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January 13, 2011
Canadian RIA Pays Up
I thought I had blogged about this case years ago when I first heard about the Canadian recording artists who had grown frustrated with trying to get their version of the Cartel to pay up on owed royalties. But I can't find it, nor can Google, so there you are.
Most of what you need to know is in the headline: Michael Geist blogs that "the Canadian Recording Industry Association [...] have agreed to pay $45 million to settle one of the largest copyright class action lawsuits in Canadian history." That's huge, not necessarily in dollar terms, but in precedent. The Cartel have agreed that their practice of user songs on a list that was nominally "pending" payment (when payment was never sent) in fact amounted to theft.
This being a pre-trial settlement, of course, the Cartel haven't admitted to anything in the legal sense. It may be argued that they decided paying out CAD 45 million was cheaper than continuing to fight and stall. It was almost certainly cheaper than getting a guilty verdict in a court situation that might have exposed them to punitive damages.
Geist also notes that the settlement involves setting up a new system that will, one hopes, get the artists paid more promptly. And, one also hopes, without the need for a multi-year class-action lawsuit threat in the future.
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