Why I Hope The RIAA Succeeds

from the no,-seriously dept

This week’s post in the lack of scarcity series is going to be brief, since I’m busy at the latest DEMO show (I’ll be doing a post on the interesting trends later). However, I have noticed something in the comments from the series of posts I’ve done. Plenty of people who seem to agree with what I’m writing make sure to add in something about how they hate the RIAA or the MPAA (sometimes in… well… colorful language). There’s also a running assumption that I clearly hate these organizations — and they equally dislike me.

While I have no clue about their feelings towards me, I should clarify my feelings towards them — which I would hope is clear from these posts. I do not hate the recording industry or the movie industry. Quite the opposite. I’m a big fan of both music and movies. The point of this series is not to slam the organizations making these moves, but to help them. I hope they succeed, because it would be a lot easier for everyone involved. However, I do believe that their current strategies of alienating their best customers, relying on government protection, and pretending this is some sort of epic battle between good and evil aren’t just doomed to fail, they’re actively making things worse for themselves. What I write shouldn’t be viewed as hatred for these organizations, but suggestions on how they could create for themselves a much bigger and more successful market that doesn’t require everyone to hate them. I’m quite confident that the market for entertainment is only going to grow to tremendous levels going forward — and I believe these organizations have every opportunity to capture quite a bit of it (though, they’ve been throwing that chance away every day). It’s just a matter of recognizing the long-term strategic errors of their ways.

This seems like an obvious point to me, but given some of the discussions and comments, it seemed worth reiterating.

If you’re looking to catch up on the posts in the series, I’ve listed them out below:

Economics Of Abundance Getting Some Well Deserved Attention
The Importance Of Zero In Destroying The Scarcity Myth Of Economics
The Economics Of Abundance Is Not A Moral Issue
A Lack Of Scarcity Has (Almost) Nothing To Do With Piracy
A Lack Of Scarcity Feeds The Long Tail By Increasing The Pie
Why The Lack Of Scarcity In Economics Is Getting More Important Now
History Repeats Itself: How The RIAA Is Like 17th Century French Button-Makers
Infinity Is Your Friend In Economics Step One To Embracing A Lack Of Scarcity: Recognize What Market You’re Really In

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Comments on “Why I Hope The RIAA Succeeds”

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deadzone (profile) says:

I'm with you!

Entertainment is going to happen with or without these two organizations. (MPAA/RIAA)

They will either learn how to compete as the market changes or they continue to ignore what the market dictates and eventually go bankrupt and die an agonizing and harsh market death.

Unless they learn to respect our Fair Use Rights, embrace technology, and just accept the fact that Piracy will happen no matter what, I don’t think they will make it.

Just my humble opinion though… ๐Ÿ™‚

Sanguine Dream says:

What I'm thinking...

is that early one people felt just like that. I for one think that the **AAs with their dominating presence had the golden opportunity to take the lead in digital distribution. But instead of taking the lead and embracing the digital age of distribution and taking customers to the promise land they chose to take the safe route by treating customers like criminals and do anything in and out of its power to protect its outdated but “reliable” methods.

And once the **AAs did that of course the customers who have been hit by rootkits that could have created dangerous vulnerabilities, taken to court and sued for everything they own, and being sold products that are extremly limited and locked down can anyone blame them for getting defensive? This is very much like a bitter war between two clans and both sides are so deep in it that neither wants to stop fighting for fear of losing.

And while I think its great that someone wants to offer a way that makes all parties involved happy it will take a lot more to close the gap between the **AAs that want all the money a customer has (by any means necessary) and the customers want all the content the **AAs have (by any mean necessary).

Dave says:

Great point.

That’s a very reasonable view of the situation. I imagine that the people behind the RIAA sincerely think that they’re doing good, important work, and some of them may have the best of intentions.

Their actions cannot help but be influenced by their perceived need for self-perpetuation, a feature of nearly any bureacracy. Certainly users’ efforts to control what they listen to (and how they get it) threatens the strong control that the RIAA is used to having.

So as others have said, their implementation has been very misguided, consisting chiefly of harsh litigation, the implementation has been terrible, and as such, probably won’t succeed. They’ve already lost the battle in the media.

MyNameIsMatt (user link) says:

Indeed, but...

I’ve always looked at your arguments as you explain your motives above. Whether the RIAA doesn’t what you’re explaining or not, you’re just describing a market inevitability. Competitve pressures drive the overall market, and those behind the RIAA (and MPAA), don’t seem to accept that, and would rather fight against it.

While I agree with your arguments, I actually don’t like the RIAA just as I don’t like the schoolyard bully. Sure, if the bully stops being a bully, then I’ll like him better, but that doesn’t mean I agree or accept the current methods of operation. It’s safer for you to make your argument as a nonpartisaned individual, and makes it easier for people to accept, but hope doesn’t provide me with much comfort in this situation.

Many things they do are wrong and bad, and that needs to change. Luckily for us, if they don’t plan on changing the market will force it, but better they come around sooner than later, and better for us all. But I still don’t like them.

Brooks says:

Whoa, this makes no sense at all

Techdirt usually has some good reasoning and insightful opinions. This piece, though, makes no sense at all. Let me count the ways.

– First, neither the RIAA nor MPAA make movies or music. Artists, musicians, directors, writers, etc, actually make the entertainment that we enjoy. Those people see somewhere between no benefit and actual harm from the RIAA and MPAA’s thuggish behaviors.

– Second, there’s confusion between liking the industry and liking the product. Two totally different things.

– Third, there’s a total cluelessness about “what the RIAA and MPAA are trying to achieve.” Sure, I support their efforts to… end world hunger! What a noble cause! But in reality, they are no more interested in stopping piracy than they are in cancer research (which is to say “somewhat”, but it’s not their main goal). What they RIAA and MPAA are trying to achieve is a fundamental change in the market — from the concept of consumers owning their copy of any given content to consumers renting content each time it’s used, played, transferred, transcoded, or mentioned in conversation. This is about greatly increasing revenue, not protecting the poor starving artists.

– Finally, there’s some waffling in the “love the sinner, hate the sin” vein. Sure, the organizations are mere corporate fictions, and it’s only their *actions* that are so unethical and slimy. But that’s really splitting hairs, since most people form their opinions of based on behavior, not some kind of abstract, intrinsic quality. It’s a fairly spineless position.

Get it together, Techdirt — this half-apology piece is weakly reasoned, weakly opinioned, and in desperate need of butter and maple syrup.

dorpass says:

Re: Whoa, this makes no sense at all


1. In case you are wondering, it is well known that MPAA and RIAA are not the ones making movie/music. But apparently you are too dense to notice that these organizations represent them.
2. There is no confusion between the product and industry in the article, that’s a pointless statement on your part. And in case you are too dense for this one too, the industry landscape does affect the product.
3. MPAA and RIAA’s goals have nothing to do with fighting piracy. Their MAIN goal is maintaining existing business models and revenues, they just happen concentrate on the piracy as the problem since it’s easier than experimenting with new new models.
4. “love the sinner, hate the sin” is just… well, you must have run out of dumb thinks to say.

Seems like you completely misread the article to match your frustrations of the day and then went off on a tangent rambling. Good job.

Scorpiaux says:

Re: Whoa, this makes no sense at all

“… neither the RIAA nor MPAA make movies or music. Artists, musicians, directors, writers, etc, actually make the entertainment that we enjoy.” – Brooks


Essentially, creators of intellectual property own their creations unless:

1. they are producing their creations as employees, in which case the creative works(s) belong to the employer,
2. they are not employees but they have signed over their creative rights to someone else.

I feel certain that many many creators discover early on that it can take huge investments in time and money to sell their creations. Accordingly, they accept agreements with other parties to share their rights or assign over their rights to another party in exchange for other considerations, usually money, stipulated in contracts. What agreements are reached between the creator and other parties is strictly between those parties and no one else. Any artist is free to walk away from any offer before it is accepted. Most artists are not business people, but some of them are very astute. But then, “life isn’t fair” and some supremely gifted artists fade in and out over time and may wind up destitute. Didn’t Van Gogh die a pauper?

What “makes no sense at all” to me is that some people decide that they should ride to the rescue to save all those artists from suffering the consequences of poorly written contracts not in the artists’ favor. As for my own perspective, RIAA, MPAA, and all of those starving artists could go down in the proverbial flames and I wouldn’t budge to save any of them. Niche replacements would probably appear in short order. None of them need my help.

Anonymous Coward says:

They deserve to fail

easier for everyone involved? I have to say I disagree with that pretty significantly. I must admit that depends on how you classify “involved” but for the consumer it would probably be much easier if they disbanded. Granted the Bands are gonna be in some serious flux for a while, but the truth is any organization that has so infringed the people’s rights, really needs to be taken apart.

Not that I have a problem with the writer’s point of view. I just don’t feel that forgiving towards an organization that’s tactics look more like terrorism than anything else.

|333173|3|_||3 says:

not all indies bad

one thing which annoys me about threads where someone proposes a boycott of RIAA members is that someone invariably spouts that all rrecord companies are either RIAA members, and so evil, or indies, and so produce bad music. Tis is not the case, since some of the Indie labels produce good, mainstream music, such as Naxos, recorded in good quality. Remember that music not by american companies, which are not members of the RIAA, is not necessarily, bad, and that instumentals are the same in any language.
Saying that only RIAA members record good music is helping the RIAA, which the people who post it don’t tend to want to do.

While I am against the RIAA, I am not against the recording industrry.

Marsh says:

It does make sense.

Mike’s argument makes perfect sense. The RIAA could (albeit with a lot of effort) become a driving force behind the distribution of media to the new market. The basic idea behind the group is a good one, but as noted, the policies that they choose are becoming more of a hinderance than a help to the public and the recording industry.

Many people I know despise the RIAA, but when you attempt to view the situation from an external perspective, they really are attempting to do something in the current situation that will help the music industry.

I’m not saying that their current tactics are good, in fact I would say the opposite, and, as Mike has emphasised, until they change, they are going to see more people turning to pirated media as a way to do what they want with the media that they would have bought in a different situation.

While Brooks makes a point in the behavior section, maybe it is time that we tried to influence the behavior of the RIAA instead of just sitting and griping(Don’t ask ME how). If the RIAA had hard evidence that their actions were driving away customers instead of attracting customers, maybe it would be a step towards changing their behaviors, and therefore changing people’s view of the RIAA. Many of the people I know who strongly dislike the RIAA dislike it because they know someone else who dislikes it, and as a consequence, they have not heard anything positive or even neutral about the RIAA. Of course, the problem with this is that they might not listen. So the question remains: How do you convince the RIAA that their current business model isn’t valid, and is actually conterproductive?

Hulser says:

I do not hate the recording industry or the movie industry. Quite the opposite. I’m a big fan of both music and movies. The point of this series is not to slam the organizations making these moves, but to help them. I hope they succeed, because it would be a lot easier for everyone involved.

I wonder what you mean by “succeed”? I believe that a reasoned, dispassionate debate is more effective than hateful ranting, so I think I see where you are going with your statements above. But not hating the RIAA and the MPAA is a far cry from wishing them well. As are probably most of the people who read the posts in this series, I too am a big fan of both music and movies. So I want the people that make music and movies to succeed, not the “organizations making these moves”.

Personally I don’t believe the goals of the RIAA/MPAA are the same as those they claim to represent, so I don’t want them to succeed. If by succeed, you mean that the RIAA/MPAA morph into organizations which don’t have a parisitic relationship with artists, then I would agree. But for this to happen, they would have to change so much, they would be all but unrecognizable. In other words, they wouldn’t be the RIAA and the MPAA if they were succesful by my definition because by my definition they are mostly irrelevent.

So, I can understand why you’d say you don’t “hate” the RIAA and the MPAA. But unless you have a far different definition of “succeed” than I do, I have to resepectfully disagree.

Matt (profile) says:


I would categorize my feeling towards the **AA more as frustration than anger or hatred. There are a lot of people who feel that they have been wronged by these organizations (and there are some people who actually have). But the thing that really irks me about their practices is that they seem completely illogical from my point of view. They aren’t just bad for the consumers, but bad for their companies as well. At very best they’re incredibly short sighted, and have no vision of how they plan on growing their business 5-10 years from now when CD’s are no longer a popular medium and they’ve sued everyone they can.

It’s bad enough when corporations do something in their own interest that harms consumers. What do you say when corporations do something that not only harms consumers, but harms themselves as well and they’re just too short sighted to see it?

TheToe says:

What the RIAA is and is not

“The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry. Its mission is to foster a business and legal climate that supports and promotes our members’ creative and financial vitality. Its members are the record companies that comprise the most vibrant national music industry in the world.” They are not about protecting the artist’s rights, promoting good music, or changing an awful business model. They “foster a business and LEGAL climate that supports and promotes” their “members creative and FINANCIAL vitality”. In other words they only exist as an organization that kicks peoples asses when they do something the dues paying members to the RIAA doesn’t like. The RIAA is just a legal front for the big record companies. Hating the RIAA is like being pissed off at a building, (useless). Be pissed off at the dues paying members of the RIAA. The RIAA is just a pit bull under control of some one else. Don’t hate the dog, hate the handler.

Hulser says:

Mike’s argument makes perfect sense. The RIAA could (albeit with a lot of effort) become a driving force behind the distribution of media to the new market.

It’s my belief that if the RIAA and MPAA were to simply disappear — or at least cease all of their “anti-piracy” efforts — then the artists would realize substantially more income simply by natural market forces. So “a lot of effort” is not required. It’s not about more effort; it’s about less of the wrong kind of effort.

In theory, could organizations like the RIAA and the MPAA change their policies and help the natural market forces along so that easy digital distribution came along which granted the artists a fair profit? Sure, in theory. But I don’t think this is going to happen.

The goal of a bankrobber is to steal money from banks. If you somehow convince them that stealing money from banks is a bad idea, they cease to be bankrobbers. Similarly, if you convince the MPAA and RIAA that their existance isn’t really needed and they disband or radically reorganize, you really can’t call this a success. Well, I would, but they might have a different opinion. ๐Ÿ™‚

Brooks says:

Woohoo for ad hominems!

Wow, I thought I might get a rebuttal, but not one with such well thought out insults.

1. The RIAA and MPAA do not represent artists. They represent the companies who market entertainment. There is a huge, huge difference there. As dense as I must be, and as obviously intelligent as you are I’m surprised you missed this simple fact. Or maybe point me to some actual entertainment made by an actual RIAA member?

2. The article says “I do not hate the recording industry or the movie industry. Quite the opposite. I’m a big fan of both music and movies.” I’m starting to agree with your estimation of my intelligence — can you explain how that is not confusing the industry with the product? Because to me, the opposite of hating the industry would be loving the industry. And the opposite of being a film/music fan would be being a film/music hater. Sure looks like confusion to my dense mind.

3. I guess you left out the personal attack here because you partially agree with my position. Wow, from idiotic to normal in just one point! However, here I think you are being a bit dense. The old business model was that you bought a record and could tape it and play it in your car. And bring it to friends’ houses to play. And so on. What the RIAA and MPAA are after is not protecting that model, but more of a cake-and-eat-it-tool scenario where consumers buy multiple copies (or licenses) for any given content, so that the revenue stream never dries up from old releases.

4. Ah, back to the personal attacks. Nope, I’ve got plenty more “dumb” things to say — if by “dumb” you mean “not entirely in agreement with your highness.” FWIW, the phrase “love the sinner hate the sin” is a bit of well-meaning religious cheesiness. Other than the equally cheesy personal attacks, can you explain how the original article differs from that philosophy?

I guess you’re one of those people who “win” every argument. In the sense that people learn to avoid talking to you. Well, my lesson’s learned!

Overcast says:

I like music and the artists. Just not the leeches who have zero talent and exploit the artists because they have a marketing machine.

Like the ‘dinosaur-media’ – the RIAA’s usefulness is over.

If new technology is enough to cause masive profit losses to newspapers and for the Chicago Tribune to be for sale because of losses.

Yes, it’s a natural reaction for the public to hate an entity when it goes suing the masses. Especially after so many years of inflated Record/Cassette/CD prices and the obvious tactic of limiting records to one or two good songs.

Think it’s actually called ‘poetic justice’.

No matter, still not buying RIAA supported Cd’s, nor am I stealing it. I’m just exercising my right to boycott.

Can just flip on one of millions of media streams on the net or listen to the 250 CD’s I’ve already been soaked for.

If an artist has a web site, where I can buy CD’s direct from the Artist or if it’s used and the RIAA doesn’t get a cut, I’ll buy it.

misanthropic humanist says:

too charitable mate

The RIAA are like an errant brother. You’ve always been close but you watched him fall in with a bad crowd and start doing drugs. You always stood by him, until that day he whacked an old man you always thought he could get over his sickness. Now he’s up on a multiple homocide charge. You love him and want him to get well so you pay his bail money one last time, take him on a holliday somewhere nice to straighten himself out. But then he gets in a fight and stabs a waiter.

I respect you coming out on a position that is surely a magnet for an inferno of flames Mike, but I think you are misguided and not seeing the animal for what it is, what it has become.

What I write shouldn’t be viewed as hatred for these organizations, but suggestions on how they could create for themselves a much bigger and more successful market that doesn’t require everyone to hate them.

It is impossible to dispassionately discuss the behaviour of these people and not appear to hate them. Even with the most neutral language the actions speak for themselves. It’s like me trying to say I never really “hated” the Nazis, that I try to see them as human beings caught up in a tide of events beyond their control and that deep down I still feel a warm human love for them as fellows. It’s a magnanamous and noble attempt at humanity, but we all know it’s so much bullshit. To even acknowledge the behaviour of these people and pretend it provokes anything other than hatred is beyond the patience of the most forgiving and understanding mind.

As a teenager I used to spend long winter evenings building RIAA preamplifiers for my hi-fi. In those days they were a benign standards organisation. But there is nothing left of that now. It’s like staring at the face of a man whos mind has long since gone. The sickness is deep and the rot almost complete. There is nothing inside the RIAA now but lawyers and malevolent greedy bastards. It is a relic of a bygone century that just will not die gracefully.

I do not hate the recording industry or the movie industry. Quite the opposite. I’m a big fan of both music and movies.

Me too. But how do you define “industry”? Those things exist despite the MAFIAA, not because of them.

I’m coming clearly from the “hate them and want them to die” camp. There’s no half measures here, the behaviour of the MAFIAA organisations forces a diametric viewpoint. It’s just not possible to forgive them or tolerate them any longer for damage they do to all the things we love.

The point of this series is not to slam the organizations making these moves, but to help them.

And you still want to help that brother who is an addict. The one now holding a bloody knife in his hand and a look on his face like the Devil sick of sin. I’ve got some bad news for you. You can’t help. You only make a fool of yourself trying and in the end bring more pain.

The best thing you can do for his own good is turn him in to the cops.

MyNameIsMatt (user link) says:

Stupid syntax

Brooks, I think you’re argument, which maybe syntactically correct, is wrong-headed. The governing bodies of music and movies for all intents and purposes control the those products and are represented as the RIAA/MPAA. Yes, they might not themselves produce that music, but they do control 95% of the landscape. Therefore, it isn’t much of a stretch to attach the two.

The RIAA isn’t just going to disappear as much as we’d all love that, so musicians won’t magically gain some market power that was hindered because of the RIAA’s operations. While Mike is discussing market theory, he’s also rooting the strategies in reality, being that if we want the landscape of music and movie to change, then organizations like RIAA and MPAA need to change their tactics because they are for all intents and purposes the controllers of the music and movie landscape.

As time passes, these organization won’t be able to resist market pressures, but they can put a lot of hurt on in the time being. Which is why I don’t like them, but I’m hopefully like Mike that they’ll get a clue and change.

Andrew (user link) says:

RIAA Success = Embracing New Business Models

For the RIAA to truly succeed, and have everyone truly win, they will have to embrace new business models.

Business models that will not alienate the customer by putting restrictions on the use, ownership, and transferability of legally purchased products.

Further, the RIAA is trying to scare customers into compliance by suing anyone and everyone for downloading music illegaly (whether they did or not — 70 year old grandma).

What the RIAA needs to do to solve their “public image” and revenue woes is embrace a new business model.

The p2p model should be taken and adapted to fit a legal system, wherein users can be compensated for songs they share to the community, royalties are taken for the artists, and users are given the freedom of DRM-free all in a music social community that gives you Pandora-like music recommednations.

Quaint, no?

Please visit escapemg.com for more information.

OMAC says:

The RIAA does not record music and the MPAA has never made a movie. These are trade associations with LOTS of political clout, lobbyists and an endless supply of lawyers. Nothing more. I love movies and I listen to music. But I hate the RIAA and MPAA, and I hope they fail spectacularly.

The RIAA is currently trying to make it illegal to record satellite radio. How ridiculous is that? Satellite radio is no different than FM in the sense that the end result is the same. You get audio out of a speaker. People have been making mix tapes since the tape recorder has been invented and, contrary to the claims of the RIAA, the recording industry is still around and thriving.

Then there was the time people from the RIAA dressed up in paramilitary garb, complete with RIAA stenciled on the back of their non-uniforms and proceeded to raid a street vendor who was selling bootleg copies of movies and music. Yeah, the vendor was clearly in the wrong here, but the tactics that the RIAA used were just as illegal.

And just a few weeks ago they had a DJ arrested for doing what a DJ does, mixing tracks. And as I understand it, the DJ had permission from the labels and credited the artists. Yet the RIAA took it upon themselves to rid the world of this evil person.

The RIAA tried to get a bill passed into law that would hold the manufacturers of certain products responsible if they were used to rip/store/distribute illegal content. Why should Seagate or Maxtor be held responsible because someone had illegal MP3s on their hard drive? Why should Apple be held responsible because some guy made a copy of a DVD on his MacBook?

I am not saying piracy is okay or right. All I am saying is that things that have been legally acceptable in the past like recording off the radio or recording a TV show then fast forwarding through the commercials, are all of a sudden coming under scrutiny and considered illegal. I am considered a criminal because I do these things.

If I were to import a DVD to my Zen, I would be breaking the law because it is illegal to break the encryption on a DVD.

These are some of the reasons I hate the RIAA and MPAA. I won’t even get into the issues of suing dead people, middle schoolers and people that don’t own computers. Both organizations and anyone that supports them can burn in eternity for all I care.

The music and movie industry can survive without the RIAA and MPAA. In fact, the planet would be a better place without these organizations.

To Hell with the RIAA and MPAA.

Tyshaun says:

The day, the music, died!

I find myself having no real like or dislike of the **AA machine, but I have very definate feelings about how the void would be filled if the companies they represent failed and died into obscurity. Is the void going to be filled by a bunch of youtubers and garage bands? I know that there is great talent out there that isn’t under the “oppresion” of the **AA machine, but that’s actually irrelevant because as it has already been noted, the **AA aren’t content producers, more like content underwriters. They promote and distribute the bulk of the media consumed in the mainstream palette, what is that going to be replaced with?

The best answer I’ve heard to the question of filling the void left in the absence of the **AA jugernaut is that the internet can do it. Artists can sell directly to their fans everything from music/films to the associated merchandise. I don’t disagree that this would work for some BUT it seems to me that a major element is missing, no one will get to your website to buy your stuff unless they know you exist! Marketing requires money. Also, and I don’t say ths lightly, most people are sheep and would much rather have their content spoon fed and pre-sifted to them by the **AA companies than actually go through a little work and seek it out.

So yes, the **AA practices leave a lot to be desired and in a perfect world they would die under the oppression of their DRM laden formulaic products, but the day after that happens will we all be singing that famous line “…the day, the music, died”? Maybe Mr. McLean was more of a claravoyant than a songwriter?

Bill says:

What's the plan, Mike?

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan

You seem to have plenty to say about the RIAA and MPAA doing everything wrong but what is this mysterious plan that will make the recording and movie industries tons of dough?

Step 1: everyone gets to download music and movies for free
Step 2: ???????
Step 3: PROFIT!!!

thinlizzy151 (user link) says:


Neither the RIAA or the MPAA make films or music. Both are essentially legalized rackets, who, not surprisingly, are behaving just like racketeers. None of this settlement $ goes to the artists. Musicians never make much from CD sales anyway. Touring is where their payday comes. Fortunately, technology has provided bands with an alternative way to get their music to the people, and more and more musicians are taking advantage of it. More power to ’em.

The thing that really gets me is the unbridled greed these corporate thugs are displaying. It’s not like they are not rich already. When is too much finally enough? There is nothing to like about these thugs. They offer nothing to society, it’s the artists who do. They’re just corporate clowns without enough creativity to figure out a new, effective business model that will keep their leaky corporate ship afloat in the new market that has developed whether they like it or not. I, for one, wish them the absolute worst. Karma prevails.

leaglebob says:

Nice discussion, but no dialectic.

Post 1= Mike–I read your piece with interest but was a bit put-off with its tergiversation. Too transparent, or just a polite yet still dubious exercise in parsing??

Post 8=Brooks–made me perk up. Analysis! An excellent start at defining the terms, making distinctions, and -what?- making the article better, with the ultimate goal of making copyright law beneficial to society?

Post Various=Ad hominen attacks. To be expected: ignored but Post 15 demonstrates additional “issues” present through most argumentation, ie, arguing the extreme. “I disagree with your conclusion, therefore everything you have to say is wrong.” Surely, there are “some” distinctions between art, artist, producer, promoter, distributor, industry, industry representatives that have different impacts on any given subject of discussion? What percentage of RIAA revenues should flow to “the artist” before their activities are seen to be in support of said artist? If you have no opinion or don’t know the numbers, what are you really arguing for?

Post 22=Mike responds. Mike, do you know the numbers referenced just above? When you say the RIAA does represent “the industry” are you thinking of the artists, or the very distinguishable business model that lives off their creativity? – ie, do you have in mind what you are specifically arguing “for?” From your other posts, I conclude you are “for” the art/artists being supported and having the greatest interaction with the public/fans. Some “industry” is necessary for this process, but does such minimal required involvment support the express purpose of the RIAA? Further distinctions–preventing piracy is a “good thing” but limiting fair-use is not. If the RIAA fails to make this distinction, should they have your goodwill or not?

Mike, your argument is ambigous at best. When you say “industry” what are you really thinking of? Industry is a big word, big concept and because of that, unavoidably ambiguous. Just about anything can be said of “industry” and be right AND wrong at the same time. Leads to alot of pointless blogging.

“If I like the product, shouldn’t I want the industry to succeed?” Spot the logic errors here. Really!! But let the dialectic continue. //// Bobbo.

bshock says:

We'll have to agree to disagree, Mike

Personally, I hope that anyone involved with the MPAA or RIAA loses his shirt and dies of starvation. I don’t think entertainment is a sufficiently important reason to, say, start a violent guerrilla war against these groups. But they have gravely insulted our intellects, our spirits, and our wallets. They certainly deserve impoverishment and disgrace.

Dewy (profile) says:

someone to hate

I’d say the RIAA/MPAA has fulfilled an important role in this industry… they’re doing the dirty work. Artists do not want to be taken for granted, nor their work reduced in value to pennies on the dollar for what it brought yesterday.

Yet I’d also say they have overstepped their mandate and failed by criminalizing fans and failing to embrace the benefits of new tech.

Someone above said Karma prevails… and it does, just as economic forces will prevail. The “cost” of distribution has dropped significantly… and they want to convert this into a NEW revenue stream… rather than embrace the advance and pass on a reduced cost.

I think the term “Piracy” has been abused here. Consumers are not pirates… Most consumers purchase products…have full time jobs, and generally are fans. Pirates redistribute material for profit, and this is not the case with fileshare.

Fileshare is fans sharing access to their favorites… thus contributing (read PROMOTING) to the access of the artwork by a wider audience. I know something is a better product by the number of “fans” (shares) it has.

Somehow the “guardians” of the industry that creates this media have mistaken fileshare for “owning” the product… and failed to see its benefits for the industry, and mistaken fans for pirates.

It WILL backfire on them, they are biting the hand that feeds them and making general asses of themselves, Fans and artists alike see this and are watching quietly.

With every newscast denouncing piracy and announcing harsher actions against fans, more and more turn to fileshare, and away from the thugs.

I join in Mike for wishing success to all parts of the industry representing artists, as I am Fan… and grateful to the industry for its quality product.

I do hope the RIAA/MPAA quickly realize the error of their ways before the artists they protect slit their throats. The fans are already quietly doing that.

Paranoia Strikes Deep says:

Re: someone to hate

“Someone above said Karma prevails… they are biting the hand that feeds them”

Someone else mentioned Nine Inch Nails. XD

I can see one of those Mafiaa execs entertaining a dialogue like —

SCENE: Montgomery Burns’ office, where Burns is discussing the “proper punishment” of “copyright violators” who infringe on the ironclad patents of the Burns-Sec media empire.

The room is cloaked in darkness, save for the eerie, devilish glow of a roaring fire and the dim light of a row of computer monitors on a wall behind the desk at the front of the room where Burns sits.

His faithful assistant Smithers stands just in front of the office door, at the other side of the room, across from Burns’ desk. Burns sits facing the wall, back turned, gleefully watching the monitors as Smithers readies to leave for the day…

Burns: Nine inch nails — driven into the eye sockets of the, uh, ‘dread pirate robbers.’ A most excellent weapon of choice, isn’t it, Smithers?

(Smithers nods)
Smithers: Uh, y-yes, sir.
(Smithers taps his fingers together, shifts his eyes downward, and clenches his teeth. His hands shake as he steps backwards towards the door, reaching for the doorknob, remembering the Wikileaks mirror at home he needs to rush back and encrypt.)

(Burns jerks the seat around. His eyes widen, and he stares ‘nine-inch daggers’ at Smithers.)
Burns: And a most excellent reference to “The Princess Bride,” wasn’t it, Smithers? “Inconceivable,” in fact!
(Burns laughs.)

Smithers: Well, yes — but that’s a copyrighted film, sir —

Burns (lunging forward): Nevermind!

Smithers: Uh — uh — that, sir, was Nirvana.

(One of the computers beeps. A piracy haven has been identified at the Simpsons’ residence)

Burns: Yes… it certainly will be, when those thieves burn in hell.

(Burns turns the chair back around — slowly — chuckling evilly as the room fades to black)

Burns: Welcome to Paradise.

(Smithers rushes out, closes the door behind him, and wipes his brow. Bart Simpson, wearing a Pirate Bay t-shirt, skateboards down the hall and almost knocks into Smithers.)

Bart: Uh, hey, dude, you forgot to mention —

Smithers: (frustrated sigh) What?

Bart (laughs): That was Green Day.

(Smithers grabs Bart and chokes him.)


Oh, snap, I think that was a fan-fic screenplay. I’m in copyright hell now, I guess…

Jon T. says:

Are you out of your mind !!

The RIAA and MPAA are organizations that are illegal. Because they are so powerful and control Congress, they are not banned. What is illegal is when companies in a industry band together so that they stop competition and fix pricing. What both the RIAA and MPAA do is collusion. About 20 years about Major League Baseball was fined heavily for collusion and some owners, like George Steinbrenner were suspended for a year or two. Industry organizations can help promote and advertise, BUT NOT engage in collision, which both of them do.
They have stolen and keep stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from artists. The DA of New York (now governor), has been the only one with the guts enough to sue both organization with heavy duty fines and make some of their practices of collusion, price fixing and stop the gigantic practice of payola (in N.Y. only),which is far, far greater than the practice that was investigated years ago. He hoped that the Feds would pick it up and do it on National level, BUT …. no investigation. Their lobbyists pay millions to Congressmen, and Bush and the administrative branches, with money that is virtually stolen from artists and over charging of customers. They have virtually no positive reason for their existence. Look at when the Feds nailed then for their outrageous price fixing by disallowing stores to charge less than a certain amount. Price fixing. Then all who filed, with a proof of purchase of albums or CDs would get paid $5 for each one, also a large contribution of media was made to libraries across the country.
These are the organizations that went to court to stop the sale of reel to reel tape, cassette tape, VCRs, CDs and are in the courts now being sued by veteran groups like The Allman for screwing them out of royalties that they earned for sales from ITunes.
They did however succeed in stopping the sale DAT (digital audio Tape) players and recorders to the public. Then they put a charge of a buck for every blank cassette purchased.
Before it would be the technology companies that would gifht against the RIAA and MPAA in court. NOW the same technology companies are working together with the RIAA and MPAA to screw the artists and public.
With no competition in the business anymore, the RIAA companies all have dropped their budgets for new artist development.
It is the middle men in those organizations that fight change, the change that really would make the record companies that they represent a lot more money. Just like they fought against tape recorders and VCRs.
Now they are lobbying (with money stolen from artists and consumers), to make it illegal to sell ANY MEDIA RECORDING Device and Blank Media !!It really is a smokescreen for the fact that less people listen to radio, bands can’t afford to tour anymore, venues are very few, independent movies are far more creative and well written and acted than the Hollywood garbage, which focus on re-making old movies and more and more and more sequels of the same crap. Are you ready for Friday the Thirteenth 54 or Rocky 99 ?

People thing when they pay the over-priced fees for downloads, that the money goes to artists. Nope, it goes to another company that is supposed to pay the record companies, who hopefully in turn will pay the artists a penny or two.

Get rid of the RIAA and MPAA, allow a competitive market place and allow for creativity and especially allow for recording artists to make some money and tour again.

Herb (user link) says:

music period

The music business has always attempted to be a closed club, but nothing like today…the major’s have taken over the popular music business. We produce records, we cannot get airplay because we are not on MTV, to get on MTV cost a lot of money, it’s not supposed to, but it does…

American Idol has replaced hard work and talent… musicianship has been reduced to a “sweep-stakes”, on the other hand technology, has made everybody musicians, and now DJ’s are musicians, strippers and lap dancers are musicians i.e. The Pussy Cat Dolls….

so where is music going, well the serious artists, will all be found at Burger King during the day, and the musicians who make a living will win some contest somewhere.

Marcia Neil (user link) says:

advanced technology as ethics bypass

Sadly, the tone of the article and others continues to suggest that advanced technology should be used to send zillions of copies into the public domain right or wrong. Have a look at the actual precedent — copyright issues with RCA in western NY still blocked from law court review by many decades of RIAA seize, copy and sell tactics.

amanda says:


fuck the RIAA the record industry and movie industry raped us for years with their $20 CDs and Movies. the people that illegally downloaded helped lower the cost of cds and movies so if anything limewire and napster were good things. if we keep illegally downloading the cost of cds will go down even further so they are affordable! we got them by the balls as long as we keep illegally downloading!

zarathustra (profile) says:

What's the Frequency, William?

Who – other than the ‘industries’ themselves – cares one iota whether they’ll make ‘tons of dough’? There is no ‘mystery’ here – there are several working models out there for revenue-generation that negate a need for these obsolete MPAA/RIAA clowns.

In respect of musicians, artists make the majority of their money from gigging & merching, while it’s the corporate leeches that make their lucre from CD sales. It’s also widely accepted that filesharing mp3s raises public awareness & can actually _generate_ income; high-profile examples being Radiohead & NiN.

Paranoia Strikes Deep says:

Re: O.K., Computer

It’s also widely accepted that filesharing mp3s raises public awareness & can actually _generate_ income; high-profile examples being Radiohead & NiN.

I agree with your point, but while RH and NiN both adopted the file-sharing model, they were already known before Metallica-gate opened the “Pandora” box with regards to Napster and LimeWire and other non-traditional media distribution forms.

More accurate examples of gaining awareness and attention almost exclusively through the web are Colbie Caillat, Arctic Monkeys, Foster the People, and numerous hip-hop musicians (I don’t listen to rap so I can’t say who).

But… there’s also Justin Bieber. /eyeroll

I’d be willing to make an exception if the *AAs would throw that pre-pubescent POS in Gitmo. XD Then again, internet distribution did wonders to revive Rick Astley’s career. /rickroll

Digger says:

I'm with you!

Piracy is the physical copying of media (or creating more physical media) for sale and profit.
Downloading something you find on the net isn’t piracy.
Offering up *bits* of a file isn’t making available, as you only shared 1 tenth of 1% of a work for *downloading*.

That’s the nice thing about things like Torrents, in that no one individual can be blamed for *making* available an entire file.

If someone were to download all the bits that only person made available they might have an old antiquated 3.5″ floppy disks worth of information (1440kb) out of 3 or 4GB of data.
It’s a conglomeration of people sharing out the same file that eventually gets you the full file, no single person or provider can.

I for one feel that America, the employees in the industries, and the artists along with consumers would be much better off if all of the MAFIA like organizations (MPAA/RIAA/etc) were gone. Their actions that violate the RICO act need to be used to nail them to the wall and break them down, into their tiniest components until gone.

Blackmail, strong-arm tactics used against the public.
Illegally extending copyright to infinity by encrypting content without putting the keys into a public (non corporate affiliated) escrow account, so that when copyright expires the content can be permanently unlocked is illegal. It breaks copyright by never allowing content to enter the public freely.

Holding one person accountable for another person’s actions is abhorrent, unethical and most likely illegal if we dig deep enough.

LC (profile) says:

It's time for the

It’s time the government took a brand new approach to this. Instead of introducing ever-increasingly broad, sweeping, draconian and most of all, EXPENSIVE copyright laws, it’s getting to the point where A. government must acknowledge that the internet is here to stay, for good or bad.
and B. Copyright laws are currently well and truly beyond what any person would deem reasonable (if they do not have a vested interest in ensuring they stay that way).
What the government would be better off doing is:
1.Set copyright laws to:
– Only allow copyright to last for 50 years after the work’s release and no longer.
– Extend what is allowed under fair use to include pretty much anything other than displaying or selling the work for profit WITHOUT permission from, acknowledgement of and if requested, paying royalties to, the original copyright holder.
2. Tell the **AA’s the government is not going to cover their asses anymore, and they either have to embrace and adapt their business models to new technology of any shape or form, or go into bankruptcy. That, after all, is the way of the free market.

If the **AA’s continue to push the sort of crap that they have over the last 15-20 years (SOPA being the most recent example) then the anti-copyright movement will gain A LOT of traction. People will not want copyright laws anymore if SOPA/PIPA is the price they have to pay for them, and that will hurt people as much as having copyright laws which are too draconian (albeit a different group of people).

LC (profile) says:

RE: It's time for the **AA's to go back to the drawing board

Actually, a better idea: Make copyright last for either 70 years or the copyright holders death (the producers in the case of movies, TV shows and videogames and the artists themselves in cases of art and music), whichever one comes first, and ban the encryption of DVDs unless the codes are left with the government so that they can be unencrypted when the copyright duration is up.

See, we’re willing to compromise. ๐Ÿ™‚

Travis says:

Naming Separation

Don’t forget, “The Movie Industry” and the MPAA are NOT the same thing (ditto for RIAA and music).

I dearly love and support the people and businesses who make my movies and music. However, I despise the tactics that these two organizations are using in the name of defending these things that I love.

Both of these organizations want everyone to believe they are synonymous with the industries they ‘represent,’ but it isn’t so. Many of the people and organizations that actually produce the content the RIAA and MPAA want to protect also despise and oppose their methods, but lack the power to effect real change in these organizations.

It’s important to distinguish the organization from the industry, as well as distinguishing goals we support from methods we don’t.

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