Saturday, August 6, 2011

Intellectual Property: A Triple Threat

Threat #1

LimeWire went through some serious legal issues because of copyright infringement, according to the article, Translate “Peer-to-Peer” to “Fear-to-Peer”.  Recently LimeWire reached a settlement of $105 million after being found liable for copyright infringement.  LimeWire is a popular online file sharing service with almost 50 millions subscribers, as of 2009.  This music storehouse basically played a third party role in this litigation, but was a party, nonetheless.  The issue came about through LimeWire’s peer-to-peer network.  Whereas some of the content shared was done by public domain, according to the article, Translate “Peer-to-Peer” to “Fear-to-Peer”, LimeWire provided the software and services that allowed the exchange to occur.  This is mainly how the issue came about. 

Major record labels and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) had a serious problem with this trading avenue without having the proper permissions to do so.  Consequently, a lawsuit was filed in 2006 claiming that LimeWire allegedly had unlawfully obtained and allowed access to an estimated 9,000 sound recordings of which the plaintiff held the copyrights.  Although the plaintiff did receive a vast amount in damages, it was not nearly as much as they initially asked for when filing the suit.  Initially, the lawsuit called for $150,000 per pirated song, which totaled $1.4 billion.  “Record companies ultimately hope that such large monetary damages will serve as a stronger deterrent which will enable companies to again reap better sales in music, which allegedly began to decline following the popularity and advent of file sharing and consequently, the digital downloading of music illegally.”  Now, do not think that LimeWire did not voice its position in this matter.  LimeWire actually argued that they were not the sole cause of the music industry’s sales demise, because of bootleggers and music retailer bankruptcies.

Personally, I understand both sides in this litigation; however, just as someone who is an accessory to a crime is guilty as well, the same goes for LimeWire.  LimeWire provided the avenue for consumers to exchange such content, which lead to a dead end on Copyright Infringement Boulevard.  What do you think?

Threat #2

Wow!  If it is not enough that LimeWire is being hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit, now the infamous Lil Wayne has taken a dead end turn on Copyright Infringement Boulevard as well.  The production company, Done Deal Enterprises for allegedly stealing the 2010 Billboard Hot 100 hit, BedRock, is suing Lil Wayne.  However, it does not stop there; the $15 million lawsuit is also after Universal Music Group, Cash Money Records, and Young Money Entertainment.  According to the article, Lil Wayne Accused of Stealing ‘BedRock’, the single, which featured Drake, Nicki Minaj, Lloyd and Lil Wayne was No. Two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2010 and “appeared on the compilation disc We Are Young Money.”  Lil Wayne’s journey down Copyright Infringement Boulevard is far from over, as he and label representatives have an ordered court appearance scheduled for Wednesday, October 12, 2011.

I really do not how I feel about this litigation.  Lil Wayne has been recognized on so many occasions for his creativity and unique musical talents.  Therefore, it is hard for me to believe him being hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit.  Why would he need to steal from another when he is so talented in that arena?  However, this is just my opinion.  If it turns out that Lil Wayne is indeed guilty of doing such, hopefully the amount of monetary damages that is being asked for in the suit will teach him to avoid that of Copyright Infringement Boulevard.  As aforementioned, “Record companies ultimately hope that such large monetary damages will serve as a stronger deterrent…” Then again, $15 million may only be ‘chump change’ to him.  What do you think?

Threat #3

Seems that you do not have to be a mogul in the music industry to end up on Copyright Infringement Boulevard. According to the article, Sacramento Resident Pleads Guilty to Selling Counterfeit Music and Movies, 32-year-old Carlos Benavidez Tejeda pled guilty to criminal copyright infringement.  Between June 2010 and November 2010, Carlos “sold counterfeit music CDs and motion picture DVDs to the public at the Galt Market, a flea market in Falt, CA and at other flea markets in the Eastern District of California.”  One thousand CDs and DVDs of which copyright was infringed were confiscated from Tejeda’s minivan.  Now, if that was not enough, hundreds of copyright-infringing CDS were also confiscated from Carolos’ rented storage unit on December 13, 2010.

Consequently, Carlos Benavidez Tejeda is to be sentenced by Chief United States District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on October 3, 2011.  Unfortunately, he may face a maxiumum statutory penalty of three years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.  Additionally, this case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Henry Z. Carabaja, III and Brian W. Enos and is a product of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Sacramento Valley Hi-Tech Crimes Task Force. 

Although, Tejeda is not a musician, production company, and does not have any affiliation with the music or film industry, the industry still suffers, nonetheless.  In my opinion, being involved with the infringement of copyright should have consequences.  Carlos or the next infringer may not walk into a store and steal a product off of the shelf, but what is the difference?  The industry feels that stealing is stealing, because in the end the result is all the same.  I think so many people believe they are invincible and nothing will ever happen to them or they will never get caught.  The industry has to find some way to stop infringement, which is detrimental to sales; therefore, seeking legal action is a way to start.  It is good however, that Carlos pled guilty because if he had not, his upcoming sentence could potentially be much worse.  What do you think?

Does any of these cases touch you in the same way or differently?  Either way, why don’t you Share In The BlogLedge and post your sentiments about these topics.

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