Artists WIN: Main-Stream Media Ignores Artists Rights Victory Over P2P Use


It’s only a small victory but one that typifies how the main-stream press is so biased in favor of the tech-giants and against record companies (even though those same tech giants want to put newspapers out of business more than they do record companies.)

You won’t read about it in Digital News or the New York Times but an RIAA hating judge today ruled in FAVOR of the RIAA in their high-profile case P2P against Joel Tenenbaum.

Tenenbaum traded 30 songs on Kazaa and was trying to make a “fair use” defense.He wanted to argue that his P2P activity was something that didn’t require him to pay for the music he was copying.

Fair Use is typically a defense used for situations like reprinting Bob Dylan lyrics for a 60s Social Studies class, or use of a melody in a political lampoon.

The judge denied his motion to use “fair use” as a defense and so he will not even be able to argue it to a jury.

Tenenbaum tried to introduce an intellectual puppet whom he thought would help his cause, Harvard Prof. Felix Oberholzer-Gee who according to the judge offered little more than “opinions” about how copyright should work in some utopian Star Trek world where commerce and money are sustainable commodities, rather than evidence of Tenenbaum’s right to make a copy under these circumstances.

All I could think of, as someone who has worked as an expert witness (and always on the winning side, I might say) is how much they would have paid Oberholzer-Gee to basically put their case in the toilet.

The other thing I thought of why you didn’t read about this story on MSN, AOL, Fox, etc.

Here’s the reason why:

Ever onward.

Superior coverage of the case and props to one main-stream, tech biased outlet who got the story right:

Mo out

12 responses to “Artists WIN: Main-Stream Media Ignores Artists Rights Victory Over P2P Use”

  1. No question, the media is biased in all of it’s reporting whether it be the print media, or the idiotic talking heads on the tube. They never have enough time to let any intelliegent discussion come through, and they always fan the flame of controversy, and never get the real story reported at all. The bulk of the media has become, completely irresponsible, totally vacuous, and seemingly incapable of intelligent thought….they do more damage than ever to all of us…I for one, am sorry the newspapers are in such bad shape, and I think large faceless corporations should not be allowed to own multiple forms of media in one market…It stifles any real reporting. If it’s not about some boring celebrity doing stupid things that noone cares about, most of the media doesn’t really want to discuss it. We need real reporting about small serious issues that affect our lives, so thanfully the blogs are around when we need them.

  2. Sadbone says:

    Being part of “the media”, I would have to say that the story doesn’t have legs for the “Joe Sixpacks” out there. It’s complex. It’s not fun. It comes across as this innocent kid trying to make his way through college with a few songs downloaded to his iPod when all of a sudden Big Business comes and kicks the kid in the teeth. I know this isn’t the case, but that is how I could see the story playing out in the media.

    Unfortunately, we cater to the lowest common denomenator, and we bank on people’s stupidity. I have fought this battle with editors when a story has been stepped all over and “watered down” with even the vocab simplified. They don’t want to hear it, especially from a freelancer, which I am. Newspaper editors are the worst because they are uncreative and set in their ways. Magazine editors, on the other hand, have been much more open to serious, interesting, and engaging stories.

    Here’s another little inside. Newspapers are doing much worse financially than they are reporting.

  3. Despite the fact that I can’t find this “news” anywhere else, I still want to comment on the issue at large: this is still not the right way to deal with this issue, and it’s not changing anything.

    Change the situation slightly, and it looks ridiculous. Imagine if they changed the names, so instead of saying the RIAA was suing consumer Joe Smith, it actually said Britney Spears was suing that person. It not only sounds ridiculous, it also sounds unjustifiable, especially when the rulings are coming in at over $1 million – a ridiculous sum.

    Now, just imagine when you attach an artist name to all of the 18,000 cases in courts. I think what you’re going to see very quickly is an even more outraged public. And may I remind you they are the very people you’re trying to sell music to?

    • Moses Avalon says:

      Can you say Metallica? It’s already happened. And I’ll go one step further and say that I don’t think it will be any different from a public perception point of view if and when artists sue consumers directly. The RIAA represents every artist on a major label in these suites since, in this one regard, labels and artists are on the same side of the issue. In fact it might even help if a lesser known heritage artists like say BTO, who have been working all their careers and don’t make a tenth of the money that Spears makes, sued a few “consumers.” It might give the issue a human face instead of a corporate one.

  4. matt says:

    The articles themselves are usually quite well written and do a good job presenting both sides of a story (when there _are_ two sides).

    I saw this article pop up on several geek-oriented news aggregator sites today (,, etc). The ensuing discussion was mainly slanted in the anti-RIAA, anti-copy direction, as one might expect. However, on all sites I came across, there was a surpisingly large number of voices pointing out the obvious:

    Tenenbaum admitted sharing the files.

    Open and shut, case closed. You’re guilty, dude. Pay your fine and move on with your life.

    (and now it’s soapbox time)

    There have been many of the RIAA cases I’ve disagreed with. The companies that comprise the RIAA are STILL stuck in the past, and have fought tooth and nail against changing their business model to accomodate the digital world. They rely on legislation and litigation to make up for their inability or unwillingness to innovate. Buggy manufacturers vs. Henry Ford.

    Their legal tactics seem riduculously heavy handed, and some of their methods border on illegality. I also doubt that much, of any, of the settlements have ever made their way to the artists … although I do admit that I have absolutely no data to back that up. I do know several bands that have signed “major label contracts”, and nowhere in any contract I’ve seen does it say they would have gotten a cut of any legal settlement. They’ve all long since been dropped, so its all moot.

    I have personally found that the more music I listen to, from all sources, the more music I BUY, again from all sources. “Free” music and file-sharing has cost me a frickin’ fortune! Perhaps it is not all from RIAA-affiliated artists any more, and it certainly isn’t all in CD/LP format, but my overall expenditures have gone up even as the availability of “free” copies of the music I want has gone up.

    All that random ranting aside … Tenenbaum is guilty as hell.


    • Moses Avalon says:

      I read this a lot: the labels had it coming b/c they were slow and un-responsive to the tech industries requests. I don’t think that this is accurate. In the last chapter of my third book Million Dollar Mistakes I devote the entire chapter to the one biggest mistake made in music: how labels dealt with ISPs. I really think this chapter should be read before anyone solidifies their opinion about this subject. There are a lot of details to the real story that are ignored by the zeitgeist.

  5. Bill Wade says:

    Don’t celebrate yet! The trial’s still going on… But finally, the pendulum is starting to swing in copyright’s favor. Been a long time comin’…

  6. So here we got a knife with two blades. On the one hand we could have Britney sueing the little broke highschool kid next door. Now we’re on his side.

    Then we have the unknown broke artist next door who finally managed to have one hit but a bunch of (innumerable) fileshares messing up the cake but then again they support some fame. Like there’s a strange band in Germany right now called HGichT who had a YouTube hit. Now they have things going but oh shit, no product out.

    So filesharing appears like free Milkshakes at McDoanlds for those who dont know… but that doesnt mean Milkshakes come for free! I somewhat like the pay-what-you-want appoach but I dont believe this will work in the long run and especially not for artists like Britney. Everyone knows music aint free but then again its in itself the advertisement for the record. Consumers dont want records, they want music. If they dont start thinking they believe music is free, records eat money. WHy buy records? I’l save the money for the merch and concerts!

    Hmmm, Moses, your story about the Dutch comes to my mind and I cant judge but say theres is something all going wrong right now. The ship is sinking, the creme de la creme is already in their megalifeboats and helicopters and the screaming victims (loads of artists AND filesharers) splashing in the cold sea get shot in the head, aint they? I’d like to see at least some of them in those helicopters. But maybe everything has to go down the tubes, helicopters and all.

  7. Paul Cooke says:

    You know as well as I do that this is a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
    What about free goods, promotions. Did we not have free goods years ago?
    How does this create any worth for artists and labels?
    Also why haven’t the majors brokered any deals with ISP’s to counter this?
    Because of protectionism and arrogance in the first place. I rest my case:) hope you are well.

    • Moses Avalon says:

      When I give away apples from MY apple cart so you see how delicious they are, that’s a free sample. When you walk by my store and grab a free apple off the plie without my permission, that’s theft. If someone sees you get away with it and then thousands start to walk by, grabbing apples, eventually I can not make money on apples. At that point I buy a gun and start guarding my apples. I ask the cops to make a high profile arrest and ask the DA to press charges for the theft of a single apple so that others get the idea that if you steal my apples I’ll retaliate. Is this extreme? Maybe. it depends on how dependent I am on income from apples to feed my family.

  8. exactly, free apples is a great comparison cause if you have an iphone/ipod it somehow appears like an all you can eat device.

  9. ProLatis says:

    Thanks so much for such a great blog, that was a nice reading!

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