Stop the presses–important litigation alert

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is crowing about a ruling they got that people who sell promo CDs–that the recipient is given with full knowledge that the recipient is not supposed to sell the disc–are permitted to sell their promos on eBay and presumably in bricks and mortar stores as well.

Ah yes, a great victory for the EFFluviati. What does this mean exactly? It means that the EFFluviati once again have managed to screw artists and songwriters.

Promo discs are not stupid record company tricks, this isn’t “free goods” (also known as units given to retailers for resale). No one pays any royalties on these discs because no one is supposed to make any money off of these discs. Record companies may not pay record royalties on free goods, but they pretty routinely pay at least some mechanical royalties on free goods. There is, of course, a time honored tradition of people selling promo units, but they knew that if they got caught they’d probably get yelled at at least.

Of all the issues out there that we can worry about in our business, you would think that selling promos would not be one of them. Unless you are one of the EFFluviati, and then no issue is too small to screw artists and songwriters.

Or as one of the Mystic Knights of the EFFluviati recently told me with his best preppie sniff, “Well artists are just going to have to learn to live on less money.”

Let ’em eat cake, right?