HITS Daily Double
Macca calls MyMP3.com “a cynical attempt to exploit the value of famous songs without the copyright owners’ consent."

MP3.com, Napster Feel Wrath Of Artists

McCartney Suit, Bad Press Reveal Still-Cresting Wave of Resentment Toward Online “Theft”
The pending summary judgment in the RIAA’s suit against Napster, scheduled for delivery on Monday (3/27), and an anticipated settlement in the industry group’s suit against MP3.com may help draw the contours of the new music economy. But a lot of artists are still really pissed.

MP3.com has been served with yet another lawsuit, this time by Paul McCartney’s MPL Communications publishing company, which alleges the ground-breaking dot-com’s MyMP3.com service (the basis of the RIAA complaint as well) violated MPL’s rights. In a release, MPL deemed MyMP3.com “a cynical attempt to exploit the value of famous songs without the copyright owners’ consent in order to attract greater ‘traffic’ to its Web site." Barrister Carey Ramos (of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison) is handling legal duties for MPL.

Will the face of the cute Beatle generate more sympathy for the record industry, which has taken a beating in the populist MP3 revolution? It remains to be seen, but an article about the impact of free file-sharingprogramNapster in a recent issue of online culture mag Salon gathered disgruntled quotes from a range of musicians who feel the popular underground MP3 source is stealing their music.

Aimee Mann, Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes, Kristin Hersh Creed singer Scott Sapp and Q Prime supermanager Cliff Burnstein are among those giving damning testimony about the financial devastation wrought by what they consider digital piracy. Said Robinson to author Eric Boehlert with typical directness, “Napster is robbing me blind.”

Napster declined to comment on the story, and many observers feel that artist indignation could change the complexion of the digital-music debate. But not everyone feels the artists’ claims are merited. Mark Pesce, Chairman of the USC Film and Television School’s Interactive Media Program, criticized the article’s claims in a letter, noting that a presumed “right” to profit from music is nowhere guaranteed, describing such argumentative territory as “quicksand.”

While it’s hard to say how all this will play out, it’s clear that MP3.com and Napster have a long way to go to convince artists and their advocates to view the changes taking place as positive ones. Let the spin doctors begin doctoring!