Universal Music Group, the parent company of Interscope, Geffen, Island Def Jam and Motown Records has issued a mandate that all its artists limit their streaming MySpace audio content to 90 seconds. According to Wired magazine, the policy was instituted back in November, and called for maximum damages of $150,000 for copyright infringement of any UMG material. UMG cited the fact that many websites convert streaming MySpace tracks into downloadable MP3s as a major concern.
"The poster child for [user generated media] sites are MySpace and YouTube," said Doug Morris, the CEO of Universal Music Group. "We believe these new businesses are copyright infringers and owe us tens of millions of dollars." The policy change comes in addition to UMG deciding not to renew its contract with Apple's iTunes service in favor of creating its own subscription-based store Total Music. UMG cited the fact that many websites convert streaming MySpace tracks into downloadable MP3s as a major concern.
Even though the news was accidentally made public by a non Hip-Hop artist (Universal's Colbie Caillat), the decision could impact artists under the UMG umbrella, such as Jay-Z, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Akon and Ghostface Killah.
Supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal have threatened to march outside of NBC's Today Show on Thursday, Dec. 6. Thursday's show will feature an appearance by Maureen Faulkner, the widow of Officer Daniel Faulkner, whom Abu-Jamal was accused of murdering in 1981. Faulkner will appear to promote her book Murdered by Mumia: A Life Sentence of Pain, Loss and Injustice. The protest has been sparked by what the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition deems is unequal coverage on the subject, since Abu-Jamal will not be given the chance to speak on the incident and his subsequent incarceration.
"After 26 years of this harrowing experience, the purpose of writing this book is to finally find a peaceful closure to my husband's tragic ending," says Maureen Faulkner. "A jury of 12 convicted Mumia Abu-Jamal of murdering my husband, and for 25 years Abu-Jamal has been on death row acting as if he was a Hollywood superstar or political prisoner...He has a voice, and my late husband doesn't."
Abu-Jamal's conviction was upheld during appeals in 1989, 1991 and 2001, although his death sentence was suspended due to reviews of some of the many inconsistencies involved in the case. Since Abu-Jamal's arrest and imprisonment he has written the best selling book Live From Death Row and his cause has been supported internationally and referenced by the likes of dead prez, Mos Def and Beanie Sigel, among others.