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Record Companies Are The Real Pirates (article)


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Music industry firms are a bunch of pirates

By Nigel Constantine

While the music industry is spending a fortune trying to jail P2P file downloaders, it seems it has an ambivalant attitude to its own piracy record. Jazz great Chet Baker's estate is suing the major record labels for releasing his music on Canadian CDs without paying. Apparently the music industry has been taking advantage of the more relaxed attitude to copyright in Canada to release 300,000 songs have been released on CD without compensation. The record labels create, press, distribute and sell the CDs, but do not obtain the necessary copyright licences. Baker's estate, though, appear to have had enough and are taking Warner Music Canada, Sony BMG Music Canada, EMI Music Canada, and Universal Music Canada. The industry has admitted that it owes Baker's family at least CAD$50 million, but Baker's estate is entitled to up to CAD$60 billion. Others who are also owed a bit of dosh include Sarah McLachlan, Bruce Cockburn, Sloan, or the Watchmen. So while the music industry piously bangs on about how terrible pirates are, it seems the ones that have screwed the musicians for the most are the actual record companies themselves.

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The Real Frank Zappa Book details how the record companies USED to fuck the artists in the old days- it went something like this:

The record company would agree with a band to say cut 1,000 records and distribute them- and they would- to record shops around the artists stomping grounds.

But Frank realized the labels were actually pressing thousands more than the contracts specified, and without informing the bands, they would distribute them far outside areas they expected the artists to visit.

Thus to distance himself from the theives, weasels and chumps who ran the music biz- Frank became the first musician to own his own label and press his own records.

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