How badly can they not get it?

Saturday 5 January 2008

The music industry (a misnomer: I really mean the blood-sucking short-sighted middlemen who have nothing directly to do with music) is apparently so clueless that they now are suing people for buying CDs and then ripping them for their personal use: Download Uproar: Record Industry Goes After Personal Use.

The RIAA's legal crusade against its customers is a classic example of an old media company clinging to a business model that has collapsed. Four years of a failed strategy has only "created a whole market of people who specifically look to buy independent goods so as not to deal with the big record companies," Beckerman says. "Every problem they're trying to solve is worse now than when they started."

Amen.

Update: turns out the Washington Post got it wrong, and the suit is about copying .mp3's to file sharing services. So this is not an example of whole new levels of cluelessness, just the same old levels of cluelessness.

Comments

[gravatar]
Dave St.Germain 4:44 PM on 5 Jan 2008

the RIAA surely stinks, but this story isn't quite right

[gravatar]
Ned Batchelder 5:12 PM on 5 Jan 2008

Thanks Dave, I amended the post.

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Michael Foord 5:53 AM on 6 Jan 2008

But the RIAA *are* trying to stretch things in this case.

What they are trying to say is that the act of copying the files into the shared folder *made the copies illegal* ('unauthorized') - not specifically the act of sharing them. This is further than they have attempted to go before...

[gravatar]
Robert Kieffer 10:04 AM on 6 Jan 2008

Actually, if it's not clear that the Washington Post got it wrong. In an NPR interview on Talk of the Nation ( http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17814972 ) they interviewed both the Cary Sherman (the Post reporter) and Marc Fisher (the head of the RIAA). Basically it boils down to this ...

Fisher: The RIAA is not going after personal use. It's only interested in people who share files.

Sherman: That's what the RIAA says publicly, but that's not what their actions in the courtroom show.

Most of the debate centers around this quote from RIAA attorney Jennifer Pariser, in Capitol v. Thomas: "When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song.' Making 'a copy' of a purchased song is just 'a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy''" (as quoted on ars technica, http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20071002-sony-bmgs-chief-anti-piracy-lawyer-copying-music-you-own-is-stealing.html)

I suspect there's a little bit of truth on both sides. If the RIAA had it to do over again (and they most certainly will), they'd be more careful about stepping on the personal use issue. In both the Thomas case mentioned above, and the Howell case mentioned in the Post article, the defendents appear to have been sharing the files they ripped. Meaning the cases don't center on personal use. It's just that the RIAA is implying copying for personal use is wrong in these cases - presumably to help bolster their position.

Regardless, I find the RIAA's whole position on copyright and sharing to be astoundingly short-sighted. As evidenced by their recent focus on college students. I mean, come on, can there be a shorter path to oblivion than to start suing your next generation of customers??? This just shows that they've given up and are merely trying to squeeze what little profits remain out of the industry before it gets replaced by artists and businesses that have a clue.

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