Iced Earth and Lacuna Coil fans sued by label for filesharing
Fan hunt: Iced Earth
Independent record label Century Media has taken legal action against 7500 fans of Iced Earth and Lacuna Coil for illegal filesharing of the bands’ material.
Papers filed in a New Jersey court identifies 4327 people who downloaded Iced Earth album Dystopia and 3136 users who copied Lacuna Coil’s Dark Adrenaline.
The filings currently call the accused “John Doe” but specify their IP addresses. The court will later decide whether that information may be utilised to find the users’ real names.
If the decision is found in favour of Century, their lawyers will instruct internet service providers to supply the personal information of each defendant.
Previous similar lawsuits have resulted in individuals being told to pay a large fine, or risk an even higher fine being imposed upon them at trial.
One recent round of action called for the court to award damages of $150,000 per downloaded item. Those accused could then be asked to make a $2900 payment instead of going to court.
Jay McDaniel, representing Century and two other media firms, tells NorthJersey.com: “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.
“This kills the little producer and it has an extremely destructive effect on the entertainment industry. Record sales don’t drive the music business any more – touring does. So illegal sharing of music on the Internet has killed an entire industry.”
Some legal experts disapprove of the large-scale process. US Magistrate Juge Gary Brown says: “The plaintiffs seemingly have no interest in actually litigating the cases, but have used court powers to obtain sufficient information to shake down the John Does.”
A spokesman for the Electronic Frontier Foundation adds: “The goal doesn’t seem to be to fight infringement – it seems to be to get settlements. That’s where the money-making is.”
Meanwhile, the BBC reports that the music industry enjoyed a 40% increase in income from on-demand streaming, with services like Spotify and We7 projected to generate nearly £700m this year. Download sales are up 8.5% and physical sales are 12% down, although CDs and vinyl still bring in 61% of the industry’s turnover.