major labels

It Makes You Think, Again !

It appears that the pending lists affair is not over.

In January 2011, the major labels in Canada had settled a class action lawsuit against them for the unauthorized use and distribution of recordings, as well as unpaid mechanical and video royalties.

EMI Music Canada Inc., Sony Music Entertainment Canada Inc., Universal Music Canada Inc. and Warner Music Canada Co. had later in May 2011 agreed to pay approximately $50.2 Million dollars to songwriters and music publishers that had not been compensated the use of their works in certain compilations and live recordings.

Well, Universal Music Group and Universal Music Canada is now suing the National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pennsylvania, their insurer, for their share of the settlement and other related expenses in the Supreme Court of the State of California in Los Angeles.

According to their November 8th, 2011 complaint found on HollywoodReporter.com, Universal Music Group had paid $14.4 million in damages and approximately $1.06 million in attorney fees and costs.

EMI Music Group Split For Sale

It appears that Citigroup have decided to sell individual portions of EMI Music Group according to two press releases issued yesterday.

The labels within the group will be sold to Vivendi and Universal Music Group for £1.2 Billion whilst the publishing assets of the group will be sold to an investor group that includes Sony Corporation of America, David Geffen and the estate of Micheal Jackson for $2.2 Billion (source : Citigroup press releases 111111a / 111111b).

These sales are of course subject to regulation and independent label association IMPALA expects that the sale of EMI Recordings to Universal Music Group will be “blocked outright” according to their latest press release.

Makes You Think, Doesn’t It ?

Today the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has approved a settlement of $50.2 million dollars in the “Pending List” class action quit against the four major labels in Canada.

Appearently several years back several recording artists, composers and their estates had noticed their recordings had been released by these labels, with no licencing agreement or royalty payment.

From June 2007 to December 31st, 2009 countless compilations were released that included recordings that the major labels assumed were available to them without prior negotiation because they had assigned a royalty rate to these recordings.

Unfortunately the rights agencies that collected royalties on behalf of the artists found it rather difficult to confirm what was on these lists and coult not truly determine how much was owed to specific artists.

This of course eventually resulted in a class action suit in 2008 that alledged the labels had performed hundreds of thousands of copyright violations, that resulted in the unauthorised sale of recordings.

I find it rather interesting that the labels hindered the collection of royalties associated to this scheme whilst opposing private copying on the grounds that it would hurt artists.

Private copying does not enable the consumer to sell copies of the recordings.