Universal plans to seek money for each iPod sold – is there a lawyer in the house?

So here we go…the music companies are finally going too far.  So we’re all thieves by default…we’re all guilty straight out of the box.

Universal Music Group exec Doug Morris, sure to be one of the most hated men on the ‘net soon (if he’s not already), told the Reuters Media Summitt that his company is interested in receiving a cut of the profits from each iPod sold.

You can read the arstechnica article here.

I think the vast majority of us are not only offended and/or insulted by this idea, but I think we’re all pretty much in agreement that this is just wrong…If you don’t agree with that, please feel free to tell us why in the comments below…

…but that’s not why I’m writing this post.

I’m more interested in something that was suggested on Twit and online in several other places since Microsoft announced it was paying Universal for each Zune sold.  It has been suggested that by charging this “piracy tax” Universal is decreasing, if not eliminating, the liability of the user for pirating music.

Essentially, by getting this “tax” upfront, they are already reclaiming their “losses” from pirated music, and thus, have no argument when trying to sue people who have “stolen” music from them.

I am not a lawyer, and I don’t know if there is a shred of validity to that idea, so I’m asking you Apple Gazette readers, if you are a lawyer, or know a lawyer that you can ask about this to contact us, and let us know if there is any validity to this idea what-so-ever.

If so, then I say, let them do it.

I don’t pirate music.  I go out of my way to either buy music from iTunes, or go to a store and buy a CD, but I can tell you this…if I have to pay Universal upfront because “we’re all thieves”…then I just might start.

Comments

  1. I, for one, am getting damn upset witht the recording industry! They need to wake up, and realize that todays technology is not something they can fight against! As for the assumption that we are all thiefs, that’s outrageous! Of all the 3000 tracks I have on my iPod, maybe 5 were acquired in illegal ways, and only after I realized that neither iTMS nor several of the record shops I frequent had the recording in question. That’s a little more than .001% of all my tracks! Some pirate I am… To force me to pay because I am a “pirate” (.001%!) is outrageous; for someone who has never pirated anything in their lives, it’s plain dumb! Please, RIAA, wake up! We aren’t all pirates! Treat your customers with a little respect, if I may!

  2. If this goes through I’m going to sue Universal for defamation of character.

    I rarely download music but have on occassion to hear an album before buying it. If I don’t like then I delete. If I like then sale made.

    But to be outright called something I am not is defamation and therefore within sueable grounds. Not lawyer so could be wrong but screw it, if you can sue someone because of your stupidity then surely you can sue someone for something that is legit.

    My reparation would be a cut of the takings from any iPod sold under this incredulace tax.

  3. Well I live in a country where iTunes store and other online stores are not available. Does that mean that I will not have to pay this TAX?

  4. The Roman Catholic Church used to sell “Indulgences” or the forgiveness for temporal sins in much the same way. The unfortunate consequence of this action was that people would buy the indulgences and THEN go out and commit a crime.

    Of interest is that neither Congress nor the individual states have granted the recording industry the plenary power to impose taxes. If this “fee” collected cannot legaly be a tax …. is it then considered a license?

  5. This idea is unfortunately not new and already applied. In France, we’ve been paying a “copyright tax” on every blank CD, DVD and MP3 player for years. Which is why those things are so expensive in France. For example:

    iPod 80GB in France = 340 euros (ex. VAT), 407 euros (inc. VAT 19%)
    iPod 80GB in Germany = 327 euros (ex. VAT), 379 euros (inc. VAT 16%)

    The funny thing is that this tax is added *before* VAT, which means that VAT applies to the copyright tax as well. So we’re paying a tax on a tax.

    But back on topic: this tax has not meant that users were not liable for pirating music. Music piracy is as illegal in France as it is in the US and even though the number of “pirates” sued by the music companies in France is still much lower than in the US, there have already been many cases.

    So why are we paying this “copyright tax” then if that doesn’t allow us to copy music freely? Well, nobody knows. It’s just there and to this day, i still can’t understand how this scam by music companies has been able to go on for so long without anybody attacking it.

  6. This is very not new. My understanding is that the RIAA has been collecting a “piracy tax” on all blank CD-R’s and cassettes for a long time…especially casettes. It goes back to the 1980s where a deal was reached. The deal reached allowed the sales but gave a small portion of profits to the RIAA. It was much harder to make a high quality dub of an album then so there wasn’t as much complaining from the RIAA. It’s simple now and the quality is quite good compared to the original so the frequency of dubbing and remixing has skyrocketed.

    The RIAA has been trying to stifle most new audio technology for the past 50+ years…before they usually figure out how to exploit it to make even more money. Had they embraced internet downloadable music before the Napster debacle, the situation would not be nearly so murky as it is now.

  7. I do have two links http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d102:SN01623:@@@L&summ2=m&

    and

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c102:H.R.3204:

    Both show that there is already a blank media tax in the USA and no one has complained about that, nor has the RIAA been trying to sue anyone over the taping of music and selling of these tapes.

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