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Judge approves MAP settlement


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#1 of 7 OFFLINE   Brian Perry

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Posted June 16 2003 - 03:11 AM

http://www.sltrib.co....ness/66076.asp

Well, it appears that we may see a few dollars after all. According to the article, each person who filed a valid claim should receive $12.63 in cash. (I'm still skeptical that I'll ever receive a penny.) It doesn't make up for the money I was supposedly defrauded for the 500 or so CDs I purchased over the time frame in question, but heck, it'll buy a couple of burgers.

Not a bad day for the lawyers, either. I figure they stand to make over $20 million. Out of the $67 million cash award, only $44 million is going to pay consumers--the remaining $23 million goes to legal fees and distribution costs, the latter of which shouldn't be more than a few million.

I'm still amazed how the non-cash portion of the award is being portrayed. They say 5.6 million music CDs, worth $76 million, will be distributed to schools. As I've written before, who picks these CDs? What's to prevent the record companies from donating bargain bin CDs that nobody wants and yet still make it sound as though they're "paying" what comes out to $13.50 per CD? Just the fact that these CDs are being valued at retail prices and not the true cost to the record companies is appalling.

#2 of 7 OFFLINE   Michael St. Clair

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Posted June 16 2003 - 03:31 AM

I never filled out a claim. I decided the potential payout wasn't worth letting them have my name and address for their database.

#3 of 7 OFFLINE   Brian Perry

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Posted June 16 2003 - 03:49 AM

I wonder how (or if) they will determine if someone's claim is valid. Like I said, I'm probably on the high side as far as CDs purchased, but I don't have a single receipt for any of them. Will all or part of the administrative costs go towards trying to confirm claims or are they just going to take our word for it? I'm assuming they're just going to send checks to everyone in the database who filed a claim (checking, of course, for obvious problems like duplicate entries, etc.). However, who knows--they could decide to blow the money on an "enforcement staff" that would go through the tedium of verifying each person's claim.

Maybe lawyers familiar with class action suits could explain this. In the past, I've never filed the paperwork for various CA-suits stemming from stock transactions in which I've stood to receive only pennies. To me, it wasn't worth the hassle of producing brokerage statements. This is the first time I've seen one where all you had to do was send in a claim stating that you purchased something--with no proof.

We'll see.

#4 of 7 OFFLINE   Jeff Ulmer

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Posted June 16 2003 - 04:48 AM

Quote:
It doesn't make up for the money I was supposedly defrauded for the 500 or so CDs I purchased

Just to be clear, you weren't defrauded of anything, you willingly and knowingly paid the going price for an item you wanted to purchase. Just because that price may have come as a result of a questionable practice doesn't mean you were defrauded. It is only a crime because there was proof of collusion. If the prices had been what they were without any discussion, there would have been no case.

If lowering a price later on becomes a crime, Walmart is in big trouble.

#5 of 7 OFFLINE   Brian Perry

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Posted June 16 2003 - 05:28 AM

Quote:
Just because that price may have come as a result of a questionable practice doesn't mean you were defrauded. It is only a crime because there was proof of collusion. If the prices had been what they were without any discussion, there would have been no case.

Jeff, I'm not sure of your point here. There was collusion, the studios agreed to a settlement, and the wronged parties will be getting something, albeit tiny. (By the way, I don't really feel I was defrauded--it's probably too strong a word. But in general, if someone pays too high a price for something due to illegal practices, I think it's a fair description.)

#6 of 7 OFFLINE   Jeff Ulmer

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Posted June 16 2003 - 06:17 AM

My only point was that this is not fraud. It may be collusion, but it isn't fraud. Posted Image

#7 of 7 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted June 16 2003 - 07:07 AM

I don't know why we're squabbling over the meaning of the word "fraud", but let it be known that rather than answering the charges that they colluded to violate antitrust laws (a big part of what keeps the "free" in our "free market"), the following companies agreed to this settlement:

Warner-Elektra-Atlantic Corp.
Sony Music Entertainment
EMI Music Distribution
Universal Music Group
Bertelsmann Music Group
Tower Records
Musicland Stores
Transworld Entertainment

Speak ill of them when you can, circumvent them whenever possible, and wish for their imminent irrelevance.
"Only one is a wanderer;
Two together are always going somewhere."





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