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RIAA spokeswoman attempts to rewrite history claiming file sharing lawsuits succeeded

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 08 Dec 2011 1:28 User comments (6)

RIAA spokeswoman attempts to rewrite history claiming file sharing lawsuits succeeded Some days you have to wonder if anyone at the RIAA actually reads their official statements before unleashing them on the public. At the very least maybe they should check to see if they pass the giggle test.
The latest bit of nonsense is a submission to the Opinion section of a Nashville, Tennessee newspaper claiming the reason they stopped suing P2P users was because the campaign was successful, and the job completed.

The original article in The Tenneseean, which was primarily about how much the recording industry spends on lobbying, said:

The focus on lobbying and campaign contributions comes after the music industry?s use of a tactic, now almost universally acknowledged as a failure, in which it filed lawsuits against individuals accused of illegally downloading songs to stop piracy.

The record industry filed nearly 30,000 suits, which proved to be a poor public relations strategy as stories of teens, college students and families taken to court emerged. The suits ultimately proved ineffective in ending systematic online piracy.

Since then, the music industry?s overall lobbying expenses have more than doubled beginning in 2007, when music business interests spent $7.1 million on lobbying, to 2009, when the industry spent $17.5 million.


Liz Kennedy, Communications Director for the RIAA, shot back, writing:

We never expected to 'end' piracy. The goal is to bring the problem under sufficient control so that lawful businesses can compete and the industry can earn enough to protect jobs and invest in new bands.

Our legal efforts served as an essential educational tool: Fans know far more now about copyright laws and the legal consequences of stealing music than ever before. Before initiating lawsuits in 2003, only 35 percent of people knew file-sharing on P2P was illegal; afterward, awareness grew to 70 percent.


To call this misleading would be an understatement. For starters, we already knew why the RIAA stopped their lawsuits. It was a simple question of cost/benefit analysis. The lawsuits were expensive and alienated users while producing basically no results.

In fact, the RIAA did not stop their attacks on P2P users. They simply shifted their focus to lobbying and working out deals with ISPs to kick users off the Internet, which had been their stated goal for some time.

At the same time, lawyers working for a prominent Washington DC law firm, Jenner & Block, who also happened to be major players in the RIAA's lawsuit strategy, were appointed to key Justice Department positions. One of them, Don Verilli, is now the Solicitor General of the United States.

That means his duties include presenting arguments on behalf of the government in federal court. He's certainly no stranger to arguing the RIAA's position in court. He was the lead attorney for the entertainment industry in the Grokster case.

As to Kennedy's assertion that the RIAA was fighting to preserve legal online music services, that is almost not worth responding to. In fact those services had to drag the labels kicking and screaming into offering downloads in the first place.

It was label mandated DRM, not file sharing, that created the biggest barrier to legal sales. Removing the DRM boosted sales in online music stores, something else the labels had to be coerced into. RIAA lawsuits had nothing to do with it.

And finally, it's simply laughable to suggest people weren't aware sharing music over P2P networks was legal before the lawsuits began, or that they really care now. The music industry's lawsuit against Napster was one of the most high profile cases in recent memory. It certainly got more press than the lawsuits against individual file sharers.

Of course, as we know from numerous studies, people share music and other content online because they think it's okay.

It's hard to say which is more troubling, that the RIAA could believe people will take this sort of statement seriously or that they might believe it themselves.

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6 user comments

18.12.2011 1:55

Open mouth, insert foot.

It is now time for the courts to do their jobs instead of lining their pockets with special interest groups and megalomaniacs like the RIAA and MPAA.
Jeff


Cars, Guitars & Radiation.

28.12.2011 3:18

RIAA is a fascist group...and fascist groups don't worry about telling the truth. They just say whatever they want and keep saying it over and over again until they believe it themselves.



38.12.2011 12:15

Soooooo.......kick users off the internet is their goal?? Then what??? Reduce users' ability to download and legally purchase songs?? Can you saying "shoot yourself in the foot"?

48.12.2011 16:57

Kicking people off the net will be counter productive & will cost them in lost sales,it's the illegal downloaders that are the ones who will end up buying more music,games & movies than those who don't download,they themselves RIAA,MPAA have admitted this,that is illegal downloaders are their biggest customers & this here below says it all that they have no idea what the hell they're doing

As to Kennedy's assertion that the RIAA was fighting to preserve legal online music services, that is almost not worth responding to. In fact those services had to drag the labels kicking and screaming into offering downloads in the first place.

It was label mandated DRM, not file sharing, that created the biggest barrier to legal sales. Removing the DRM boosted sales in online music stores, something else the labels had to be coerced into. RIAA lawsuits had nothing to do with it.


59.12.2011 9:13

The law suits only became a failure when they became too greedy. Once they started suing for serious money and people got their own lawyers they found they couldn't win. They committed felonies to gather evidence to prosecute person that may or may not have committed a crime. Since then they have been very effective. They have gone back to illegal acts but have not gone to court. The block ports and harass torrent users as well as hack into computers to maintain their 'black lists'. That has forced heavy users to use paid for services. Users download less if they are paying for it. As least Warner is starting to cave.

69.12.2011 10:02

The RIAA and MPAA only care about getting funding. They don't care about their clients, they don't care about the industry, and they don't care about sales. They want to get paid...and they do this by making insane claims about how piracy hurts the industry, by doing showy public inquisitions of single mothers, and by claiming that piracy is going up while (at the same time) claiming that their actions have reduced piracy.

The only reason that record companies still pay them to do all this is because record companies are run by the kind of morons who spent many years refusing to sell MP3s because they could be pirated easily while selling CDs that could be pirated just as easily; at higher quality; for less money and at much lower profit margins. I almost wish the doctor had dropped me on my head when I was born...I could have been a record company executive!

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