Monday, September 17, 2007

RIAA, File-Sharing, Lawsuits, and more

Just finished listening to a quick report on NPR Marketplace on filesharing lawsuits being pursued by the RIAA. As someone working in the music industry, and potentially looking at working for a major label, I can't think of a more inane tactic than the lawsuits being pursued by the RIAA. And, more specifically, the tactics and methods used in pursuing these lawsuits.
I mean, really, if you are going to sue people, why go after small timers? Do cops go after small time drug users? Or the big time dealers?
And are lawsuits the right strategy? How much money are these guys spending on lawyers? And how much have the recouped? Why not spend that money on figuring out ways to monetize music? Figure out ways to make money off of existing customer behavior? You can't legislate behavior, nor can you sue behavior out of existence. What you can do is learn what the customer wants, get them that product, and figure out a way to do that where you provide a service that customer is willing to pay for.
Other labels like Nettwerk (and pretty much only them) have spoken out against these suits, with Nettwerk going so far as to get involved on the customer side of RIAA lawsuits. Don't believe me? Read it.
A small slice:
"The current actions of the RIAA are not in my artists' best interests," said Nettwerk chief executive Terry McBride in a statement.

"Litigation is not 'artist development'. Litigation is a deterrent to creativity and passion and it is hurting the business I love."

The woman featured in the Marketplace story has sued the RIAA (article on suit here), which is great news. From the suit:
"For years, the RIAA and its member companies have been using flawed and illegal private investigation information as part of their coordinated scheme and common enterprise to threaten, intimidate and coerce payment from private citizens across the United States. As such they have clogged and abused the federal courts for many years with factually baseless and fraudulent lawsuits."

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