There were a number of stories yesterday evening and in this mornings' papers about UMG's suits against Grouper.com and Bolt.com for video file sharing. The suits, filed in the Central District of California, are also reported to allege reformatting and creating derivative versions of songs from artists like Mariah Carey.
Ms. Carey, of whom the New York Post ran a fetching picture (but with an inset picture of Doug Morris's head), also featured in a companion story, entitled "Exclusive," about a direct to consumer broadcast network launched by UMG containing UMG content on a subscription basis. Subscribers will have access to material not generally available, at least through lawful channels. The company that built the service for UMG is quoted as saying that "Entertainment industry executives have realized that they need to have their own networks, or else the software companies will just buy them and there won't be an entertainment business anymore," although I presume he was not referring to AOL's purchase of Time Warner a number of years ago. It should also be noted that existing entertainment network broadcasters do have their own websites, none of which have been as successful as other alternatives, especially of course free ones. Whether a subscription based service - versus a free, advertiser supported one -- is the way to go apparently continues to be the subject of debate.