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Australian Record Industry Goes After the Red Cross

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the nothing-better-to-do dept.

The Courts 23

cavaroc writes "Wired is reporting that the Australian record labels are now threatening the International Red Cross for being a beneficiary of Sharman Networks. They said they'd politely ask them to cooperate, but that if they didn't cooperate, 'It would be incredibly disappointing if we had to sue them.' My favorite quote from the article: 'We never take a case against technology, we will take cases against people who use technology to take away our artists' property.' They're expected to sue themselves sometime early next year. ;-)"

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ACCC's link to the mentioned body (2, Informative)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 9 years ago | (#11129026)

"Deals with all piracy matters regarding the Music Industry. Part of ARIA [accc.gov.au] (Australian Recording Industry Association)."

Watch for them to sue tin-shaking collectors (3, Funny)

leonbrooks (8043) | more than 9 years ago | (#11129439)

Have you paid for a licence to use that rhythm, sir?

Sue Themselves (2, Interesting)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 9 years ago | (#11129027)

>>They're expected to sue themselves sometime early next year. ;-)

I assume you are trying to be cute in saying that the *AA takes away the artist's rights. Well, when you make a deal with the devil, you are gonna get burned.

If you don't like the contract, guys, don't fucking sign it. Don't pull a "The Artist/Prince" on them AFTER you get your millions. That's right, Courtney Love, I'm fucking talking about you...

Re:Sue Themselves (3, Insightful)

realityfighter (811522) | more than 9 years ago | (#11129110)

Have you ever had occasion to read a recording contract?
My guess is no - I haven't either. If either of us did, though, we would inevitably find 1 of 2 possibilities to be true.

Possibility 1: The contract is designed to confuse the artist into signing away rights that they naturally own, or to simply be so unreadable that the relevant terms are lost in the legal gibberish. This enforces the view that the contract is bad, but exonerates the artist of any wrongdoing as they were intentionally decieved.

Possibility 2: The contract is clearly laid out without any trick clauses. In this case, the artist is knowingly giving away certain rights to have his work published. Fair enough. In that case, their rights are not being taken away, they are being given away. Thus, it isn't a "deal with the devil" as you claim.

If you're dealing with the devil, you probably won't know it till you're in too deep. We can only make it worse pretending that you should have known better.

Re:Sue Themselves (5, Interesting)

Trepalium (109107) | more than 9 years ago | (#11129145)

I've never dealt with a recording contract either, but there's an interesting article [arancidamoeba.com] on it and the contract tricks. Now, I have no idea if this is accurate, but I have no reason not to believe it is. It is on par with other record industry tricks in recent history (like changing music into a work-for-hire by getting lawmakers to sneak it in an unrelated bill). The story that is told over and over again is convincing the musician to sign a contract on the spot without getting legal council and being promised things that are not in the contract, and getting screwed over because of it as none of the promised things will ever materialize, and the record company will hold them to the contract mercilessly.

Re:Sue Themselves (1)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 9 years ago | (#11131298)

The story that is told over and over again is convincing the musician to sign a contract on the spot without getting legal council and being promised things that are not in the contract, and getting screwed over because of it as none of the promised things will ever materialize, and the record company will hold them to the contract mercilessly.
If you are so ignorant that you would sign a document without even reading it, then you deserve what you get. People can say anything. If it's not written down it doesn't mean squat. Always read contracts before you sign them. Read every single word. If there's just a section or sentence that you don't agree with, line through it and initial it. If someone wants you to sign "on the spot" then they need to be prepared to wait for however long it takes for you to read the thing. If you have questions then don't sign and seek out an expert (lawyer) for advice.

This isn't complicated, although it can very well affect your life in significant ways if you don't pay close attention to what you are agreeing to.

Re:Sue Themselves (3, Insightful)

Trepalium (109107) | more than 9 years ago | (#11131724)

"Oh, well, if you don't want to sign this now, I have another band coming in in fifteen minutes who is going to sign. Sorry, but I can only take one of you." Such a simple pressure tactic usually attributed to used car salesmen, but when you've worked so hard to just get to this point, this pressure can be overwhelming. After all, if you refuse, there's probably another two or three that make music very similar to you that will be willing to sign on the spot. What is forgotten by these bands often is that this is no longer music at this point. Now it's business, and business will try to squeeze out every penny they can possibly get regardless of your wishes.

Re:Sue Themselves (3, Insightful)

Casualposter (572489) | more than 9 years ago | (#11137278)

If you want to control the terms of the publishing of anything you create, you'd better not need to ever have it published. That way, when the pressure sales tactics come out, you shrug and say NO.

As soon as you need to have a record deal, or a publishing deal, you've lost any bargaining position whatsoever.

Re:Sue Themselves (1)

maximilln (654768) | more than 9 years ago | (#11182963)

If you are so ignorant that you would sign a document without even reading it, then you deserve what you get. People can say anything.

The documents are fairly easy to understand. The real issue is that no one is offering any better deals. You want to retain rights to your work? Fine. Go home and do it yourself. For the greatest part you can't even get involved with the major industry without knowing that, at the end of the day, any rights that you didn't sign away at first can be easily taken by their strength in legal backup.

When you're in hell, no one's serving cold drinks. What makes you think no one knows that?

Re:Sue Themselves (2, Interesting)

cinderful (586168) | more than 9 years ago | (#11145519)

I have read one.
It was pretty easy to understand.

What wasn't easy to understand was the other contract that came along with it that included the part "if you sell X number of albums on this label you're signing to, you automatically became an artist on this major label"

Re:Sue Themselves (2, Insightful)

david duncan scott (206421) | more than 9 years ago | (#11131971)

I see your point, but I still think that there's a startling contrast in book publishing. How often have you heard a writer complaining about his publishers and agent?

Of course, as I understand it, book publishers don't generally expect perpetual world-wide rights to anything. Writers generally sell limited term limited rights in specified countries, like two years hardcover US publishing rights, reserving, e.g., paperback rights in Europe.

Am I missing something? (1)

realityfighter (811522) | more than 9 years ago | (#11129032)

Unless I'm reading this wrong, their lawsuit is still pending. If the law hasn't decided that the company's business is illegal, why would they have the right to freeze the its assets? Is there something in Australian law that makes this make sense, am I missing something here? It sounds fishy to me.

Re:Am I missing something? (3, Informative)

TekPolitik (147802) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130253)

If the law hasn't decided that the company's business is illegal, why would they have the right to freeze the its assets?

The order allowing this is called a Mareva injunction, and it is available when the plaintiff demonstrates a significant chance that the defendant will move assets out of the jurisdiction to avoid having to pay any judgement against them.

Who's watching who? (3, Interesting)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 9 years ago | (#11129041)

But don't expect any ruling in Australia to affect the law in the United States, Still says. "America doesn't pay much attention to Australian law. The legislation in America is slightly different."
Seems like me they only paid attention to those parts of the law that wouldn't benefit the US corporations and have them changed through the trade agreement.
I wouldn't be surprised to see them sue the Red Cross because they've already sank so low they can't go any deeper.

Whew! (2, Funny)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 9 years ago | (#11129063)

I was beginning to think that all the insane power-hungry morons came from the US or at least moved here (I'm looking at you, Rupert Murdoch).

It's refreshing to think that my country isn't the source of ALL evil in the world.

A step too far (2, Interesting)

Richie1984 (841487) | more than 9 years ago | (#11129371)

"Depending on how this goes, it could also mean that (Microsoft) software would amount to an authorization of the infringement of copyright," she says. "The same thing could be said for a photocopier."
Ok...they can get rid of Kazaa, they can get rid of the Windows suite, but it'll be a cold day in hell before they can have my photocopier!!!

Re:A step too far (1)

tomjen (839882) | more than 9 years ago | (#11129759)

Think of it, most things in this world can be used to make a copy of something that is copyrighted, a pen, typewriter, computer etc. Try to outlaw all that. And suing the red cross is just low. NO excuses.

Re:A step too far (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130568)

They'll have to outlaw fingers and dirt. You can write in the dirt with your fingers.

"Will all consumers please report to the nearest RIAA/ARIA/CRAA center for a finger-ectomy? Thank you."

The Recording Industry Hypocrisy (2, Insightful)

tdhillman (839276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11130027)

The recording industry is, and will likely always be, wholly hypocritical in its desire to "protect the artists."

If they were actually protective of the artists, they would make sure that those who actually create the music are protected not only from technology, but also from te nefarious management personnel whose sole task it is to make as much money from someone else's work as humanly pssible.

To the best of my knowledge, artists are not members of the industry associations. That belongs to the labels. Their job is to protect their cash flow, and secondarily the artists.

Take a bunch of 20 year old kids who know nothing about contract law and I'll show you a group about to get screwed by a label.

Artists get screwed by those who make a profit from their own inability to create something of lasting value.

What role does the industry play in getting rights back to the actual artists? Take a look at who wrote Buddy Holly's songs. That'll answer the question.

Can we mod the story up? (1)

n9hmg (548792) | more than 9 years ago | (#11133061)

For the closing comment, +5 funny?

I am ashamed (1)

MasterB(G)ates (718264) | more than 9 years ago | (#11133683)

As an Aussie I am ashamed. Suing the RED CROSS??? Welcome to Karma Hell.

International Red Cross (3, Funny)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 9 years ago | (#11134972)

They probably heard you could get illegal files from "IRC" so the lawyers grabbed the nearest phone book.

Well, what do you expect? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11135866)

From a country who's population is largely made up of the decendants of convicted criminals? (No offense guys, but this really is the lowest of the low).

I think even the RIAA would have abstained from suiing something like the Red Cross.

This is perhaps the lowest aspect to all this I've yet seen
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