We're used to seeing the RIAA hunting down those who don't pay for their music, but now metal record label Century Media--home to major scene acts like Napalm Death, Iced Earth, and In Flames--has taken sweet retribution into their own hands. The label has filed charges against nearly 7,500 individuals in the US--4,327 for downloading Iced Earth's record Dystopia and 3,136 for Lacuna Coil's Dark Adrenaline. If found guilty, these filesharers could be looking at a hefty fine.
Currently, Century Media only has a long list of IP addresses to go after. If the New Jersey court where they're filing charges rules in their favor, the label's lawyers will be able to extract the personal information of each downloader from their internet service providers.
We learned yesterday that people in the United States illegally download more music than citizens of any other nation, but the great majority of that theft comes out of the pockets of larger major labels, with artists like Drake and Rihanna taking the biggest pieces of the piracy pie. We certainly didn't expect to see a metal label at the helm of the next big filesharing lawsuit. Century Media is taking something of an atypical route when it comes to protecting their property, but it wouldn't be the first time they balked at the way the internet shares music. The label made headlines last year when it pulled its artists out of Spotify, claiming that the streaming service was a "downward spiral."
Representing Century Media, Jay McDaniel spoke on the choice to sue filesharers: "What many people don't understand is that it's the distribution that's the evil influence. It does the real damage and harm, not just to the client but to the culture industry, and to creative endeavours in general. Illegal downloading has reached epidemic proportions, as thousands of works are pirated on a daily basis through bit torrents that rob copyright holders of the value of their creative work."
Is this effective strategizing or is Century Media responding too harshly and anachronistically to a phenomenon that's old news to everybody else? [NME]