A MESSAGE FROM CONNIE
The following is a statement recorded by Connie Francis and broadcast on Baltimore Net Radio on October 11, 2012. We ask you to please take the time to read this, and the announcement that follows, which both illustrates and highlights the gravity of the problem.
This is Connie Francis, and I’d like to take a moment to speak with my good friends, my loyal fans and all other listeners of Baltimore Net Radio.
I have been active in the recording industry since the age of 17, in the mid-50s, beginning with my first record label MGM. Since that time, numerous other labels and independent entities continue to re-release my recordings both in the United States, in the UK and every corner of the world where records are sold.
I’d like to talk about a very serious subject: music piracy or bootlegging as it is often called. I don’t know if you realize that it has become the number one biggest problem facing the music industry today, not to mention the file sharing of music. Now, while downloading just one song may not seem like such a serious crime, the accumulative impact of millions of songs downloaded illegally has become devastating, not only to me but to every recording artist in the industry. One study places the annual harm at $12.5 billion in losses to the US economy. Well, that is an extremely low number than what it actually is. Remember, these downloads go without any compensation at all to anyone: to the artist, to the composers of the song, to the publishers, to all those involved, and who helped to create that song.
My CDs are being sold by the tens and tens of hundreds, thousands really, on the Internet by many unauthorized sources. These are not authorized CDs – they are pirates, bootlegs. Today they have the audacity to offer on one particular company a CD of mine that I own myself on Concetta Records, my own label!
There’s one more thing I’d like to ask my fans. I ask you please do not upload my music, or videos, or DVDs — both personal and private — on either YouTube or Facebook. It would be even better if they would remove what they have already uploaded. I understand that my fans want my music to be out there for others to enjoy. However, this too is an unauthorized and illegal use of my music. No offense friends, I love you, but I need your help to put an end to this sort of blatant and brazen piracy of my recordings.
If you are aware of anyone committing the illegal act of music piracy please go to www.RIAA.com and click on To Report Piracy. You could also call the RIAA in Washington, DC at 202-775-0101.
When recording this announcement, there were quite literally, thousands of Connie Francis files on YouTube. However, YouTube is like an iceberg, and visibly displays only a fraction of the damaging scenario since it is actually connected to by an incalculable number of world-wide sites by others who have posted URL links to specific Connie titles.
Were the uploads of poor quality, it would not change the fact that they are illegal, but would have minimal impact upon legitimate production and sales of material. However, our research has indicated that the improving of sound quality has become a competition among some fans who, unwittingly, have subsequently uploaded Connie Francis titles of superior audio reproduction to that of commercially available mp3s.
The term “commercially available” should not be interpreted as meaning “officially available”. The two are not the same and, possibly, the best way of highlighting, and illustrating, the enormity of the problem is with the following facts:
FACT — To date, more than 3000 YouTube video and audio files have been successfully removed – frequently resulting in up-loaders complaining about our action!
FACT — Internet browsers offer free add-ons, and YouTube itself provides a click-on button to facilitate immediate illegal downloads of any video or audio file.
FACT – Connie Francis YouTube hits run into multi-millions, every one of which is a potential financial loss on mp3 downloads or streaming. Present estimates place this loss to Connie at $800,000, and rising!
FACT — Some of these competitive superior sound quality uploads have been subsequently downloaded, transferred onto CDs and sold commercially on pirate labels. We have the product to prove this. Estimated losses are incalculable.
FACT — Uploads to YouTube and other sites have included material for which all recording costs were personally paid for by Connie Francis, who retains 100 per cent ownership. This material had been leased to legitimate labels under specific one-off licensing agreements, and the copyright remaining with Connie. Following upload of these titles, floods of mp3 albums have been released, on which these tracks are included.
FACT — Not one royalty statement has ever included these stolen titles.
FACT – These stolen titles are being offered for download by Amazon, iTunes, 7digital and countless other major digital music providers throughout the world.
FACT — One of Britain’s most respected leading music weeklies has a webpage dedicated to YouTube videos. Incredibly, this publication not only provided direct links to copyright Connie Francis material, but also included one for a title exclusively owned by Connie, and which had never been made commercially available! The title was subsequently picked up by an Internet dealer and sold on CD.
FACT — At the last count, Amazon and iTunes were each advertising in excess of 350 different Connie Francis mp3 albums, and 7digital more than 200. We have copies of all artwork and screenshots of pages advertising the product. The overwhelming majority of these albums do not appear on royalty statements.
FACT — Sites advertising Connie Francis mp3s for downloads are also offering, as an alternative, the same product on a CD-R selling for considerably more than a conventional CD. These sales have gone unrecorded on royalty statements. The financial loss is impossible to calculate.
FACT – Worldwide there are more Connie Francis titles simultaneously available for purchase than at any time in her career. DOUBLE FACT — This unprecedented volume of availability coincides with the lowest-ever level of declared royalties.
Connie, and all members of her team, hate the fact that loyal fans are left feeling hurt by the action necessary to defend her intellectual rights and copyrights. We hope you will now better appreciate the need for this action.
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