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5 Years of RIAA Filesharing Lawsuits 148

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the at-least-we-have-lots-of-stories dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "David Kravets of Wired.com, who provided in-person gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Capitol v. Thomas trial last year, takes stock of the RIAA's 5-year-old litigation campaign, concluding it is 'at a crossroads', and noting that 'billions of copies of copyrighted songs are now changing hands each year on file sharing services. All the while, some of the most fundamental legal questions surrounding the legality of file sharing have gone unanswered. Even the future of the RIAA's only jury trial victory — against Minnesota mother Jammie Thomas — is in doubt. Some are wondering if the campaign has shaped up as an utter failure.'"
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5 Years of RIAA Filesharing Lawsuits

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  • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Friday September 05, 2008 @05:40PM (#24894641) Homepage

    Take a position not shared by 90% of your customers, and you're guaranteed failure. It really doesn't matter what the law says is right. It's economics, and the RIAA has failed or will fail, one way or the other.

    • by Ostracus (1354233) on Friday September 05, 2008 @06:17PM (#24895191) Journal

      I think this guy said it best [sinsofasolarempire.com].

      • I think this guy said it best [sinsofasolarempire.com].

        I agree with this.

        down with brittney spears, survivor MLXVIIII, and mtv!

      • by Anubis350 (772791)
        Policies like stardocks gain customers too, I saw that post a while back and it's what convinced me to actually go *buy* the game my friends were raving about instead of just borrowing a copy or downloading it. I support companies that dont treat their customer base like crap, and I'll happily buy a game if it's priced well and doesnt make me jump through hoops to get it (which is why I own a few ambrosia games and such too).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by electrictroy (912290)

        From the article: >>> Some are wondering if the campaign has shaped up as an utter failure.

        Well.

        Duh.

        The War on Bittorrent has been as much a failure as the War on Drugs or the Prohibition on Alcohol. People want their pleasures, and no amount of threats is going to stop them from acquiring want they desire. Gov't and corporate entities need to find a more effective solution to deal with these problems:

        Drugs/Alcohol - legalized but strictly regulated w/ severe punishment for abusers (DUI)

        Bittorre

    • They have failed repeatedly. They just have loads of money and can just keep failing over and over until they run out. When will that be?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        They have failed repeatedly. They just have loads of money and can just keep failing over and over until they run out. When will that be?

        Hey! Let's leave Microsoft out of this.

    • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @02:00AM (#24898223)

      Anything that takes in that much money can't be called a failure. It's wishful thinking to say otherwise. Judges are still finding in their favor, and nobody has been able to put a stop to their extortion racket yet. Their lawsuit racket is a machine that requires practically no work, and takes in thousands of dollars per victim. A thousand letters go out, and a couple of million dollars come back in. Hardly a failure.

      It's immoral, and we hope that mainstream non-geek people will see it eventually...but currently, as much as it pains me to say so - it's a win for them. A big one.

      If we convince ourselves that we've won and walk away when we haven't - then we are the ones who've lost. So let's not say what we hope things are. Let's say what they really are, and go from there.

      • by sjames (1099)

        Judges are still finding in their favor,

        No, they're not. Judges are getting ever closer to sanctions and contempt charges. If enough find against them, some of those who paid might come back with a class action to get their money back.

        We (that is, everyone but the RIAA) haven't won yet, but that's the way it seems to be slowly grinding.

  • by PhrostyMcByte (589271) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Friday September 05, 2008 @05:41PM (#24894655) Homepage
    File sharing is perfectly legal, thankyou.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Butisol (994224)
      That's the funny thing. It really is just that. File SHARING. The human family is drawing closer together, and sharing is a manifestation of that kinship via digital mediation.
      • by davester666 (731373) on Friday September 05, 2008 @06:06PM (#24895051) Journal

        File Sharing is WRONG! Think of all the unborn children of todays artists, that won't be able to ride the coattails of what their parents have done. Who will have to go out and get jobs and work for most of their lives. All because you won't pay for the songs their parents have written and recorded, and keep paying for those songs 70+ years after they have died.

        There no longer is any money to be made creating music because of YOU!

        I predict the entire music industry will be force to close up shop in 2-3 years tops. Then there will be no new music for anyone! And it's your fault!

        • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Friday September 05, 2008 @06:55PM (#24895651)
          Then there will be no new music for anyone! And it's your fault!

          That's cool. My 200 Gb. music collection will see me through the dark times.
        • by sconeu (64226)

          That's right! Remember, kiddies, P2P Killed Elvis [slashdot.org]!!!

        • Nuh-uh. Artists (and their unborn children) don't need money. Haven't you heard? They can just sustain themselves on the music, man. They like music so much that they'll be willing to starve, or get a part-time day job (unlike me), and dedicate all their free time to creating REALLY GOOD pieces of music! Even if it means total poverty!

          In fact, the RIAA's money is turning lots of good artists away. Lot's of people who really truly do prefer forced poverty, rather than the option of all those distracting rich

        • >>>File Sharing is WRONG!

          And what if I, an author of novels, decide to write a book and share my creation via file-sharing. ($1 gets you access to the required *.torrent file.) Is that also considered "wrong" in your viewpoint?

          File-sharing is more than just illegal activities. It also includes legal sharing of public domain creations and licensed files.

        • by cdrguru (88047)

          Ha ha. OK, while your hyperbole is humorous you have to admit that distribution of music is going to be cut back. Sure, the people that "know" about it will still know and their friends will. But why are you going to go looking for "new music" that doesn't show up with some keyworded search that nobody ever tells you about?

          I think more significantly the people that are need to make a living are going to have to rethink a career in recorded music. 15-20 years ago a good living could be made by being a ba

    • by gbh1935 (987266)
      Sharing files is legal, it's the content of the files that is in question. :)
      • by karnal (22275)

        The content of most files downloaded is always questionable.

        Almost missed your smilie!

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          The content of most files downloaded is always questionable.

          Yeah. Whenever Firefox is downloaded, Ballmer is on his knees and questions God, "Why?"

  • Actually... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by koh (124962) on Friday September 05, 2008 @05:45PM (#24894735) Journal

    Some are wondering if the campaign has shaped up as an utter failure.

    And many are not wondering anymore. The ultimate failure of DRM was predicted a few years ago on these very forums. Thanks for playing anyway.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nsayer (86181) *

      The ultimate failure of DRM was predicted a few years ago on these very forums.

      Please. Back when it was called "copy protection," its ultimate failure was predicted 25-30 years ago on forums that are now defunct and lost to time.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        Please. Back when it was called "copy protection," its ultimate failure was predicted 25-30 years ago on forums that are now defunct and lost to time.

        Copy protection on software is still going strong, because then you need constantly work to avoid tripping the copy protection and it'll break on patches and upgrades, you can't just copy the output once and be done with it. Music and video DRM on the other hand is newer and a pretty hopeless concept, sooner or later it must be transformed for your eyes and ears. And the movies you torrent will never ever cause a popup saying your version of the Matrix may not be Genuine Blu-Ray Advantage(TM).

      • The ultimate failure of DRM was predicted a few years ago on these very forums.

        Please. Back when it was called "copy protection," its ultimate failure was predicted 25-30 years ago on forums that are now defunct and lost to time.

        30 years ago predates even usenet. What medium did these forums ulitilze? Smoke signals?

  • "Some are wondering if the campaign has shaped up as an utter failure.'""

    Prohibition.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 05, 2008 @05:46PM (#24894755)
    ... thanks, not only for the objective insight which permeates much of your postings, nor the informative summaries that accompany your submissions, nor even for the occasional comedic relief provided by your dry wit, but for writing a summary that *doesn't* end in a rhetorical question.

    (seriously, though, WTH do all the damn summaries end with rhetorical questions or even just plain rhetoric?
  • "Wondering?" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by solraith (1203394) on Friday September 05, 2008 @05:47PM (#24894757)
    I'd be curious to see an expense report comparing the amount they've spent on legal fees during this whole campaign to the return on investment.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Wasnt there a story a while back saying that they'd made like $140million in total from filesharing lawsuits?
      This amount included the settlements against Napster etc.
      The recording artists involved in the Napster case were suing the RIAA because they'd not seen a single cent of it.

      Either way, I'm sure they (the RIAA) see it as a success as most of the people sued so far have settled without a fight.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by solraith (1203394)

        Wasnt there a story a while back saying that they'd made like $140million in total from filesharing lawsuits? This amount included the settlements against Napster etc. The recording artists involved in the Napster case were suing the RIAA because they'd not seen a single cent of it.

        Not sure how I missed it the first time around but yeah, there was [torrentfreak.com].

        It would be pretty hilarious if the RIAA got sued into oblivion by the very artists they claim to "protect".

    • by ricebowl (999467)

      Would you? Why..? You've seen how they calculate their losses "every download is a lost sale," what makes you think their calculations for returns are likely to be any more sane? Though they might have comedic value...

      • by ricebowl (999467)

        I know, replying to my own comment...I didn't realise how redundant I was being 'til I saw it on the page...curses..! ;)

    • I'd be curious to see an expense report comparing the amount they've spent on legal fees during this whole campaign to the return on investment.

      Considering they haven't actually been able to show a loss to begin with, I doubt what you're asking for is possible. So far, they seem more worried about people maybe/possibly going out of their way to avoid paying for stuff than about actual measurable drops in their revenue stream. I wouldn't mind, but it's becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • What doubt? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Friday September 05, 2008 @05:49PM (#24894807)
    "Some are wondering if the campaign has shaped up as an utter failure."

    Some?! Wondering?! To date they've convinced the internet audience they so desperately wanted that the entire music industry, most telecoms companies, and quite a few governments are a parade of cash-guzzling corporation-fellating litigation-whores, and done absolutely nothing to peer-to-peer file sharing itself. Where is there any room for doubt as to its failure? It's like trying to give a guy CPR, but realising after hours of effort that you've brutally beaten the guy and his entire living bloodline to death with their own shoes instead.
    • I know it's probably quite shocking to many people here, but internet audience != majority of the american public. On a site like /. it's even much less so.

      It is worth wondering if the at large public does consider these tactics a failure, or is even aware of them, or if they are if they even care. That's where this battle is to be fought, not amongst a (more) informed internet audience that is savvy to technological issues.
      • Re:What doubt? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Sockatume (732728) on Friday September 05, 2008 @06:14PM (#24895147)
        Sure, it's had a net zero or small positive benefit outside of the internet, but the internet users are the social group that's pirating music. They RIAA has spent 5 years convincing net users that music isn't worth paying for because it feeds a corrupt monster that takes away your legal rights and sues people at random. I'm not sure that whatever they got back from the offline populace has been worth it.
      • It is worth wondering if the at large public does consider these tactics a failure, or is even aware of them, or if they are if they even care. That's where this battle is to be fought, not amongst a (more) informed internet audience that is savvy to technological issues.

        until members of the "offline" community meet and are educated by members of the "online" community, who, contrary to recent reports, are not "ghosts in the machine" (though i wish i was).

    • Re:What doubt? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cpricejones (950353) on Friday September 05, 2008 @06:15PM (#24895163)
      Lawyers would definitely say the campaign has been a success.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by jcarkeys (925469)

      but realising after hours of effort that you've brutally beaten the guy and his entire living bloodline to death with their own shoes instead.

      The Conquistador, I'm sure. They run tight.

    • by Blackhalo (572408)
      "a parade of cash-guzzling corporation-fellating litigation-whores"

      And me without mod points. Fucking criminal.
  • Pretty much fail (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Etrias (1121031) on Friday September 05, 2008 @05:50PM (#24894819)
    Not sure how you could measure it by anything but a failure. All of the various ways of measuring it given by RIAA itself pretty much indicate failure.

    If they meant to reduce file sharing, total failure there as there's been no slowdown. If they meant to give back to the artists, failure on their part as any winnings/settlements has only gone to fund more litigation. Not only that, they only have one substantive win which may be declared a mistrial as the judge reconsiders his orders to the jury.

    The campaign is a failure. This would have been money better spent on actual innovation on distributing music.
    • by thermian (1267986) on Friday September 05, 2008 @05:58PM (#24894949)

      The campaign is a failure. This would have been money better spent on actual innovation on distributing music.

      Actually, faliure or success depends on your viewpoint.

      From the viewpoint of stopping piracy the failure is total. However, from the viewpoint of the companies hired to monitor and pollute p2p networks, its been a financial success, they've made many millions. Lawyers too, they've raked it in.

      So failure is a matter of viewpoint. Hell, if I could have come up with some crackpot way to 'end piracy' I'd have sold it to them too and walked away richer, fully aware that all I sold them was snake oil.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        I'm not so sure that it was a failure. The RIAA affiliates have raked in an obscene amount of cash and won the only case to go through a full trial.

        They weren't realistically going to stop sharing, but they did manage to turn it into a business model. Which as disgusting as it is to me, is some degree of success. I highly doubt that they would be continuing with this if they weren't making money at it.

      • by Tweenk (1274968) on Friday September 05, 2008 @06:45PM (#24895539)

        If you go on a backpacking trip and you are eaten by a bear, the fact that the bear is no longer hungry does not mean that your trip is not a failure.

        Benefits of companies hired to attack P2P are irrelevant to RIAA's campaign outcome, which is ultimately to increase profits. Since they paid a lot of money to third parties and got nothing, it is a failure.

        • by thermian (1267986)

          nice example :)

          Still, I didn't mean the RIAA's campaign was a success, I just meant the ambulance chaser types who profited from their stupidity would think of it as a successful event, much like your bear.

      • Hell, if I could have come up with some crackpot way to 'end piracy' I'd have sold it to them too and walked away richer, fully aware that all I sold them was snake oil.

        I sold them my magic rocks. After all, they were good enough to keep the polar bears away. But they only gave me a couple million dollars for them...

    • by budword (680846)
      The lawyers got PAID buddy. Hence, it was certainly a success.
  • A failure? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stickerboy (61554) on Friday September 05, 2008 @05:50PM (#24894821) Homepage

    Depends on your perspective... definitely not a failure for the trial attorneys billing by the hour.

  • Nostalgia (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Steve1952 (651150) on Friday September 05, 2008 @05:50PM (#24894825)
    Ah how time flies. Soon we'll all be reminiscing about the good old days, students flunking final exams, single parents reduced to financial ruin, the Federal court system tied up in knots and used in a way that creates disrespect for the law. Good times...
  • It Never Was... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday September 05, 2008 @05:50PM (#24894827)
    It never was about getting more money to the artists, and the article now confirms it.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by polle404 (727386)
      The record industry was NEVER about getting more money for their artists.

      They'd happily replace the lot of them with monkeys with typewriters, if they could.

      it's all about protecting their monopoly of distribution.

      (and lets face it, their monopoly does make MS look like rank amateurs).

  • by JetScootr (319545) on Friday September 05, 2008 @05:57PM (#24894941) Journal
    Some are wondering if the campaign has shaped up as an utter failure.
    Hmmm...nothing's changed in 5 years, RIAA has no slam-dunk victories to show for it, thousands upon thousands of customers pissed off to the point of not buying music at all anymore, only a few million bucks extorted from victims, despite claims of billions lost....
    Well, I'm NOT wondering if it's an "utter failure".
  • First of all, you're playing their game - lawyers and lawsuits and courts. It's too slow and costs way too much for any of us to fight because let's face it, the law favors the rich. If you're poor you don't stand a chance.

    But I'm not posting to offer a problem: I offer a solution.

    1. Get an anonymous server.

    2. Put a shit load of music on it.

    3. Add on kiddie porn.

    4. RIAA and cronies download music and child porn.

    5. Call cops, RIAA has just downloaded and consumed child porn!

    RIAA, "Your honor, we're investiga

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by hellwig (1325869)
      This brings up an interesting idea. I'm not saying anyone should setup kiddie porn servers, but we know there must be some out there (why else would the US ISPs shutdown Usenet?). The MPAA is known to seed anonymous torrent servers, and I assume the RIAA does the same. Since they do this in-descriminately, they surely have seeded (even if falsely) a kidde porn server or two over the years. Even though they are disseminating incorrect information, couldn't their participation in these illegal servers sti
      • If the **AA was caught distributing small amounts of kiddie porn, it would be scandalous, but not fatal to the company. I'm pretty sure the courts (if not many of the public in general) would be lenient on them since a) it was not their intention, b) they never viewed/stored any of it, and c) they didn't share much of it at all.

    • 5. Call cops, RIAA has just downloaded and consumed child porn!

      If it has been consumed, then there is no evidence since it has been...er...consumed.

    • by WK2 (1072560)

      Your plan is interesting. However, it fails to account for the fact that laws don't apply to large corporations any more than they do to rich people.

  • by harvey the nerd (582806) on Friday September 05, 2008 @06:22PM (#24895253)
    RIAA is merely whinging about market losses where this is a situation of an industry that has systematically refused to give the customers what is most practical, what intelligent customers want. Experimental computerized music synthesis of the 1970s (e.g. trying to *imitate* Bach or Beethoven as patterns) should have been a wake up call that computers and music could be cohabitating in the near future. The arrival of the music CD (80s) even as an anolog should have been a wakeup call to even the brain dead. The arrival of, say Sound Blaster 16 (1992), was the technology at the gates.

    RIAA members have deliberately and directly avoided properly serving their customers for well over a dozen years. They have actively engaged in a campaign of tampering with both the laws and the laws' execution. They actively attack and extort those members of society least able to defend themselves, including total innocents, with ridiculous claims similar to common street thugs. One wonders what RIAA is going to do if avoidance or legal confrontation are replaced by outright vigilantism. I've seen this in other countries and the history books in other situations.
  • by BeerSlurpy (185482) on Friday September 05, 2008 @06:27PM (#24895321)

    ...if you view their goals and their audience accurately.

    I argue that they didn't want to stop file sharing. Or they did want it, but didn't expect to succeeded at such an endeavor.

    The purpose of this was to make filesharing seem like a small scale threat that could easily be dealt with by a campaign of lawsuits. Most of the investors in the RIAA have no idea how the recording industry works let alone why the internet is such a giant threat to it.

    These lawsuits were a smokescreen to stop shareholders from realizing the record label's business model had failed. Any survival at all would involve massively reduced profit margins. If they had realized that, shareholders would have bailed from the recording industry en masse.

    The goal of this legal campaign was to buy a few extra years for the the Hillary Rosens and the Jack Valentis of the world to quietly divest themselves of recording industry stock.

    So good job guys! May you successfully avoid shareholder lawsuits!

  • 5 years ago (2003) I would buy maybe 1-2 CDs per month. Definitely less than what I bought in 2000.

    Now, I can't remember the last time I bought a CD. Definitely none this year so far. I don't think I bought any in '07 or '06 either.

    Partially it's because of the whole stigmata and the ease of getting things off of P2P and (to a lesser extent) usenet.

    A lot more is because I just don't see much good stuff out there, and my collection of the classics is pretty much complete.

    I'm also a bit wary about newer re

  • meanwhile (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bechthros (714240) on Friday September 05, 2008 @07:14PM (#24895845) Homepage Journal

    both van halen and heart have written the mccain campaign, more than once in the case of heart, that they do not wish their songs used to further the political campaign of a person they disagree with.

    it's too bad that all these artists don't have some kind of professional organization to represent them. you know, it could collect dues from its members, and then stand up for them in cases like this, where their hard work and creativity is shamelessly co-opted as a marketing gimmick by those in direct and diametrical opposition to the artists themselves on any issue of importance.

    like, an association of american industry recordists, or a recording association of american industry... something...

  • I don't know... (Score:2, Interesting)

    Disclaimer: I didn't read the article - only read caption above and had this thought...

    Pretty much everyone using /. has no fear of the RIAA because, well, its really not that hard to file share and not get caught. Slashdot is a community of people who praise themselves on being technology adept at such things.

    That being said, I'm forced to wonder if the RIAA has been more successful than they're being credited for. Many/most of my friends don't share the same enthusiasm for all things tech that I do
    • Thing is, success for the RIAA isn't zero piracy. Success is increased sales. Anybody got figures for CD sales lately?

    • I wonder how many of those "security" people also voted in '04 not to change horses mid apocalypse.

      Those aren't people, they're cogs in the authoritarian machine. Talking to them is like talking to a wall or a creationist.

  • Found recently an article about piracy [eurogamer.net], mostly in context of games but also touching **AA claims. This is pretty much my opinion on piracy in well written form.

    It is hard to swallow to many, but I still stand on the position that many people will not engage in what now called "piracy" if only business was better and quicker in responding to changing customer needs. Nobody wants to be criminal, nor states want to criminalize its populace. But **AA actions... This is pretty much worst what have happened

  • by JetScootr (319545) on Friday September 05, 2008 @08:08PM (#24896227) Journal
    Maybe this is real obvious to people. it took me awhile to glom onto it.
    It's been a success, it just hasn't finished its course yet. First, ask yerself, What is the **AA's ideal win situation?
    Consider that they're substantially in bed with the TV industry also, and while not always in concert with cable and satellite distributors, often in parallel.
    The ideal situation is what WAS, with a few new techno gadgets. That is, all information and entertainment channels neatly tied up; no individual (read: Human) talents leaking around the filters, only going thru the **AA contract filtering process, etc.
    This requires that home computing be made illegal, completely. It must be a crime to write software, or load non-**AA approved software, onto any computing device you own. Consider this situation:
    A. Enormous technological capacity at
    B.. nearly zero cost in
    C... everyone's home that is
    D.... available to the corporations, and
    E..... completely inaccessible to non-corporate (read: Human) interests.
    What corporate interests would benefit? Political parties? Law Enforcement, Dept of Homeland Insanity? M$$$? **AA??? Marketing corps of all stripes?
    Every corp and govt body that is interested in getting you to buy their stuff or control your stuff will benefit if the **AA eventually wins. I can't think of one national or international corporation/govt that won't benefit by using the people's computing powers against them.
    This is going to be a long fight, and the only ones that can really lose are we the people. If we win utterly, and computing freedom is assured and privacy rights restored, corporations will win in the long run, they just can't see it.
  • You know I don't believe the supposed billions of file transfers of illegal music.

    The numbers are now so huge that everybody in the world is in on it or they're just trying to blow smoke up our asses.

    Since I doubt that Conway Twitty's albums are getting that much action ANYWHERE, I think I want to see some audited numbers, Okay?

    Fuck the **AAs.

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday September 05, 2008 @09:08PM (#24896623)

    I am a software engineer who shoots photography in a 'serious amateur' mode.

    like many, I have a public sharing site (I use flickr but others are basically the same kind of 'publish and show' concept).

    the cool thing about the public networking sites is the amount of eyeballs that view them.

    a few weeks ago, I got email from a representative from a cable tv network (a large well-known one that has a 3 letter 'call sign', sort of like how HBO uses 3 letters to ID their network. it isn't HBO but its along those lines and just about as big). the rep said that they found my photo (or set of photos) and thought they might be useful in a tv 'spot' that they were producing and airing in the next few months. they wanted to get my permission to use it in some way on their show.

    of course, I was flattered. I asked what their terms would be and what kind of payment they would have in mind. remember, this is a for-profit TV network (ie, not PBS) and they *should* have proper budget for things, even ancillary things like my still photo.

    well, we went back and forth on email for a few rounds and I even consulted some folks in the biz that are in touch with common practices in this industry. it turns out that, more and more, media companies are trolling the free photo sites and trying to take advantage of 'amateurs' by offering NO PAYMENT but only trinkets (tee shirts, comp dvd of the show, and stuff like that) but no payment, no royalties and basically asking for unlimited rights to do whatever they want with the work of art, even on 'future media types' not yet developed. perpetual license - and I, the artist, get spud-nutz (so to speak).

    is that fair?

    I hear all this talk, over and over again, about artists should be paid. so I returned the sentiment back to papa media and papa slammed the door in my face.

    I asked for a simple low-value (relatively) one-time payment and immediately the reply was 'sorry, but all the others we contacted offered their photos for free and we have no budget to pay guys like you'.

    I just LOVE this double-standard. when someone downloads a song for free, there are THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS being asked for in damages. but its ok for a major studio network to ask for FREE WORK even though its original, creative and of value.

    so, it seems, my photos won't be seen on that nationally airing show, but I also have what I wanted from this exchange. I sent a message, however small, that what's good for the goose is also good for the gander. I don't expect my protest to count for a lot, but I did what I could do and denied them free use of my creative work. I'm sure they'll move on to the next guy on the list but I have at last made my statement and stood my ground. and I still have the fun compliment of knowing they WANTED to use my work on national TV (and on the eventual dvd that always gets made from TV specials).

    do I have any more respect for the big media companies? in fact I have lost even more respect for them - and I didn't think that such a thing was mathematically possible.

    big media says artists should be paid. but they clearly don't believe this - my direct recent experience is proof of that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by KGIII (973947)

      You should, in my humble opinion, blog about that and get some more eyeballs on your text/message. IANAL but you can likely freely name the TLA network by name. If I were you I would also be attentive to see if they went to the hosting site to try to get permission from them (many TOS seem to allow them to have a right to distribute your work without your additional consent as a part of the contract) and/or just used your work without your permission.

      Anyhow, I liked your message and I hope you have the time

  • Will the RIAA go after the McCain/Palin campaign for making available Barracuda [heart-music.com]? Think of the publicity against intellectual property theft the filing will generate.

    Or do you think they might not be willing to sue someone with the chops to hit back?

  • by stmfreak (230369) <stmfreak@@@gmail...com> on Friday September 05, 2008 @10:41PM (#24897271) Journal

    Here's an analogy:

    A carpenter becomes well known for his excellent chairs. He is approached by a salesman who offers to duplicate these chairs in a factory and sell them all over the world. The carpenter agrees to this plan when told that he will receive $1 for each chair sold. And of course, he can continue making chairs by hand for people who want a more personal performance.

    Years go by, the carpenter makes some money, but realizes that the salesman is making millions for doing virtually nothing.

    Then one day, someone figures out how to make identical copies of his chair and posts plans for it on the Internet. Now anyone with a saw and some wood can make a perfect copy of the chair. Those who don't have the time can still buy it from the salesman or pay a bit more to get one from the carpenter.

    The chair made by the carpenter is like a rock concert.

    The chair from the salesman is a CD.

    The chair you make yourself is a digital copy from the Internet.

    There is no way this would be considered wrong, illegal or immoral if we were actually talking about some chair design like an Adirondack or even some fancier newer design like an aeron. Nor would providing plans for others to make copies be considered illegal since there is no loss to the carpenter. His inventory is not short, his supply stock is not depleted.

    But the salesman would be pissed, because his revenue is dependent on need and achieved with virtually no effort on his part. Now, there is less need through no effort on the part of the consumer. This is direct competition so the natural response is to petition the government to make this illegal and protect his business.

    We have a long history of protecting businesses through regulation. It's anti-competitive, anti-consumer, tends to create monopolies and is basically a bunch of corrupt politicians taking money from thieves who would like the barn doors left open.

    The only way to hasten the demise of an organization like the RIAA and its member companies is to stop buying content that you can either copy yourself or acquire directly from the artist. Support your artists, go to their concerts and if they sell direct, buy their albums. But we need to stop buying anything distributed through the channel and starve these guys until the music distribution model becomes more like chair design and construction.

    • by KGIII (973947)

      Copyright... *sighs*

      Would it be "competition" if I took a copy of Firefox, edited it, to call it KGIIIFox and added some small changes, compiled it and made it difficult to decompile, released it, and then refused to hand out the source per the GPL?

      That would be just copyright infringing, not theft, and it isn't even property according to many comments here on this site.

      That doesn't mean that I have paid for all of my MP3 collection. The justification and typical hypocrisy (you may be different and view my

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