Merlin Sues LimeWire, Seeking at Least $5 Million
Merlin Sues LimeWire, Seeking at Least $5 Million

LimeWire Founder Understood Legality of P2P, Attorney Says
-- A pie chart and a letter could help determine the financial penalties levied upon LimeWire owner Mark Gorton. The two items were among the pieces of evidence presented on the day Gorton took the stand in a New York federal court.

CNET's Greg Sandoval was inside the courtroom and offers a few examples of LimeWire's disregard for copyright law. However, Gofton told the court he simply misunderstood the legal implications of his business and misinterpreted the threatening actions of record labels. "I was wrong," Gorton told the court. "I didn't think our behavior was inducing [copyright infringement]. I understand that a court has found otherwise."

The labels' attorney presented evidence that shows Gorton and his team had actively pursued pirates, writes Sandoval. A pie chart showed that LimeWire had broken down its users in the following manner: 25% were termed "hardcore pirates," 25% were "morally persuadable," 20% were "legally unaware" users were said to be 20 percent of LimeWire's users, and 30% were people who merely "sampled" music. The attorney told the jury that LimeWire managers concluded that only 20% of its users could be convinced to pay for music.

Later, Sandoval recounts, the labels' attorney showed the jury a letter the four major labels sent to LimeWire explaining how the 2005 Supreme Court ruling against P2P company Grokster applied to LimeWire and warning they would sue him personally if the company did not cease and desist. Writes Sandoval: "Gorton didn't take them at their word. He said he thought that the labels just wanted him to start trying to convert users to some kind of paying service." ( CNET)

Sony, Library of Congress Post Historic Recordings Online
-- A trove of historic recordings is now available for your online enjoyment. Sony Music Entertainment and the Library of Congress have developed a web site with over 10,000 rare and historic audio recordings that are available digitally for the first time. "National Jukebox" has music released by the Victor Talking Machine Company between 1901 and 1925. Jukebox content will be updated regularly with additional Victor recordings and titles made by other Sony-owned U.S. labels, including Columbia and OKeh.

At its launch the site has such recordings as the Original Dixieland Jazz Band performing "Livery Stable Blues," Lena Wilson singing "T'aint Nobody's Biz-ness If I Do" (1923), and Ziegfeld Follies star Fannie Brice singing "My Man."

Fortunately, Sony has granted the Library a gratis license to stream its entire pre-1925 catalog. That's notable because rights issues prevent the Library from streaming just anything in its collection. Some items in its digital collection can be played by visitors to the Library's reading room, and some recordings are made available for online streaming. But for the most part a person who does not make the trip to the Library cannot enjoy the musical heritage it is tasked with preserving and archiving.

The web site helps visitors navigate the sea of music. Visitors can browse by artist. The site spotlights some of the jukebox's collection, such as a page dedicated to singer Enrico Caruso with 176 recordings. The site also breaks down the music into playlists, such as one of early Tin Pan Alley songs and a ten-track collection of music for the ballroom dance "The Foxtrot."

Sony's partnership with the Library comes just four months after Universal Music Group donated more than 200,000 master recordings to the Library. And just a few weeks ago I featured the Library of Congress in the Digital Domain column (subscription required). (Press release)

Is the Live-Music Market Saturated?
-- Considering the need of today's artist to hit the road, it's worth wondering if too many artists are touring right now. Andrew Dreskin, CEO of ticketing startup TicketFly, tells Musician Coaching whether or not the live market has become saturated and what it means for venues and ticketing companies.

"I think at the macro level what we're seeing and feeling is that things are good, but not great. We're not in the depths of 2008, and we're also not in the delirious days of 1999. I think people also have a significant number of entertainment options these days, whether it's movies, video games, the internet, TV or concerts. People are spending their money wisely and deferring purchases. They're not waiting until the last minute like they were a couple years ago, but they're definitely being a little more cautious and taking a little more time.

"We're about to see a whole generation of performers head into retirement who historically have played stadiums and arenas. There is a movement towards smaller facilities. We're also seeing an industry where one of the traditional sources of revenue - recorded music - is under some pressure, which is causing artists and their agents and managers to seek more live dates. I think in some ways that is leading to a little bit of saturation for sure. But I don't think it's yet at levels that are in the danger zone." ( Musician Coaching)