Friday, March 21, 2008

Parties stipulate to treat royalty statements for SONY BMG's recordings as confidential in UMG v. Lindor

The parties have stipulated to treat as confidential the royalty statements SONY BMG is turning over to defendant's counsel in UMG v. Lindor.

These are part of the discovery into plaintiffs' expenses per download, ordered by the Magistrate Judge last November, which are needed in order to determine what actual damages, if any, plaintiff sustained.

Confidentiality stipulation for SONY BMG royalty reports*
Exhibit A to confidentiality stipulation for SONY BMG royalty reports*

* Document published online at Internet Law & Regulation

Keywords: digital copyright law online internet law legal download upload peer to peer p2p file sharing filesharing music movies indie independent label freeculture creative commons pop/rock artists riaa independent mp3 cd favorite songs intellectual property


Jadeic said...

I don't suppose for one moment that your dedicated fellow bloggers are covered by paragraph 2(b) as 'Independent persons (i.e., unrelated to defendant and not employed by or in any way associated with any competitor or potential competitor of plaintiff) etc. etc.'

Where do I sign?


Anonymous said...

What a bunch of cowards these record companies pretend to be. The only people they would need to protect this information from in a business sense are their competitors, and since all their competitors are joined in this suit they should all be entitled to see this information as part of their case.

I wonder how they'd feel about a threat to read from these statement in open court at trial? Would they dare go to trial at all?


Scott said...

Richard Guida is off the case? I hope he didn't suffer a nervous breakdown working with his colleague from Colorado.

Alter_Fritz said...

Ray, I don't understand:

I thought these royalty rate thingies are a matter of law regulated by this copyright royalty board with these 3 judges?
So why do some plaintiffs want to keep that info confidential?

For one, as DM already pointed out, the other record companies (the supposed to be competitors) are in the game too for another in case i'm on the wrong train here and it's about the royalties that sony bmg pays to their "content providers" (aka. artist) shouldn't BMG be happy to publish these figures to show how generous they are how much money they give those artist compared to the competitors?

NO, wait, stupid idea on my part If the artist would find out that some get more then them from the same label, they might think about leaving the Big 4 label and sell their songs on their own via theri own webpage or via one of the alternatives you already mentioned (amiestreet/ourstage for example)

I guess I do understand SONY/BMG's desire to keep that infos confidential after all.

Strike that question though.

Anonymous said...

Having followed the various SCO/IBM/Novell cases for a while, I am surprised to see very brief letters to the judge objecting to such things as depositions -- in those other cases, full motions seem to be normal for such an objection.

Why the difference?

Reluctant Raconteur said...

This doesn't surprise me.

They treat it like salary information, which would remain protected for as long as possible.

But if all these royalties are defined by law, there should be no competitive disadvantage, because by law all the royalties are the same.

The implication is that all royalties are not the same and there is some discretion or manipulation allowed when the contract is signed.

But the point of this case is not to figure out if the artists are getting screwed (100 years of history says yes), but what is a reasonable penalty based on actual damages.

anna johnson said...

I suspect that they are only ready, now, to reveal these royalty payments because it has taken them this long to 'develop' them.


raybeckerman said...

No, bloggers would not be independent persons. Only specialists assisting the lawyer, such as royalty accountants, would be in that provision.

Nothing untoward about royalty statements being treated as confidential. It's the first legitimate confidentiality request they've made, as near as I can recall.

I'm told Richard Guida went to work for the FBI. I guess he didn't enjoy what he was doing. I wonder why.

The royalties are negotiable, and differ from record to record.

The rules here require discovery motions to be brought by informal letter motion not exceeding 3 pages.

russell is correct.

If the statements are phonies I'll know it. Not to worry. I've been in entertainment law for 34 1/2 years, and am friends with some of the top royalty accountants and music lawyers in the business.

raybeckerman said...

I just figured out why Richard Guida wasn't happy as a lawyer. He was having trouble sleeping at night.

Scott said...

Well, for Mr. Guida, there's always Ambien. Best of luck to him in his new career.

I'm wondering...

1. If Mr. Guida left for an FBI job, is it fair to assume that he wasn't very high up the food chain at Robinson & Cole? Would that also imply that HR&O is pretty much running the New York lawsuits out of Denver, and that the local attorney is more or less a rubber stamp? (Do rubber stamps get paid well? :)

2. Could Mr. Guida, who has gained unique insights into his former client's affairs, use that knowledge to the detriment of the RIAA in his new role with the FBI?

Anonymous said...

So, once you've "discovered" these numbers but under seal, how does that play out in the next case? Do you have to discover them again or does "the Court" in this document refer to any court.

Anonymous said...


I would expect that the circumstances of any other case, likely involving different recordings, possibly different plaintiffs, and different circumstances, would make the figures in this case irrelevant.

The only positive from this in another case is that plaintiffs would have trouble objecting there since such information was provided in this case under these circumstances.

That, of course, is only valid as long as the information provided in this case isn't "misused". In the event of misuse, plaintiffs could raise the strong argument that providing such information is proven to be to their detriment, and attempt to refuse it in future cases.


Anonymous said...

regarding your "misused" argument;

Are you willing to bet with me if the plaintiffs are unscrupulous enough to "leak" infos they give to Ray by themself?
And maybe even doing so while impersonating someone else to smear blame on Ray or Ty?

I would not bet against that, would you?

-- Richard

Anonymous said...

Speaking of highly confidential, would be nice if ISP account holder names and college student names (who are equivalent to ISP account holders) acquired by way of IP addresses and time-stamps would be considered "highly confidential", and only available to use in the actual case where ex parte discovery revealed them. Using the courts to reveal private data, with the case then dismissed and the data used otherwise in extorted "settlement" talks should have never been allowed. Such fraudlent, sham methods of litigation are an insult to every American!