Sony BMG Accused of Music Piracy – Assets Seized

There’s some breaking news surfacing out of Mexico. Police have raided a property, seizing thousands of CDs which contain unauthorized music. Sounds like a pretty plain news story had it not been an operation related to Sony BMG.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

For our regular viewers, the headline may give you a sense of de-ja-vu. Well, it’s more than just a weird feeling because, yes, last year, Sony BMG was sued for software piracy and had a property raided by French police. At the time, many people suggested that the raid in France was karma related given that even earlier, there was the Sony Rootkit fiasco where music CDs were released by Sony that destabilized people’s computers.

If it was bad karma, apparently, the company is still in the bad books. According to a report on Daily Tech, Sony BMG had a property raided by Mexican police over an unauthorized CD release.

The story goes that a pop artist by the name of Alejandro Fernández’s had a seven album contract with Sony. The artist had recorded other songs that never made it onto those seven albums. The contract he signed ended in 2008 and the artist got a new contract with Universal. Apparently, Sony found those songs and created an eighth album. Unsurprisingly, Universal was not too happy. Sony defended the creation of the album, saying that the discs were, like, “totally authorized”. They also said that Mexican courts would confirm their rights over the music.

“What Sony did that was wrong and illegal was to assume that they could take those tracks that weren’t part of the previous albums and release them as an eighth album as if it were new material over which they had rights,” says Jose Luis Caballero, Fernández’s attorney in Mexico. “And it’s perfectly clear that the company’s contract is limited to seven albums.”

A Slashdot commenter commented on how one could look at the case and follow the precedent set in the US for music piracy. The user calculated that the damages could be $1,151,460,000 if using the Tenenbaum precedent or $4,094,080,000 using the Thomas precedent.

It’s interesting that both the cases were brought up – particularly when Sony BMG is behind the Tenenbaum lawsuit. Either way, this seems to be the second time Sony shows a hypocritical side to their business when it comes to piracy.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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