Posts Tagged Corporations
In a move designed to discourage the unauthorized distribution of their albums as well as to bleed money from their audience, German based record label Century Media have brought suit against a Little Rock, Arkansas man for illegal singing Iced Earth songs in the shower. The man, identified as David Chaste, a mechanic and father of four young children, began singing the chorus from the Iced Earth song “Wolf” while taking a shower after work on August 5th, 2012. Chaste, who did not own the album the song was on, was overheard by his wife and, therefore, was distributing property that did not belong to him.
According to Cy Ganiff, the lawyer for the company, this sort of distribution of stolen property makes Chaste liable for nearly one million dollars in damages against the company. However, Century Media has offered to make the lawsuit go away if Chaste simply agrees to pay thousands of dollars in legal costs or name his next child Napalm Death.
According to Century Media spokesman James Heister, the record industry loses millions of dollars a year on people using their products without permission. “Think about how many people sing songs by Century Media bands on a regular basis. That is revenue the label is entitled to. After all, it is our property and they haven’t paid to use it,” said Heister, while kicking a puppy and burning a baby with a lit cigarette.
Last month, Century Media brought suit against Myrtle Washington, a 92-year-old woman who was overheard humming “The Star Spangled Banner” on line at a Kroger in New Port Richey, Florida. “The Star Spangled Banner” was, of course, first used on the Iced Earth album “The Glorious Burden”. The case was dismissed as by a local magistrate because it was considered frivolous, but that hasn’t stopped the label from looking for other creative new streams of revenue. Novel new methods of fundraising, like kidnapping and ransoming the children of those involved in illegal file sharing, are being strongly considered.
In spite of the unpopularity of the suit among many fans, some have rallied in support of the label’s right to use the American legal system as a giant extortion machine. Ralph Sycophant, a lifelong metalhead, self proclaimed rebel and founder of the internet protest group called Property Over People, believes that Century Media should continue with the lawsuit. “Companies have the right to do anything they want in order to make a profit. This is America. It’s in the Constitution,” said Sycophant.
In a move to reestablish itself as a force in the cigarette industry, tobacco giant Philip Morris today purchased exclusive naming rights to emphysema. They will pay the World Health Organization (WHO) 900 million dollars over the next 10 years in order to own the right to name the disease whatever they want to. Initially, Phillip Morris simply wanted the words “Philip Morris, Official Sponsor of Emphysema” to be spoken each time the crippling illness was mentioned, but for an additional 100 million per year they have been given the ability to give the disease an entirely new name. In order to get rid of the negative connotations people have with the word “emphysema” the disease will now be referred to by doctors and health care professionals as “Skippy”. “We felt that emphysema strikes a gloomy chord with the public and that there was no harm in brightening the name up a bit,” said Philip Morris Public Relations Director Henry Haldeman.
The corporate re-naming of diseases is part of a larger privatization trend that includes selling formerly public property to corporations. It started with the privatization of water supplies and other formerly public resources, but has now moved to more abstract concepts like disease names. The bidding war has already started for the rights to name rhumetoid arthritis and diabetes, the next two ailments that will be on the block. There have been rumors that the right to name several body parts is the next frontier. Last year, The Disney Corporation offered 400 million dollars for the rights to name the human pancreas, but a serious bidding war has yet to develop.
Part of Philip Morris’ deal with the WHO is to pledge 10 million dollars a year to emphysema research. According to “We are not trying to convince people that emphysema, uh, excuse me, Skippy, is a good disease. We are just trying to remind people that Philip Morris is an important member of the global community. Therefore, we will continue to maintain our commitment to eradicating Skippy from the planet,” said Philip Morris CEO James Erlichman in a press conference to announce the deal.