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EMI May Cut Funding To RIAA, IFPI 158

Posted by kdawson
from the return-on-investment dept.
Teen Bainwolf notes a report that Big Four record label EMI, which is under new ownership, is considering a big cut in its funding for the IFPI and RIAA. Each of the labels reportedly contributed over $132 million per year to fund industry trade groups, and EMI apparently believes that money could be better spent elsewhere. "One of the chief activities of the RIAA is coordinating the Big Four labels' legal campaign, and those thousands of lawsuits have done nothing but generate ill will from record fans, while costing the labels millions of dollars and doing little (if anything) to actually reduce the amount of file-sharing going on."
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EMI May Cut Funding To RIAA, IFPI

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  • Tag this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mike89 (1006497) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @10:12AM (#21517357)
    Tag this 'commonsense'. Finally a record label who is starting to 'get it'.
    • Re:Tag this (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 29, 2007 @10:21AM (#21517471)
      Yeah, but the moment of truth will be when more effective TPCA / Vistaids backed DRM becomes feasible to widely deploy ... will they use it and shit all over consumer's fair use rights again? I suspect they will. They're waking up to the fact that their current tactics are counter-productive, not necessarily to the general idea that their consumers should be treated fairly.
      • Re:Tag this (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dgr73 (1055610) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @10:57AM (#21517921)
        Exactly what he said :) Plus the fact that it's slowly but surely becoming an "in" thing to be seen to be on the consumer's side. Why fight a fight you can't win and ruin your reputation in the process. Why not make a big hoopla about cutting funding to RIAA and then cut it by 10%, which is invested into other counterpiracy measures. Not only will your company look good (compared to the other 3 major labels), but they may actually see slightly improved results.

        Or it could be that the music industry is turning altruistic in it's old age and they wish to slash their profit margins by condoning free downloads. The next move in this vein will undoubtedly be a repeal of the "work for hire" clauses in all contracts, as well as a large hike in royalties.
        • Re:Tag this (Score:4, Interesting)

          by sm62704 (957197) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @12:25PM (#21519175) Journal
          Or it could be that the music industry is turning altruistic in it's old age and they wish to slash their profit margins by condoning free downloads.

          Advertising isn't altruistic. Giving out free samples isn't altruistic. These dumbasses need to realise that they are RECORD companies and start selling RECORDS again - physical media with full fidelity music on them. Give away the MP3s.

          Of course, this will be the death knell of losers who put out a CD's worth of crap that has one decent single they play on the radio. But with some bands it's the opposite. By the time Aerosmith came out, I'd given up buying an album on the strength of a song on the radio, and I REALLY was unimpressed with the minor key whiney Aerosmith song they played on the radio, Dream On. It turned out that that was the only sucky song on the album! But if you had liked that song, you likely wouldn't have liked the rest of the album. I bought it after I heard the LP at a friend's house.

          It it was today, and the songs were posted in the internet, I'd have bought it right away.

          I always liked Santanna, and when Supernatural came out they weren't playing any of it on the radio here. So I went to CD NOW and listened to the 30 second clips of its songs, and was incredibly unimpressed. "When did they start sucking?" I asked.

          Well, my daughter didn't know this but knew I liked Santanna, and bought tha CD for me for Christmas. It was a great CD! Had she not bought it, they would have lost a sale. But had she not bought it and they had posted full MP3s on the internet, I would have bought it.

          Advertisers will tell you "sell the sizzle, not the steak". If brains were dynamite, record company execs wouldn't have enough to blow their noses. If they had any brains they would post MP3s and make sure everyone believed in MP3's inferiority to CDs.

          That said, the RIAA labels have pissed me off to the point where I only buy indie; the last dozen CDs I've bought have been from bar bands.

          -mcgrew [kuro5hin.org]
          • If someone tried this, and everyone started believing that CDs were higher quality than MP3s, then naturally the value of sharing the MP3s over ed2k and the like nearly vanishes. But, the reason that MP3s got so popular in the first place is because they weren't impossible to send over 56k. Now, we live in an age of 15Mb/s cable, 30/30Mb/s fiber, and even more on the horizon. What about when someone starts throwing around songs in FLAC/ALAC/WMAl (which are now feasible with modern broadband) and find out
            • by sm62704 (957197)
              CDs are still inferior to analog-mastered LPs in every respect except noise (yes, CDs have a larger dynamic range but those dynamics are almost never used). Raise the sampling rate 10x and sample it 64 bits rather than 16 and you will have some humongous files that actually WILL sound better than LPs played on a good turntable!

              And even with having SHNs and FLACs, yuo still don't get the cover art, liner notes, or other things. The music industry is ironically showing no imagination whatever (funny that for
              • by shaka (13165)
                You wouldn't pay $50 for Elton John, if you were a fan of him? I pay that (yeah, the dollar is low now but I think your taxes are low enough to even that out) to see a rapper with a DJ. Are concerts really that much cheaper in the US?

                Anyway, I guess giving away concert tickets with records would be great marketing, it's just that it's an entirely different economy, with other companies and other interests involved. Yes, a show is great promotion for an artist, record sales wise, but that show has to be pret
          • by Mex (191941)
            That's very nice of you, but you're an anomaly. Most "normal" people will pirate songs if they're easily available.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by sm62704 (957197)
              "Nice" has nothing to do with it either. People consider strings of bits to be worthless. A physical object has value. Only the stingiest (or poorest) act as you say.

              I pity people with that attitude. Most people really ARE honest, at least with people who are honest with them. But if you make them think you're trying to get one over on them, look out! That's the biggest problem the record industry faces - they're thievs and scoundrels who think that everyone else is a thief and scoundrel.
    • Re:Tag this (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @10:21AM (#21517479) Homepage
      Finally a BIG NAME record label who is starting to 'get it'.

      There, fixed that for you. There's lots of smaller labels who have "got it" all along, but they're just smaller ones, and you don't hear their music on the radio, or on the TV. There's plenty of good music on the smaller labels, and if people actually had any convictions, the RIAA would have gone bust many years ago, and their member companies wouldn't have been able to sell any music. The point is that most people don't know or don't care about the RIAA tactics. My biggest question is what happens to EMI now if they do this? Will they still be able to get as much radio play their music on a regular basis? Will their bands still get invited on the talk shows? How far does the power of the RIAA really extend?
      • Re:Tag this (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Calinous (985536) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @10:34AM (#21517609)
        RIAA is a puppet, paid by the big music companies. It doesn't have much power, and no power over what their masters allow it.
              RIAA's power will decrease after this.

              How about radio play, talk shows? I think it will be business as usual - if the other big music corporations will ignore this. If they will lobby the radio stations, it might be possible that EMI loses some air time.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DannyO152 (544940)

          Promotional bookings. No change. Not one dollar to RIAA goes to artist development and support. Bookings relate to popularity, availability, and when all things are equal, if the program is a booking agency's package, then musical artists represented by that agency move to the front of the line.

          Radio is a more complex question. Do the radio stations believe that digital music increases or decreases their listenership? How much radio programming is actually based on the artists the big labels sell? While th

          • Do the radio stations believe that digital music increases or decreases their listenership? How much radio programming is actually based on the artists the big labels sell?

            The answers to both those questions depend on whether a radio station is owned by Clear Channel [wikipedia.org] or another media conglomerate...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cbreaker (561297)
        I have to disagree that "most people don't know or don't care about the RIAA tactics." Everyone seems to know about kids getting sued, and everyone is pretty annoyed by the whole thing.

        Try to think of one person you know that isn't aware of the RIAA's lawsuit campaign. Then ask them, and you'll probably be surprised.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by CastrTroy (595695)
          The point I was making was that they don't have any convictions. They may know about it, and say they care, and say they think it's terrible, but they keep on buying the music. That's very hypocritical. If you have such a big problem, stop buying the music. If you're still buying their music, you obviously don't care that much about their tactics.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by FredDC (1048502)
            The problem is that the RIAA would attribute the decrease in sales to piracy, not to the fact that people stop buying the music because they are against the RIAA's tactics.

            I haven't bought any of the big labels' music in a long time, nor have I downloaded it. The rare occasion that I listen to the radio (usually in someone else's car), I realize I haven't missed much...

            I wonder how much percentage of the drop in record sales is due to people who simply stop listening to the music these record companies prod
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by sm62704 (957197)
              The RIAA is always shouting that it's because of piracy, but how much is due to other reasons?

              Actually, piracy is one of the biiggest reasons I stopped buying RIAA music - I'm boycotting the majors because of their suits against their "pirate" customers. Of course, since I don't like much of what's on the radio these days either that nmakes boycotting that much easier. I've found that the local bands and their CDs are hgeads and shoulders above the RIAA dreck, while 1/4 to 1/2 the price.

              The indies are the "
          • by MightyYar (622222)
            The largest buyer of music has long been kids. Kids may have no convictions on this issue, but they sure aren't buying music like my generation did! I was just at Thanksgiving, and we were talking about music. The teenagers had comments like "no one buys music anymore". I think this is true for at least a large portion of kids, convictions or not.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by CastrTroy (595695)
              But that's because they only have a limited amount of money, and many other things to spend it on. Going to the movies now costs $12. More if you want to buy snacks. Most teenagers want a cellphone. That costs money. They spend money on video games, movies on DVD, designer clothes, and many other things. The reason kids don't spend money on music anymore, is because they have so many other things that they would rather spend their money on.
              • Re:Tag this (Score:4, Insightful)

                by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @02:30PM (#21521343)
                You don't think that "because they can get it for free" has anything to do with it? When I was a teeny-bopper, a CD cost $11 or so, but I only made $3.65/hour. I, too, had to choose between the latest Paula Abdul album or two $6 movie tickets. The difference was that it wasn't so easy to get a free album, and the CD single cost about half of what the full CD did. Sure, I had some Beastie Boys albums on tape from a friend's CDs, but I didn't have anything like Kazaa available. Even iTunes would have been a game changer... how many of those crappy 1-hit CDs did I buy when I could have just spent 99 cents or so for the one or two hit songs on the album?

                I don't buy your argument, I guess. We had video games (Atari, Nintendo, Sega, TurboGrafix), we had movies (on VHS), we had designer clothes, snacks... the only thing that we didn't have on your list is cell phones!
          • The point I was making was that they don't have any convictions. They may know about it, and say they care, and say they think it's terrible, but they keep on buying the music. That's very hypocritical.


            Sir, you're now welcome to my friends list!
        • by sm62704 (957197)
          I would have pointed to Confession of a college downloader's father, a Bill McLellan piece from the St Louis Post Dispatch that I submitted yesterday, but I can't find it in the Firehose (even though my user page says it's "pending").

          He paid $4k to the record company for his son's downloading at college, even though he didn't even know what downloading was! He likens it to a $7k bill he had for fixing a broken sewer line. No clue why he's paying but was advised to do so by a lawyer.

          -mcgrew
      • There, fixed that for you. There's lots of smaller labels who have "got it" all along, but they're just smaller ones, and you don't hear their music on the radio, or on the TV.

        This is a myth which is often driven by the amount of payola in the industry. If the RIAA lables owned the airwaves, there would be no need for payola. Payola is to get a larger percentage of RIAA label stuff played to displace other music.

        Want proof. If you listen to the radio much lately, I'm sure you have heard most of the popul
      • "The point is that most people don't know or don't care about the RIAA tactics."

        I'm currently staying in Kentucky where we're almost overrun by rednecks and the other day I was driving and saw an old beat up pickup truck with a "no RIAA"(the little slashie circle thingy) sticker. This wasn't a college kid, this was a regular person driving his truck.
    • Commonsense is exactly right. Maybe the RIAA will get a clue.
    • I've said it before and I'll say it again: "These guys are asking themselves the wrong question. Instead of asking themselves "How can we make the most money out of each song?" they should be asking themselves, "How can we make the most money out of each person?"

      I miss Allofmp3.com /sniffle
    • by arivanov (12034)
      130 million taken from lawyer pockets and ploughed into DRM and network technology research.

      Hm...

      That may actually work. If all labels do it the sharing as we know it will be dead in 3 years time.

      You are right - it is common sense. If you compare technology and R&D with the "Close Blast Doors, Activate Press Grid, Launch Lawyers" option it is definitely cheaper and better return on investment. Especially when you are dealing with your current and potential customers.
      • by gweihir (88907)
        130 million taken from lawyer pockets and ploughed into DRM and network technology research.

        Hm...

        That may actually work. If all labels do it the sharing as we know it will be dead in 3 years time.


        Very, very unlikely. The common consensus in cryptography research is that DRM does not work and cannot work. For example music can easily be recorded in analog fashion. All current soundcards will happily record from analog outputs. Personalizing the music will not help. Watermarking is, at best, problematic and a
      • EMI already gave up on DRM. Why would they go back to it after they themselves let the cat out of the bag?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BoomerSooner (308737)
      Yes and no. Can you imagine how many bands they could sign and promote for 132 Million a fucking year? NO wonder these morons are losing their asses. If you cannot bring shit to market better than Brittany why would anyone buy your music?

      Congrats to EMI for waking up, but it's too little too late. Their business model is dead.
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      Finally a record label who is starting to 'get it'.

      The old (modified today by me) joke goes "what do you call a busload of RIAA lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start."

      They're only STARTING to get it. When they stop being members of the RIAA and IFPI then we'll have something. Cutting funding? How about NOT FUNDING AT ALL??
    • Tag this 'commonsense'. Finally a record label who is starting to 'get it'.

      What I want to know is how tight is the contract with the devil. In other words, if EMI decided to withdraw completely from the RIAA, do they have the same problem the artists have withdrawing from a label? Do the labels get to keep the music, or is the old stuff still RIAA protected property?

      If EMI drops the RIAA completely and it removes their entire catalog from the RIAA contracts, I may find them listed on the SAFE section of t
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Lunarsight (1053230)
      I will contemplate no longer boycotting EMI releases, provided they do cut RIAA funding. Emphasis on -contemplate-.

      I like that EMI finally has 1) admitted that the lawsuits were a bad idea and 2) are actually planning to do something about it.

      I do feel EMI should go a step further, though - and cut ties to the RIAA outright. If they were to form a separate legal group to represent their interests, it would really drive the point home that they've learned their lesson. Right now, I still suspect what they're
    • by jamstar7 (694492)

      Tag this 'commonsense'. Finally a record label who is starting to 'get it'.

      Um, no. From TFA:

      British label EMI, which was recently purchased by a private equity fund, is reportedly considering a significant cut to the amount of money it provides the trade groups on an annual basis.

      Equity fund managers are basically beancounters. When the new beancounter overlords looked over the returns from the 'investment', they saw the 'investment' was a waste. The new beancounter overlords aren't record company

  • It's hard to argue with EMI's logic there, file sharing certainly isn't stopping... perhaps DRM will go the way of prohibition.
    • by east coast (590680) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @10:22AM (#21517485)
      It's hard to argue with EMI's logic there

      Considering that EMI never said what was in the blurb and it was a blatant misrepresentation?

      perhaps DRM will go the way of prohibition

      The thing is that prohibition really didn't go away and the war on drugs is the remnants of prohibition. You were conned into thinking that we won some great victory when, in fact, we merely gained back the "right" to what they could tax.
    • by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@NosPAm.optonline.net> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @10:23AM (#21517489) Journal

      Actually, I don't think that's a bad analogy. Making liquor illegal only drove liquor production and distribution underground, brought about the rise of organized crime (remember Al Capone?), and probably increased the amount of alcoholism prevalent at the time. Face it -- if the liquor supply is limited, and you know where to get it, you're going to try and get as much of it as you can. Same thing is happening to music -- making file sharing and ripping illegal is simply driving the illegal file sharing economy, and it's costing the music industry far more money to try and stamp it out than it would be to embrace it and try to work with buyers.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by okvol (549849)
        The analogy goes much deeper. Prohibition also encouraged home-brew. The only federal agency at the time that had the manpower was the Internal Revenue Service, ergo the phrase Danged Revenuers, and charges of not paying federal tax were brought against moonshiners. Now, even if you make your music at home and sell it yourself, an agency of the RIAA has the right to collect royalties on your behalf, empowered by the federal government. If that agency can't find you, they get to keep the money. You can't f
      • by sm62704 (957197)
        Making liquor illegal only drove liquor production and distribution underground, brought about the rise of organized crime (remember Al Capone?), and probably increased the amount of alcoholism prevalent at the time.

        My late grandmother was born a few months before the Wright Brothers took off at Kitty Hawk, my grandfather was born in 1896 (the same year as Michelob beer) and they were young adults during prohibition. Grandpa had a beer making kit in his barn.

        Grandma told me that before prohibition, the only
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      perhaps DRM will go the way of prohibition

      I hate to break it to you, but prohibition [drugfree.org] and all the damage it causes society, from the violence of the gangsters to the huge numbers of nonviolent offenders in prison, is still with us.

      -mcgrew

      PS- DRM on music can never work [kuro5hin.org]
  • Change (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jonny_eh (765306) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @10:16AM (#21517409)
    All that's needed for change is for the old generation to die out.
    • That's the same thing the hippies said back in the 60s. Now that they're the ones with the reigns in their hands and what has changed?
      • Re:Change (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SamP2 (1097897) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @10:29AM (#21517541)

        That's the same thing the hippies said back in the 60s. Now that they're the ones with the reigns in their hands and what has changed?
        Them.
        • It only takes 30 years to change a liberal into a conservative without changing a single idea.
  • Deceptive Summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @10:16AM (#21517419) Homepage Journal
    The summary makes it look like the blockquote is someone from EMI, when in reality it is editorializing by some dude at Ars.

    -Peter
    • Indeed, nowhere in the article it says that EMI is considering cutting funding for the RIAA. The article author, who is unaffiliated with EMI and RIAA, is simply saying that it would not be illogical for EMI to do so.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by chipasd (1135399)
      That's absolutely correct. The only real news is in the Reuters article which quotes an anonymous source at EMI as saying they are "looking" into cutting back funding to "trade groups". The rest of it is rampant speculation by Ars along with a ton of self links to similarly speculative articles. The celebrations need to wait for official statements confirming that this is related in any way to the RIAA.
  • by joaommp (685612) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @10:18AM (#21517437) Homepage Journal
    "Let's get away before we begin making fools of ourselves."

    Too late.
  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @10:19AM (#21517457)
    Nothing to see here, move along.
    • by leonbev (111395) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @10:36AM (#21517633) Journal
      I'm not sure why this was tagged funny, since it's true.

      "Considering" cutting RIAA funding is nothing more than a slick PR move. Until they actually reduce their contributions, they're just as guilty as any of the other big players in the music biz.

      • Then again, EMI is the one who cut the deal with Apple to sell non-DRM tracks online.

        It's not definitive proof, but it shows that they've been taking a different approach than other labels.
  • just give it time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by walshy007 (906710) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @10:19AM (#21517461)
    In other words, it's causing too much bad public relations AND not working, require new methods to screw the consumer with having them actually enjoy it this time. after they come up with something new, business as usual.
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      screw the consumer with having them actually enjoy it

      Perhaps they should take lessons from prostitutes?
  • "considering" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by torkus (1133985) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @10:23AM (#21517491)
    Considering does not mean they're actuallg going to do it.

    You know "Mr. Overpaid Exec #1" at RIAA will call "Mr. Way-Overpaid Exec #2" at EMI and say something like 'Hey Bill, we'll try to fuck you guys up a little less next year. Promise. Besides, I my kid's going to for her degree in basket weaving and I need to make sure I get my raise to pay for that and the new ferrari'

    So instead EMI coughs up extra cash this year for the MAFIAA to "change tactics" whereby they sue...everyone!
    • by badasscat (563442)
      Considering does not mean they're actuallg going to do it.

      No, but then who really expected EMI to drop DRM either?

      EMI is a wounded animal prone to doing all sorts of things that other people in the industry would consider crazy, but that the rest of the world has been saying record labels need to do to stay viable. They're losing money, their market share is sinking, and they need to do whatever they can to both tighten their belts and get some good PR.

      I'd give this about a 50/50 chance of actually happeni
    • No, it's "Mr. Way-Overpaid Exec #2 at Private Equity Fund that owns EMI."

      The only thing he cares about is getting a decent return on his investment into EMI. And seeing EMI dump millions of dollars down the money pit of litigation is making him upset.

      Think of it like downsizing. Company spending too much on x, so cut x out of the picture. Hey, look! More profits.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 29, 2007 @10:26AM (#21517511)
    ...who of you replaced the key decision makers at EMI with androids under your control? Come on, out with it!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jamstar7 (694492)

      ...who of you replaced the key decision makers at EMI with androids under your control? Come on, out with it!

      Damned straight, we owe that guy many many MANY beers.

    • Funny that you mention that, most of them seemed to welcome my new robotic overlords.
  • Amazing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sircastor (1051070)
    Somebody actually gets it... I'm very pleased to see that a record label recognizes this and acknowledges it publicly. It shows they're not all buffoons.
  • by Steauengeglase (512315) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @10:34AM (#21517603)
    I don't see the RIAA keeling over any time soon, instead I imagine it shrivel up into something like one of those debt collection agencies out of Buffalo NY. It will act as a "free agent" for (mostly fake or bought out) music publishers and survive on constant lawsuits on those who will be only more than happy to pay $800 to keep from getting sued for $15K.

    Never underestimate the tenacity of unemployed lawyers.
  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @10:43AM (#21517709)
    Guy Hands aims to snuff out excesses that cost EMI £100m a year

    Guy Hands, chairman of EMI, has told potential investors the group's former management squandered around 100 million pounds on corporate excesses. Terra Firma, Hands' private equity firm, is expected to make major changes to senior management and transform the culture of a company considered to be stuck in the glory days of the music business. Industry observers say Hands will try to blame previous management for the firm's woes because he has paid over the odds for a business struggling to cope with a dwindling market.

    http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/media/article2963629.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
    http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/27/in-winning-emi-is-guy-hands-losing-out-on-other-deals/ [nytimes.com]
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2007/10/08/cnemi108.xml [telegraph.co.uk]
    • by kevinbr (689680)
      Guy Hands is an expert at securitization of cash flows. I would expect he will break up EMI. I heard he is interested in gaining access to the cash flow from the publishing rights.

      Guy Hands is not some nice benevolent guy. He is a ruthless cash making machine.

      "....Whole business securitisation:

      One of the typical UK innovation is securitisation of whole business cashflows, also known as principal finance, or securitisation of operating company cashflows. This device largely goes to the credit of Guy Hands of
  • by RaigetheFury (1000827) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @10:43AM (#21517717)
    Wasn't EMI the one who started letting Itunes sell NON-DRM versions of their music selection? Maybe they're trying to be the front runner and testing the waters. Maybe they have someone who is able to explain to the big guys just how fruitless it is to try and stop illegal file sharing. Do your part in reminding people it's illegal, but don't go the path the RIAA has.

    I also think EMI has realized that they no longer need the RIAA because of the power of the internet. It's good business to rid yourself of a marketing company who does nothing but put your company in the bad light. Publicly decry them, and embrace the way people want things.

    Right now that is GOLD. People are starting to look for Non-DRM (and I mean the average consumer, not you and me). The average person buying their music is buying it for an Ipod and noticing how much of a pain in the ass it is to rip it just to get it on there.

    Maybe EMI, is realizing that the people who are stealing weren't going to buy it anyway and that there's a tremendous opportunity for the first major record label who steps forward and waves off DRM laden music. Cost of doing business in the digital world is that people will always steal your product. Microsoft learned this by trying to lockdown windows and that failed. People just manually downloaded the patches around the "automatic update".

    The problems their "DRM" did by checking new installs of windows if you reformatted and had to deal with the hassle of speaking to an indian who couldn't speak english... you get the idea... it just wasn't worth it financially. It hurt them.

    Maybe they realize that the power is no longer in their hands once they release a product. Perhaps they realize it's better to encourage people to buy it, who WANT their music.

    If I was a record label I'd offer the music in several different formats. Typically CD quality download, mp3 (slightly cheaper), HD (for the audio connoisseur, and then on physical media still. Some people love their physical media.

    That's what people want. Make it available like that, without some DRM scheme. You'll win in the end because the people who are stealing your product, weren't going to buy it in the first place. You need to target the people who are willing. Because... you know? The people who are stealing it... will always find a way. It only takes 1 copy to hit the internet... and you can't stop that from happening, no matter what you do.

    • Microsoft learned this by trying to lockdown windows and that failed.
      I'll admit I've never really used vista for more than a few minutes, but from all reports they learnt absolutely nothing from trying to lock down XP. I keep hearing people complaining how now even VLK copies of vista require activation (or some on-site server?). I'm not taking a swipe at your post btw; I just thought that was an odd statement in contrast with what I've heard others say.
  • by guruevi (827432) <evi@smoking c u be.be> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @10:46AM (#21517767) Homepage
    According to the article:
    including the close to 30,000 file-sharing lawsuits filed by the record labels in the US alone.

    I mean, this is way worse than what I thought it was. I thought it was a handful, you know the ones you hear about in the news. But 30,000 means a lot and a whole lot of work for the legal system (this means that 1 in every 500 lawsuits in the US or 0,2% comes directly from the RIAA). This could be used for other cases we are already overloaded with like drugs, robberies, fraud (identity theft for example), money laundering and other crimes that affect more people than a few copied cd's.
    • by Paktu (1103861)
      They filed 30,000 suits, but how many of those actually went to trial? You can't use this figure for comparison with the actual number of court cases unless you want to include every parking ticket etc.
  • And I'm also thinking of buying a Castle in Scotland, a Ferrari Enzo, and a gold plated swimming pool.

    Doesn't mean I can or will do any of it, though.
  • It has had an effect (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fwarren (579763)
    The RIAA's campaign has had an effect. The people who get caught, are sharing LOTS of files. So if you don't share lots of files, you are much more likely to go "under the radar". Many folks who used to share large catalogs of mp3's no longer do so. Try downloading something by Olivia Newton John for instance. Unless the song was a top ten hit, must music from the 50's through the 90's is no longer out there.

    The new stuff the RIAA is worried about still gets pirated like mad. The older stuff just is not s

  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @10:59AM (#21517943) Homepage Journal
    They "may" cut funding? Let me know when they *DO* cut funding. Until then, this should be dismissed as PR theater. Perhaps EMI wants to manipulate the RIAA in some way ... maybe reduce their share of the funding, or gain more power within the organization, or something.

    So far it's just talk. And talk is cheap.
    • by KWTm (808824)

      They "may" cut funding? Let me know when they *DO* cut funding.

      Exactly! This reminds me of a joke, apparently about a maintenance repair request form filled out by an Air Force pilot. These forms have a spaces under the headings "Request" (filled out by the pilot) and "Action Taken" (filled out by the mechanic). This particular one reads:

      REQUEST: Left tire on landing gear almost needs replacement.

      ACTION TAKEN: Left tire on landing gear almost replaced.

      Wake me up when EMI actually does something.

  • We can all get warm fuzzy feelings over this, but that will do little good to encourage these sort of decisions. Vote with your dollars and buy music from EMI if they end up cutting back their cartel involvement.

  • Is it April 1st already???
  • Quote: "... those thousands of lawsuits have done nothing but generate ill will from record fans, while costing the labels millions of dollars and doing little (if anything) to actually reduce the amount of file-sharing going on."

    Translation: Record executives are sometimes really, really dumb.

    LOL.
  • EMI is also one of the companies that instead of suing imeem.com [imeem.com] for letting people share mp3's decided it was better to cut a deal with the company and let people share their music - like a youtube for mp3's - presumably in exchange for a cut of the advertising revenue that their music is making the site. The music business is finally catching up to the changes that started a decade ago, EMI seems to be making some of the biggest moves in public.
  • the amount of money record companies are not getting back from the RIAA from collected fines

    I bet the record companies actually expected, or were even told by the RIAA, that there would be a long-term profitable return from collected fines in return for their relatively small support payments. This has turned out to not be the case both because the RIAA is run by total incompetents and that they are finding out that more people than they expected just won't be bullied so they actually have to work for their
  • Each of the labels reportedly contributed over $132 million per year to fund industry trade groups, and EMI apparently believes that money could be better spent elsewhere.

    Like on increased royalties for the artists, right?

    Guys? Right?

    long pause

    wankers

  • I think a common misconception on /. is the idea that the recording industry is explicitly trying to attack "us." They're not. They are legal entities who are trying to defend themselves, and their profit margins. They aren't bad guys, they're just trying to get themselves the best deal they can - and they have money, time, and power to fight for it much more than most Americans do. However, we're the consumers. Ultimately, they can't survive without us. So instead of viewing them as an opponent, view them
    • by PhxBlue (562201)

      Oh, the poor record executives and lawyers, they're so misunderstood.

      Not. The record labels declared war on the consumer when the RIAA started taking consumers to court. If that's cost them a few hundred million dollars and some egg on their faces, too fucking bad. Now it seems like EMI's starting to get the picture, and that's good -- but that's one of several, and there's no sign yet that the other labels are going to change their tune.

    • The common (and entirely correct) perception is that the RIAA/MPAA and the corporations that support them are out for themselves only, and will do whatever it takes to maintain their hegemony, regardless of who is hurt in the process. The modifications to copyright and the DMCA, for example, were made at the behest of these organizations, and they have successfully damaged the fabric of our society with their naked greed. So yes, they are bad guys, and they have attacked us, and the RIAA lawsuit mill is act
  • Really, when the CFO's of the record companies actually analyze the data, the results of the RIAA's alienating actions can be seen and felt all the way to the production room floor.

    And a good CFO takes whatever action he deems is likely to put up the help wanted signs.

    --
    Cheers, Gene
    "There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty:
    soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order."
    -Ed Howdershelt (Author)
    If your OS needs a virus detector... RUN!!! ...Out and buy Linux!
  • Won't somebody think of the lawyers?! If EMI reduce funding to the RIAA and IFPI, then lawyers are going to earn less, so surely reducing funding ought to be illegal?

    What if everyone stopped funding their lawyers, how would they make a living? It's not like they could just go do non-evil stuff. They shouldn't have to!

    This reducing of funding of lawyers must be stopped or a whole industry will go under! I propose a new special interest group, something like the Lawyer's Industry Ass. of Reduction Stoppag

  • I will lift my ban on purchasing music. In fact nothing really will change because I don't purchase RIAA sponsored music -- they will open themselves to a new customer market at least as far as I'm concerned.

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