GrayZone – Quarterly Digest – October 2003

Headline News | Busts | Worldwide Update | Legal Beagle | Quick Bits and Bytes

Headline News

NAPSTER IS BACK!! No Longer Illegal, But No Longer Free Either

Napster, the notorious P2P site that helped popularize online music before being shut down as a hub for piracy, is being relaunched as a legal website. Calling itself “Napster 2.0,” the revamped and legitimate music download service will debut on October 29 in the United States. In its heyday, Napster claimed it had a following of as many as 70 million users worldwide who were able to swap and download music free of charge. Napster declared bankruptcy amid a flood of litigation from the record industry and was acquired in 2002 by music software firm Roxio. Music downloaders will now be charged a fee, but with the blessings of various copyright holders, who will be compensated for their work. In addition to providing a-la-carte downloads for 99 cents, Napster 2.0 will also offer a $9.95 monthly subscription that allows unlimited downloads. Users will be able to access to the company’s online collection, make recordable compact discs of their downloads and also transfer music to portable devices. The new site claims to have the largest digital music library in the world with over 500,000 songs.

Yahoo! News, October 9, 2003

U.S. Busts

Be sure to peruse the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) monthly newsletter “RIAA Anti-Piracy Seizure Information,” which covers numerous bootleg, piracy and counterfeit raids across the United States.

The RIAA has been actively conducting raids all across the country
resulting in the confiscation of large amounts of pirated Latin music.

New York: On September 22, 2003, New York Police Department’s 34th Precinct, along with investigators from the RIAA executed a search warrant resulting in one arrest and the seizure of 7,200 Latin music CD-Rs. The target of this recent activity was a major distribution center in upper Manhattan that had allegedly supplied street vendors in the Manhattan and Bronx areas of New York City. The person arrested was charged with trademark violations regarding the confiscated pirated merchandise which was all La tin music CD-Rs.

Los Angeles: As part of an ongoing program targeted at area street vendors, officers from 3 Los Angeles Police Department area stations, along with investigators from the RIAA-Western Regional Office, conducted sweeps of Van Nuys, Alvarado Corridor and Venice Boardwalk Beach locations. Four vendors were arrested and taken into custody after officers conducted seizure actions involving illegal street vendors in these areas. Eleven citations were issued and approximately 11,800 unauthorized pirate and counte rfeit compact discs were seized. All parties were charged with violation of the California State True Name and Address Statute. The seizures took place on September 1 and September 13, 2003.

Worldwide Update


Pirates Choke Ukraine’s Music Industry

Ukraine is considered one of Europe’s biggest producers and distributors of counterfeit CDs, movie DVDs and computer software. The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) estimates that piracy in Ukraine accounts for 90 percent of the music industry and 85 percent of films. The average piracy rate for Eastern Europe is 63 percent. Local recording companies say they need government help to win the battle against pirates. The key measures which are said to be desperately needed in Ukraine include tougher regulations on distribution, stricter controls at the Russian borders, and criminal prosecution against large-scale pirate operations.

Yahoo! News, September 16, 2003 (Olena Horodetska)

Quick Bits and Bytes

Time Warner Fights Back Against Digital Piracy

Warner Music Group has taken an active role in the fight against piracy. Warner Music Group Chairman and CEO, Roger Ames has licensed songs to Apple’s iTunes, Apple’s “jukebox software” for Macintosh computers. WMG, whose roster includes multi-platinum artists Madonna, Linkin Park, Metallica and Kid Rock was not only willing to license songs to Apple, they also actively encouraged their artists to sign on with Apple. WMG executives helped the computer maker figure out how to keep songs from being pilfered by Internet bandits, and introduced the heads of the music service to top executives at other music companies to increase the number of tracks Apple could offer when the music service debuted. When the iTunes Music Store was unveiled in late April, it sold one million songs the first week. According to Ames, “It’s the best indication yet that if presented cleverly, there is a real demand for legal online music.” WMG’s catalog has also been licensed to America Online’s (AOL) online service, MusicNet, which offers access to more than 300,000 songs. WMG has aggressively battled film piracy as well. Studies have shown that as many as 600,000 movies are swapped online everyday. WMG and Warner Bros. are now making music as well as movies available for download on legitimate sites. Time Warner is hopeful that the proliferating amount of digital media services will be as successful as the Apple store, leading to further success in their continuing fight against digital piracy.

Keywords Magazine, September 2003 (Devin Leonard)

Scroll to Top