Print 25 comment(s) - last by tcsenter.. on Oct 18 at 3:29 PM

“Enforcement campaign” costing more than it brings in

The trial proceedings of Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas are continuously proving their worth as a fascinating insight the RIAA’s 4-years-and-counting campaign against P2P users.
One such insight: despite the fact that a vast majority of the RIAA’s nastygrams result in settlements amounting to a few thousand dollars, Sony’s Jennifer Pariser admitted under oath that the RIAA has spent “millions” of dollars on the campaign and, more importantly, “lost money on [the] program.”
But really, could it be any other way? Surely, between the RIAA’s own lawyers and the enforcers that they hire (SafeNet, MediaDefender, etc) the costs per settlement are far in excess of whatever measly amount the RIAA can settle for. Perhaps the RIAA could try to settle for more, but unfortunately for them $2,000 - $6,000 seems to be the sweet spot; raise it any higher and more people may opt to go to court, sending legal costs through the roof.
It’s important to note that the RIAA’s “enforcement program” is designed to settle infringement claims quickly, giving defendants multiple opportunities at settlement before going through an expensive court trial. This system – which seems to be working modestly, if unprofitably, well and even allows payment online – is perhaps the best manifestation of the above conclusion. After all, lawyers are expensive, why involve them in anything more than you have to?
I’d also wager that in its haste, the RIAA ends up cutting many expensive corners, like not going through the lengths needed to properly identify users (and then blaming the ISPs when caught), or suing dead people. These mistakes end up costing them: each one gets published and scattered along the internet’s winds, the mistake often ends up being taken to court, and the suit is eventually dropped. In turn, the RIAA files additional complaints with the expectation that they will be settled quickly and cheaply, inviting further opportunity for mistakes. It’s a vicious cycle.
It pleases me to see that someone in the industry finally understands that the hard-lining attitude on digital music isn’t exactly working. Mentioning EMI’s dropping DRM from its iTunes offerings – practically an invitation for piracy if there ever was one – may be beating on a dead horse, but it’s an important sign pointing towards this much-needed shift in thought. Further, the recent switch to DRM-free offerings from Wal-Mart, Amazon, or even services like Joost are, I believe, clear indicators that we are finally moving in a positive direction.

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RE: Err, no.
By ted61 on 10/15/2007 12:25:13 PM , Rating: 3
Sorry Masher, but I have a different opinion about the RIAA program. The RIAA and there hard line attitudes about music customers does run people like me away from the mainstream producers.

I have no problems paying for music that I listen too but I do not like to be threatened. The RIAA does everything they can to limit internet radio use. This stops people like me from listening to the music that I want to hear. Since I can't listen to exactly what I want to hear, I go to the independent sites and listen to artists who are not under contract and post their music for anyone to hear. When I find these sites, I chip in to help pay for bandwidth or whatever the site spends the money on.

I am one person who turned my back on RIAA products. How many others are like me? How many more will follow?

RE: Err, no.
By masher2 on 10/15/2007 12:49:36 PM , Rating: 2
> "Sorry Masher, but I have a different opinion about the RIAA program"

Your opinion isn't different. I'm not calling RIAA's enforcement effective. I'm just pointing out that calling it ineffective because its revenue collections don't outweigh its costs is sophomoric nonsense.

Your statement doesn't relate to my primary point at all. However, to respond to yours, I seriously doubt the average music buyer is "turning their back" on RIAA-labels. The average person is continuing to buy (and illegally download) the songs and artists they desire.

There really isn't any widespread movement to boycott RIAA labels. There's a few disgruntled consumers who really don't like much pop music anyway, who rationalize their declining purchase patterns as a political statement. But the people who LIKE that music still continue to obtain it...through means both legal and illegal.

Does that make the RIAA program effective? No...and in fact, I've seen little evidence that it has been. But by and large, its been primarily ignored by the average consumer. Claiming its generated any sort of widespread backlash is, unfortunately, just wishful thinking.

RE: Err, no.
By Oregonian2 on 10/15/2007 5:38:40 PM , Rating: 2
I'm just curious as to the future in the RIAA's ten year plan (surely they think long term, if only thinking). I don't mean what they'd like to see happen, but what they expect to see happen in the next ten years and whether they have a plan for that expectation (as opposed to their desired outcome). Seems like the only thing that's certain is change. Would like to be a fly on their wall (and a few others for that matter, but that's a different thread). Maybe Apple buys them. :-)

RE: Err, no.
By iFX on 10/15/2007 3:46:05 PM , Rating: 2
*Raises Hand*

I have boycotted mainstream music. I haven't purchased or downloaded any music from any mainstream label in over three years - and I don't plan on buying anything any time soon. Let them keep suing everyone, like the guys in the UK who play the radio while they fix their cars and get sued for "public performance". They will eventually lose their entire customer base.

RE: Err, no.
By Schrag4 on 10/16/2007 12:35:05 PM , Rating: 2
I think it's great that you've made a stand, but now you have to persuade the teens and pre-teens that are spending their parents money that they should sacrifice their love of music in order to fight the machine and save money that they didn't earn in the first place. Good luck with that.

I think MAsher is right on this one. If people want to listen to it then they'll either pony up or download illegally (or just listen to/record from the radio). I don't like the RIAA's tactics either, but I can't blame them. I'm not entirely sure I'd go about things differently than they are if people were stealing from me. The only thing that feels wrong to me is whether or not the punishments fit the crimes.

RE: Err, no.
By Icepick on 10/17/2007 9:32:52 PM , Rating: 2
I am one person who turned my back on RIAA products. How many others are like me? How many more will follow?

Count me in. I stopped buying CDs years ago due to the disgust I have for the RIAA's tactics to attempt to limit file sharing.

“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs
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