Music Pirates Going Overboard!

Artists Fight Back To Protect Their Livelihoods

so they can listen to it on his premises rather than take it out.

And while record label executives can protect themselves, artists should go the extra mile to protect their name and image by making sure their trademarks extend beyond the U.S., says Brad Rose, a trademark attorney and partner with New York — based Pryor Cashman Sherman & Flynn L.L.C. “When you file a trademark application here, you don’t have those rights internationally,” he says. For example, someone overseas could be performing under the name “Usher.” Rose, whose clients include Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, says he advises his clients to file a community trademark application, which provides trademark protection throughout the European Union and costs between $2,500 and $5,000.

Although these steps can be taken to diminish music piracy, executives say it will probably always be a problem. “As fast as we can create technology [to avert it], people will find ways around it,” says Phillips.

Kweli’s trying yet another tactic — he’s giving his fans Liberation, a CD he’s working on with rapper/producer Madlib, for free, in hopes that they won’t download his future projects.

The RIAA has done its part to fight music piracy as well. Since September 2003, the organization has filed lawsuits against more than 18,000 individuals for illegally trading music. While several cases resulted in judgments or settlements, and many are still pending, no case has ever gone to trial. Hunter says the RIAA promotes sites that offer a legal alternative. The group also promotes educational initiatives; works with artists who tape public service announcements about how they have been hurt by piracy; and partners with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on warnings that can be included on copyrighted music.

Other groups, such as the Recording Artists’ Coalition, Country Music Association, Gospel Music Association,
Hip — Hop Summit Action Network, Jazz Alliance International, R&B Foundation, and SESAC, are working in conjunction with the Recording Academy to stop illegal file sharing. These groups’ efforts have led many file sharing companies to work directly with the motion picture and recording industries to develop services that compensate artists and copyright holders.

What is certain is that artists and others in the recording industry will continue to fight back. Whether with compromise or legislation, they will search for ways to protect the integrity of their work while seeking to turn pirates into legitimate customers.

How you can help
Musicunited.org or M.U.S.I.C. (Music United for Strong Internet Copyright), a body of professionals and institutions involved in the recording industry, lists four reasons why people shouldn’t illegally download music: it’s against the law, it betrays the songwriters and recording artists who create it, it stifles the careers of new artists and up — and — coming bands, and it threatens the livelihoods of thousands of working people.

Here are some ways consumers can help stop music piracy:
Web surfers can visit http://musicunited.org for a list of links to download music legally from places such as, Apple’s iTunes Music Store, FYE, Sam Goody, and Yahoo! Music Unlimited.

College students should check with their school’s computing

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