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Your phone’s ringing: Cease & Desist

July 6, 2009
by

CELLPHONE

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, or ASCAP, if you prefer brevity in acronyms, has decided that they’re not doing enough to squeeze all the money and fun out of the music industry. They’re filing class-action suits against both Verizon and AT&T, suggesting that ringtones of popular songs are technically public performances. This means that they think people should be paying royalties to the composers / artists, in the same way radio stations have to pay to play songs. This would mean that cellphone companies that have paid to license music for ringtones would also have to pay every time they were played by someone’s phone. Seems a bit untenable to me, and the EFF (a digital rights group) agrees. Regardless, the suit is off to court in New York. I guess all those extra Michael Jackson ringtones that have sold since the artist passed on just aren’t being cashed in on enough.

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