21 Mo’ Tenors?

Wednesday, December 29th 2004

This week the library I work at during school breaks received a package of CDs as settlement from a class action lawsuit against the RIAA (they who famously sue music downloaders constantly) earlier this year. I myself received a check for $13 and change from the deal. But the bulk of the settlement was to be paid out in ‘donations’ to libraries of CDs.

Unfortunately, the RIAA apparently used it as a dumping ground for what wasn’t selling. Does a medium size suburban public library really need 7 copies of 3 Mo’ Tenors? Or 6 of the Doo Wop II box set? The list goes on… dozens were Spanish CDs for example. Obscure titles and artists (often in multiple copies) made up roughly 75% of the hundreds of CDs. Granted there were a few that patrons could conceivably want to check out (Will Smith, Jessica Simpson, etc), but even those were few and far between. And also don’t appeal to the whole demographic of our patrons. And no library has enough shelf space to stock 7 or more copies of an obscure CD wanted by a very small prospective portion of patrons. Ooh, alliteration!

And most of the usable ones were ‘cut’ with a notch in the top of the case. I’m told this means they were intended as promo CDs and not for sale. So the libraries apparently got what the RIAA couldn’t even give away…

Not that I would expect it to happen, but how great would it have been for the RIAA to let libraries have a say in what they got? A list to pick from at least? The goodwill from such a venture could have been amazing.

I can just picture some RIAA exec cackling madly and rubbing his hands while packing these boxes… another victory for The Man.

And this isn’t an isolated incident of a frankly bizarre shipping manifest. It’s been going on since at least June, when I remember seeing this article on MSN.

The librarians in charge of this area salvaged what they could, while the rest will be dumped in the book sale next summer. Perhaps some good can come of it after all.

29. December 2004 by Chad Haefele
Categories: General, Libraries/Info Sci | Leave a comment

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