RIAA Bosses Try To Explain Why Suing College Kids Is Good For Business
from the try-that-one-again? dept
They start by trotting out the bogus stats about "losses" due to piracy -- which are based not just on assuming that every download is a lost sale, but often using ridiculous multipliers that are allowed in calculating damages in lawsuits. To support these claims, though, they point out that "finding a record store still in business anywhere near a campus is a difficult assignment at best." That ignores quite a few important points. First, academic (not RIAA-financed) studies have shown that unauthorized downloading has no noticeable impact on CD sales. But, more importantly, it ignores the overall shift in the music buying market. It's increasingly difficult to find a standalone record store anywhere thanks to the shutting down of places like Tower Records and Warehouse Music. More important, however, is the fact that the only retailers profiting off of music sales are those that use it as a loss leader -- including Apple, but also Wal-Mart, Best Buy and others.
Sherman and Bainwol then try to get moral on everyone -- claiming that this is about taking the moral high ground (which you should remember the next time you listen to your RIAA label-released song about drugs, sex and murder). They repeatedly call it "stealing," when everyone from the Supreme Court on down have pointed out that copyright infringement isn't stealing. Bainwol and Sherman also screw up (on purpose?) by stating at one point that "downloading" music is illegal. That's never been shown. Uploading or "sharing" music has been shown to be infringement in terms of distribution -- but downloading still has never been found illegal itself. They also claim that the lawsuits are working, ignoring the fact that since they began the strategy of suing, file sharing has only increased. And we thought doing the same thing over and over again while not getting the intended result was the definition of insanity.
They then go on to whine about universities not helping them enough in turning over students -- but perhaps that's because universities recognize the importance of due process in letting an accused person defend themselves in a court of law. Bainwol and Sherman talk about all the "education" policies they've undertaken on college campuses... but conveniently leave out telling students to drop out of school in order to pay off an RIAA "settlement" offer.
The good news, though, is that if you read the comments from readers below the article (at least as of this posting) they're almost universally intelligent, well written, well thought out rebuttals against the RIAA's position, pointing out many of these mistakes, and how the RIAA's weak attempt to defend an obsolete business model by threatening, bullying and suing students isn't likely to help the big four record labels who fund it stay in business. Of course, we doubt that Sherman and Bainwol will take those messages to heart -- or even look to help the labels they represent adapt to the modern era. They'll just keep on whining about "theft" and pushing for the government to put in place new protectionist laws to protect the old, obsolete business model.