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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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Not quite scary enough yet
By ninjit on 10/15/2007 3:56:43 PM , Rating: 2
RIAA still hasn't quite made the jump in going after downloaders... yet.

The Jammie Thomas case was about uploading/sharing music illegally, as are most of the cases RIAA has gone after.
The other thing is that from everything I've read in the news about her case, she was a bit stupid. RIAA had plenty of evidence to back up their claims, that along with her deceptions (the hard drive) did not bode well for her.

In most cases however RIAA would have difficulty presenting enough evidence against anyone, and so settlement is in their best interest too (best interest of the defendant to avoid legal costs).

The vast majority of users online who have anything to do with illegal music sharing are leechers: they got on, get what they want, then get offline.
Those users are even more difficult to track because of the relatively short time they stay connected compared to a seeder.

This, coupled with the exponential increase in cases that would need to be investigated, the cost and even more bad PR associated with it, is why the RIAA isn't really bringing the hurt down on downloaders yet.
Plus they hope that going after sharers they'll cut off illegal downloads at the source.




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