Mom Rejects RIAA’s Settlement Offer, Goes to Third Trial with Middle Fingers In Air

As we previously reported, Jammie Thomas-Rasset was fined $54,000 on January 22 for illegally downloading 24 songs via Kazaa (yes, it was that long ago). The fine was delivered after Thomas-Rasset appealed the original verdict of $1.92 million, which Judge Michael Davis himself called “shocking.”

But it didn’t end there. The RIAA thought it was being even more reasonable when trying to settle with Thomas-Rasset by asking the file-sharing heroine to donate $25,000 to “an appropriate charity benefiting musicians” (and if they hear one more guffaw, they’ll sue your ass too!). However, the RIAA’s nemesis (and mother of four) has once again stuck her mighty middle finger up at the major labels by rejecting the settlement offer. This means the case will go to trial for a third time.

Joe Sibley, Robin to Thomas-Rasset’s Batman (otherwise known as her lawyer), said “Jammie is standing on principle here and will not accede to payment demands that the RIAA is making through an unconstitutional statutory scheme (that they lobbied for the creation of) and we will ride this train to its appellate end no matter how many future remittiturs are rejected.”

Rhymesayers Entertainment Announce Charity Benefit Concert for Haiti Hosted by Slug on February 9; Brother Ali, Freeway, Jake One to Perform

Rhymesayers Entertainment and its roster of musicians, like most of the world, feel the pain of Haiti and its citizens and are determined to help in any way possible. Accordingly, and appropriately, the record label has released information on a benefit concert set for February 9 wherein ALL proceeds will be donated to various charities to aid with the relief effort. The list of performers set to help raise funds for the event include Brother Ali, Freeway & Jake One, Sage Francis & B. Dolan, I Self Divine, and plenty of others, with the whole night set to be hosted by Slug of Atmosphere.

The show will take place at Minneapolis’ own First Avenue, costs $20, and will make you feel better about not getting off your ass and doing something with your life. Tickets are already available at plenty of outlets, and more information can be gleaned off the Rhymesayers website.

Below are a few quotes from Rhymesayers artists about the tragedy in Haiti.

“This is one if the greatest tragedies of our lifetime. It’s time for all of us to help the people and families who are suffering.” - Brother Ali

“It’s embarrassing to admit how unaware I’ve been of the living conditions in Haiti. And that’s before the earthquake hit. I’m honored to be involved with this fundraiser and I’m thankful for the conditions that allow me to be on the giving end of this charity. I trust that our fans feel the same way.” - Sage Francis

“The great people of Haiti live in the poorest nation in our hemisphere and have been impacted by the largest disaster in our hemisphere this century. This isn’t about charity, this is about respect for humanity.” - Toki Wright

“At this moment Haiti needs the world’s assistance. It’s a privilege to be a part of something so special. Not only should we assist with donations for aid, food, and water, but let’s come together 6 months, a year from now and help with the rebuilding process.” - Muja Messiah

• Rhymesayers:

David Byrne Teams Up with Fatboy Slim and Every Available Female Singer to Release Concept Album, Due February 23

Oh, concept records. We love ‘em, and we kinda hate ‘em. Okay, but we really do love them, especially when they are born of David Byrne’s imagination, and HE CAN DO NO WRONG. NO WRONG!

What’s more, Byrne has teamed up with dance/electro DJ Fatboy Slim on the record. Fascinating… so does this mean we can expect to catch Byrne in a hotel busting a move in mid-air on a bike while Spike Jonze leads a troupe of mediocre dancers outside? Okay, enough brazen questions.

As cool as my aforementioned scenario would be, Byrne and Fatboy Slim actually intend to release a 22-track record about the life of Imelda Marcos, the former First Lady of the Philippines and her childhood servent, Estrella Cumpas. The record, which will be titled Here Lies Love, will also feature performances by Santigold, Florence Welch (of Florence and The Machine), Sia, Steve Earle, St. Vincent, Natalie Merchant, Tori Amos, Sharon Jones, and more. Not a bad lineup there, Byrne.

Here Lies Love will be released via Todomundo/Nonesuch Records on February 23.

• David Byrne:
• Nonesuch Records:

Iannis Xenakis Art Exhibition at The Drawing Center in SOHO until April 8

If you find yourself in New York (or you are one of the 8.5 million people who live there), you would be doing your brain a huge favor to check out the Iannis Xenakis exhibit at The Drawing Center in SOHO.

One of the pioneers of “computer music,” Xenakis was interested in the application of physics and mathematics to music. In addition, he was a Greek resistance warrior (really!) and an architect.

According to the press release:

Xenakis brought together architecture, sound, and advanced contemporary mathematics, moving away from traditional polyphony to create music comprised of masses of sound, shifting abstract aural gestures, linear permutation, and sonic pointillism.

Xenakis began with an obsession in the mathematics and physics of music; later in his career, he discovered that the mathematical methods that proved most aesthetically pleasing were so deeply ingrained in his mind that he no longer needed to do the math — this is precisely why he is considered a pioneer in music theory and technology. All the while, he was unrestricted in his creativity, allowing him to become a master of multimedia art.

This exhibition explores the architechtural drawings, graphic scores, and sketches of Xenakis and will be up until April 8, 2010.

Shearwater to Traverse The Golden Archipelago, North America

Jonathan Meiburg sure isn’t shy about reminding you about his day job. The sometime-Okkervil River collaborator and ornithologist won’t stop with naming his band after a sea bird: no, now he’s getting set to release the final album of a triptych — the second of which was called Rook, by the by — about the gradual destruction of nature at humankind’s hands. It’s like the UN Climate Change Report, with more pianos and ghostly vocals.

The Golden Archipelago, inspired by Meiburg’s student trips to such far-flung islands as the Falklands, Tierra Del Fuego, and the Galapagos — I mean see, geez, man, we get it, you care about nature — is due February 23 on Matador, with Meiburg and the shifting groups of musicians he calls Shearwater also heading out for a supporting tour in March. No word yet on whether they’ll be bringing a field guide and a pair of binoculars.

Keeping with the whole diligence-of-a-scientist thing, though, Archipelago will also feature a “dossier” full of related materials compiled by Meiburg himself, though you’ll only get it if you’re willing to help the band out.

The Golden Archipelago tracklist:

01. Meridian
02. Black Eyes
03. Landscape at Speed
04. Hidden Lakes
05. Corridors
06. God Made Me
07. Runners of the Sun
08. Castaways
09. An Insular Life
10. Uniforms
11. Missing Islands

North American Tour dates
03.13.10 - Austin, TX - Red 7 #
03.24.10 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl *
03.25.10 - Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506 *
03.26.10 - Washington, DC - Rock N Roll Hotel *
03.27.10 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom *
03.28.10 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda’s *
03.30.10 - Boston, MA - T.T. the Bears *
03.31.10 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rosa *
04.01.10 - Toronto, ON - Lee’s Palace *
04.02.10 - Ithaca, NY - Castaways *
04.04.10 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall *
04.06.10 - Minneapolis, MN - 400 Bar *
04.07.10 - Grinnell, IA - Gardner Lounge at Grinnell College *
04.09.10 - Norman, OK - The Opolis *
04.22.10 - Phoenix, AZ - Rhythm Room
04.23.10 - Tuscon, AZ - Club Congress
04.24.10 - Los Angeles, CA - Spaceland
04.25.10 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill
04.27.10 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
04.28.10 - Vancouver, BC - The Biltmore Cabaret
04.29.10 - Seattle, WA - Triple Door
04.30.10 - Pullman, WA - The BellTower
05.01.10 - Boise, ID - Nuerolux
05.04.10 - Denver, CO - The Walnut Room
05.07.10 - Austin, TX - The Parish=

# Jonathan Meiburg solo, backed by Xiu Xiu
* Wye Oak

• Shearwater:
• Matador:

IFPI Considers Civil Suit Against Former OiNK Admin

• On a Friday: This one, specifically, January 15, 2010. Allan Ellis, former admin of popular torrent site OiNK, was found not guilty of ‘Conspiracy to Defraud’ the music industry.
* Meaning: Your torrent site = Not cool. Sweet coin you made = Kinda cool.

• The following Thursday: The IFPI is considering levying a civil suit to reclaim some of the £200,000 for ‘artists’ it claims to have been swindled.
* Meaning: We want your monies, Mr. Ellis.

It took him two years to clear his name, and all the man wants now is to get on with his life, but clearly the IFPI has other plans. Saying incendiary things like “This is a hugely disappointing verdict which is out of line with decisions made in similar cases around the world,” and “The defendant made nearly £200,000 by exploiting other people’s work without permission,” the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry spokesman John Kennedy (no relation to you know who) is going to try to get his/theirs.

And just a little forbearance of our egos as smart consumers, here’s some sweet legal mumbo-jumbo about the inner workings of this from a real life lawyer:

I think they may be thinking about filing suit on it’s own behalf – as an association of labels. For example, IFPI vs. Oink and DudefromtheArticle[Ellis]. IFPI’s stated goal is to “safeguard the rights of record producers”. Look at the field of imprints published on its homepage. Those aren’t the corporate logos of “various artists”. They’re giant fucking record labels. After the industry lost the “make you shit in your pants” criminal trial to *gasp* a dude and jury of his peers, record companies are going back to more of the same: civil actions. Civil, as in we will sue your ass into bankruptcy and complacence. We know how that’s going. So far, mostly inneffective at stopping what’s practically a tidal wave. And the lawsuit angle definitely doesn’t play as well in the media, at least not when it’s grandmas and 12 year olds.

Whether or not a particular artist gets x% of the money for every song they have stolen, I don’t know. For sure they don’t get 100% passed straight on to them. At the very least the lawyers will be well paid out of any settlement. The record companies don’t just eat their legal expenses and pass the savings on to the bands. How much the labels/”publishers”/producers have agreed to pass on to the individual artists isn’t at all clear to me.

There’s a reason I pay a retainer, to pay off in ‘sitches like this.

Read: Lawyers win.



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