Labels Get a Taste of Their Own Medicine

This summer BU graduate student Joel Tenenbaum was ordered to pay over$600,000 for illegally sharing just 31 tracks. That number sounds ludicrous, but major labels are eager to put downloaders hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt over a few songs. Well, it seems that the majors are guilty of the same infractions they punish downloaders for. The Canadian divisions of Warner, Universal, EMI and SONY are facing a 50 billion dollar lawsuit in Canada for violating the copyrights of the artists they claim to represent. At the heart of the suit is the practice of putting artists on a “pending approval” list, while selling songs by those artists on unapproved compilation CDs, and then paying artists later, if at all. The CRIA has already admitted they owe $50 million in damages. With the labels’ self righteous attitude as they prosecute downloaders, you might think they were paragons of virtue. The irony is readily apparent.