Third Way To Get RIAA To Drop Lawsuit: Accuse Them Of Extortion

from the just-saying dept

Earlier today we pointed to one way not to respond to an RIAA lawsuit, but it appears there are a few more effective ways of fighting back. First, there were the cases that were dropped when the accused pointed out that many different people may have been responsible. Second, there was the case that was dropped when the guy died and the RIAA was made to look insensitive. Of course, they’ve also dropped a bunch of other cases in the past when it became clear that they had absolutely sued the wrong person, such as the time they sued Penn State Professor Peter Usher, assuming that some of his papers that were found on a file sharing system <a href=””

were music by the musician Usher. The fact that the courts let them off easy for each of these types of mistakes only encourages them to file more lawsuits — since mistakes have no real consequence. It’s that last point that’s the problem.

Earlier this week we pointed out that this had turned into a form of profitable lawsuit automation that bordered on extortion. It appears that last word is the magic word. Just a day after one person accused of file sharing filed a response that compared their tactics to extortion (while also pointing out she has no clue how to download music or what Kazaa is), the RIAA has dropped the case. It’s quite likely it was the “no idea how to download music” part, rather than the extortion claims that actually caused them to drop the case, but it did happen rather quickly. There have been cases in the past that accused the RIAA of racketeering because of their lawsuits, but none have gone very far yet.

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Comments on “Third Way To Get RIAA To Drop Lawsuit: Accuse Them Of Extortion”

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Ziggy says:

lets play..."what if it were me"

Hypothetical situation:

I buy a bicycle…leave it out front of my house with a sign on it that says “for sale”, yet i take NO measure to secure the item. That night, it gets stolen by a group of neighborhood thugs. I call the police, file a report. The authorities, being familiar with my neighborhood, know who the thugs could be and with very little investigation…nab the subjects. So, i buy another bicycle, and put it up for sale, secure it in the same manner. Again, that night…it gets “appropriated” by another group of thugs. I call the cops…report…arrest…buy…sell…theft…arrest…buy…sell… and so on…

Now exactly how many times do I or any citizen for that matter, expect to waste the local law enforcements time before they finally say “Look, you keep making it available for it to be taken, it’s YOUR loss, stop being so stupid… deal with the matter on your own”

iM guessing after about the FIRST TIME. They would of course proceed as normal…advising me that “they would do what they can, but you should really lock it up”

Hell, after the first one or two times, the thugs could possibly argue that since i was taking NO means to secure the bicycle, they began to realize it was a ‘GIFT’ to the neighborhood…

C’mon, lock up the music…that way the only music that would ever be available for download would be 2nd best analog dubbings that would relate to the copies EVERYONE used to make from the radio or vinyls…

putting it in digital format is just asking for trouble unless they take means to SECURE the music

only the gov’t gets away with saying “doNt do it” and expect it to get done

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: lets play..."what if it were me"

well, how do you “secure” music? as it’s been stated before, if you can hear a sound, it can be copied. from there, with the advances in digital signal processing (a great field, by the way) a “shitty analog” copy could very well become a quite exceptional digital copy. You’re so quick to suggest an idea for a sollution, yet you propose nothing to back that up?

come up with an actual idea first, and see how hard it is.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: lets play..."what if it were me"

One important distinction between the bicycle and music analogy. When someone copies the music file, the origonal owner is not deprived of it like with an actual theft. In a true analogy, the neighborhood thugs would come by with some wacky Star Trek device and duplicate your bicycle. Unless you watched it, you’d never even know that it was done, as your original isn’t affected in any way. Theft analgies are silly, and that’s why pirating music isn’t theft, it’s copyright infringement.

Thoughtful person says:

Re: Re: lets play..."what if it were me"

Well, to follow up on that annalogy, The bicycle company that originally sold the bicycle would be out the money they could have made by selling the bike to the person who made the copy of the first one.

This is the RIAA’s contention. They are out the money they “Could Have” made by selling a legitimate copy of their copyrighted music.

I am not sure I totally agree with this philosophy though, since the person who copied the bicycle would likely not have bought the bicycle in the first place. Ergo the person who copies music would, likely, not have purchased the originally copyrighted music.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: lets play..."what if it were me"

I agree.

The RIAA’s contention that because someone downloaded music would have absolutely purchased said music had it only been available for purchase is absurd. There is plenty of music out there that I might download but would NEVER purchase simply because the cost of said music is not worth my hard earned dollars. As a result such music is NOT a loss to the RIAA because there is absolutely no way they would have ever made money on it in the first place.

The RIAA is moldy and should be discarded.

MadJo (profile) says:

Re: lets play..."what if it were me"

Fantastic idea! Let’s lock up the music in such a way, that no-one can listen to it. That way no copies can be made, ever.

No, the way to go would be for the ‘music industry’ to find new ways of monetizing their content. Finding new ways of generating income, instead of grasping at the little straw that is their current way of distributing music.

If they don’t change, the market will change them, and they’ll quickly find themselves becoming extinct.

Devil's advocate (profile) says:

Re: lets play..."what if it were me"

The real problem really is not the DRM, they can make it work. It is what ARE the rights of the consumer. The recording industry does not want you to have the right to even back up or copy the product for yourself. They claim it is so the music can not be pirated in mass quantities. If they put on the dust jacket a statement that you are paying for that ONE copy, that is fine. You know what you are buying and how much you are paying for it. But they know people will not want to pay $20 for a disk that once it is scratched or worn-out is gone for good. People like to COLLECT the music.

As for your game, if you had exclusive rights to BUILD that bike for $50 and put it out front for sale at $1000 (and it is popular), don’t you think it likely that some people would copy that design for themselves? Yet others would make them and sell them? And do you actually LOSE money when you do that? What they are calling a LOSS is keeping them in mansions and jet aircraft…how can that be?

Sell that same bike for $150, a 300% markup and people would be much less likely to steal the idea. (BTW normal retail markup on average is 35%)

Not that I find that justification to steal, but they are getting pretty heavy-handed with 12 year-olds.

Hey! Maybe they should go after the larger pirates and stop the biggest amount of theft first!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: lets play..."what if it were me"

IT is me…lol.

I think the law allows a back-up copy and no case has yet to be brought against someone for one backup copy to my knowledge. If it is kept in your possession, I am fine with that. That idea is out there already.

What they do not allow is unlimited copies for your friends and anyone with an internet connection. The ability to defend your work is what copyright means. Without it, much of capitalism would not work.

Wavemancali says:

Re: lets play..."what if it were me"

I like this analogy but it falls short in a couple of ways.

Bikes can’t be compared to music files. You can’t clone the bike and make 10,000 more bikes.

A more apt comparrison would be currency. You can get a $100 bill and make 10,000 $100 bills based on the design and sure enough the secret service will be knocking on your door to do something about that theft.

The music industry has no effective way to put a lock on their merchandise. Everyone talks about digital rights management but that doesn’t work. Anything that can be played on a speaker can be recorded by a microphone. There will never be an effective enough lock that can be made to resolve the issue.

Essentially what has to be done in this instance is education that file sharing is not sharing it is theft pure and simple. As long as file sharers think theft is ok the industry is going to lose a lot of money.

wm says:

Re: Re: lets play...

copyright to a song isn’t like the right of an owner of a bike, or of currency either (which is a totally different type of property). (see my post above.)

copyright law is not intended to protect the holder’s exclusive possession of a thing — it’s intended to encourage the production AND dissemination of the copyrighted work through society. it is not an absolute right like property ownership: it is a limited right to prevent others from making copies of certain types of works under certain circumstances, or selling those copies.

saying that violating copyright is the same as “stealing” may sound like good rhetoric, but it is misleading and doesn’t reflect the limited nature of copyright protection. taking a physical CD or a book from the store is stealing. on the other hand, making a copy of the CD on your harddrive, or xeroxing the book, or downloading a file containing the contents of the CD or book may or may not violate the copyright — it all depends on the circumstances.

the real debate ought to be about when it should be legal to make a copies, or to “share” a file. however, the RIAA and MPAA have successfully lobbied for laws that narrow the circumstances when copying is legal, and have fostered the misleading view that ANY copying is illegal. i think this is wrong, because it runs contrary to the goal of getting creative work out into society where it can be enjoyed.

the goal of copyright law is NOT supposed to be ensuring that Metallica gets rich, or that Sony/BMG executives get rich, or that stockholders get big dividends. it is not supposed to be ensuring that Metallica or its record company has permanent, exclusive rights to control Metallica’s creative output. the goal of copyright law is supposed to be increasing society’s access to creative works (i.e., making sure that people get to hear Metallica’s songs, by giving Metallica an incentive to create and distribute them.)

as it stands, the system is out of balance. it is too easy for the copyright holders (the RIAA) to file a lawsuit and extort a settlement payment from the defendant.

the damages for copying a file are far too high, and bear no relation to the actual losses suffered by the RIAA, or the value of the file, or even the costs of enforcement.

also, US copyright protection periods have been repeatedly extended to protect the interests of the recording and film industries. this dramatically restricts our access to creative works.

for example, louis armstrong’s recordings with the “hot five” and “hot seven” bands are landmarks of twentieth century culture. a US consumer has for many years had the option to buy a set of those recordings, with mediocre remastering, for approximately $70, because columbia records held the copyright. those recordings are no longer protected by european copyright law, and have not been for some years. as a result, european consumers can readily buy a beautifully remastered box set of these classic recordings, with detailed and informative liner notes, for about $20.

you don’t hear louis armstrong much on the radio. how will people learn about his art? isn’t it better for society to permit an affordable set of these classic recordings to circlate widely, rather than allow a record company to market them as a luxury item? and wouldn’t it be better for society if everyone had ready access to them over the internet, without wondering whether sony would take them to court and seek massive damages because they downloaded one of armstrong’s songs?


mu says:

Re: lets play..."what if it were me"

The answer to your question is quite simple. Every time you report someone that has broken the law, the police should take action. No exceptions.

Is the theft of a bicycle still against the law? Was a crime commited? Are the police responsible for arresting the person or persons that stole it? What gives the governemnet the right to shrug their duties? Oh yeah, I almost forget, people like you keep giving them that right.

Crooks are crooks. Nothing changes that. Ever.

wm says:

Re: Re: lets play...

the RIAA lawsuits are civil actions for damages.

in this respect, they are like a lawsuit over an auto accident, or a breach of contract; no police or prosecutor is involved. it’s all about whether the plaintiff RIAA member(s) can recover money damages from the defendant.

the RIAA lawsuits are NOT criminal actions.

the government, criminal justice system, police and prosecutors are not involved in the RIAA lawsuits.

don’t they teach the basic structure of the american legal system in high school anymore?


Ray Beckerman (user link) says:

Could it be..... Barringer-Thomson?

I have a hunch that the real reason might be that Marilyn Barringer-Thomson was the attorney.

You might remember her as the Oklahoma City attorney representing Debbie Foster in Capitol v. Foster.

And you might remember Capitol v. Foster as the case in which (a) the judge ruled that Ms. Foster might be entitled to be reimbursed by the RIAA for her more than one and a half year’s worth of legal expenses, (b) Ms. Foster asked the judge for $50,000, and (c) the ACLU, Public Citizen, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Association of Law Libraries, and the ACLU Foundation of Oklahoma all came into the case on Ms. Foster’s side.

Would you want to mess with that lady?

sakia says:

Re: Could it be..... Barringer-Thomson?

I am really impressed with the works of Marilyn Barringer Thomson. This attorney is giving the RIAA the hard time they deserve and I wish her the best of luck in her noble fight against these greedy companies that do not care of the results of their evil initiatives as long as it makes them more money. Many single mothers and students will be suffering for a long time to come just to satisfy the greed of the RIAA and the companies they are representing that are not satisfied with the billions they are making already.

Hacker looking for a new gig says:

RIAA is going to fall.

While my buddies and I have been looking for new victims for our hacking club. We had to lay low because all this terrorism stuff. (and I got tired of sitting in lawyers offices over the years. Yes I’ve been caught) Anyways What a better way to win back to hearts of true Americans. By golly, We have decided to do our best to hack, take down, screw with the RIAA the best we can. Brothers, this is a call to arms. We must unite and take back control of what WE all started in the first place. This a call to all hackers world wide, spread the word, do what you do best. Public internet enemy number 1, the RIAA. You know what to do.

Chicken Little says:

Copyright laws have been manipulated by the record

Copyright laws were originally written for a period of fourteen (14) years …. then the work became part of the public domain. The recording industry lobbied (spent a zillion dollars in bribes) and had the law changed so that copyrights now last a minimum of ninety-nine (99) years. ARG!

Screw the RIAA!

go ahead and flame me says:

To all you who defend sharing music without cost: Wait until it is your music, your software, or anything that you expect to make a living off, you’ll change your ideas as soon as you can’t pay your mortgage while someone enjoys the fruits of your labor for free.

It is not only the huge artists who lose out on a few cents, it is also the unknown working musicians who really like those small royalty checks for our works.

I don’t defend the RIAA or its tactics but theft is theft, the majority of filesharers never buy the whole album or make it to concerts of all those musicians, so the musician never sees a dime. The small artist may have a chance to gain an audience, but they also lose out on making an online sale or paid download. That is up to them to decide.

I’ve never seen a valid defense of sharing copyrighted work. There is nothing that will convince me that the public has a right to copy my product without my permission

Swati says:

Re: go ahead and flame me

“don’t defend the RIAA or its tactics but theft is theft, the majority of filesharers never buy the whole album or make it to concerts of all those musicians, so the musician never sees a dime.”

Stop pulling statements out of your ass. Prove this.

I for one, see and purchase MORE movies and MORE music and MORE software after trying the pirated versions (if they are worth it, of course) than I was before I started downloading.

Wizard Prang (user link) says:

Re: Different types of downloaders

1) “Can’t afford it” – download but cannot afford to buy (kids, starving students, etc). For them, downloading is the equivalent of taping off the radio. Solution: “Live with it – you can’t get blood from a stone. They have always been around, and always will be. They will eventually be able to afford their music. In the meantime, don’t piss them off by suing their friends.”

2) Can’t pay, won’t pay – download, burn to CD and never buy anything, even though they can afford to. For them, Downloading is their music store. Solution: “Education – not legislation. Ethical standards – not RIAA propaganda”.

3) Download, sample and buy – For them, downloading is like the radio – a chance to sample music and separate the wheat from the chaff before making a decision to purchase. Solution: None needed – these are paying customers.

I believe that most downloaders fall into the first and third categories. The RIAA puts us ALL squarely in box #2

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: go ahead and flame me

If you want to spread your work for free, do it. That is your chioce. I have given songs away to friends’ bands that I jammed with, and have no problems with them spreading it anyway they can. That was my choice.

The point of protesting filesharing is that most producers don’t want to give it up for free all the time. It is nice to make a living doing what you love.

soon to be flamed one. says:

please Swati, you are so full of it…. you know I am right about the majority if sharers. Think beyond yourself.

Think of all the people with 50-60GB of music, unless you delete every track you download after previewing it, you are still stealing it by even the loosest of definitions. Count your legal collection, then count your illegal collection, then get back to me. If you do buy a copy of everything you download, kudos to you… you are in a very small minority. I applaud your honesty.

That is still not a defense for stealing it in the first place.

You seem to liken it to a preview… that would be fine if the downloaded version expired, like trial software.. But so far I haven’t seen an adoption of that technology.

Anonymous Coward says:

now, what’s the difference between streaming a song from terrestrial, sattelite, or internet radio, and then making an mp3 file from that? that’s still stealing, and is illegal, right?

but what about the sony vs. bettamax case, saying that using a vcr to copy a tv show is legal? the case stated that the content was provided for free, and making a copy was leagal, right? i’m not sure if there were revisions to the rule, but isn’t it the same idea? it is available for free, and it is also able to be recorded right? so….if someone can explain that to me, i’d greatly appreciate it.

also, what about the days of casette sharing and copying? why didn’t the RIAA go after those people? oh wait, they couldn’t tell who had what. humm…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

If it is made available for free, the producer takes his or her chances. Satellite radio is not free… terrestial radio used to be a marketing tool, you “paid” by listening to the ads and that worked well. Reproduction technology was not advanced enough to make a radio-copied song into a lot of copies.

Analog copies were totally different, and the labels did pursue large scale replication operations. One person could not reasonably copy enough to seriously affect the industry, now you can. that is the difference. One sharer can possibly give your work to 1 million, that is the threat they see.

Of course I'm always right says:

Always buy the worthy music

As Swati says, after listening to a downloaded mp3 that I enjoy, I go purchase the music from the retail store, so I can have the music in the most optimal quality form. I also like to support artists I enjoy in the hopes of them continuing to produce more of the same. Buying their music is like casting a vote of approval. It’s a shame they get so very little of the 15 bucks or so, the CD costs. I think they get about a dollar. Wish there was a way to give them their proportional due without getting raped by the middlemen.
Some bands are putting out minimal efforts with questionable talent and do not deserve my full $15. I think I have the right to sample their work before I shell out my hard earned cash. That’s what file sharing is all about. I also find myself buying CD’s from artists I’ve never heard of before because of a random download. Deserving artists should encourage file sharing. Its the ones with little to offer that don’t want you to find out until they get your money.

Anonymous Coward says:

so is land based radio going anywhere? are radios being replaced with cd/mp3 players? is sattelite taking over?

land based radio still works, otherwise the stations would all shut down. advertisers are still paying for commercial time and the record companies must still be making money from people becuse they still supply radios with content.

Marcos says:


Everyone seems to forget the days before MP3 when everyone had copied tapes in their houses and cars and copied VHS movies at home.

Now we can get more for less as it should be. Any half-decent artist will be loaded anyway (Even if through concerts alone) so if you’re a starving artist it’s your own fault not the public’s.

Good things sell. Music CD’s are overpriced and always have been.

Another fact to note: The Video Game Industry DWARFS the music industry. They lose more to pirated games than the whole music industry is worth.

Of course, the video game industry actually has people with brains behind it, and they know that people will pay for a good game and just download a poor one.

Oh which reminds me, does anyone remember the early internet days before websites where all there was on the internet was porn, pirated games and software? (This is way before MP3 was invented).

Is the porn industry suing people for copying their porn films? Doubt it.


Kratos says:

Re: Digital Absurdity...

Sorry about the blank post above.

Is the porn industry suing people for copying their porn films? Doubt it.

AdultFilmCompany: “Look at this… This film uses the exact same sex toys are ours! THEY STOLE OUR IDEA! SUE!”

The absurdity behind it is monumentous. The RIAA has swindled artists out of millions in the past. Granted, the value of the music pirated has far out-stripped what the RIAA has (illegally) made. But it seems like a large dose of karma. The RIAA needs to either update it’s business model, or quietly leave the market.

Have fun flaming me. 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

How many times have you heard a musician or celebrity of any kind say “I (or we) couldn’t get here without the fans” – I used to think they meant their fan loyalty and enjoyment of their work. Now I understand that what they meant was “I (we) couldn’t have made it without the fan’s…. money!”

I think that celebrities, musicians, sports stars all make way too much money for what they do. But that is america right? Why can’t the people who work the crappiest jobs (sewer plants and dumps) sign a 3 year contract for $20 million?

If the people keep putting these “celebrities” on such a pedastool and keep paying their wages through ticket sales and what not, it will just get worse.

Jeremy (user link) says:

Re: Re:

1. Move to a validly priced download model that lets people listen to their music on any device they want without restriction. The music will sell and sell well and the distribution costs are significantly lower.

2. Artists make most of their money off of concerts. The RIAA could focus on that more and less on the distribution of copies of the music.

Those are just two off the top of my head. And there are more out there. So there’s your substance and for the record I don’t download or upload music but I certainly do copy it for use in car, home, office, and anywhere else I want to listen to it.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re:

i just gotta ask, what would this new business model look like?

i’ve heard tons of people saying, they should change their practices, but change to what? offer some substance.

I’m assuming you’re new around here? For years we’ve posted example after example after example of new business models for the industry.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Re: by Mike on Aug 25th, 2006 @ 11:38am

i just gotta ask, what would this new business model look like?

i’ve heard tons of people saying, they should change their practices, but change to what? offer some substance.

I’m assuming you’re new around here? For years we’ve posted example after example after example of new business models for the industry.

i may not be new here, but some people reading this may be, and well, it’s always nice to have reference material in front of you. and the only times i’ve seen “new models” are just the lower music, or find new ways of distribution. elaborite more. make cheaper? how, pay a penny a meg?

i duno…i’m just anxious to get on my way to DC this weekend.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

i may not be new here, but some people reading this may be, and well, it’s always nice to have reference material in front of you. and the only times i’ve seen “new models” are just the lower music, or find new ways of distribution. elaborite more. make cheaper? how, pay a penny a meg?


A Business Model Involving Free File Sharing

More And More Musicians Seem To Get It

Pearl Jam Shows How Giving Away Music Can Help Sales

Grammy Winner Bypasses Recording Industry

More Musicians Who Get It: Give Customers What They Want

All examples of musicians coming up with business models that embrace free music. Yet, we’re told that it’s impossible and that no one has such a business model. Yeah, ok.

Anonymous Coward says:

yeah, but how are you gonna pay your bills if all you get is “free advertising”

however, something must be working. the artists are making money, and new ones are being “discovered” (or created…..) and the RIAA/Labels aren’t going anywhere. They are just pissed that they make 500 billion instead of 1 trillion each year. that sucks, but hell, i only make xx a year, even though i’m “worth” three times as much. it’s about greed and morality. two things that are never equal among a large group of people. the riaa is stuck between a rock and a hard place. they want more money, yet people don’t want to give it to them. i just wish i was smart enough to make everyone get along.

maybe a comunistic society? everyone makes the same. sports starts get the same pay as the guy cleaning the sewers. fair? maybe, maybe not. who’s to say that a guy who can throw a piece of leather a coulple of yards once a week should get paid more than the guy who clean’s the ball thrower’s toilet?

you could argue that the ball guy stimulates the economy more, and should be rewarded as such, just as his talent is better than someone elses. then, why aren’t doctors, police, firepersons, teachers, and military, and the like (all those in public service) getting multi million contracts? those fields are skilled, and hell i’m sure there would be more firepersons if they got paid 5 mil. a year. probaly because they are expected to to that, and not get “just” compensation?

AJ says:


I am a musician that has a day job, but if i were to try and make it without one, I would not go down the road of the RIAA. I want my bands music to be free, and easily downloadable, the more copies out there the better. I would encourage copying, sharing, burning, trading, hell.. I would put my stuff on kaza or morpheous myself. Its free advertising and the more people that downloaded my music, the more people that would come to my show’s which is where I would want to make my money. If my music is copied 1 million times, and only 10 percent actually go to my concerts, and out of that I only get 30 percent of the ticket sales, my band would be doing just fine and we could live well. I’m not greedy, I just want to make a decent living, and I could do so on just the concert ticket sales alone. So there’s a model for you. enjoy


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Idea!

That model has only worked for a select few bands, most of which either went to that model after being well known or used that that idea to get a major label deal.

Touring sucks, nobody gets big touring only; for a bunch of reasons. The first being that touring is way expensive. If you want to make good money on a tour you gotta go big. A major concert tour can easily run into the million dollar range per show, the band pays for it all, the crew equipment, food, security…not to mention somehow getting large venues to let you play there. You need major promotion, small town promoters just can’t swing big deals usually. You need to be big to get big shows, that’s the reality of being in a band. maybe filesharing will create a path, but I don’t see it happening yet.

So tour small you say? 200 head venues are fun and intimate. Go ahead, but it sucks to have to tour small venues endlessly. You want a house? Kids? Playing 4-5 shows a week on the road pretty much ruins that life. After 10 years you’re burned out, homeless, and no longer popular. The “loyal” fans have moved on or grown up. Lots of great acts fail to make it.

None of this deals with file sharing, cause those fans will still be downloading your music instead of paying for your CDs at shows. You still lose out on something. Call it greed, whatever: do you work for less than you can get, ever turn down a raise?

Anonymous Coward says:

The music industry should just go away. They are an obsolete middle man.

The reason they exist is because distribution of music used to be something relatively hard and expensive to do. In a sense musicians and their audience needed them.

Unfortunately for the music inudstry distribution is become very easy and cheap and their role as a middle man is becom obsolete.

What are they doing? In repsonse, they fight like a devil dropped in a vat of holy water to try to pass laws, build DRM etc. to try to make keep control of distribution and make it artificially expensive, difficult and constrained. All this they do not because they are so concerned about the musicians but because they are scared shitless and realize we don’t really need them anymore and so they are no longer in control of the distribution channel.

If they want to stay in existence and they will have to figure out how they can serve the people instead of controlling and exploiting the time when everyong could be held ransom by the middle man is over.

solak (user link) says:

Example Musician Business Model that worked

The Grateful Dead explicitly put a table in the middle of the audience for fans to put their equipment to record the concert. They still sold albums, even live recordings, but especially they sold concert tickets.

The problem with the RIAA executives and some artists is that they want to do a few weeks of work {signing the artist | writing a song and recording it} and then get paid millions so they can take the rest of the year off. It doesn’t work that way in any other profession. I have to go to work 2000 hours a year to pay for my house and food, why should that be unreasonable for them?

It’s a matter of looking at the whole set of ways you can deliver value to your customer, and picking which ones are easily ‘monetized’, and which are not. In the case of Music and Movies, the data stream is hard to protect. So make the data a free advertisement, and make The Performance be a quality experience that is worth the extra payment. It may seem funny, but selling t-shirts with your {picture|cover art|comic strip} on it is a profitable business. There are actually a couple of web-comic artists who pay their rent by t-shirt and poster sales. Why not musicians?

BillDivX says:

Rabid Wolverine

What if I am an artist? That that would make artists’ rights MY rights, wouldn’t it. Are you saying I shouldn’t be upset about violations of MY rights? Or being misrepresented by an agency that I have never given any rights to speak for me? You are implying that the only parties involved here are lawyers and “punks” What about all the ARTISTS? It’s THEIR rights that are violated more than anybody. And what about software developers who all lose their jobs when the industry has been regulated to death and has no room left to innovate?

I’ve got news for you. I’m both. I am a songwriter, AND a software engineer, and I DON’T appreciate the RIAA and their tactics. They claim to be there to protect the “artist.” well guess what? I AM an artist, and the only thing I feel like I need protection from is the RIAA. They don’t represent me, and I never gave them the right to. So as far as I am concerned, they can take their “file-sharing is always bad for music” attitude, and cram it up their stinky brown orifice.

See if you think it’s not important when someone else hops on your wireless network and downloads songs without your knowledge. You won’t think it’s funny when you realize that your only choices will be a $7,000 settlement, or $20,000 in legal fees that YOU WON’T GET BACK EVEN IF YOU WIN. Don’t think it can happen to you? It just happened to my friend…

Charon says:

another piece of the picture

Youll also notice that with the DRM on the tracks that you download from iTunes and comparable services that they lock you into using a certain program, iTunes (which I dont like), and an iPod. These are anticompetive practices designed to lock you into using their products.


TheToe says:

Idea! by Anonymous Coward

“A major concert tour can easily run into the million dollar range per show, the band pays for it all, the crew equipment, food, security…”

WRONG. Any band that paying for that has their head up and locked, and should fire their manager. All of that stuff is responsibility of the promoter and the venue. The band shows up and gets paid. The rider in the performance contract should state what the band requires, (backline,food, services etc.)

wm says:


1. the law governing copyright is based on a different theory than that dealing with physical ownership of property. copyright protection is intended only to provide an economic incentive for the production of creative work, while preserving the social benefits of circulating the work at low cost. copyright does not give the right holder absolute, exclusive control of the work, but only limited rights. that’s why the exceptions to copyright (“fair use”, for example) exist, and why copyrights eventually lapse. and why we can have public libraries. and also why recordings of music that is out of copyright in the producing jurisdiction sell for peanuts.

2. all the musicians i’ve ever met (and that ranges from major international stars to my nextdoor neighbor) have one thing in common — they would make their music regardless of the economic incentive of copyright law. they love their art.

3. the cost of producing music recordings was once very high, because the equipment was so expensive. record companies existed in large part to finance the recording costs. copyright gave a measure of protection to that investment. technological changes now enable virtually anyone to make a commercial quality recoding in their own home for a few hundred dollars.

4. the cost and risk of distributing music used to be high — physical media had to be manufactured, stored, shipped, advertised, and displayed. if the recording did not sell, the owner would be unable to recover the production costs. record companies existed in part to finance and spread the risks associated with distribution. now, music can be distributed at high volume and low cost over the internet — the only cost is that of computer access. there is virtually no risk in this distribution method.

5. the recording industry’s pricing structure — even for paid downloads — reflects the outmoded model of limited supply, high production costs and high risk. it has tried to preserve its old pricing structure (which of course is hugely profitable) by lobbying the government to strengthen copyright laws, and through increased copyright enforcement actions.

6. the result has been that the balance intended by copyright law has been tipped toward the rightholder’s economic interest, at the expense of the social good of wide access to artistic production.

7. the costs of litigation are high, which can give an unfair advantage to the wealthier party. while the recording industry is well-funded, most individuals can’t afford the costs of defending a legal action. if the industry sues for a copyright violation, most individuals will settle, rather than incur the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of cost of defending the suit. in addition, damages under the DMCA are so high that the impact of losing the suit can be catastrophic, so that most individuals will want to avoid even a small risk of loss, even if they did not copy the work, and even if their copying would be legal as “fair use” or under another defense. that’s why the RIAA litigation process can be characterized as “extortion.”

wwc says:

whaaa :'(

yes, like carlos mencia writes. lets help these poor poor multi milionairs so they can act more spoiled then they already are.

in the sketch poor britney spears got a version 3 instead of a version 4 *gasp* three dont have all the good stuff 4 does but its still a private plane.

in short, they are multimillionairs and acts like kids throwing fits all the time. the P2P filesharing is freee

advertisement. any advertisement is good right?

Sanguine Dream says:

What bothers me...

is that in all this nonsense of the RIAA saying they are doing this for the artist there aren’t that many artists taking action. I don’t like the fact that Metallica went nuts over the whole file sharing thing 1ut at least they wer pitching a fit over their music. It wasn’t some lawyer or exec crying on TV to protect Metallica’s music it was Metallica themselves. So I ask, if the artists are in such dire danger from file sharing why aren’t more of them going public like Metallica once did?

And another question. What exactly does a record executive do other than sit in meetings and make lots of money?

Sanguine Dream says:

Re: What bothers me...

Ooops. I forgot the closing bold tag. It should have looked like this.

is that in all this nonsense of the RIAA saying they are doing this for the artist there aren’t that many artists taking action. I don’t like the fact that Metallica went nuts over the whole file sharing thing but at least they were pitching a fit over their music. It wasn’t some lawyer or exec crying on TV to protect Metallica’s music it was Metallica themselves. So I ask, if the artists are in such dire danger from file sharing why aren’t more of them going public like Metallica once did?

And another question. What exactly does a record executive do other than sit in meetings and make lots of money?

Consumer101 says:

Full of BS

All you people telling us how pirating software or music is stealing, I give this back to you, it is the consumer that is being stolen from. I have a huge library of crap software that I paid for, most of which is crap or used 1 time. Had I been able to try it out first i would never have parted with my hard earned money, but alas, its illegal to try out software that way, or the crap they offer to test, is extremely chopped down so that you don’t get the full use or experience until you part with your money and find its to late.

As for Music, I have found more artists via Downloaded music that I like and have purchased as well as listen to others that I thank god I didn’t spend 15.00 purchasing, as well as having purchased first off a LP, then a 8-track, then a cassette, then a CD, then a DVD, exactly how many times do i need to purchase songs so that I can listen to them? You would have me purchasing the same thing over and over again because formats change and become obsolete, yet the music is remastered and set up for sale again.

Granted there are a lot of people out there that do not purchase music, movies, software that they use, but these are the same people that would not have bought the stuff in question if there was no Downloads so where is the money lost?

The RIAA needs a Strong arm to slap them into reality, and start changing with the times instead of keeping technology back so they may get a few more dollars out of the Sheep. (Case in point, go look up the Betamax/VHS vs the movie industry)

Anonymous Coward says:

What about Phish?

Yea, Pish did a great job of making it “big”. They weren’t the equivalent of some other big acts but they were making millions per tour. They sold crap for CDs and (for a while) allowed the taping and free circulation of their concerts, yet they were extremely successful. As someone pointed out before, it’s greed that is running the industry how it is in its current state. Does a band like metallica have to make $500mil on CD sales alone? (yes, that figure was pulled out of my ass but c’mon..) Doesn’t a few million a year for touring sound just fine? Can’t they settle with just being medium rich? Obviously not…

Oh, and any person who says “touring sucks” is not a musician. You see, there’s this thing about music outside of composition called performance. Real musicians actually enjoy playing their music. It has always been like that. Do you think Liszt worked to become such an amazing virtuoso so that he could compose and let other people play his stuff? He became such an amazing virtuoso so that HE could play (which he did ALL THE TIME) and amaze people. Music has two aspects of it, composition and performance, focusing only on one devalues music.

Arghhh I'm a Pirate says:

Fact of the Matter

I’m sort of reminded of a piece I saw on IGN a week or two ago about movies (specifically ‘Snakes on a Plane’) which did not do early release screenings for critics, and as such will have no review listings up when the film opens to the general public.

What this accomplishes is the viewer (or ‘end user’) has little to no information to base his decision on as to whether or not to buy said product. Production companies have been using this tactic for years to boost the sales of highly promoted, yet very sub-par films before people realize what a heaping pile of crap they are.

Side note before explaining how this is applicable to music.

95% of the music I download, is music that’s over 30 years old, a number of the original musicians who actually created the music are dead, or their estates no longer control the rights. I’m not depriving the original artists or their controlling interests from revenue, I’m depriving the huge conglomerate publishing companies that have bought the rights to the music of money. Big difference.

Back on track. You see, the RIAA realizes that about for every few hundred completely crappy albums that get put out by the record labels that comprise the RIAA, there are one or two REALLY good ones. The RIAA doesn’t want you downloading music, because you’ll realize the large majority of it is preprocessed cookie-cutter pop that sounds like garbage, and you’ll buy fewer CDs. If there’s a band putting out great music, and really putting their heart and soul into, I’ll buy their CDs. See also, Tool, Audioslave, Deftones, Velvet Revolver, etc. If the music is good, I buy it.

As a consumer I should be afforded the benefit of previewing a product before dumping my cash on it.

The only reason File Sharing is costing the recording industry any money at all is because they’re promoting and producing an inferior product, and when people have some means of listening to said product, before buying said CD, they become inherintly less likely to buy the music, if it’s a crappy product.

I had the mp3’s of the new Tool album 3 weeks before it was released. And you know what, I still went to the record store on 5/2 and bought my two copies of the CD, because I support the band, and their music.

Above average musicians, do not stand to LOSE money because of file sharing, they stand to MAKE more money, because their well constructed, and good product getting a greater degree of exposure which will result in more CD sales.

As I’ve said already, the RIAA is scared because in general they’re releasing a VERY shitty product, and with file sharnig it’s easier to realize how shitty a product is BEFORE you buy it, and thus making you less likely to. If the RIAA is so concerned about their bottom line, maybe they should look into actually producing a higher percentage of GOOD MUSIC, maybe?

Morale of the story: If the RIAA was actually producing a good product, file sharing would increase their bottom line, not hurt it.

pissed off says:

Real money musicians make

Musicians don’t make a sigle cent off the music they sell, they make their money from the tours, and t-shirt sales. Just because the album sells 1 million means nothing as far as profit for the band, they pay 75 percent to the label, then the rest is divided among the companies that press the cd’s, reserve the studio time, cleans the toilets, so out of the 14.99 cd the musician actually gets .05 cents, which they then divide amongst themselves. The RIAA is lying when downloading hurts musicians, it doesn’t, it hurts when the musician sucks ass, puts out garbage and noone shows up for their concert.

Ray Beckerman (user link) says:

Any evidence it was done by DEFENDANT?

Frankly, I didn’t see ANY evidence in the court’s decision that DEFENDANT did it. I think she had teenage and adult children who may have done it. Why should she be punished because of something they may have done? The judge takes a pretty big leap from the fact that it was done to the unsupported conclusion that it was the defendant who did it.

Gramage says:


Any and all music I have ever made and will ever make will always be available for free. I might put out an album now and then but I do not expect to earn my living from record sales. People telling me they enjoyed my work is payment enough. If they feel like buying a CD of mine hey great, I could use the cash, but I’ll put food in my fridge by other means. This means making music will always be fun for me, pressure and stress free.

Of course this is just my personal philosophy, everyone else can do whatever flicks their switch.

Bam = gg says:

look, we download the file, sample it, and then buy it, only what? 5 cents out of the $5 goes to the artist?
Wow we’re making the artist rich arent we?

So why doesnt the artist just go solo, make their own labels or digital store, make some crappy site and make it easy to navigate, so we can buy the songs for $.50 cents each, and we’ll allowed 10c go to the artist!

Josh says:


Guys I agree with all of you about this about how the RIAA sux and the MPAA and all that, but just right now I got a notice from Comcast about a copyright Infringement and if worse comes to worse I will say that the wifi was open which it really was open.

I’d really appreciate some support, Im not asking for any money or anything because its not a lawsuit…….yet, but if any of you guys have experience in this kind of thing, and are willing to share and at least help out some, thatd be Great. I know there was a hacker guy on here that’s gone through this kind of stuff. So Im just asking for some help from the p2p and torrent community. Email me

Thanks guys,

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