FBT vs. Universal Case Settled

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FBT vs. Universal Case Settled

Postby Amaranthine » Oct 30th, '12, 23:10

...finally, five years later. :zipped:

Digital income. It's a topic that continues to cause fits in the music industry, and if there's one big moment when record companies probably realized that a new day had dawned in their business, it was September 3, 2010, the day the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a huge decision in a path-breaking case involving the music of hip-hop superstar Eminem.

Two years after that appellate ruling, many other musicians have since brought claims over digital income.

Now, the case has settled. On Monday, FBT Productions and Universal Music Group informed a California federal court a resolution had been reached, putting to rest a dispute that has been closely followed throughout the industry.

If the birth of Napster pointed to change in the way songs would be distributed online, and if the rise of iTunes signaled that money could still be made in the selling of music, it was the 2010 appellate ruling in FBT Productions v. Aftermath that offered the fearsome prospect for many record labels that artists would soon be entitled to a much larger share of revenue generated by the exploitation of sound recordings.

The case pitted Eminem's production team of Mark and Jeff Bass against Eminem's record label.

Originally filed in 2007, a jury verdict two years later was a defeat for the plaintiffs, but then the case went on appeal.

At the 9th Circuit, the judges ruled that a lower court had erred by not deeming the label's agreements with third-parties download providers as licenses instead of sales. For the music industry, the difference was enormous. Under typical licensing or leasing provisions of artist-label contracts, about 50 percent of collected revenue gets handed over to artists. Under sales provisions, it's usually not more than 15 percent.

After the ruling came out, the big question remaining in the FBT Productions case was the damages for improper royalty treatment. The case was remanded back to a district court as the parties, FBT Productions and UMG, continued to quibble with each other.

After much delay over disputed packaging deductions, witness testimony and additional claims brought to the dispute, another trial was on track for April, 2013. The proceedings would have detailed the millions of dollars the Bass brothers felt they were owed plus the alleged way that a big music conglomerate like UMG apportions revenues between its foreign and domestic divisions before sharing the proceeds with revenue participants. In June, the judge in the case blasted UMG for attempting to "dupe" him.

But on Monday, the five-year-old lawsuit ended on private terms, and according to the plaintiffs' lawyer Richard Busch at King & Ballow, to the mutual satisfaction of the parties.

Other musicians continue to fight to apply the 9th Circuit ruling on "licenses" to their own contracts. Class actions from the likes of The Temptations and Rob Zombie are still being litigated. Other artists such as REO Speedwagon, Kenny Rogers, Sister Sledge, James Taylor and on and on have brought a barrage of lawsuits on this front. Some entities in the music business such as Sony Music have made class action settlements. Many others are fighting, pointing to contractual differences and recent agreements that could interfere with the hopes of artists attempting to put a bigger hand in the digital jar.

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Re: FBT vs. Universal Case Settled

Postby Man In The Mirror » Nov 2nd, '12, 15:16

Is this the reason Em haven't worked with them for a couple of years?
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Re: FBT vs. Universal Case Settled

Postby SG. » Nov 2nd, '12, 15:18

^It's the reason they're not on his newer albums anyhow.
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Re: FBT vs. Universal Case Settled

Postby Man In The Mirror » Nov 2nd, '12, 15:21

So Em and FBT has been beefin? If so are they still beefin even tho the case is settled?
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Re: FBT vs. Universal Case Settled

Postby SG. » Nov 2nd, '12, 15:23

I don't think they've been beefing personally, but just that label politics are holding them back.
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Re: FBT vs. Universal Case Settled

Postby Man In The Mirror » Nov 2nd, '12, 15:35

^Thanks for clearing that up for me, mate :)
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Re: FBT vs. Universal Case Settled

Postby Emadyville » Nov 3rd, '12, 23:29

Zabe wrote:I don't think they've been beefing personally, but just that label politics are holding them back.


that was my guess, which is so fucked up when you think about it.
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Re: FBT vs. Universal Case Settled

Postby AbramIsaac » Nov 4th, '12, 00:51

I still don't expect to see the Bass Brothers on any future Shady releases, which makes me sad...
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Re: FBT vs. Universal Case Settled

Postby Man In The Mirror » Nov 8th, '12, 13:44

Let's hold our thumbs, people!
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Re: FBT vs. Universal Case Settled

Postby Doodlebug » Nov 11th, '12, 15:07

I actually started on the web in the early 1990's and have watched it grow. The one area that was lacking was laws pertaining to this new digital medium.

When I used to read up on it there was only one book in my library and mostly it covered the basics of copyright laws.

But since you can see that the internet has been about licensing and not so much sales. Even when you purchase software, it technically is about the license for use and not the actual product. One reason for this is because the same software changes from year to year via upgrades and of course updates. A person that has a license for say version2.5 will get updates to 2.5 if they hold the license and will get a cut on the upgrade to a 2.6 license. When this upgrade is made, they won't normally purchase a new CD for 2.6 but an upgraded license.

> In cases regarding music, you made the purchase via a membership and in cases where you purchase from iTunes, you still are required to use iTunes to download and export your music to your other players for reuse. The license enables you to continually change your mind on where you want to use this or load it to. But -buy- something through a sales and you know you got one shot to put it where you want it and boom.. no more.

So you can see - a sale would be finite - one CD handed over or digitial upgrade. But, licensing would be more about continual updates/upgrades and enhancements downloaded to you as they are made. This is a license. And licenses can be tracked and often uses associated keys to identify ownership.

One other reason for it being called a license is because most often we need to move the digital medium to other player types - or other computers. If we simply purchased it - it is what it is - just one item you hold. But by licensing, we can move it, buy more licenses and again - we have much more leeway into moving or manipulating it.

When anything is associated with online usage - it is license based sales and never one-time-only sales - as if you purchased a solid item that you can hold in your hands, such as a cell phone which has a life span... no viable updates or upgrades - less you chuck it and buy a new one.

Licensing also rarely comes in a physical format, and most often its software for the sake of having a backup.
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