Since 2003 thousands of people have been sued by the Recording Industry Association of America for sharing copyrighted music files. Now a Canadian record company is standing behind one of these file-swappers.
Nettwerk Music Group is a Vancouver-based company that is both a record label and artist manager for Canadian musicians like Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan, Sum 41, and the Barenaked Ladies. Nettwerk CEO Terry McBride told Chartattack that he doesn't think suing music consumers is such a great idea. "Litigation is a deterrent to creativity and passion and it is hurting the business I love. The current actions of the RIAA are not in my artists' best interests."
In fact, the company is so against the RIAA's actions that they've chosen to back up one of the people the association is suing. David Greubel of Arlington, Texas, is one of thousands of file-swappers against whom the RIAA is pursuing legal action. The association has accused him of downloading 600 tunes but is upset about nine in particular, one of them being Avril Lavigne's "Sk8er Boi." The RIAA is asking Greubel to cough up $9000 (US) for the nine tracks, $4500 if he pays quickly.
Soon after the RIAA filed suit, Greubel's 15-year-old daughter Elisa e-mailed McBride, telling him that she identified with the song "Download this Song" by Nettwerk artist MC Lars and informing him that her family had been sued by the RIAA. "You can't fight them, trying could possibly cost us millions," she wrote, according to the Toronto Star. "The line 'They sue little kids downloading hit songs' basically sums a lot of the whole thing up. I'm not saying it is right to download, but the whole lawsuit business is a tad bit outrageous."
So Nettwerk has decided to back the Greubels by covering all of the costs of their legal battle with the RIAA, including any fines the family should incur if it loses the fight. The Greubels are being represented by Mudd Law Offices, which has been a part of several similar cases in the past.
Expressing his gratitude to McBride, Mr. Greubel told Toronto Star, "It's huge that he's stepping away from the crowd. The RIAA certainly likes to foster the impression to the public that they speak for the music industry, and I think what Mr. McBride is saying is: 'No, you don't. You might speak for a small segment of it but you don't speak for the industry as a whole.'"
*The views and opinions expressed in this article are not that of Soul Shine Magazine, but of the parties involved. We as a company believe in legal downloading and the purchase of artist's CDs.
Writer: Michelle Garcia