Musicians and record companies have spent years in court trying to quash free music file sharing, which they claim has hurt sales and infringed on their copyrights. In the race to shut down free P2P sharing systems, however, 54 top recording acts and their labels are running out of road.
According to Billboard.com, The Recording Artists Coalition (RAC), along with The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences and other music groups, have signed a brief urging the Supreme Court to overturn an opinion by the ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that unauthorized P2P systems, like Kazaa and Morpheus, are not liable for “contributory copyright infringement.”
Members of the RAC who signed the brief include Canadians Avril Lavigne, members of Barenaked Ladies and Diana Krall. The diverse group also includes Krall’s husband Elvis Costello, The Eagles, Sheryl Crow, Brian Wilson and Dido.
Eagles singer Don Henley and Crow are among those who have spent years in courts and before the U.S. Senate singing the blues over the state of the music industry since the inception of free file sharing.
When file sharing began in the late ‘90s, album sales faltered and record companies blamed their woes on music being widely available on the internet, often before their records were even released. But recently, record sales have rebounded from their slump leading some industry analysts to wonder if maybe the slowdown was more a result of the poor quality of popular music during that period, as well as outdated marketing and promotion.
In recent years, the record companies fought back by licensing their music to pay-per-use services, like Apple’s iTunes. Their decision has paid off in spades, with Apple reporting this week that sales are through the roof and steadily improving.