Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




The EFF vs. The RIAA

from the epic-battles dept

USA Today is running a profile of the Electronic Frontier Foundation comparing them to the RIAA. It points out, at the beginning, that the RIAA's new Chairman will get a $1 million salary, which is half the entire annual budget of the EFF. While the article quotes a top lawyer at Verizon (who battled the RIAA against revealing subscriber names) saying that she was surprised at how sharp the EFF folks were, it also quotes a (non-RIAA, but still industry backed) lobbyist saying simply, "The EFF's basic stance on most issues is plain wrong." His reasoning for this is that he's too uncreative to come up with other ways for the music industry to make money. Why is it that people who are so uncreative assume that obsolete business models need to be forced on everyone else, just because they can't come up with a better business model. If he were in charge a hundred years ago, he'd have outlawed automobiles, since he wouldn't see any other way for horse and buggy makers to make a living.

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  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 5 Aug 2003 @ 9:14am

    Re: bad analogy

    Comparing the music industry to buggy makers doesn't make any sense. "File sharers" aren't creating a better competing product, they are using, but not paying for an existing product. So it's not as though the buggy makers are being put out of business by the car, they are being put out of business by people who steal buggies from the dealership.

    Nope. Yours is the wrong analogy by assuming that copying a digital good is somehow the same thing as stealing a tangible good.

    Here's why the buggy analogy works: The music industry is not really in the "music industry", they're in the music distribution industry. Right now, they prefer distribution via the very inefficient means of CDs. Along comes some folks who have created a much more efficient distribution mechanism: peer-to-peer file sharing, and the music industry is freaking out because it turns their whole economic model upside down.

    The horse and buggy industry was really the "transportation vehicle" industry. Automobiles came along and were much more efficient mechanisms for transporting people, and thus the horse and buggy makers had to adjust.

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