Defining Success: Were The RIAA's Lawsuits A Success Or Not?
from the you-can't-handle-the-truth dept
As the RIAA lawsuits showed us, most people will settle. Data from the recording industry lawsuits, revealed in a court case, showed that 11,000 of the 18,000 Does settled immediately or had their cases dropped by the labels. Seven thousand either refused to settle or never responded to the settlement letter, but after the RIAA subpoenaed their identities and filed "named" lawsuits against them, nearly every one settled.This, it appears, is the evidence that the RIAA's lawsuit campaign was a whopping success. Of course, some of us might define success in different ways. The RIAA set off this legal strategy, back in 2003, by claiming that this was part of its "education" campaign to get people to stop using file sharing networks, and go back to buying music directly. How has that worked? Oh, it hasn't. The number of people using file sharing networks to access unauthorized works has continued to grow at a rather rapid clip. And, of course, the real point of all of this was the bottom line: it was to try to help save the big five (at the time) record labels. Except that hasn't worked either. The big five became the big four and the big four are pretty damn close to becoming the big three, once everyone sorts out what to do with EMI. And all of them have a lot less money than they did before.
After years of litigation, the number of people who have pursued a trial all the way to a verdict can be counted on one hand.
As for how successful the lawsuits have been for those big record labels? So successful that EMI threatened to leave both the RIAA and IFPI if it didn't back away from these lawsuits. So successful that Sony execs referred to the lawsuits as a "money pit" that have cost the industry millions without bringing back anything near that much in settlement fees.
The fact that lots of people paid up to settle extortion-like fees didn't stop people from using file sharing networks to access unauthorized materials. It didn't get more people to buy. It didn't help the bottom line. It hasn't helped the record labels sell more product. It certainly hasn't helped the big labels stay in business. Hell, it hasn't even helped the RIAA. Towards the end of the legal campaign, the RIAA ended up having massive layoffs of its own staff. And, let's not even get into discussing what the average music fan thinks of the RIAA and the big labels these days...
Success? If that's what you consider a success story, then you're doing it wrong. How you measure a success is everything, and if your metrics are that you got a large percentage of people to pay up for extortion-like lawsuits, pretty much guaranteeing they'd never buy from you again, while the rest of your business burned to the ground, I'm sorry if I have to question your definition of "success."