Say That Again

by Carlo Longino

When The RIAA Hates You This Much, You Must Be On The Right Track

from the gold-star-for-you dept

We've noted for some time that one problem in the ongoing battle between Hollywood, technology companies and consumers over intellectual property issues is that consumers don't have a group as visible and as noisy as the RIAA or MPAA standing up for them. But for some time, Gary Shapiro and the Consumer Electronics Association have been the closest thing to it, and CEA head Shapiro has proven himself an eloquent and intelligent point man on these issues. While his ability to talk sense and stand up to Hollywood is pretty self-evident, perhaps the biggest sign that he's on the right track is how badly he manages to get under the skin of its shill groups like the RIAA. Four years ago, his speech on how the recording industry was shooting itself in the foot by using a scorched-earth legal policy elicited an angry and typically illogical response from the RIAA's head, Cary Sherman. Shapiro and the CEA -- and a host of other groups -- a few weeks ago announced The Digital Freedom Campaign, which "is dedicated to defending the rights of students, artists, innovators, and consumers to create and make lawful use of new technologies free of unreasonable government restrictions and without fear of costly and abusive lawsuits" (apparently that's something with which he's familiar). Hardly surprising that something like that would bother the RIAA, and once again, Sherman's gone all apoplectic at how the campaign is making "an extremist interpretation of fair use to frighten and mislead consumers and policymakers". He chooses to single out Shapiro and the CEA, making this sound like it's more of a personal issue than anything.

Perhaps even more galling, though, is that he depicts the RIAA as fair use's biggest fan, and that Digital Freedom's assertion that the entertainment industry wants to restrict new technologies and devices is "knowingly false and incendiary rhetoric". Only on planet RIAA could the truth, in the form of the entertainment industry's long and storied history of trying to get new technologies banned or restricted, be labeled "knowingly false". It's amazing that the likes of Sherman and the RIAA can maintain any sort of credibility on these issues. Ignoring the stupidity of not selling customers what they want and trying to sue them into submission, their hypocrisy is astounding. They're the biggest supporters of fair use, he says -- even though they act as if it doesn't exist. They accuse the CEA of acting not out of consumers' interest, but out of electronics manufacturers -- when the RIAA is about the most self-serving trade group ever created. Finally, accusing the CEA and Shapiro of using incendiary rhetoric and lies, given the RIAA and Sherman's track record, is simply ludicrous. Sherman can beat this drum until he's blue in the face, but the fact remains that the entertainment industry's worst enemy is still itself, and its horribly misguided views on digital technology -- not Gary Shapiro and the CEA.

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  1. identicon
    Starky, 13 Nov 2006 @ 9:23am

    It's true!

    They don't restrict content and try to eliminate new technology, and China doesn't censor the Internet!

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

  2. identicon
    Henry, 13 Nov 2006 @ 9:34am


    I'm glad that people that have the money to stand up to RIAA do. I believe in fair use and I believe in intellectual property rights. But vendors don't have a right to install all sorts of crap on my computer and television to prevent me from watching a movie that I have legally purchased. The RIAA needs to take note of history. No copy protection scheme remained unbroken for long. In addition, I plan on buying no name products (Korean) that refuse to be bullied. My Sony DVD player is great, but I have to watch all these stupid anti theft videos, while other DVDs that I have, I can skip by them. As a result, I no longer buy Sony products for home use. I guess they shot themselves in the foot... Again...

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

  3. identicon
    LShaw, 13 Nov 2006 @ 9:58am

    Say it again

    The entertainment industry needs to be as adaptive to change in technology as much as the consumer electronics industry is. They are turning down potental customers who may not want to get there entertainment through conventional means or may not have the ability to.
    The standard business model that the industry uses with retail stores and movie theaters are going to have to be more adaptive to the new digital technology. It is clear that down loadable media in not going away and in fact is getting more popular.
    Hindering innovation in technology will only turn people away from your products. The RIAA has a very bad image. That image worsens everytime it sues a student or person for having digital content and in an industry where image is everything, I believe they need to rethink there strategy on curbing the abuse of creative material, copyright, ect. (Just ask President Bush and the Republican Party about there image with scandals and the Iraqi Occupation blasting the airways twenty four seven!)

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

  4. identicon
    David, 13 Nov 2006 @ 10:05am

    Where do I donate?

    Seriously... I'll send $50 to this initiative. Screw the oligopolists.

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

  5. identicon
    Vincent Clement, 13 Nov 2006 @ 10:06am

    Re: RIAA

    It is amusing to watch those copyright and FBI warnings at the beginning of a legally purchased DVD. Instead of thanking you for purchasing a legal copy of the DVD, they threaten you. Imagine the goodwill a media company could earn if they began every DVD with a thank you and what to do if you encounter problems playing the DVD. Nope, the media companies would rather treat paying customers are potential criminals.

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

  6. identicon
    Rabid Wolverine, 13 Nov 2006 @ 10:26am

    We need a viable alternative to these organizations and the businesses that they represent.

    Business plan anyone?

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2006 @ 10:36am


    That exists already, in the form of P2P. It's here to stay!

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

  8. identicon
    UniBoy, 13 Nov 2006 @ 11:02am

    Sorry Boys...

    I don't think piracy is the answer to the problem. By trying to punish the RIAA by doing the very think that they most want to restrict, you only strengthen their argument that such restrictions are necessary.

    I think the best we can do is find ways to support new artists directly. Cut out all of these useless middle men who are threatened by technology and democracy. If more artists make more content available directly to more consumers, and more consumers take adavantage of that and REWARD such artists, then the RIAA and similar organizations will simply go the way of the Dodo.

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

  9. identicon
    Floyd, 13 Nov 2006 @ 11:14am

    I think if you want a cd from a band, Just email them and ask if they will sell you a copy directly, If they can't then tell them you won't support the record industry so you won't be buying a copy until the sell at CDBaby or from the artist .

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

  10. identicon
    wolff000, 13 Nov 2006 @ 11:28am

    Piracy is A valid way to fight.

    The only thing these people undrestand is the bottom line. If all Americans stopped buying and started downloading they wouldn't have any cash to prosecute and it would force them out of business. Some may argue it's not that simple but it really is. If you have no cash flow and no customers then it's not even worth it to sue. Let them shrivel up and die so someone with a business plan that works can move in. Fight the MPAA and the RIAA and be a pirate. AARRR!

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

  11. identicon
    Dave, 13 Nov 2006 @ 11:43am

    Letter to the CEA

    "Given everything Mr. Gary Shapiro and the CEA have done to represent the interests of the average consumer against the likes of the RIAA, is there some way that we can show our appreciation and support?

    Clearly a CEA membership is not particularly appropriate for people who aren't really in the industry, but I'd like to do something.

    Please Advise.

    Thanks, [...]"

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

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2006 @ 12:13pm

    There are viable alternative business models already in use today! My church has a modern rock concert every year called Barn Bash. We make it a point to invite small artists from small labels and a couple years ago we used the label 7Spin Records.

    They sent us about 1000 demo discs and on all their discs it said "RIP US OFF! COPY THIS DISC!" They were using P2P networks, torrents and the copying of discs to advertise. When you purchase their songs it's like $9.99 for a CD plus access to download the files off their website so no waiting for the disc itself. Or! 7.77 for just the downloads, or .77 a song. Each of their albums has one free download, full version, full quality.

    While it may not be your kind of music, the fact is I've seen them go from a stock code online store to a full fledge flash powered website in about 2 years, which is a healthy, non overextending growth. I also hear rumblings of their label growing faster than anyone anticipated in the Christian rock Community.

    The beautiful thing is when you downlaod the files, THEY ARE MP3! NO COPY PROTECTION!

    Not to be spamming but this is an excellent example of progressive business models. More people should think like they do.

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

  13. identicon
    Disgusted, 13 Nov 2006 @ 12:37pm


    I completely agree with Post #10. Hey David Logan. Thanks for siding with me that day on the argument I had with some guy over the Iraqi war and Bush...

    Here is the link just in case you forgot what I'm talking about...

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

  14. identicon
    DJ, 13 Nov 2006 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Piracy is A valid way to fight.

    aye ye matee. Piracy is a way of life for some of us swab's. Make the MPAA n RIAA walk the plank. I fly my piracy flag with pride

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

  15. identicon
    Disgusted, 13 Nov 2006 @ 1:00pm

    Hell I started Pirating stuff whille I was in the Navy matee. On a Airman's pay, who could afford C D's??? lol AARRRRR!!!!

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

  16. identicon
    Wyndle, 13 Nov 2006 @ 1:45pm

    downloads != piracy and vice versa

    downloads != piracy and vice versa

    I know that the term sneakernet still gets snickers as being antiquated, but it is far harder to trace than anything online. I haven't downloaded a song (besides demos) in over 5 years and even then I only downloaded maybe a dozen tracks. My collection barely fits on a DVD now (almost all singles) and it's mostly from sneakernet trades.

    On the other hand if you look at the Anime industry, they've embraced fan made subs and dubs. As far as they're concerned it's free advertising for their product, which will make it easier for them to export it. I've got 102 episodes of Bleach to date and I'll continue to download them even after I buy them on DVD. I want to have the official dub release when it's available, and I don't want to just start over so I'll keep up with the fan subs. The reason this method works is because the fans actually buy media and merchandise (how many Pokemon, Yu Gi Oh, and Naruto toys and videos are in the average Wal-Mart?).

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

  17. identicon
    Tarky7, 13 Nov 2006 @ 1:47pm

    My God !

    My God ! I went to the mall the other day to do some shopping and I stopped into a store that sold CD's. I was looking for a Tupac album and I felt that I should buy it instead of looking for the album on the web.

    To my shock and awe no CD in the store was less that 19.95, and the Tupac album I wanted to purchase was 28.95 ! Now, I understand that Tupac has some heirs somewhere that get a cut of whatever is sold, but REALLY ! US $30. for a CD from a dead gansta rapper ?

    The music industry has lost their collective minds !

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

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2006 @ 1:53pm

    I posted earlier but I think it got flagged as spam because I used a web address.

    Anyways what I had said was I knew of a company that was using a modern business plan and had been using piracy as advertising. Their old Demo Disc used to say "RIP US OFF! COPY THIS DISC!" and they had one free full length mp3s for every artist they supported on their site. You could buy albums for 7.77 as downloads, then like 9.99 for the CD and downloads.

    Most of their artists I really didn't like, not my style of music, but they were ahead of the game 2 years ago and after a bit of googling I found them again. Just google 7spin, it's a concept that could drive the whole freaking industry into a revolution.

    Big Plus! Music downloads are in freaking DRM.

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

  19. identicon
    David, 13 Nov 2006 @ 2:11pm

    Re: Letter to the CEA


    Hi David,

    Thank you for the kudos for Gary and CEA! We are so happy that you are
    noticing the impact of our work in promoting and protecting technology
    innovation. The best way for you to show your appreciation is to
    continue to be a well informed consumer and keep the pressure on your
    legislators to support legislation friendly to innovation. You
    definitely do not have to be a CEA member or part of the CE industry to
    do this!

    I urge you to visit the following websites designed to create ways for
    consumers and industry supporters to communicate this message to their
    legislators (and to your friends and family to spread grassroots

    The Digital Freedom Campaign at
    The Home Recording Rights Coalition at
    Americans for Consumer Technology at

    Thanks again!

    Laurie Kulikosky
    Senior Manager, Membership Development
    Consumer Electronics Association

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

  20. identicon
    max, 13 Nov 2006 @ 3:21pm


    This story successfully says nothing. Carlo talks past his own points not matching his own point with a counterpoint about each side.

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

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2006 @ 6:22pm

    Re: RIAA

    i actually like a nice, shiny DVD on my shelf, but after being forced to watch anti theft videos and trailers everytime i want to watch the movie... i turned to alternatives because i got so so so so tired of fast forwarding... So they basically turned me off buying their stuff because the alternatives were less annoying.

    Thanks a lot...

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

  22. identicon
    Anon, 13 Nov 2006 @ 9:56pm

    Cary Sherman

    What's the matter Cary? Time for your next Rolls Royce, you greedy bastard?

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

  23. identicon
    Annoying Mouse Cow Herd, 14 Nov 2006 @ 10:56am

    Don't forget

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

  24. identicon
    Dan Bernitt, 15 Nov 2006 @ 9:39am

    Unfairness of MPAA/RIAAA and DRM

    First, this may be obvious to many others but how is it legal for a single organization like RIAA or MPAA to represent multiple, supposedly independent companies in a law suit? That smacks of anti-trust behavior to me.

    Second, a very recent and personal example of outrageous restrictions:

    On Friday evening, November 10, 2006 I drove with my two grandsons from
    their home in Delaware to my home in State College, Pa. They had
    previously purchased a DVD of the movie "The Indestructibles". Although
    they had already watched it on their home DVD, they wanted to watch it
    again. The four hour trip seemed a good time to do so. I have a perfectly good and
    legal laptop with a good and legal DVD player but, not surprisingly to me
    although very disappointing to my grandsons, the movie DVD has special
    technical junk (DRM) on it that prohibits it from being played on a computer DVD
    player. It is outrageous that Hollywood thinks my simple and wholly
    understandable use should be forbidden by our copyright system which is
    supposed to benefit artists and consumers. It is an out and out war
    against innovative technology. Walt Disney was an absolute
    genius but please understand there can never again be another Walt Disney
    in America. Most of his wonderful work would be against the current
    copyright system, something I'm sure was never envisioned by the other
    American geniuses who wrote the copyright laws so very long ago.

    FAIR USE? Sherman, et al have no idea what fair means.

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

  25. identicon
    SiSi, 16 Nov 2006 @ 9:52pm

    Re: To Anonymous Coward

    Hey thanks for telling about 7Spin. I downloaded all the free songs and so far only like one artist, Sevenglory, which I'm going to ask my dad for Christmas. :)

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

  26. identicon
    Rockman4140, 22 Nov 2006 @ 10:09am

    This is not the way to go about this...

    The RIAA and MPAA are only going to force consumers to become more inventive in how they deal with this. If more restrictive laws are passed, consumers will have to become more knowledgable on how products work, and even creating products that do what YOU want it to.

    Think of this, when your parents gave you a stupid and pointless rule, you figured a way around it, correct? That is what's going to happen. We're going to figure a way around this strict parent.

    It's really a sad state. It's sad that everyone is so fucking wrapped up in how much money they can make and don't fucking care about the consumer anymore.

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

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