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The RIAA has squeezed $105M USD out of the P2P giant Limewire.  (Source: Mexican Foodie)

Don't expect that windfall to go to artists, though. The RIAA says it will "reinvest" it in its antipiracy efforts, which include maintaining a mass threats program against U.S. citizens and trying to pay off politicians to outlaw burning backup copies of content people own (pictured).  (Source: Google Images)
Parasitic nature of music industry's big labels continues

In today's market many independent musicians view the big record labels as a parasitic entity of sorts, exploiting talented musicians, inflating undertalented pop stars and lavishly spending, while crying over "dropping" profits.  Of course, not everyone feels that way, but a recent settlement between major label copyright watchdog group the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and filesharing service LimeWire does little to convince observers otherwise.

You may recall that LimeWire was smote down by the RIAA in federal court over copyright infringement claims.  The site's appeals fell on deaf ears, and the service was ordered shut down.

The case has finally been wrapped up with a jury deciding on damages against the service.  The jury in this case opted to arrange a settlement between LimeWire and the RIAA legal team, which would call for LimeWire to pay $10,808 USD per track for the 9,715 tracks the RIAA claimed LimeWire infringed, for a total fine of $105M USD.  

While that may sound like a lot, it's actually significantly less than the maximum fine of $150,000 USD per track the jury could have awarded for willful infringement.  That would have resulted in a fine of $1.46B USD.  The RIAA originally sought $150B USD in damages from LimeWire -- approximately15 times the music industry's total reported yearly income -- but was deterred by the minor triviality that LimeWire had nowhere near this amount of money.

RIAA Chairman Mitch Bainwol hailed the decision, commenting, "The resolution of this case is another milestone in the continuing evolution of online music to a legitimate marketplace that appropriately rewards creators."

The settlement will do little to improve the major labels' image, though, as they may not give any of the record windfall to the artists that actually had their work infringed.

Instead, the organization has previously promised to spend the money to reinvigorate its unprofitable campaign of threats and lawsuits, in addition lobbying politicians to offer greater enforcement of copyright infringement at their constituents' tax expense and outlaw consumer practices like creating backup copies (which the RIAA contends is "stealing").

RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy previously stated, "Any funds recouped are re-invested into our ongoing education and anti-piracy programs."

The RIAA would surely argue that artists would eventually benefit by reducing piracy.  However, the organization's past efforts have proved only marginally effective at best as piracy rates have waned and waxed with the years passing years, always remaining relatively high.

Recent studies have also shown that pirates are the biggest legal purchasers of music.  This makes sense, as many view piracy as a "preview" of sorts, which they use to decide which artists are worth supporting.  They might not buy that Lil Wayne track they downloaded, but they might end up buying an album from a smaller artist they discovered, like The Antlers.

At the same time major labels in the U.S. and Britain are accused of committing mass infringement and stealing millions in revenue from independent musicians.  The labels have convinced politicians and the legal system to give them the right to sell any track that they "can't find" licensing information for.  

In effect this means they can go out and steal copyrighted work of small independent labels and musicians.  A compensation system is in place, but it's notoriously bad -- many musicians have struggled for years to get repaid, only to find their pleas fall on deaf ears.

At the end of the day the major labels' campaign of infringement and campaign against infringers in the public have a surprising amount in common.  Both generate big money for the labels -- and both give nothing to artists. 

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By gorehound on 5/14/2011 9:09:50 AM , Rating: 1
First off any artist whop signs with the RIAA or any of those huge greedy asshole labels is a traitor.These artists will never be in my home or any device I own.
I am a punk rocker and went to my first show in 1976.Then was the time of disco and big label pumping out corporate rock.
Punk was like the wind that blew that krap away.And not one of us wanted or cared about ever going near the big content companies.WE STILL FEEL THIS WAY !!!
I could give 2 shits if some riaa wanted to sign my 2 bands i play in currently.
My art is all being shared freely on TPB.It is also given away on our main site of
And on another note here is a bit of soemthing that also pisses me off.

i am freely sharing my art on TPB.and just for the hell of it over the next weeks i will be uploading my art for free on kickass,btjunkie,torrentfly,etc.
this type of bs is not going to fly with me and the tens of thousands of indie artists who want nothing to do with the asshole riaa and their big label greedbags.we will "put out" our music our ways not yours.
pass this as law and i intend to go to the ACLU or whoever to bring a lawsuit against your krap.

the RIAA and Big Content will never stifle our Independent Music Industry so I say a big FUCK YOU to those who think this will stop legal P2P.This government stops access to "public" sites it will hit them right in the head (i think the y have heads ?)
And there are ways to legally investigate and find P2P'ers.They just won't spend the money to arrest you doing something.They want their cake and to eat it to so they will try to penalize everyone.
I say once again FUCK YOU.I intend to fight on for all who hate these leeches.
You will not stop us !!! 1st Amendment Rights and more rights say it.We will see huge court cases come up over BS like this bill.

i am voting indie every election and so should we all to stop both dems and reps.we need alternatives and should all work to change washington by getting both those asshole parties out.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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