Canadian-based label and management company Nettwerk Music Group, who we all know and love, has stepped in on the side of truth, justice and, well... the American way. In other words, they've joined the fight against the RIAA and their misguided attempt to thwart illegal downloads by suing kids, moms, and other average, everyday people.
In August of 2005, the RIAA filed suit against David Greubel for alleged file sharing, accusing him of having 600 suspect music files on his family computer and demanding he pay $9,000 as a penalty. Greubel is one of hundreds of "regular folks" to be sued by the RIAA, with over a thousand subpoenas to various internet service providers still outstanding.
Nettwerk suited up for battle with the RIAA after 15-year-old Elisa Greubel contacted MC Lars (a Nettwerk management client) via his website to say that she could really identify with his "Download This Song". Her email read, "My family is one of many seemingly randomly chosen families to be sued by the RIAA. No fun. You can't fight them, trying could possibly cost us millions. The line ‘they sue little kids downloading hit songs’, basically sums a lot of the whole thing up. I'm not saying it is right to download but the whole lawsuit business is a tad bit outrageous.”
Nettwerk Music Group has agreed to pay the total expense of all legal fees as well as any fines the Greubel family might incur should they lose the case. “Suing music fans is not the solution, it’s the problem,” stated Terry McBride, C.E.O of Nettwerk Music Group. Chicago-based Mudd Law Offices have been recruited to lead the charge for the Greubel family. Charles Lee Mudd Jr. said, "In an effort to combat the continued injustice of the RIAA’s consumer lawsuits, attorneys, musicians and artist managers have joined forces to defend the interests of David Greubel and his family in the United States District Court, Northern District of Texas. Together, these parties hope to demonstrate the injustice and impropriety of the RIAA Litigation Initiative.”
"Since 2003 the RIAA has continually misused the court and legal system, engaging in misguided litigation tactics for the purpose of extorting settlement amounts from everyday people – parents, students, doctors, and general consumers of music,” Mudd stated. “In doing so, the RIAA has misapplied existing copyright law and improperly employed its protections not as a shield, but as a sword. Many of the individuals targeted by the RIAA are not the ‘thieves’ the RIAA has made them out to be. Moreover, individual defendants typically do not have the resources to mount a full-fledged defensive campaign to demonstrate the injustice of the RIAA’s actions. Today we are fortunate that principled artists and a management company, Nettwerk Music Group, have joined the effort to deter the RIAA from aggressive tactics – tactics that have failed to accomplish even the RIAA's goals."
“Litigation is not ‘artist development.’ Litigation is a deterrent to creativity and passion and it is hurting the business I love,” insists McBride. “The current actions of the RIAA are not in my artists’ best interests.”
Kudos to you Mr. Terry McBride for stepping to the plate on this one. Good luck storming the castle!