Ryan Adams Fans Charged Under New Anti-Piracy Law
Tue, 14 Mar 2006 16:05:18
In a precedent that could have major ramifications for the music industry, two men were arrested for posting tracks from the Ryan Adams album Jacksonville City Nights prior to its release date. If convicted on all counts -- including conspiracy and copyright infringement -- the men would each face up to 11 years behind bars.
Robert Thomas, 24, and Jared Bowser, 21, are accused of leaking album tracks to an Adams fansite about a month prior to the commercial release by Lost Highway Records, which is owned by Universal Music Group. They are believed to be the first individuals charged under the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act (FECA), which makes pre-release copyright violations a separate offense. Thomas and Bowser will be prosecuted by a special division of the U.S. Attorney's office.
While they surely realize that the case won't score them any public relations points, the record label is standing firm behind the decision to make legal mincemeat out of pre-release leakers.
"Universal Music Group is committed to vigorously protecting the creative works and rights of its artists," the label said in a statement, going on to claim that the leak "damages" Adams and disrupts the label's marketing plans.
While it appears that Adams and the defendants have refrained from comment so far, US Attorney Jim Vines didn't hesitate to jump into the mix, saying, "Any perception of that copyright violations are victimless crimes is just plain wrong. Theft of music, trade secrets, and other intellectual property victimizes the creators of such work, who have a legal right to determine how their work is distributed."
RIAA chairman Mitch Bainwol also released a statement praising the prosecution, while early online feedback from music fans seemed to be mixed.
-- The ARTISTdirect Staff