain).
    If you want your analogy to hold weight, try it more like this:
    “So if the teacher graded your finished thesis and shared it with the class with your permission, and I took my copy and (without asking) made 5 photocopies to show my friends so that they could also enjoy reading what you’d written, I’m ok, right? Because I didn’t physically steal it, did I? I just duplicated it”
    That’s a proper analogy for music piracy as it’s being defended by myself and the others in this thread, and guess what? If you did that with my thesis, I’d be thrilled that you and your friends enjoyed it. But YOU, you’d be the one who threw a temper tantrum about illegal thesis-sharing because you were hoping to have your thesis published and now there are 5 people who won’t have to buy a copy. And yeah, I think that’s 100% as asinine as complaining about music piracy.
    Another point, you’re trying to paint me as some sort of hyper-communist who wants the worker’s paradise or something. Not true. I just acknowledge that SOMETIMES, our selfish desires must be subjugated for the sake of society.
    I don’t think it’s very cool that the US government can take tax dollars out of my paycheck. I EARNED that money, they didn’t, what gives them the right to take my money from me? Unfortunately, in order for the government to do what needs to be done to protect the civil liberties of the people, costs are incurred.
    Same here. Look, I’m sorry you can’t monetize the way you want with your ideas. But art belongs to the people, not the artist. That’s why you can’t prevent unwanted artists from performing covers, it’s why you can’t stop radio stations from broadcasting your songs, it’s why you can’t stop libraries from lending your books. Whether or not you’re happy about it, making the work available to the public at large is more important to the US Copyright Office than your ability to turn a slightly greater profit.
    Imagine that.

  • A silent scream

    As much as I would love to continue this discussion with you JP and good ole AP Brit, I’m gonna bow out gracefully here and concede the argument to you. I see valid points in your arguments JP and I also see other points that I don’t agree with. Having said that, I’m more than willing to say “YOU WIN”, and I’ll just have to agree to disagree with you. Having a reasonable, thoughtful debate/discussion over the merits of your ideas is just not in my limited capacity when you and AP only seem to drop down to the level of personal insults and profanity. Freedom of speech is just that, freedom of speech. You’re free to call me a dumbass idiot. You’re free to say I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. You’re free to claim you’re right and I’m wrong. No problem. But if you want to convince someone to listen to your ideas and beliefs and to take your arguments seriously, you might try to leave the schoolyard taunts and name-calling somewhere else.
    You guys should really think about lobbying your political representatives and trying to get your ideas heard in a more receptive forum than just arguing with some faceless “ignoramus” on Tunecore. Take it to the supreme court and get the laws you hate so much overturned. Start a petition to end all copyright infringement suits and see how many you can get on board. And then take that petition, which I’m sure will contain hundreds of thousands if not millions of signatures, and take it to the highest court in the land and change the laws. This is a republic we live in, where the lowly common man ultimately has control over the government and the laws they make. All you have to do is convince enough people that you’re right and they’re wrong, and then the powers that be will have no choice but to concede defeat as I have and implement your ideals.
    I wish you nothing but success,and hope you can change the world into the paradise you so passionately crave. Where there is no greed, no rich or poor, nothing but people living in peace and harmony and sharing their all for the greater good. Where an individuals original thoughts and ideas are no longer theirs, but instead the collectives. It sure sounds like paradise to me, so let’s see if you can convince the rest of the world to see things your way.
    Best of luck to you with that, I’m tapping out, you win! Now all you have to do is convince the rest of the free world. Peace my communist brothers, and death to “The Man” and all his capitalist ideals!

  • Julius Kang’ethe Mwangi

    This in fact is a job well done, I had always been asking myself whether there will come a time when musicians will ever benefit from their works. I can see it is on our door step keep it up!. please tune core is
    there a way we can tame music pirates who are now making money by selling our music through the internet.

  • Hey hey, AP Britain went major ad hominem and turned into a crass little hurricane of a shouting match.
    I didn’t.
    The ONLY time I used personal insults OR profanity was at your REPEATED insistence that piracy was theft. That was a matter of you refusing to acknowledge ACTUAL FACT and I think I’m just as good to call you an “ignoramus” there as I am if you insisted caffeine was an illegal substance, Ronald Reagan was still alive, or TV sets were powered by high-pressure steam and brass clockwork.
    But I NEVER took that back to your opinions on piracy. I never once said “your opinion is crap” or used any kind of profane taunting when it came to your perspective on piracy. I think I said that in a hypothetical situation, I expected that you’d do something I thought was asinine, as part of an extended metaphor. If that’s the kind of insult that makes a person look childish and unworthy of arguing with… Hell, I shoulda quit when you first called me a thief!
    Look, if you’re done arguing, walk away. It’s the internet, dude, at some point everyone has to. I’m not gonna wait til you’re gone (assuming you’re still around at all) and shit-talk you.
    Oh, one more thing. About our political activism? I’m sure you know, the RIAA has already declared OFFICIALLY that it no longer intends to take ANY action against individual infringers. At all. It will attempt to shut down sites and services but individuals will never be punished for dling an mp3.
    A VERY different tune from a few years ago when that poor suburban mom
    got taken to court for tens of thousands of dollars over 24 songs she (probably her kids) downloaded. Do you know WHY that changed? Because people like me were having discussions like this with people like you. And given how extreme and high-profile the case was, MANY took our side. So many, in fact, that the public backlash caused a drop in CD sales (and probably, a spike in piracy) and the RIAA finally realized that the public WASN’T on their side, every infringement case just pissed people off worse.
    So really, we don’t need to take this to the supreme court. Remember, piracy isn’t a crime, it’s a civil matter. We don’t need to change the law, we only need to convince the offended party (RIAA) that they shouldn’t take it to court. And every time they do something like this, sales drop harder, the people get madder, and the lesson gets ingrained a little deeper that pirates are not scumbags, they’re the American majority, they don’t have guilty
    consciences and they’re not afraid of you.

  • Fantastic point.. however, the legal system is made to protect big business. And if this turns in favor of the labels (which it will, regardless of any appeal) they will have more capital in hand and more resources to corner the market again. This is good for big business, and the anemic wallets of the US Gov…bad for the artists that actually made music people actually want to hear.
    I love the point about forming a culture of knowledge and protection for up and coming artists..arming them, or us rather, with more information and a site & service like TuneCore.

  • Regarding all this:
    The recording distributor has legal costs. Legally the artist is entitled to nothing unless stated in contract.
    Should the artist receive compensation for piracy. Yes. Why? Because the record company was able to receive money from the pirate. Therefore: The artist must sue the record company, because the record company benefitted. However, the costs to win the award must be calculated to find an amount to sue for. As usual, if you are not a big fish, forget it, because the money is small.
    Richard Sudborough

  • I have stressed to you time and time again that you must as a US artist copyright your compositions via the library of congress.You are the owner of your intellectual property.By the rule of law,not by the law of the jungle.It may be worth your while at the present time to sell,license,or lease those rights to another party in order for your work to be exploited,which is not a bad word.Revision clause is also a good word.Piracy?Well back in the olden days a freind may buy a new album by a popular group and you may ask to borrow it to enjoy listening to it.You did not pay the band,the label,the songwriters nor the publishers to enjoy the fruits of their labors,gratis!And you did pay for your concert ticket to see them when they came to town,and perhaps even bought your own copy of the album.Or a t-shirt!Remember this is the world of art.Not the corporate business world.The artist has one primary concern…to connect with an audience that will support them and their work.And give to them what they are paying for.Your intellectual property!At the end of the day,and it is all just one day my friends,someone may check to see who the owner is and you want to have your name there.And enjoy your fair share of any revenue stream that comes of it.Leave it as a legacy for your decendents.The world today is not what it used to be.The low hanging easy fruit has already been picked over.People (our beloved fans) no longer are going to dish out 20 bucks for a hit single and ten tracks of filler.Normal people don’t have that kind of cash to spare these days.Via the internet a lot of middlemen get cut out so we can give a low price for our product and the listener can only buy the track that they like.For me as an artist that is important too… as I travel all over the scoreboard with all kinds of styles and you may only love one tune and hate all of the rest!”That’s Life” is what the old folks say.It is far beyond our understanding.Certainly beyond mine.Very good article to read here,these things keep us sharp you know.Great comments from cool people!

  • Yes, unless there are provisions in the contract, the artist(s)receives nothing.
    What needs to be done is to have an amendement to the Copyright Act to include this provision in and to royalties, sales and/or distribution rights of a recorded work.
    The biggest problem with this thought is…legislation.
    The major labels know this and the more larger companies have their lobbyists make sure that nothing will ever get passed to inure to their benefit.

  • Thieves always have a rationale for their stealing. Lawyers don’t understand right and wrong, but “precedent.” If there is a right to damages, it can only be for the reason that you have suffered a loss as a result of the offense. Copyright infringement can only be wrong because the financial benefit the writer, publisher, artist and record company have lost the benefit they should have obtained through royalties from performance, replication and broadcasting (internet or otherwise). If there is a loss, all those who lost deserve compensation. That includes writer and performer. At the same time, if the writer and performer expect compensation from a lawsuit, it would only be right to share in the cost of litigation. As it stands, “the law is an ass.”

  • RE “Music is free now so what’s the big deal? Nobody is going to get rich from making music; it’s all about making music for fun as it should be”
    This is true, and has always been true for 95% of bands artists out there. Unless you are a working band(like weddings and events) or a major label band, you will never become rich from making music. Make it because you like it, and it turns out people like your stuff enough to buy it, than good for you.
    Tunecore will make more money than any artist, because even though they do not own the rights to your music, they will make money from every artist, and a continuing stream of money as long as artists want to promote your music with them. They are the new “INDUSTRY”.
    like it or not. They don’t care if a 5 year old has CD to put out(with pooping sounds), they will still get their $50. I like tune core, but that’s the reality. Everything has it’s pros and cons.

  • Forget about the law suit, it’s old news,
    people are steeling music now more than before
    using Torrents, and it will never end.
    In the long run Tunecore will make more money than any individual artist, because even though they do not own the rights to your music, they will make money from every artist, and a continuing stream of money as long as artists want to promote your music with them. They are the new “INDUSTRY”.
    like it or not. They don’t care if a 5 year old has CD to put out(with pooping sounds), they will still get their $50. Their goal is to get as many people to sign up for their service as possible. I have no problem with that!!!!! but they are the new industry.
    I like tune core and use them, but that’s the reality. Everything has it’s pros and cons.

  • rogue

    They are greedy… their cash reserves running dry means that instead of having 4 billion spare cash from ripping off artists… they have 2 billion… still enough to launch 100 + small sub labels and rip off more people.
    The problem with artists banding together is that they are so hungry for fame and fortune, even most who say they are not that the second the label sits at the table they will sign to nearly anything because they are afraid to say no… and labels are big on the take it or leave it ultimatum.

  • rogue

    The new industry is by far more fair to the artist… I too am ok with a company making lots of money off of me so long as the oppourtunity for me to also make decent money exists.

  • Rimpochesurfer

    ok – but is TuneCore collecting money from Limewire to pay artists?

  • I thought for a moment about deleting this posting but decided against it – I like providing transparency around our business no matter what its about.

    This person has been sending us a significant volume of threatening emails on a daily basis. They had spent their own money to buy, what they thought, was a “gift” for others of their own song on AmazonMP3. In the end it turned out that they simply bought an Amazon gift certificate. Unfortunately, the people she gifted her song to either did not redeem her gift or used the gift certificate to buy something else in Amazon that was not her song. She then began an incessant attack on TuneCore demanding it pay her royalties for the gift certificates she bought on Amazon that were either used to buy something other than her music or were unredeemed. As Amazon never accounted for a sale of the song, there were not royalties reported.

    The important thing to take from this customer is the above story. If you buy a song as “gift” for someone else on Amazon, it’s actually a gift certificate. If the gift certificate is not used at all, or not used to buy the song gifted there will not be a royalty generated for the sale of the song.

    And true to her word, this person began their campaign… it’s been almost two years since we last had someone like this…

    That being said, I thought it would be of interest to provide some “back-room” insight into the daily going-on’s at TuneCore. It does make us wonder from time to time why we do what we do, but after a deep breath, and a lowering of our blood pressure, we focus and move on.



    I received a letter from Jeff Price where is is BRAGGING about taking all the proceeds of someones sales and sending it to the songwriter. Unlike other small labels, I have the capability of TRACKING some of my sales so I know his sales reports are not accurate.


    The songwriter told iTunes their copyright was being infringed, iTunes told us, we told the customer.  The customer threatened to disparage us if we did not release someone else’s money to him, by law we could not (and on moral principle I would not).  The songwriter received the money, the infringing customer’s account was locked and the theif made up some rather ridiculous things and posted it on the net.


    In the Real World one needs a COURT ORDER to withhold anything.  The Songwriter must file with the US COPYRIGHT OFFICE which allows a COURT PROCEEDING to occur.  A Song Licensed with Harry Fox would only cost rougly 9cents on the dollar if it doesnt exceed five minutes, and that is all the songwriter would have been entitled to anyway.  That is a civil matter and even if Tunecore has that clause in his contract I am sure it is not legal.

    I am writing a book.  Its almost finished but I need a few more stories form others.  its called


  • Lovetwenty4


    • Anonymous

      The digital music stores like iTunes have their own style specification.
      As a rule, the digital music stores do not want artist names in all caps. If you send them the name of the release with the artist name in all caps, they usually change it to the first letter in Upper case and the rest in lowercase or they reject the release
      There can be a manual override, and TuneCore artist support is there to help.

      Thank You

      Jeff Price

  • Veta Mcenery

    Great post . Speaking of which , if your business is requiring a a form , my colleagues came across a template version here