Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

The RIAA's Last Profitable Business Model: Automated Extortion?

from the it's-so-profitable dept

Michael Geist points us to Brad Templeton's email on the Interesting People mailing list, describing how the RIAA has embraced "spamigation," which he defines as the automated process of sending out mass lawsuits for those it accuses of copyright infringement. While the rest of his description isn't new, it is a concise explanation of how the process works, quite similar to DirecTV's automated suing of people from a list they got, where they made it clear to those who were being sued that it was cheaper to pay up the fine that to contest it in court, even if they were innocent. Eventually, DirecTV was sued for racketeering and the courts forced them to stop the spamigation campaign (though, we thought "extortion" campaign was more fitting). The RIAA has been similarly charged with racketeering a few times for its lawsuits -- but so far those cases haven't gone very far. In the meantime, Cory Doctorow suggests that this is the last profitable business model for the music industry -- which is a bit of hyperbole. It may very well be the last profitable business model of the current recording industry run by the RIAA, but these lawsuits will eventually be seen as a backwards blip in the progress of the industry. While the practice of automating mass lawsuit filings against totally unrelated plaintiffs is still seen as legal, eventually the RIAA will be forced to stop. It won't be soon after that people begin to realize that there are business models that work well and are profitable -- without treating everyone as if they were a criminal.

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  • identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 22 Aug 2006 @ 1:01pm

    The only way...

    the RIAA will stop with these frivilous suits is if some higher power steps in and stops them. But of courser the RIAA is paying these higher powers an awful lot of money to look the other way. And don't get me started on how the RIAA can start up these lawsuits but drop them and sneak away like cowards with no penalty.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dorpus, 22 Aug 2006 @ 1:06pm

    Go after ThumpMobiles?

    Will RIAA ever go after ThumpMobiles on the highway because the whole neighborhood can hear them?

    (I tinted my windows last week so I won't roast under the Alabama sun, and I've been driving around thumping.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2006 @ 1:16pm

    How about downloadable MP3's for 50 cents each on a website?

    I'd pay for them.

    Sorry, but if someone sues me, I'm getting a lawyer and fighting it - even if it's just for the point of it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    funny, 22 Aug 2006 @ 1:18pm

    funny does that mean americans can get even more lazy can we all just run automatic lawsuit more going out to mc donalds to sue for hot coffee you could just sit on your fat ass like the riaa and do the same... only in america.. sue becase you can... nice mesage from the RIAA

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jimmy, 22 Aug 2006 @ 1:49pm

    I wonder what the RIAA is going to do when everyone learns about using proxies for their online activities

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    cb, 22 Aug 2006 @ 2:28pm

    why not us ?

    Why don't we start our own automatic RIAA sue'r (or sewer, you take your pic)? Everytime someone downloads a song, sue them for whatever the reason.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2006 @ 3:04pm

    What the RIAA/Sony/AOL/Dell etc do not understand is the power of a personal referral. So you are looking for a
    "X", I have one from "ZZZ" and it is wonderful.

    My personal message now - since the Sony CD debacle is
    'do not buy anything from Sony; you cannot trust them
    and their quality seems to be slipping.

    Do I hear a reference to Dell batteries ( = Sony quality)!

    The old Japanese idea of building the best possible was correct. The customers simple expect the best -
    trying to fool them make a fool of you the company.

    I went to a concert recently - people were happy to buy the CD - to support the bands.

    But RIAA is not sueing for the 'band' but for their old
    dead business. I suggest that next part of the boycott
    is due to happen soon. i.e. I will not buy anything that
    funds directly or indirectly the RIAA. This will stop the customer being treated as a criminal.

    p.s. Is there a lawyer who would like to sue the RIAA
    for emotional damage due to there abuse of the counrts sueing innocent people. Punitive damage like make fail.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Gene, 24 Aug 2006 @ 2:22pm

    More then Extortion

    Extortion is what it looks like. But what it really is is suing people on the basis of a hunch. A hunch that someone might have injured them. With a hunch there is little or no proof. Where no proof exists, then you have made a false and fraudulant claim against someone. A satellite company made such a false claim against me. It makes no difference if you are innocent because the company will try and collect the money from even those whom they know were innocent. That is why it is Lawsuits for profit. A satellite company had courts order searching of 400 homes in Michigan for programmers which were legal to own and use ISO7816 programmers. The satellite company took from persons ISO7816 programmers which are legal to buy and own. Then entered into settlements which waive there rights to complain or seek charges. It goes much farther then pay us or we will do this. ( extortion) A disection of events will show subordination of perjury in the fraudulant lawsuit as well as obstruction of justice stating things to the court where there was no supporting evidence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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