Music Labels End File-Sharing Lawsuits; New Tactics Announced
WASHINGTON — The Recording Industry Association of America said it is ending its five-year campaign of filing copyright infringement lawsuits against individuals who download songs illegally on their computers. Instead, RIAA said it will work with ISPs to curb the practice. Major providers will forward warnings from RIAA to alleged illegal downloaders; if the individuals continue downloading songs illegally, the ISPs may stop providing service.
RIAA has filed 35,000 copyright suits since 2003. But analysts said even though most defendants settled out of court, the campaign failed to curb illegal downloading. The association’s tactics recently came under high-profile criticism when a Harvard law professor agreed to defend Joel Tenenbaum, a Boston University student who is accused of illegal music downloading.
Dr. Charles Nesson said RIAA’s tactics amounted to a private organization abusing U.S. courts as a “collection agency,” substituting intimidation for due process.
Wired magazine editorialized that the basic legal theory behind RIAA’s lawsuits remains undecided: Does a consumer violate copyright laws simply by having an open-share folder of copyrighted music on a peer-to-peer network? District judges disagree, but no federal appeals courts have ruled on the issue, the publication reported.
RIAA said that although it plans no additional suits, pending cases will go forward; Tenenbaum’s case is slated for trial next month in a Massachusetts district court.
An attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation told PC World magazine that the recording indutry’s new tactics mean “more music fans are going to be harassed by the music industry.”
Nielsen Soundscan said sales of digital music rose 28% in 2007, passing the $1 billion mark. RIAA’s data also show increased activity in 2007: Consumers downloaded 809.9 million singles compared with 586.4 million in 2006, a 38.1% increase, and 42.5 million albums compared with 27.6 million in 2006, a 54% increase.
AMOA, Industry Members Rally To Support Texas Operator Bob Young
SO. BARRINGTON, IL — Two former presidents of the Amusement and Music Operators Association are spearheading efforts to raise $20,000 to support former AMOA board director Bob Young, Condor Videotronics (Wharton, TX). Young, who underwent the amputation of a leg some years back, suffered a stroke last year and has been recuperating in the hospital for nine months, fighting his way back from partial paralysis.
According to past-president Frank Seninsky of Amusement Entertainment Management (E. Brunswick, NJ), Young and wife Kathy sold most of their route; Kathy continues operating the remainder while visiting her husband daily at a healthcare center 80 miles from their home. Young’s medical bills are running $5,000 monthly; the family has no health insurance.
“I know how difficult it is for proud people like Bob and Kathy to even consider receiving financial help, but now is the time for us to help one of our industry soldiers,” Seninsky said.
Past-president Marion Paul, Fannie Farkle’s (Gatlinburg, TN), kicked off the fundraising effort. Numerous AMOA past-presidents have contributed $1,000 each, and several directors have contributed $500 each.
Donations of $100 and up are urgently requested, said Young’s colleagues, who added that all funds will go to his medical bills. Checks should be made to Katherine L. Young and can be mailed to P.O. Box 1366, El Campo, TX 77437. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. To help AMOA keep track of funds, Seninsky has requested that donors notify him of their contributions at email@example.com.
Coin-Op Industry’s Washington Law Firm Expands
WASHINGTON — The firm of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, which represents the Amusement and Music Operators Association and the American Amusement Machine Association in the nation’s capital, is making progress toward its goal of eventually expanding to 1,000 attorneys who generate $1 billion in annual revenues.
Although Sonnenschein laid off three dozen lawyers last spring, it also added 64 attorneys in 2008 and absorbed some offices and practices. Last week, Sonnenschein said it is hiring about 100 attorneys from the Wall Street firm of Thacher Profitt & Wood.
As a result, Sonnenschein said it expects to take over the U.S. Treasury Department contract with Thacher to help manage part of the massive federal financial bailout known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Sonnenschein is now chaired by Elliott Portnoy, who personally handled the AMOA-AAMA account for several years. Portnoy has stated that his goal is to grow the company into the ranks of America’s 25 largest law firms. According to recent press reports, Portnoy said he expects 2009 to be Sonnenschien’s most profitable year ever as a new, activist Obama Administration helps create increased demand for Sonnenschien’s expertise in regulatory law and public policy.
Photo-Me To Debut Coin-Op Dance Heads Recording Booth At ATEI
LONDON — Photo-Me will unveil the coin-op version of its popular new entertainment concept – Dance Heads – at the upcoming ATEI 2009 amusement exhibition taking place here at Earls Court, Jan. 27-29.
Dance Heads uses green-screen technology to superimpose patrons’ heads on professional dancers’ bodies while they sing along to popular hits. Providing the privacy and ease of use of Photo-Me’s traditional photobooths, the new Dance Heads recording booth allows patrons to sing and dance to original recordings from classic artists such as The Beach Boys, The Jackson 5 and Elvis. Fully animated backgrounds complete the effect, creating a unique music video in which the customer is the pop star. The machine dispenses a DVD of the video to the patron at the end of the recording session.
The new Dance Heads kiosk is exclusively available from Photo-Me in the UK, Ireland and throughout Europe. Photo-Me is exhibiting at ATEI in booth #1000.
NBVA Changes Venue And Date For 2009 Bulk Vending Show
SCOTTSDALE, AZ — The National Bulk Vendors Association said it is moving its annual convention and trade show from Caesars Palace to Bally’s Las Vegas. Previously planned at Caesars for April 23-25, the rescheduled trade event moves up a week for an April 16-18 run at Bally’s.
NBVA officials said the venue and schedule change provides comparable exhibit space and room accommodations, while remaining on the Las Vegas Strip. Both Bally’s, which offers 2,814 rooms, and Caesars are owned and operated by Harrah’s Entertainment. Bally’s has a large shopping area, located one floor below its gaming level, which includes several restaurants. The resort also has a station stop on the Las Vegas Monorail system.
The show site change, officials added, will save the association a significant amount of money. Reduced NBVA show rates must be booked by Jan. 30; the special rates are blocked between April 14 and 19. NBVA can be reached at (888) 628-2872.
President Bush Pardons Former Bally Gaming Chief
WASHINGTON — President Bush on Dec. 30 pardoned Alan Stephen Maiss, who served as president and chief executive of Bally Gaming Inc. from 1991 to 1993.
Maiss pled guilty in 1995 to two felony counts of failing to report a crime. He admitted that while heading Bally, he allowed the company to keep doing business with a video poker operation, Worldwide Gaming (New Orleans), even though Maiss knew Worldwide was not properly licensed.
Worldwide’s Christopher Tanfield identified himself as an associate of New York’s Genovese crime family, according to one Louisiana newspaper. The Reno Gazette-Journal said Maiss is reportedly a past-director of the Nevada Coin Operators Association.
Betson Creates Two Financing Vehicles For Pharaoh’s Treasure Pusher
CARLSTADT, NJ — Now available from Betson Enterprises, the nation’s largest distributor, are two financial products that help ease the purchase of Family Fun Co.’s hit pusher.
The first program offers Pharaoh’s Treasure without any payments or interest for six months. It’s valid through Jan. 31. The game is also available through a special 30-month lease created by Betson Financial Services; the leasing program consists of $399 monthly payments and requires no down payment.
Pharaoh’s Treasure is a four-player coin pusher that boasts colorful lighting, five ways for players to win and a progressive jackpot. Its small footprint, only 42 square inches, is the game’s distinctive characteristic. “The eye-catching design along with a popular theme makes this pusher one of the best-earning redemption games,” said Betson redemption specialist Scott Gilmore.
More information can be had by calling Betson at (201) 438-1300, ext. 3318, or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.