When The RIAA Hates You This Much, You Must Be On The Right Track

from the gold-star-for-you dept

We’ve noted for some time that one problem in the ongoing battle between Hollywood, technology companies and consumers over intellectual property issues is that consumers don’t have a group as visible and as noisy as the RIAA or MPAA standing up for them. But for some time, Gary Shapiro and the Consumer Electronics Association have been the closest thing to it, and CEA head Shapiro has proven himself an eloquent and intelligent point man on these issues. While his ability to talk sense and stand up to Hollywood is pretty self-evident, perhaps the biggest sign that he’s on the right track is how badly he manages to get under the skin of its shill groups like the RIAA. Four years ago, his speech on how the recording industry was shooting itself in the foot by using a scorched-earth legal policy elicited an angry and typically illogical response from the RIAA’s head, Cary Sherman. Shapiro and the CEA — and a host of other groups — a few weeks ago announced The Digital Freedom Campaign, which “is dedicated to defending the rights of students, artists, innovators, and consumers to create and make lawful use of new technologies free of unreasonable government restrictions and without fear of costly and abusive lawsuits” (apparently that’s something with which he’s familiar). Hardly surprising that something like that would bother the RIAA, and once again, Sherman’s gone all apoplectic at how the campaign is making “an extremist interpretation of fair use to frighten and mislead consumers and policymakers”. He chooses to single out Shapiro and the CEA, making this sound like it’s more of a personal issue than anything.

Perhaps even more galling, though, is that he depicts the RIAA as fair use’s biggest fan, and that Digital Freedom’s assertion that the entertainment industry wants to restrict new technologies and devices is “knowingly false and incendiary rhetoric”. Only on planet RIAA could the truth, in the form of the entertainment industry’s long and storied history of trying to get new technologies banned or restricted, be labeled “knowingly false”. It’s amazing that the likes of Sherman and the RIAA can maintain any sort of credibility on these issues. Ignoring the stupidity of not selling customers what they want and trying to sue them into submission, their hypocrisy is astounding. They’re the biggest supporters of fair use, he says — even though they act as if it doesn’t exist. They accuse the CEA of acting not out of consumers’ interest, but out of electronics manufacturers — when the RIAA is about the most self-serving trade group ever created. Finally, accusing the CEA and Shapiro of using incendiary rhetoric and lies, given the RIAA and Sherman’s track record, is simply ludicrous. Sherman can beat this drum until he’s blue in the face, but the fact remains that the entertainment industry’s worst enemy is still itself, and its horribly misguided views on digital technology — not Gary Shapiro and the CEA.

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Comments on “When The RIAA Hates You This Much, You Must Be On The Right Track”

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Henry says:


I’m glad that people that have the money to stand up to RIAA do. I believe in fair use and I believe in intellectual property rights. But vendors don’t have a right to install all sorts of crap on my computer and television to prevent me from watching a movie that I have legally purchased.

The RIAA needs to take note of history. No copy protection scheme remained unbroken for long. In addition, I plan on buying no name products (Korean) that refuse to be bullied. My Sony DVD player is great, but I have to watch all these stupid anti theft videos, while other DVDs that I have, I can skip by them. As a result, I no longer buy Sony products for home use. I guess they shot themselves in the foot… Again…

Vincent Clement says:


It is amusing to watch those copyright and FBI warnings at the beginning of a legally purchased DVD. Instead of thanking you for purchasing a legal copy of the DVD, they threaten you. Imagine the goodwill a media company could earn if they began every DVD with a thank you and what to do if you encounter problems playing the DVD. Nope, the media companies would rather treat paying customers are potential criminals.

Anonymous Coward says:


i actually like a nice, shiny DVD on my shelf, but after being forced to watch anti theft videos and trailers everytime i want to watch the movie… i turned to alternatives because i got so so so so tired of fast forwarding… So they basically turned me off buying their stuff because the alternatives were less annoying.

Thanks a lot…

LShaw says:

Say it again

The entertainment industry needs to be as adaptive to change in technology as much as the consumer electronics industry is. They are turning down potental customers who may not want to get there entertainment through conventional means or may not have the ability to.
The standard business model that the industry uses with retail stores and movie theaters are going to have to be more adaptive to the new digital technology. It is clear that down loadable media in not going away and in fact is getting more popular.
Hindering innovation in technology will only turn people away from your products. The RIAA has a very bad image. That image worsens everytime it sues a student or person for having digital content and in an industry where image is everything, I believe they need to rethink there strategy on curbing the abuse of creative material, copyright, ect. (Just ask President Bush and the Republican Party about there image with scandals and the Iraqi Occupation blasting the airways twenty four seven!)

UniBoy says:

Sorry Boys...

I don’t think piracy is the answer to the problem. By trying to punish the RIAA by doing the very think that they most want to restrict, you only strengthen their argument that such restrictions are necessary.

I think the best we can do is find ways to support new artists directly. Cut out all of these useless middle men who are threatened by technology and democracy. If more artists make more content available directly to more consumers, and more consumers take adavantage of that and REWARD such artists, then the RIAA and similar organizations will simply go the way of the Dodo.

wolff000 says:

Piracy is A valid way to fight.

The only thing these people undrestand is the bottom line. If all Americans stopped buying and started downloading they wouldn’t have any cash to prosecute and it would force them out of business. Some may argue it’s not that simple but it really is. If you have no cash flow and no customers then it’s not even worth it to sue. Let them shrivel up and die so someone with a business plan that works can move in. Fight the MPAA and the RIAA and be a pirate. AARRR!

Dave says:

Letter to the CEA


“Given everything Mr. Gary Shapiro and the CEA have done to represent the interests of the average consumer against the likes of the RIAA, is there some way that we can show our appreciation and support?

Clearly a CEA membership is not particularly appropriate for people who aren’t really in the industry, but I’d like to do something.

Please Advise.

Thanks, […]”

David says:

Re: Letter to the CEA


Hi David,

Thank you for the kudos for Gary and CEA! We are so happy that you are
noticing the impact of our work in promoting and protecting technology
innovation. The best way for you to show your appreciation is to
continue to be a well informed consumer and keep the pressure on your
legislators to support legislation friendly to innovation. You
definitely do not have to be a CEA member or part of the CE industry to
do this!

I urge you to visit the following websites designed to create ways for
consumers and industry supporters to communicate this message to their
legislators (and to your friends and family to spread grassroots

The Digital Freedom Campaign at http://www.digitalfreedom.org
The Home Recording Rights Coalition at http://www.hrrc.org
Americans for Consumer Technology at

Thanks again!

Laurie Kulikosky
Senior Manager, Membership Development
Consumer Electronics Association

Anonymous Coward says:

There are viable alternative business models already in use today! My church has a modern rock concert every year called Barn Bash. We make it a point to invite small artists from small labels and a couple years ago we used the label 7Spin Records.

They sent us about 1000 demo discs and on all their discs it said “RIP US OFF! COPY THIS DISC!” They were using P2P networks, torrents and the copying of discs to advertise. When you purchase their songs it’s like $9.99 for a CD plus access to download the files off their website so no waiting for the disc itself. Or! 7.77 for just the downloads, or .77 a song. Each of their albums has one free download, full version, full quality.

While it may not be your kind of music, the fact is I’ve seen them go from a stock code online store to a full fledge flash powered website in about 2 years, which is a healthy, non overextending growth. I also hear rumblings of their label growing faster than anyone anticipated in the Christian rock Community.

The beautiful thing is when you downlaod the files, THEY ARE MP3! NO COPY PROTECTION!

Not to be spamming but this is an excellent example of progressive business models. More people should think like they do.

Wyndle says:

downloads != piracy and vice versa

downloads != piracy and vice versa

I know that the term sneakernet still gets snickers as being antiquated, but it is far harder to trace than anything online. I haven’t downloaded a song (besides demos) in over 5 years and even then I only downloaded maybe a dozen tracks. My collection barely fits on a DVD now (almost all singles) and it’s mostly from sneakernet trades.

On the other hand if you look at the Anime industry, they’ve embraced fan made subs and dubs. As far as they’re concerned it’s free advertising for their product, which will make it easier for them to export it. I’ve got 102 episodes of Bleach to date and I’ll continue to download them even after I buy them on DVD. I want to have the official dub release when it’s available, and I don’t want to just start over so I’ll keep up with the fan subs. The reason this method works is because the fans actually buy media and merchandise (how many Pokemon, Yu Gi Oh, and Naruto toys and videos are in the average Wal-Mart?).

Tarky7 says:

My God !

My God ! I went to the mall the other day to do some shopping and I stopped into a store that sold CD’s. I was looking for a Tupac album and I felt that I should buy it instead of looking for the album on the web.

To my shock and awe no CD in the store was less that 19.95, and the Tupac album I wanted to purchase was 28.95 ! Now, I understand that Tupac has some heirs somewhere that get a cut of whatever is sold, but REALLY ! US $30. for a CD from a dead gansta rapper ?

The music industry has lost their collective minds !

Anonymous Coward says:

I posted earlier but I think it got flagged as spam because I used a web address.

Anyways what I had said was I knew of a company that was using a modern business plan and had been using piracy as advertising. Their old Demo Disc used to say “RIP US OFF! COPY THIS DISC!” and they had one free full length mp3s for every artist they supported on their site. You could buy albums for 7.77 as downloads, then like 9.99 for the CD and downloads.

Most of their artists I really didn’t like, not my style of music, but they were ahead of the game 2 years ago and after a bit of googling I found them again. Just google 7spin, it’s a concept that could drive the whole freaking industry into a revolution.

Big Plus! Music downloads are in mp3….no freaking DRM.

Dan Bernitt says:

Unfairness of MPAA/RIAAA and DRM

First, this may be obvious to many others but how is it legal for a single organization like RIAA or MPAA to represent multiple, supposedly independent companies in a law suit? That smacks of anti-trust behavior to me.

Second, a very recent and personal example of outrageous restrictions:

On Friday evening, November 10, 2006 I drove with my two grandsons from
their home in Delaware to my home in State College, Pa. They had
previously purchased a DVD of the movie “The Indestructibles”. Although
they had already watched it on their home DVD, they wanted to watch it
again. The four hour trip seemed a good time to do so. I have a perfectly good and
legal laptop with a good and legal DVD player but, not surprisingly to me
although very disappointing to my grandsons, the movie DVD has special
technical junk (DRM) on it that prohibits it from being played on a computer DVD
player. It is outrageous that Hollywood thinks my simple and wholly
understandable use should be forbidden by our copyright system which is
supposed to benefit artists and consumers. It is an out and out war
against innovative technology. Walt Disney was an absolute
genius but please understand there can never again be another Walt Disney
in America. Most of his wonderful work would be against the current
copyright system, something I’m sure was never envisioned by the other
American geniuses who wrote the copyright laws so very long ago.

FAIR USE? Sherman, et al have no idea what fair means.

Rockman4140 says:

This is not the way to go about this...

The RIAA and MPAA are only going to force consumers to become more inventive in how they deal with this. If more restrictive laws are passed, consumers will have to become more knowledgable on how products work, and even creating products that do what YOU want it to.

Think of this, when your parents gave you a stupid and pointless rule, you figured a way around it, correct? That is what’s going to happen. We’re going to figure a way around this strict parent.

It’s really a sad state. It’s sad that everyone is so fucking wrapped up in how much money they can make and don’t fucking care about the consumer anymore.

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