This isn’t an IP story and that’s what makes it an IP story. The Register reports that New York Attorney General Eliot “the Blitzer” Spitzer is trying to crack down on a practice known as “payola”, which is when record companies use middle-men to pay radio stations to play their songs. It is illegal for radio stations to play specific songs for a reward unless they inform listeners that a payment has been received and Spitzer has served subpoenas on various major record companies in a bid to prove that the practice is taking place. So what’s the IP angle, the IPKat hears you cry. Well, the article concludes with the statement that
“His apparent investigation into the music labels comes as they are trying to take the high road by suing thousands of their customers for piracy. Much to the labels' dismay, their most recent sales figures show that revenue is actually on the rise despite still rampant file-trading and a massive increase over the past two years in broadband connections. Myriad music executives this week were seen covering their eyes and ears in a show of solidarity against these sales gains”.Even though “payola” has nothing to do with file-sharing, the record company’s heavy-handed approach in enforcing their copyright has brought music “piracy” to the table in an area which it would ordinarily have little to do with.
More on payola here, here and here