What The RIAA Efforts Have Really Been About: Controlling Channels
from the let's-get-real dept
A few folks have been writing in about the latest in a long line of lawsuits against the RIAA, this one focusing on how its entire lawsuit strategy has been a legal sham. This particular lawsuit isn’t really all that different than some of the previous lawsuits against the RIAA, and unfortunately, judges haven’t been all that accommodating to such lawsuits, so I’m not really expecting it to go very far. However, within the lawsuit, there is a pretty good explanation of why the RIAA and the major record labels have been conducting this braindead, short-sighted and self-defeating legal campaign all along. It’s had nothing to do with “educating the public” or “protecting artists’ rights” as representatives have claimed in the past. No, it’s all been about one single thing: protecting a monopoly on distribution and channel relationships.
In the old business model, the record labels made their money because they had near total control over the production of content, the distribution of content, and all channel relationships with retailers. The internet and new digital technologies broke all of that down. It made it easier for anyone to produce content, distribute content or even build channel relationships themselves. What the record labels got upset about wasn’t “file sharing” per se — but the fact that file sharing went around all of their channel relationships and effectively killed the one major scarcity they controlled.
So, don’t believe the entertainment industry lawyers who laughably claim that the RIAA’s legal maneuvering has nothing to do with business models. It’s always been about business models. The lawsuits were just a way to try to stuff the genie back in the bottle, and prevent these alternative channels and means of distribution and promotion from seeing the light of day.