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RIAA Sentiments

From a recent paper for class I wrote:

How can a company that sues their customer base still sell their products? What is more amazing is the general populous hasn’t even stopped to look at what’s going on for a moment to question this organization’s business practices. And now with the RIAA taking Para-military type action to thwart file-swappers from continuing, where will the craziness end? If that wasn’t bad enough, the RIAA is even planning to start another form of retaliation that involves destroying a file-swappers computer electronically after being given two warnings to halt file-swapping actions. If this is not a ludicrous way of going about getting your point across, what is?

In the second paragraph it stated “The music label mob scrapped Version 1.0 of the lawsuit program after a federal appeals court blocked the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) from acquiring file-traders’ identities form the ISP’s via subpoenas”. Does this actually mean that the recording industry would’ve actually had the right to ask ISP’s (internet service providers; i.e. AOL, CompuServe, Bellsouth) for their customers names and other private information on request if they had reasonable suspicion of someone illegally downloading or sharing music from their respective ISP? Yes, that’s exactly what they were trying to accomplish in that action. Can you believe that if this lawsuit program would of gone through and been approved they would have legal ability that would rival the broad spectrum that a police search warrant or information request warrant would have? It’s hard to believe that the music industry could of had this amount of power over its customer base if this hadn’t of been blocked or question in court.

The article continues by stating “The pigopolist mob reckons most of the 532 consumers had more than 800 files on their PCs”. For a lawsuit committee to reckon something is first not only un-professional, but also shows that the level of understanding is not as high as expected by a legal party. Can you actually believe this statement to hold true? Can you really believe for one moment that the average amount of files for these 532 users was around 800? That’s quite a guess for any organization to make in judicial matter. Not only is this an unfair statement, it is most likely an overestimate.

As the lawsuits continue raining down in the U.S., the opposite actions are taking place in the U.K. were there are no lawsuit happening as of yet. What effect has this had on the customers in the U.K.? Well that can be for the most part summed up in this quote: “In addition, CD sales in the UK, which has yet to face the record labels' wrath, have soared, leading some to believe that attacks against your own customer base might not be the best tactic for reviving sales”. This is only further proof that the RIAA is only hurting their own business by taking such aggressive action with their customers. Maybe this result may have some effect on the RIAA’s plan of action on in future lawsuits, then again maybe not.

With the lawsuits being as numerous as they are, it would be ever so surprising to learn of the tactics that they are employing to trap people into settling so quickly. The article says this is basically done by an out-of-court meeting that settles with the defendant paying a large $3000 sum payable to the RIAA. Oh and if you don’t agree with the settlement, the defendants are faced with a situation that can be summed up by this quote: “Any requests to change the wording of the document quickly pushes the cost of settling closer to $20,000”. Now that the defendant is pushed in to a corner of having to decide what to go with, the RIAA basically bullies its way to an agreement.

Is suing every file-swapper in the RIAA’s customer base really the solution that the RIAA should look forward to? Is this really the image that they want the general populous to oppose on them? So far it seems to have been this way. A much better way to go about deterring file-swappers is to cut of the source of such file-swapping software and go for only the huge file-swappers, like people with over 2000 files. That way, the RIAA can basically put a damaging blow to file swapping. This may also lessen the image of the RIAA basically picking on small-time file swappers.

Works Cited

“Ashlee Vance. “RIAA goes hunting for 532 more file-traders” 21 Jan. 2004 The Register. 21 Jan. 2004

(last modified 2004-01-29)       [Login]
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