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British and Dutch police raids shut down the world's largest pre-release pirate music site

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374w ago - British and Dutch police today shut down the world's biggest source of illegal pre-release chart albums and arrested a 24-year old man in an operation coordinated between Middlesbrough and Amsterdam.

The raids, which were coordinated by Interpol, follow a two-year investigation by the international and UK music industry bodies IFPI and BPI into the members-only online pirate pre-release club known as OiNK.

OiNK specialised in distributing albums leaked on to the internet, often weeks ahead of their official release date. More than 60 major album releases have been leaked on OiNK so far this year, making it the primary source worldwide for illegal pre-release music.

The site, with an estimated membership of 180,000, has been used by many hardcore file-sharers to violate the rights of artists and producers by obtaining copyrighted recordings and making them available on the internet.

It is alleged that the site was operated by a 24-year-old man in the Middlesbrough area, who was arrested today. The site's servers, based in Amsterdam, were seized in a series of raids last week. OiNK's operator allegedly made money by setting up a donations account on the site facilitated by PayPal.

Cleveland Police and the FIOD-ECD SCHIPOL branch of the Dutch police undertook...
 

Sony BMG's chief anti-piracy lawyer: "Copying" music you own is "stealing"

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376w ago - Duluth, Minnesota – Testimony today in Capitol Records, et al v. Jammie Thomas quickly and inadvertently turned to the topic of fair use when Jennifer Pariser, the head of litigation for Sony BMG, was called to the stand to testify. Pariser said that file-sharing is extremely damaging to the music industry and that record labels are particularly affected. In doing so, she advocated a view of copyright that would turn many honest people into thieves.

Pariser noted that music labels make no money on touring, radio, or merchandise, which leaves the company particularly exposed to the negative effects of file-sharing. "It's my personal belief that Sony BMG is half the size now as it was in 2000," she said, thanks to piracy. In Pariser's view, "when people steal, when they take music without compensation, we are harmed."

Pariser has a very broad definition of "stealing." When questioned by Richard Gabriel, lead counsel for the record labels, Pariser suggested that what millions of music fans do is actually theft. The dirty deed? Ripping your own CDs or downloading songs you already own.

Gabriel asked if it was wrong for consumers to make copies of music which they have purchased, even just one copy. Pariser replied, "When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say...
 

RIAA wins key victory; accused file sharer must pay $220,000

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377w ago - A Minnesota woman must pay $220,000 to six of the top music labels after a federal jury found on Thursday that she violated their copyright.

Accused of encouraging the illegal sharing of more than 1,700 songs, Jammie Thomas, 30, elected to fight it out with the recording industry instead of settling out of court for far less money. The ensuing legal battle marked the first time the recording industry has argued a file-sharing case before a jury.

Since 2003, many of the 26,000 persons sued by the Recording Industry Assoc. of America (RIAA) have avoided litigation by agreeing to pay a few thousand dollars. Thomas, who could not be reached for comment, has always maintained her innocence. Accused of sharing music through the use of peer-to-peer service, Kazaa, she told the jury that she didn't even own a Kazaa account.

The jury didn't buy her argument. Thomas was ordered to pay $9,250 for each of the 24 songs that the RIAA concentrated on. She was initially accused of sharing 1,702 songs. The decision is important in that it sends a message to file sharers that Internet anonymity won't protect them from lawsuits, said Chris Castle, a copyright attorney and longtime music industry executive.
 

Old Zune users get ALL the new features!

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377w ago - From Gizmodo:

"The first generation 30GB Zune–which 1.2 million of you already purchased–is getting all the new Zune's features. All. Sure, the new Zune is more of a half step forward than a completely new design. But Microsoft's done something fantastic here by rewarding first gen buyers with cool new stuff that also happens to be free by software upgrade. And talk about spin– Microsoft just took a middling jump in hardware and turned it into a genuinely good move for loyalists (as well as a PR miracle). Are you paying attention Apple?"
 

Radiohead tells fans to pay what they want for album

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378w ago - Radiohead, one of the world's most influential rock bands, plans to sell its new album from its Web site as a digital download and let fans choose what they want to pay.
With music sales in decline globally for seven successive years, the industry is engaged in a debate over how best to reverse the trend.

Radiohead said its seventh studio album "In Rainbows" would be available from Radiohead.com from October 10 in MP3 format, meaning it can be played on all digital devices. In the latest twist in the move to digital music, fans can choose how much to pay, or can pay nothing if they prefer.

Very interesting concept indeed... think it will work, any fans here?
 
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