Sunday, November 04, 2007

Fripp flips

Record companies are, you'll recall, fond of behaving like they're part of the criminal justice system - going on raids, pushing prosecutions. And yet, when it comes to their own behaviour, they're slightly more Capone than cop.

Robert Fripp, for example, has detailed what he claims is a slightly-less-than honest range of behaviour by EMI:

We are looking, inter alia, at payment by EMI for illegal out-of-period (post 2003) sales, and returns of unsold CDs. A concern with returns is always that they are not dumped back onto the market by mistake (by mistake, dear reader). We seem to be close to agreement on these two matters, on the basis of our current researches.

But it goes further. Not only has EMI "accidentally" been selling records it had no rights too, but King Crimson tracks have been popping up on download sites, with EMI's blessing:
After the licence expired, King Crimson tracks repeatedly appeared on various download websites licensed from EMI. If this had happened during the license period, it would have been disturbing - even though shit happens and we should have gotten over it! - because EMI never had download rights from us. At the beginning of the licence period, there was no such item as downloads; at the end of the period (December 31st. 2003), downloads were clearly an important part of the future. The EMI license was not renewed because we were not willing to approve download rights

Fripp then sidebars that the artists - in whose name the battle against illegal downloads is fought - aren't actually any better served by legal downloads.

So, we have EMI taking money for putting online King Crimson tracks it doesn't own the rights to. Isn't that, ooh, illegal uploading of the sort for which the RIAA punishes single mothers and postmen to the full extent of the law?

Oh, and it turns out that EMI were tardy in returning the master tapes to King Crimson material when it no longer had legal rights to them.

[Thanks to y for the tip]