A recent court judgement has allowed allofmp3.com to stay in business.
This is categorically a bad thing.
“But Eric!” you say. “Aren’t you a big supporter of digital distribution? Don’t you even think Kazaa and Soulseek and those are kinda sorta okay?”
Well, yes, I do, to an extent. I’m okay-ish with soulseek, because nobody’s selling anything. Yes, I’m losing money on the deal if someone steals a copy of Sublimation, but at least nobody else is making money off the deal.
Which is why I hate allofmp3.com. The Slashdot community is hailing their court victory as a triumph for the consumer, a blow against the evil RIAA. What they’re failing to note is that a sizeable portion of those artists on allofmp3 are not RIAA artists. They’re indie artists.
You’re still probably asking what the big deal is.
Well, see, it’s like this: allofmp3.com takes a CD, rips it, and sells the mp3’s. What’s so bad about this? They don’t pay anybody. How do they get away with this? Well, a particular loophole in russian law allows them to, provided that they have provisions for artist payment, if the artists signs up with them.
So, great, I’ll sign up with them…oh, wait, I need a lawyer familiar with russian copyright law…who speaks russian…and can deal with these guys…
If you’re an indie artist, how on earth are you going to afford a russian lawyer? It’s not like signing up for ASCAP, where you can fill out a few forms online and 6-8 weeks later a shiny silver ASCAP membership card arrives in the mail. This is deliberately difficult for the majority of allofmp3’s stable of “product” to get payment for.
It’s low, it’s wrong, and it’s not a blow for consumers’ rights or against big business. It’s a scam, plain and simple.
Worse still, when we had stuff up there – against our express wishes – they were selling tracks from the Footfalls EP and some older mp3.com tracks. They were selling things we were giving away for free.
That, my friends, is some stone-cold bullshit.