Alternatively, Augusto testified that â€œa common way to dispose of themâ€ is to give unsold promotional CD away, or he may throw them away. Both are unauthorized distributions.
That’s a real quote from a federal court filing from the Universal Music Group. I’m sure that you’ve seen CDs before either in used CD stores or maybe you’ve been given one by a record label. verbatim, the label on these CDs says “This CD is the property of the record company and is licensed for the intended recipient for personal use only. Acceptance of this CD shall constitute an agreement to comply with the terms of the license. Resale or transfer of possession is not allowed and may be punishable under federal and state laws.” Emphasis on the douchery is mine.
Can you imagine the balls on UMG to think that they can actually enforce this idea? And can you imagine how much of our money (this is a FEDERAL case after all) is being used to figure out if this block of mumbo jumbo is actually enforceable? By this rule, every single CD that was sent to me while I was the music director of WPOB in Plainview, NY or the Arts & Entertainment Editor of the UMass Lowell Connector and every CD sent to my in my current job has to be in my possession until the original record label asks for it back. Could you imagine what the offices of Rolling Stone or Spin magazine would look like if they legally had to keep every CD that was sent to them for review?
Not too long ago I spoke to Ariel Hyatt of Ariel Publicity about the music industry in general and she gave me some pretty astounding numbers in regards to promo CDs. In her career, she estimates that over time she estimates that she’s sent out about 700,000 promotional CDs and has only gotten two back. Two out of seven hundred thousand! That’s 0.000003%!
The case is about someone who resells promo CDs on eBay and in the meatspace.
I hope that it becomes obvious to the judge in this case that the statements made by UMG are complete horseshit. No one in their right mind can actually look me in the eye and tell me that the granted license on a CD that is sent to me as promotional material is so binding that I can’t even trash the disc if I wanted to, no matter what is on the cover. This is bullshit in the highest regard.