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The RIAA's recent case and a pending case in the UK provide some insight into whom it might prosecute next

The Recording Industry Association of America is the oft villainized copyright-infringement watchdog for the music industry in the U.S.  Its letters to music sharers have led to thousands of settlement over the last few years.  Now, following its recent success in the jury civil trial Capitol Records, et al v. Jammie Thomas, which resulted in a jury verdict of $222,000 in damages, many wonder who the RIAA might target next.

The RIAA might have given a clue during testimony by music industry lawyers in the Thomas case.  During the case Jennifer Pariser, the head of litigation for Sony BMG, was called to testify.  Pariser noted that music labels make no money on bands touring, radio, or merchandise, so they are particularly vulnerable to file sharing.  She went on to say that when people steal music the label is harmed.

Pariser believes in a very broad definition of stealing that is echoed by many supporters in the RIAA.  She believes that users who buy songs are entitled to one, and only one copy.  Burning CDs is just another name for stealing, in her mind. "When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." Making "a copy" of a purchased song is just "a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy'."

Such logic has been a driving force behind efforts to "rights manage" music including the current DRM found on Apple's iTunes files and Microsoft's DRM, which is also widespread.

While it seems unlikely that the RIAA would be able to effectively identify "burners", such litigation remains a legal possibility for the RIAA and major music labels, in the minds of their lawyers.

Another possible avenue of legal action for the RIAA is the pursuit of businesses that play unauthorized music in stores.  The Performing Rights Society (PRS), Britain's version of the RIAA, may give the RIAA some possible ideas with its pending litigation.  The PRS is suing the Kwik Fit Group, a car repair shop in Edinburgh, for £200,000 in damages.  The case revolves around the complaint that Kwik Fit employees brought in personal radios which they played while working on cars, which could be heard by colleagues and customers.  The PRS says this amounts to a public "performance" and should have entailed royalties.

The possible implications if this litigation succeeds are numerous.  The RIAA could pursue retailers like Borders Books who play music in their restrooms or on their store floors.  They could also seek action against small businesses that have radios in their stores.

These possible future targets may seem outlandish or farfetched, but the RIAA and its foreign equivalents have some heavy legal firepower.  It hires many of the country's top lawyers and have gained millions in settlements and recently have added the $222,000 Thomas verdict to its coffers.

Some fear the RIAA is overstepping its bounds, including in the Thomas case.  Rep. Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat, and strong advocate of fair use, recently went on record stating that the trial verdict was excessive and "way out of line" with other cases of this nature.

The Bush Administration feels that the case was very fair and was a positive example of our nation's laws at work.

"Cases such as this remind us strong enforcement is a significant part of the effort to eliminate piracy, and that we have an effective legal system in the U.S. that enables rights holders to protect their intellectual property."

With the RIAA's powerful legal, financial, and political backers nobody can truly say what it impossible for it to accomplish.  Now as it is in the midst of delivering its eighth wave of infringement letters to colleges, it may soon be turning its attention to CD burners or businesses that play music in front of customers.


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Artists need to take charge.
By Mitch101 on 10/10/2007 10:28:07 AM , Rating: 2
Artists/Bands need to take charge of their own music sales and downloads. Someone needs to write a web program like PHPNUKE and make it easily installable or pre-installed from one of the major internet providers that allows them to easily sell their own songs.

One of the most succesfull and most profitable bands was the greatfull dead and they encouraged people to bring recorders to thier concerts. Bands can make money without signing to big labels.

Otherwise like this person got this with a 200K fine they are going to hit the wrong person so down on thier luck they have nothing to live for and he will park a truck filled with whatever or go in guns blazing! Society has a lot of crazy and when you burn enough people eventually you hit a nut case who fires back. Heck if some minimum wage ex employee who loses his job is willing to do it then imagine where these kinds of fines will go.




RE: Artists need to take charge.
By Mitch101 on 10/10/2007 10:32:50 AM , Rating: 2
So here is the math a recording artist get some 5 cents for every song sold and lets say that by signing with a recording company they sell a million songs. $50,000

If they start up thier own buisness and sell their own cd's and have an online outlet with a program that allows them to sell thier music online and get say a buck for a song then a 12 song cd means if they can sell 4,167 CD's they make the same as selling a million albums with the RIAA.

4,167 vs 1,000,000 Im betting some popular local bands that pack in a couple hundred people in a night club can do this easily.


RE: Artists need to take charge.
By tjr508 on 10/10/2007 3:49:43 PM , Rating: 2
Congrats. That is by and far the worst math (or logic if you want to call it that) I have seen all month.


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