What Shawn Fanning And Henry Ford Have In Common
from the starting-revolutions-that-made-incumbents-sue-customers dept
We have a situation where we have an upstart company that understands the impact of new technologies and how to take advantage of them to give people a product they want at a reasonable price – something existing companies refuse to do. An industry association representing those companies goes on and on about intellectual property and starts lawsuits against the upstart. When that doesn’t do the trick, they actually start suing customers of the upstart to try to scare people away from doing any business with the upstart. Talking about the music industry and Napster? Nope. The same thing happened a century ago when the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers sued Ford Motor Company’s customers for buying “unlicensed” cars. As the RIAA’s lawsuits are doing today, this tactic angered the folks who were most interested in cars, and turned public opinion vehemently against the old line industry. The authors of the article have borrowed (nothing wrong with that, right?) a line we’ve used here often enough: “suing your customers is not a business strategy.” The article here suggests (again, as has been discussed here more than a few times) that there are plenty of business models that can be created around the idea of free, unrestricted music – and if the old industry doesn’t figure out how to embrace them, other companies will. However, listening to the lawyers does not make business sense. No one is saying that they can’t sue – we’re just saying that they shouldn’t sue.