RIAA: Actual Damages Unknown
October 21, 2007 11:35 AM
comment(s) - last by
Testimony from Jammie Thomas' case discredit the litany of figures quoted over the years
In continuing with the theme of
Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas
I bring you yet another
wonderful little tidbit
to drop from the mouth of Sony’s Head of Litigation, Jennifer Pariser: Sony – and likely the RIAA – doesn’t really know just how much money they’ve lost due to piracy.
In the same block of testimony where the Pariser disclosed that the RIAA’s lawsuit campaign is costing “millions” more than it earns, Thomas’ counsel pounced on the fact that the record industry was only seeking the punitive damages available in the Copyright Act. “What are your actual damages?” he asked.
Here we go. “We haven't stopped to calculate the amount of damages we've suffered due to downloading,” replied Pariser, who then added that, “that's not what's at issue here.” (Judge Michael Davis, who was overseeing the case, quickly remanded her to stay on topic.)
This statement runs counter to the numerous claims that the RIAA has made over the years regarding piracy and the industry’s actual suffering. One of the more recent claims, found under the “students doing reports”
of the RIAA’s web site, cites a conservative estimate of $300 million worth of losses.
, released by the Institute for Policy Innovation, quoted worldwide losses due to piracy at $12.5 billion USD and over 71,000 jobs.
Pariser could have easily cited either of those numbers as part of her explanation of ‘actual damages’ – unless, of course, the facts regarding that those figures are less than certain. Remember, she’s under oath here.
Over the years, there’s been a long tradition in
debunking the dollar amounts
that the RIAA has cited as money lost due to so-called piracy. People find all sorts of interesting explanations: lost CD sales are actually converted to
music purchases at iTunes
, lost CD sales are due to a
decreased demand and rising prices
, that piracy actually helps to promote the purchases of music, and so on and so forth. While I’m not going to argue that piracy doesn’t have
kind of effect, it does seem that if the industry wants to convince more government officials of its plight, at least it could get its figures straight.
When and if the music industry releases some honest-to-God figured that aren’t skewed, the big question then becomes one of trust: can we believe
numbers? Will we, the people, ever believe a word to come out of their mouths?
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
10/22/2007 8:00:15 PM
Many people support the RIAA's actions because their own lifelihood dependent on enforcement of intellectual property laws. They want an end to the culture of piracy, not fair compensation for the recording industry. So the numbers are basically irrelevant.
Piracy might not hurt the music industry as much as they claim, but others will not be so fortunate. I personally work in education. Electronic books are still in infancy, so file sharing is yet a large problem. But eventually they'll be the dominant medium. How could the author of a college textbook make money if people could just download it for free? You can't go out and give live performance. You can't put advertisements in your book. And will piracy of textbooks lead to more sales? Would cash-strapped college students elect to pay $50 because they're big fans of your work? I don't think so.
10/22/2007 10:11:01 PM
Ahhh... your logic works to an extent... but breaks down. Textbooks are priced so tragically high because of low print runs. It's damn expensive to produce a few thousand books vs producing the same in electronic format.
In reality, the advent of electronic media, and piracy will force a new paradigm in all sorts of media. Music and movies are simply the first to get hit in a sense. More then likely, texts will be rolled into course fees, and the publisher will simply sell it to schools.
Now, not in the traditional sense of sell, but figure the course fees rise by x dollars (x < then paper text equivalent). Learning media becomes cheaper, and academia protects itself through the internalization of 'book' purchasing.
And honestly, if this electronic copy gets out to the public for free, the knowledge spread will be good for human kind. Added to that the texts, without the degree are worthless to the market anyway.
Win Win. Greater spread of knowledge, cheaper textbooks, and a protected system of distribution, as Academia will protect itself.
Apply this method to public schools, but with a much larger student base, the texts will still be cheaper for schools to buy then present, and on top of the publisher can manage same profit. Governments tend to purchase most books for elementary, and secondary school anyway.
Do we cry now or later for book printers losing their cut??
"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner
RIAA Lawsuit Campaign Unprofitable, Costing “Millions”
October 15, 2007, 11:23 AM
RIAA Awarded $222,000 in First Jury Trial
October 4, 2007, 7:25 PM
Latest By Tom Corelis
SSLStrip Makes Ignorance of HTTPS a Costly Mistake
February 25, 2009, 5:34 PM
Prosecution Alters Charges While Plaintiffs Fumble in Pirate Bay Trial
February 25, 2009, 7:19 AM
Censorship Head in Beijing Arrested on Corruption Charges
February 25, 2009, 7:04 AM
Microsoft Lets Laid-Off Employees Keep Extra Severance Pay
February 23, 2009, 7:30 PM
New Conficker Update Dispenses with Need to Phone Home
February 23, 2009, 6:39 PM
Updated: Microsoft a Little Too Generous with Severance Pay, Wants Some of it Back
February 23, 2009, 9:01 AM
Senate to ISPs, Anyone with Wi-Fi: Keep Access Logs to Save the Children
February 23, 2009, 9:00 AM
The Pirate Bay: 80% of Our Torrents Are Legal
February 22, 2009, 9:46 AM
Hacker Unveils Stealthy Memory Injection Attack in Mac OSX
February 20, 2009, 7:30 AM
Pirate Bay Trial Begins with a Bang in Sweden
February 17, 2009, 8:10 AM
Quick Note: Former Googler Becomes Director of U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
December 12, 2013, 10:42 AM
AT&T Launches U-verse with GigaPower Network in Austin, Texas
December 11, 2013, 5:14 PM
Harlem to Receive U.S.' Largest Free Wi-Fi Network
December 11, 2013, 11:48 AM
Google's First Asian Data Centers Now Operational
December 11, 2013, 8:50 AM
Seattle's High-Speed Internet Rollout Delayed Due to Financial Issues
December 10, 2013, 12:14 PM
Report: Spotify Working on Free, Ad-Supported Mobile Service
December 6, 2013, 9:52 AM
Most Popular Articles
Experts: Masturbation Prevents Cancer, Diabetes, Insomnia, and Depression
December 6, 2013, 2:01 PM
Hackers Nab 2 Million Login Credentials from Facebook, Gmail, Twitter
December 5, 2013, 1:00 PM
Thieves Steal Truck with Cobalt-60 Onboard in Mexico, Will Die "Without a Doubt" from Exposure
December 5, 2013, 12:04 PM
Report: Windows 8.2 Revives Start Menu, Runs Metro Apps in Desktop Mode
December 10, 2013, 2:56 PM
U.S. Navy Fires "XFC" Drone from Underwater Submarine
December 6, 2013, 2:35 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
Global Cyber Espionage Concerns Reveal Growing Cyber Armies
Nov 29, 2013, 11:04 AM
Is The Period Becoming an Expression of Anger?
Nov 26, 2013, 2:02 PM
NSA and Congress -- You Will Never Kill the Constitution, It's an Idea
Nov 10, 2013, 2:00 PM
AT&T Explores $100B+ USD Deal to Acquire Vodafone's European Operations
Nov 4, 2013, 7:34 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2013 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information