from the i-can-math-like-the-music-industry dept
The RIAA has stepped up its game in the final stages of its lawsuit against Limewire, where the focus is on determining damages. As part of this, it has cranked out an illuminating chart showing that the decline of the music business rests entirely on file sharing. Nowhere among the multi-colored lines will you find any references to an aging record-buying demographic, the proliferation of thousands of independent labels or even the ultimate game-changer itself, the internet.
As you well know, the internet was invented in 1991 by billionaire tycoon, Al Gore. In its infancy, the internet was nothing more than a forum for conspiracy theorists to exchange anti-government writings and ASCII porn. However, everything changed in 1998 with the simultaneous debut of Napster and the mp3, both invented by Shawn Fanning. With this new "distribution system," the music industry could no longer afford to ignore the looming force of the internet, at least not for more than the next half-decade. Now, with billions at stake, the RIAA has unleashed its ultimate weapon: the line chart. Below is their devastating "Exhibit A:" filed in the lawsuit against Limewire:
Broken down bizarrely into "Albums per Capita," the RIAA's chart takes care to point out two things:
2. All else being equal, record sales will grow indefinitely.
But that's not all. The number crunchers over at the RIAA have also entered the following charts as eye-catching evidence of the havoc wreaked by file sharing.
Exhibit B: Napster vs. Kerosene Sales
Kerosene usage dropped off considerably before the 1990's, but was still growing slowly for most of the decade. As this previously unpublished RIAA chart clearly shows, 1999 (1 P.N.*) was kerosene's peak, which was then followed by a decade-long slide. Consulting economists from George Mason University have stated that Napster's arrival "didn't have a goddamn thing to do with kerosene's decline." This testimony has been stricken from the record as "irrelevant," as no economist consulted was a former employee of the major labels. Conclusion: the world would be a better (if slightly more odorous) place if Napster had never existed.
Exhibit C: The Internet vs. Vehicle Theft
With this chart, obviously the RIAA intends to show a clear correlation between the internet's introduction and the decline of vehicular theft, an unfortunate situation that has put many honest car thieves out of work. It is also hoping to prove the old adage that "illegal downloading is exactly like stealing a car -- which is why car theft declined as file sharing increased."
As the data shows, vehicle theft followed the music industry's decade-long climb from 1986-1996. Or tried to, anyway. Vehicle theft peaked in 1991 at an unsustainable level of .0066 vehicles stolen per capita. Unfortunately, the web turned these hard-working car thieves into lazy music thieves, thwarting a vehicular theft pattern that should have risen to epidemic levels over the next decade. The data points to one damning fact: you can do more financial damage with a single internet connection than has been done in the entirety of human history up to 1998.
Exhibit D: The RIAA and the Honest American Farmer
As everyone knows, Real Americans Don't Share™. And nothing is more American than farming, one of the first victims of the internet's cruel efficiency. The American farm has been on a decline since well before records were kept (ca. 1992, apparently), and the arrival of file sharing decimated both of the U.S.A.'s prime cash crops: compact discs and popcorn.
The fate of these declining industries are apparently forever intertwined, much like the essentially meaningless overlaid chart above. Both lines run downhill in an indictment of, well, everything un-American. In fact, if you look closely enough, you can see the two graph points bravely embracing each other as they weather the onslaught of progress.
And there you have it: incontrovertible proof that copyright infringement is killing American institutions one download at a time.