Will The RIAA Sue USB Drive Makers Next?

from the just-wondering dept

While the RIAA continues its strategy of suing the very people it should be courting as customers, a recent study points out that so-called “social ripping” now makes up 37% of all music consumption. This is things like friends ripping CDs and sending the files to other friends, or sharing files through a USB drive. Unlike P2P file sharing, this type of file sharing is simply untraceable by the RIAA. Of course, it’s not like this wasn’t predicted when the RIAA went after Napster. Plenty of people pointed out that for every avenue the RIAA shut down, new ones would spring up — and each new one would be further underground than the previous ones. Taking the internet out of the equation altogether certainly seems like one way to do exactly that. So, what’s next? Will the RIAA start suing USB drive manufacturers for “inducing” infringement? At what point does the industry realize that there’s a better way that doesn’t involve suing the people who are most interested in your products?

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Comments on “Will The RIAA Sue USB Drive Makers Next?”

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cudzoo says:

Re: Let's do it

if the riaa can get sreen shots off your computer. then that is a national threat. if they can do it to a personal, who is to say the can’nt persay accidently screen shot a senators personal stuff on his computer. why is it that one average americans get sued and not politicians whom may or maynot have songs on their computer. i bet chelse clinton has stuff on her computer.

Bryan Price (user link) says:

I'm reminded of BBSes

I remember when Sysops of sexually oriented (OK, porn!) BBSes didn’t download most of what they had. Everybody had a tape drive, and they just traded tapes. 100 meg at a time. Now we’re doing that with flash drives. I can see DVD discs as well as cheap 40-80 gig portable drives. Early ’90s, as these were sysop gatherings, and that was when I was really a sysop (instead of a co-sysop). I remember asking about dupes, and the sysop replied that he didn’t care, there had to be something on the tape that was new. Can’t remember the name/type of drive. I know I’m listed in one of those old BBS listings on the ‘net.

DontpileonMe – I don’t think it’s a scare, it’s a fact. Trading software/porn/movies has been around for quite some time. Be it on floppies (Oh to be working at a computer store at that time…), CDs, tape, DVDs or flash drives.

Tom says:


The mission of the RIAA is not to gain customers. They already have a stable full of customers: all U.S. record labels. The RIAA is just missing the point–so to speak–by failing to address the nature and scope of the underlying problems facing an ever changing industry.
The ongoing and future success of the recording industry, what should be the primary concern for the RIAA, is in adapting and inovating in the face of a changing world. Constant litigation is something like putting another finger in an ever increasing leak hoping it will stop the problem. Eventually one runs out of fingers before discovering that there surely must be a real solution.
And what about the Electronics Industry Association (EIA)? Don’t they support all those nefarious electronics manufacturers? Surely if they can be stopped…well, sadly sarcasm does not provide a solution either. Litigation has become the de facto standard response in the U.S. for lost market share in many industries. The record industry is no different. They all went to the same think school.
Now one begins to see one more reason many suppliers and manufacturers outside the U.S. are gaining and overtaking us. How much music and video do you suppose is ripped in a country like China? With a population over three times that of the U.S., the volume has become staggering. And guess what, they don’t care what the RIAA does or does not do. They do love it when we eat our own however.

Hmm?? says:

Can they sue th auto company if you use your car to Drive to a friends house with a Copied Disc in the glove box since it is a method of transportation to upload copyrighted content. Then we can sue the Govt for providiing the roadway to the house, Sue the owner of the appartment building for allowing storage of said unauthorized files ????? hell where can we get this to go .

Matthew says:

Piracy stops when the extortion stops.

What the RIAA/MPAA is doing is racketeering, price fixing and extortion. Studies say that a CD with its jewel case and printing cost about US$0.80 to make. The artist gets little or no money from a CD sold. Taking into account the cost of shipping, stocking, and returns, why does the same CD sell for $20? Why the 2500% markup? That is price fixing and racketeering.

When the gouging stops, the retards at RIAA would see CD sales go up. However their modus operandi is to keep jacking up prices and sue everyone they can. Great business model, jackasses, keep it up.

Oh, and it would help if we had some halfway decent music these days.

Cleff Richard says:

Only 4 Jobs in UK Music Industry Lost to Counterfe

Apparently the job losses due to counterfeiting are also wildly exaggerated bullshit numbers.

(Copied from a Register.co.uk comment):

‘the numbers suggested counterfeit goods cost 200,000 jobs in Europe, but the GAO recent numbers when examined in Canada suggested otherwise.’


“Of 287,000 inspected shipments from 2000 – 2005, IP violations were only found in 0.06 percent of shipments – less than one tenth of one percent.”

“Moreover, the GAO notes that despite increases in IP seizures, the value of those seizures in 2005 represented only 0.02 percent of the total value of imports of goods in product categories that are likely to involve IP protection.”

Assuming the UK is similar, they’re making laws to tackle 0.02% of trade in imported IP goods into the UK.


“The UK music industry has an enviable export record with annual net earnings in excess of £435m”

So at most (assuming we import less [music] than we export), we’re talking about a loss of 435,000,000 * 0.02% = 87,000 pounds. Since the UK average wage is 23244, thats not even 4 jobs lost in the UK max.

So 4 jobs in the UK music industry maximum lost to counterfeiting. We’re making ridiculous extreme laws to save 4 jobs, and probably costing more lost jobs in other industries as a result.


The infamous Joe says:

Re: To question.

Well, depending on who you ask, it’s still okay today. I mean, Tivo does exactly this as well, and you see little to no jihad against Tivo. Some reasons, however, why the **AA’s care so much these days is because back when all you old farts were young, the recordings were crappy– I mean, c’mon, tapes sucked. (If not more durable than CD’s today) You’d get that crappy hissing sound in the background, the quality was poor, etc etc. So, buying it from the store was an upgrade.

A similar scenario with VHS tapes, sure you could record your favorite episode of Knight Rider, but you’d still have the commercials– even fast forwarding through them you got the gist of the commercial through squiggly lines and such. Also, the quality was inevitably sub par from buying the tapes if/when they were released at the store. (Did they even do that?)

Now days, the recording is just as good as the original– if not better (e.g. you edit out all those pesky commercials) and because of this, you don’t have to buy the box set of anything, unless you’re so hard core that bloopers and deleted scenes are what gets you off. (To each his own, I guess.)

But, the proverbial straw that keeps the war going is how now you’re not just trading tape/VHS/Dvd/CD with your buddy– you, like a media Jesus, can take your one CD and share it with millions, and you never lose your copy, and their copy is just as good. What’s that sound? That’s right.. a death knell for those that still expect us to pay $20 for something that cost them about a buck to make.

Just like any person who is drowning and sees no way out, they are lashing out at anything that might keep them afloat for one second longer– even if it means pushing us under to do it. Day by day they alienate the very people they need to survive– it’s clear we all think $20 for 15 songs is too much, yet they still insist we’re getting the good deal. Soon they’ll have etched away their support and will come down– and I, personally, can’t wait.

The sad thing is, they may have waited too long, p2p is too mainstream and I don’t see how even charging $0.20 a song will work.. why pay anything when it’s free and easily attainable? If they had kept pace with technology, p2p would not have been required in the form it is, and we’d all be pleased as punch that we only have to pay 20 cents for a song, but I don’t see how you could convince people to pay for something they get for free now, unless they can add something to it worth paying for.

Anyway, that’s my rant.

glitch says:

as a writer, i decided it wasn't worth it

the performers get paid to play your stuff, as a writer, i dont believe you recieve any compensation [from live shows]

the recording companies, well, we all know what they pay

and the public, well, they view your stuff as art and generally feel it should be free.

i have other areas, than my ego, i like stroked

Anonymous Coward says:

Firstly, to echo Andrew, Copyright infringement is NOT stealing. No matter how many time the RIAA/MPAA try to drill the idea into your heads the courts have been very clear on that fact.

Second, the more the content industry tries to extend copyright from it’s original purpose and turn it into a welfare system the less and less people are going to care about it. 14 years is plenty of protection to allow time to create new works. If you think I’m going to care that you can’t sit at home and earn money off something you did 30 years ago while my 60 year old parents still have to work 40 hour a week jobs to make ends meet, you can forget about it. Go work at Walmart like everyone else if you can’t stay competitive in the music business.

Thirdly, if you think the RIAA/labels give less that a rat’s arse about the artists you’re out of your mind. But don’t listen to me, listen to some actual artists (or their stories):

Janis Ian

Courtney Love (a surprisingly lucid opinion piece)

Dick Dale

Candian Music Creators Coalition


Fiona Apple

Bob Ezrin/Ternt Reznor

Roger McGuinn
Relavent part: “Roger McGuinn, who led the Byrds in the 1960s, said he earned just 0.0007 cents on each early Byrds album sold. He adds that although Arista Records sold 500,000 of his solo album, Back From Rio, McGuinn never got a penny. In other words, thanks to the machinations of the recording industry, McGuinn has never made any real money on even his most popular recorded music.”

A good financial breakdown of how the labels screw the artists

RIAA Claims Ownership of All Artist Royalties For Internet Radio

Dead musicians sign petition

RIAA Petitions Judges to Lower Artist Royalties

Artists sue Sony

Cyber Akuma says:

They will sue

“Will The RIAA Sue “

Yes, yes they will. No need to finish that sentance, yes they will.

They will sue anything and everything.

They will sue USB drive makers.

They will sue Microsoft.

They will sue every country.

They will sue me.

They will sue you.

They will sue oxygen.

They will sue the Sun.

They will sue God.

They will sue, no matter who or what is, no matter how silly or wrong the reason.

Don’t ask if they will sue, they WILL sue.

John (user link) says:


Hilarious…suing people is pointless…people can now exchange files with each other using encrypted file-sharing apps (such as GigaTribe: http://www.gigatribe.com ), which means that people once again have control of their privacy.

Why don’t they realize that a) CD prices need to come down and b) that the video game industry is doing them more harm than downloaders?

Phil says:

RIAA douchebags

What a bunch of douchebags. Don’t they already make plenty of money as it is? I thought we already had a tax on blank CDRs and RWs for this reason. Besides, if they’re not being sold for any money then it’s not illegal because a) someone has already paid for the factory copy and b) “social ripping” is not selling. No wonder the ethics behind this are getting greyer all the time, it seems like either you steal from the RIAA or they steal from you. What a bunch of whiny bitches.

Dan Zee (profile) says:

USB sharing is big in Asia

I think a lot of commenters missed the point. People are using USB drives to fileshare in Asia, Africa and South America where Internet access is expensive or not available. So the RIAA hears about this and their immediate reaction is to sue someone. Yes, it’s crazy, but the RIAA has been able to bully people into making extortion payments to it, such as the fees and restrictions on DAT tapes and recordable “music” CDs. The RIAA killed both formats. And it’s been somewhat successful in getting colleges to rat out on their students who are file-sharing. It’s been less successful with computer and MP3 makers.

Shit Pickle says:

I have a message for the RIAA: GIVE UP!

Give up you prehistoric sons of a bitch! You are never going to win! First you guys blame p2p, then you guys blame Online radio stations, & now your blaming USB hardware manufacteurs. Notice a pattern? Its obvious p2p, online radio stations, & USB manufacteurs are not the cause of low record sales. Face it RIAA! YOU GUYS ARE THE PROBLEM! As long as there a computer nerds, programmers, & hackers we will always find a way. So kiss your future goodbye! You guys lose & the labels lose!

Here’s some advice:

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