You may think that record companies charging $20k for downloaded songs is a little high. You’d be right. You also might think that when they put together compilation albums, they get permission to re-publish the work, and reward the artist in a timely fashion. You’d be wrong. Warner Music Canada, Sony BMG Music Canada, EMI Music Canada and Universal Music Canada are all in the sights of a lawsuit that is what I like to call “a taste of your own medicine.” These labels have a habit of abusing Canada’s laws that allow them to use music without permission, as long as the songs are added to a “pending list” which signifies that they will have to – someday – pay the artists for their work.
The problem? The lists can date back as far as the 1980s, with as many as 300,000 songs, leaving major artists such as Beyonce and Bruce Springsteen still waiting on that royalty check. These artists (and the estates of those who passed away) have ganged up to sue the record labels for a grand total of $6 billion. That’s a(n apparently fair) $20,000 per infringement. The suit also claims that the record labels have not utilized enough of their resources to seek out and pay the artists.
Of course, this comes after the companies have cried out for years that consumers don’t respect copyright laws. Pot, meet kettle (or tea pourer).