The question is not cut and dry.
The Sony-Columbias-BMG's of the world follow human nature in wanting to get as much as they can for as little effort as they have to put forth. As a result, typically, only the material which they feel has the greatest popularity is made commercially available. You're not going to find the solo version of Linda McCartney singing "Hey Jude" on itunes, or any commercially released record or CD. Yet the major music corporations will cherry pick, and make examples of anyone they catch file-sharing this tune, or others which they claim to have a copyright to, but can't be bothered to release. The corporations claim that it is not excessive greed behind such lawsuits, but a desire to protect the interests of the recording artists. These would be the same recording artists who by most contracts are forbidden to dictate which of their songs will be recorded, how the material is presented, and how it is produced. These recording artists would include such luminaries as Joseph Byrd, whose 1967 recording, "The United States of America" is listed in music history books as the first productive use of synthesizers in contemporary music. Joe had this to say about the material being re-released on the Sundazed label: "I had less than 1% input into the Sundazed re-release, and that's more than I'm getting in royalties! They did email me, and asked if I'd be interested in doing notes. I asked for $300 and got it. Sundazed took out all references they found controversial, including one about Bill Graham."
I'm sure it an accident that caused Leonard Nimoy to sue Paramount after finding they'd been marketing his image to various companies, such as Heineken, for many years - but somehow forgot to pay him any royalties for it. The case was strung out for a long time, until they wanted him to appear in a Star Trek movie, but he refused to read the script until the lawsuit was resolved and he got paid.
Per the "Washington Post" 5/5/2009, "The May 29 front-page story "For R&B Star, Day Job's the Real High Note" provided a fascinating look into the life of Herb Feemster, the local musician whose hit songs "Reunited" and "Shake Your Groove Thing" helped propel his duo, Peaches and Herb, to international fame. Mr. Feemster had to sue his record label to recoup unpaid royalties. He is merely the latest in a long line of recording artists who have filed lawsuits against their record labels after allegedly being cheated out of royalties. Indeed, the record labels' systematic exploitation of prominent musicians -- from Prince to Poison to the estates of Count Basie and Benny Goodman -- has been well-documented."
So, should recording artists be paid for their work? Of course. Can you count on the vast majority of the music industry to give proper recompense from monies received? No. Their motivation is greed. Their modus operandi pushing formulaic garbage, and the concept of talent would only get in the way in the planning of their marketing divisions.
The same choking off of talent in the name of "greatest return on dollar" is evidenced in DVD releases. Will the world ever see the most requested title of the 60's "Batman" series released? If so, will it be doctored like the horrible cut and paste job of "WKRP - Season 1", where the spliced out nearly all of the real music heard in the series, and replaced it with generic rubbish which demanded no royalties? It's been 3 years since season 3 was released, will "Beverly Hillbillies - Season 4" ever see the light of day? It's been 12 years since "Green Acres - Season 3" was released. Hey MGM, where's season 4?
In essence, it seems like the greed of the "entertainment industry" is forcing people to do things like file share to get things they aren't willing to provide. And when that happens, the industry cries "foul" and starts suing, instead of seeing the cause of the problem in the mirror.
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