by Timothy Lee
Mon, Oct 1st 2007 12:48pm
The Motley Fool had an article last week predicting that the RIAA will soon be forced to abandon its lawsuit-happy business strategy, as a number of lawsuit targets have not only been winning in court but also getting their legal fees covered by the recording industry. The article makes a lot of points that Techdirt has been making for years, but a couple of things are particularly interesting about the article. First, the Motley Fool is a mainstream investment site that's read by a ton of people on Wall Street. If the financial press starts writing stories about how the lawsuits are a waste of money, these companies could start to feel increased pressure from their shareholders to find a new strategy. Secondly, the article makes an important point about the effects of file-sharing on musicians: file-sharing can hurt artists by reducing their sales, but it can also help them by getting the word out about their music. The former effect is more important to the superstars, who are already famous. But for up-and-coming artists, the benefits of greater exposure greatly outweigh any losses from their (already small) sales. Since most musicians aren't superstars, the rise of file-sharing may actually help the average artist, by flattening out the distribution of music revenues: Justin Timberlake won't be as rich, but up-and-coming bands will find it easier to reach new fans.
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