13. mars 2010

Record companies, digital downloads and artists' rights

With sales of digital downloads exploding (accounting for nearly $4 billion in industry sales last year), the record company saw gold in selling individual tracks from albums such as “The Dark Side of the Moon” and “The Wall”. It licensed Pink Floyd’s tracks for sale on iTunes. It was like EMI was cutting up a Kandinsky painting and selling the pieces individually.

The band wasn’t amused and headed to court. It argued that it albums were indivisible and that EMI had violated the contract with the group by splitting them up. EMI countered that it was all just a matter of the new way of doing business in the digital age and that the contemporary technology and business model made it necessary to do disaggregate the albums.

This week the court ruled in favor of Pink Floyd, awarding them $60,000 for the contract violation and $90,000 for legal costs. The court said EMI cannot distribute the group’s music "by any other means than the original album, without the consent of Pink Floyd."

The Media Business
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