Rockers want their roll

CAST off all my fears, say the Allman Brothers and Cheap Trick - music combos of a type politely known as "classic rock", Your Lordship - who are suing Sony Music for fair royalty payments on legal downloads of their sounds.

Say Sony charges 99 cents for delivering a track over the internet. Before working out royalties it subtracts charges for CD packaging and breakages, leaving the bands receiving just 4.5 cents. For some reason the bands are unhappy paying the nonexistent costs of "breakages" of immaterial non-objects. They say they should get half the net revenues - 30 cents per download.

 "This has been the elephant in the room for a while," Cheap Trick manager Dave Frey told the Chicago Tribune. "If you don't dispute the accounting now, that establishes how it's going to be in the future."

And why should freelance journalists worry about this? Because we, too, have our work downloaded. When the Lexis-Nexis database sells a single article for $3, we, too, want half the net revenue.

We wish them - and smaller bands who can't afford the lawyers - every success in strengthening the principle.

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