Indie Label Takes on the RIAA

Canadian indie label Nettwerk Music Group and Chicago-based Mudd Law Offices have joined the fight against the RIAA on behalf of consumers who download music.


NEW YORK – Canadian based artist label and management company Nettwerk

Music Group has joined the fight against the RIAA on behalf of

consumers who wish to download music.

In August 2005, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)

filed a complaint against David Greubel for alleged file sharing. Greubel

is accused of having 600 suspected music files on the family computer.

The RIAA is targeting nine specific songs, including “Sk8er Boi” by

Arista artist, Avril Lavigne, a Nettwerk management client. The RIAA has

demanded Greubel pay a $9,000 stipulated judgment as a penalty, though

it will accept $4,500 should Greubel pay the amount within a specific

period of time.”

“Suing music fans is not the solution, it’s the problem,” stated Terry

McBride, C.E.O of Nettwerk Music Group.

Nettwerk became involved in the battle against the RIAA after 15

year-old Elisa Greubel contacted MC Lars, also a Nettwerk management client,

to say that she identified with “Download This Song,” a track from the

artist’s latest release. In an email to the artist’s website, she

wrote, “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.”

Chicago-based Mudd Law Offices will take on the legal battle. Charles

Lee Mudd Jr. has represented individuals subpoenaed and sued by the RIAA

since the suits began in late summer 2003.

Mudd stated, “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.” Joining the litigation team will be

Scott Lundhagen, an associate with Mudd Law Offices, and as local counsel,

John G. Browning of Browning & Fleishman, P.C., Dallas, Texas.

The RIAA has issued more than 1,000 subpoenas to various Internet

Service Providers (ISPs). These ISPs include commercial, academic, and

private providers of internet service.

“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.

Nettwerk Music Group has agreed to pay the total expense of all legal

fees as well as any fines should the family lose the case against the


“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


“My family owes a huge debt of gratitude to Mr. Terry McBride and his

company and artists they represent,” said Greubel. “Further, every

music fan, every citizen owes him gratitude for his courage to stand up and

say, ‘This is not right!’ Anyone who has been involved in the legal

system knows the feeling of being forced into a position they do not

believe in, simply because they did not have the resources to have their

day in court. Mr. McBride has stood up, and again said, ‘This is not

right!’ Thank God for people like him.”

The RIAA defines itself as “the trade group that represents the U.S.

recording industry” and its mission statement includes, ”to foster a

business and legal climate that supports and promotes our members”

creative and financial vitality. Its members are the record companies that

comprise the most vibrant national music industry in the world. In support

of this mission, the RIAA works to protect intellectual property rights

worldwide and the First Amendment rights of artists; conduct consumer

industry and technical research; and monitor and review state and

federal laws, regulations and policies.”


Nettwerk Music Group is Canada’s leading privately owned record label

and artist management company, responsible for managing some of North

AmericaÂ’s biggest artists such as Sarah McLachlan, Avril Lavigne and

many others. Nettwerk has several offices located around the world

including New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Nashville and London. Its home

office is in Vancouver, B.C.

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