Pandora Responds To Royalty Controversy

Streaming radio giant Pandora has responded to allegations, most recently from classic rock giants Pink Floyd as well as music-biz critic and Cracker frontman David Lowery, that not only are their current royalty payments criminally low, but that they are currently lobbying for the right to reduce those royalties by as much as 85%.

Pointing the blame mainly at the RIAA, Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren has issued a lengthy and personal letter to users and industry personnel around the world. In the letter, which you can read below, the company denies plans to lower artist royalties and addresses ongoing concerns with their current compensation system. The message reads: (more…)

2 Chainz Performs "I'm Different" On Kimmel

Recently Grammy-nominated artist 2 Chainz took his stage show to the set of Jimmy Kimmel Live last night for a rowdy rendition of his latest single, “I’m Different.” The appearance came on the heels of news that 2 Chainz’s debut album, Based On A TRU Story was certified Gold by the RIAA. You can view the performance below.

OurStage is actively helping independent artists appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Click here to learn more.

If you enjoy 2 Chainz, be sure to check out OS artist Fat Trel!

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Young Man Fined $675,000 By RIAA For Illegally Distributing 31 Songs

Joel Tenenbaum has been in an ongoing court battle with the RIAA over 31 songs that he illegally distributed on Kazaa. The case finally came to a close yesterday, leaving Tenenbaum liable for $675,000. Gizmodo.com summarized it thusly: “That’s nearly $22,000 per song, plus some wholesale character assassination that has now been sealed with judge’s rubber stamp.”

While it may seem like an excessive punishment (and it most certainly is) this fine is apparently very low compared to the maximum $4.65 million penalty he could have faced. So the judge believes, “it was awfully nice of the jury to be so lenient.” Needless to say, Tenenbaum’s life will be riddled with financial turmoil for quite some time over a measly 31 songs. That oughta teach all those Internet pirates a lesson! …Right?

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RIAA's Tax Filings Shows Funding, Legal Fees Dwindling

The Recording Industry Association of America, the anti-piracy trade group that represents the interests of many powerful music industry companies, is losing money. Fast.

TorrentFreak obtained a copy of the RIAA’s publicly available 990 Form, showing the filings for the trade organization for the fiscal year of April 2010 to March 2011. While the form cannot provide a completely up-to-date bill of health on the RIAA’s operational funding, the outlook is not positive.

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Megaupload Warrants, Seizure Ruled Illegal In NZ

The past week has seen a lot of good news for file sharing service Megaupload and founder Kim Dotcom as he fights his extradition to the US. Judge Helen Winkelmann of the New Zeland High Court ruled today that the warrants used to arrest Dotcom and search and seize his property were “invalid.” In Winkelmann’s brief on her ruling, she stated that the warrants used in the case were too vague and general. As such, their use in the arrest of Dotcom, the seizure of his assets, and the removal of Megaupload’s servers from New Zeland by the FBI, was illegal.

The ruling marks a major victory for Dotcom and his defense team. At FBI, at the behest of the RIAA, MPAA, and various trade organizations in the US, has been investigating Megaupload and Dotcom for the past two years. It is alleged that Megaupload was actively encouraging users to host copyright infringing content through the service, profiting from increased traffic and ad revenues from such content.

It seems that Dotcom also has some friends in high places. Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, voiced his opinion that the case against Dotcom is “hokey.”

“Copyright violation is wrong,” Wozniak said in an email to CNET. “So is driving over the speed limit. But don’t let that halt the progress of the digital age.” Dotcom also received some Twitter love from famous hacker Kevin Mitnick.

Police in New Zeland and the FBI have not offered comment on the ruling.

RIAA, Google To Go After Video-To-Mp3 Conversion Services

The Recording Industry Association of America has found a new target in their crusade against the violation of intellectual property. CNET reported that the RIAA asked them to remove software from Download.com, an Internet download directory which CNET owns and operates. This request from the RIAA comes in the wake of Google’s recent legal action against YouTube-MP3, a popular YouTube video-to-audio conversion service.

Youtube video-to-audio conversion services and applications are nothing new. This Wikipedia page has a full listing of the various audio ripping services out there. But fans of such services should know that they might not have much more time to enjoy them. Since their injunction against YouTube-MP3, Google has promised that they will pursue other audio ripping services in a similar fashion. While the site does not utilize YouTube’s API, Google is still pursuing legal action against the site as its primarily functionality is in violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service.

It should be noted that CNET did not directly respond to the RIAA’s request, stating that, “CNET’s policy is that Download.com is not in any position to determine whether a piece of software is legal or not, or whether it can be used for illegal activity…As for removing illegal software, CNET has a record of doing that.”