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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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RE: I struggle...
By Reclaimer77 on 5/16/2011 10:39:54 AM , Rating: 3
Yes because I said that "all music in the 1980's was big hair Van Halen type"? Or that it was the epitome of end all...

I'm speaking, obviously, about pop music. Yes, there is good music today, but you have to dig VERY DEEP to find it. In the 60's,70's, and 80's the amount of talent in the popular charts simply crushes what you find today. It's not even a contest. The talent pool is shrinking, period.

Music has declined, and if you can't see that then you're being ignorant. It has nothing to do with age. Jesus, I'm only 34 you presumptuous prick. Electronica, trance mainly, is one of my favorite things to listen to. NOT Elvis.

OH and thanks for the link, because you know, I didn't know DMC existed? Condescending ass. Turntablism is nothing new. And while it's very interesting, I find it creatively un-fulfilling. It's merely duplicating existing sounds in new and interesting ways. That isn't creation or expressing any emotional depth.

Besides, DJ A-Track has more talent for it in his finger than all 4 of these guys combined.

Why don't you read this and get a clue;

RE: I struggle...
By Gzus666 on 5/16/2011 11:04:58 AM , Rating: 1
You said I was an idiot cause I had negative things to say about Van Halen, Kiss and Jimmy Buffet. If you call me an idiot for those things, a logical conclusion is because you think the opposite. If you think that Van Halen and Jimmy Buffet was listened to religiously by people who weren't coke heads, well, I worry for your sanity.

I like a considerable sum of 80s music, but bands like Van Halen represent the worst of that generation much like Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga represent the worst of this generation.

The statement that all music sucks now is pretty sweeping when in reality, the music played on the radio just sucks more cause there is big money in manufactured music that they play to death. If your statement was more akin to "music they play on the radio is awful and uncreative", I would concur. To say that all music after 1980 is terrible is a sweeping statement of insanity as it is clearly not the case.

Music played on the radio is mostly pretty bad, but that will change soon enough anyway as Internet radio becomes part of vehicles. Once people make their own choices rather than radio conglomerates like Clear Channel making the decision for them, it will probably change.

RE: I struggle...
By Reclaimer77 on 5/16/2011 11:19:29 AM , Rating: 2
The statement that all music sucks now is pretty sweeping when in reality

Coming from a man who accused millions of being "coke heads" because of their music choice lol. You're no stranger to generalizations yourself.

To say that all music after 1980 is terrible is a sweeping statement of insanity as it is clearly not the case.

The vast majority is, sorry. Fact.

Again this is a conversation and article about major labels. Digging deep for indie bands doesn't really encompass the discussion imo.

RE: I struggle...
By Gzus666 on 5/16/2011 11:39:05 AM , Rating: 2
Coming from a man who accused millions of being "coke heads" because of their music choice lol. You're no stranger to generalizations yourself.

Considering the percentage of people who use cocaine in this country, probably not far off. Have you met a Jimmy Buffet fan? They are either drunken frat boys or coked up retards. Only way anyone could stand such terrible music.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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