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Universal Accuses You
Not apprised? Based in Moscow, AllofMP3.com is just like Apple’s iTunes store, except songs cost around $0.15 instead of $0.99 and the number of computers and iPods on which you use them—and the number of discs you burn with them—is unrestricted. Some Cirque de Soleil style legal acrobatics were required to make it happen. As a result of lobbyist pressure, America has made the shutting down of the company a prerequisite to Russian accession to the World Trade Organization. But the site remains up, remains popular, and remains firmly under the skin of a recording industry desperate to upend music by converting it from an owned artifact to a piece of licensed code.
That reading led me to this incredible story from Silicon.com: “Universal ‘negotiating with Apple on iPod tax’.”
After securing a deal with Microsoft to take a small cut of every Zune sold, reportedly as a buffer against royalties lost to piracy, Universal is hoping it can secure the same deal with Apple.Even if you are not a music thief—even if you shuffle to your local olde recorde shoppe and purchase actual discs—you are paying a fine because Universal has assumed you purchased your Zune or your iPod to commit a crime. So a penalty has been built into the prices of these devices.
It’s thought the record label receives $1 for each of the $250 Microsoft music players sold. Universal CEO Doug Morris said at the Reuters Media Summit he believes there’s room for a similar accord with the iPod maker, according to Reuters.
“It would be a nice idea. We have a negotiation coming up not too far. I don’t see why we wouldn’t do that… but maybe not in the same way,” he said.
It all seems a little outrageous to me: An entire gang of megalomaniacal companies obsessed with extracting money from products which clearly have decreasing value. An entire herd of lawyers tasked with using the law to allow a few big players to turn lead into gold. Of course, what they are doing is wholly within their rights. But they are doing a disservice to musicians and to the music-consuming public. It is important to recognize these tactics—like Sony’s rootkit scandal and Universal’s prejudicial fine—for what they are: desperate life-saving measures. No matter how many little pieces of technological innovation the record companies successfully crush, the winds of change are against them. The Internet, this global network, is nothing if not a slayer of middlemen. And record companies are some of history’s most corrupt middlemen, erecting barricade after barricade to prevent consumers and musicians from talking—from negotiating.
I don’t imagine a renegade illegal service like Napster or AllofMP3.com will do the trick. Instead, musicians will simply become successful without one of the big three behind them. I imagine that will be the beginning of the end for this anti-consumer crusade.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
- The Dartmouth College Case
- 2007 Trustee Election
- Dartmouth Constitution
- Sunday Morning Sinatra
- The Indian Wars
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