RIAA Lawyers Gone Wild

Question: How many lawyers does it take to screw up the record industry?

Answer: As many as you can pay.

And there are a lot of record execs who agree with me. There is no hope to save the record business.

The insanity known as suing your customers is only a strategy that could be pursued if you are playing with the house's money. And in this case, the "house" is each one of the four dying record labels.

The record business has been on the decline since the turn of the century -- this century! Although the vinyl album peaked in the 60's, several generations of record moguls have been quietly sitting on their -- their hands -- doing nothing.

And once they finally decided to do something, it was the wrong something. When the major labels through their trade group, the RIAA, started suing young people, old people, dead people and innocent people without results, you'd think they'd come up with another better strategy.

Let me correct myself.

I just said the RIAA sued people without results, but I am wrong. They got results (lousy results) -- more music piracy.

The labels just don't understand the record buying public today. These consumers no longer turn to radio as a trendsetter. Lucky. Because the labels are pissing off the nation's radio stations these days by trying to get a royalty tax exemption removed from radio which in effect would hurt the stations that have been exposing the labels' music for free all these years. As I said, the labels are playing with the house's money and they think like lawyers not like Steve Jobs.

Gen Y owns the Internet. They are increasingly on their mobile devices. They don't buy as many CDs as the labels would like and they do everything through social networks. Meanwhile back at the bunker, these same major labels can only think about bullying their potential customers into not sharing music files online.

Lots of luck.

The labels and the RIAA are embarrassing themselves.

Their business is dying. They couldn't find a new act if they fell over it. Existing artists are bypassing the labels to sell records. Their one remaining genre, hip-hop, is floundering. They've let Steve Jobs steal their business. The more they sue suspected filesharers, the more illegal filesharing increases.

These people are obviously not that smart.

Talk about not smart. Now, the RIAA is suing a Scottsdale, AZ man for keeping a collection of 2,000 songs on his personal computer. That's right. Jeffrey Howell reportedly copied the music from CDs he legally purchased. Of course these geniuses at the record labels consider this making unauthorized copies.

Scottsdale, AZ is a nice city. I spend half of each week there. Lots of people in Scottsdale transfer music from their CDs to PCs. I don't know Jeff Howell but I'm sure all of us here in this desert paradise wish him good luck. In fact, I'll bet you do, too.

I know this because almost everyone with a computer and CDs has transferred their legally-purchased songs to their hard drives. A Los Angeles Times poll says 69% of teenagers surveyed said they thought it was legal to copy a CD they own and give it to a friend.
(I guess a good RIAA PR awareness campaign would straighten that misconception out, right?)

RIAA makes it clear: "If you make unauthorized copies of copyrighted music recordings, you're stealing. You're breaking the law and you could be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damage."

Think the lawyers are out of control, yet?

After their victory over Jammie Thomas in a Minneapolis court, the labels have more testosterone in them than a major league baseball player. Thomas, you may remember, was ordered to repay the labels $220,000 -- $9,250 for each of 24 songs she was accused of sharing online. Some think the case is very appealable because of a big assist from the judge in the case.

So, in the spirit of reconciliation let's all start thinking more like the labels and play "Think Like The RIAA":

1. Everyone in Scottsdale who bought CDs and transferred the music to their PCs is a criminal.

2. Jerry Del Colliano is a former radio guy who must have a large collection of music on CDs and he owns a Mac (that dastardly machine from the record industry nemesis, Steve Jobs).

3. Jerry Del Colliano lives in Scottsdale and he likes Steve Jobs.

4. Therefore, Jerry Del Colliano must be a criminal.

Don't stop there -- the RIAA's got plenty more lawyers to employ:

5. If Jerry Del Colliano is a criminal in Scottsdale, then there must be lots of other criminals with CDs and PCs in other cities, states, countries, the world, the solar system...

6. Oh -- and, if the record labels happened to give Jerry Del Colliano promotional copies of their music to gain free airplay before PCs were invented, did they automatically forbid transfer to a PC just in case computers were invented later? Does "for promotional purposes only" mean, "just play the damn music for free or we'll sue you someday". Aren't program directors exempt from the wrath of the RIAA? Just in case, get me my lawyer from Long Island -- you know, the one in the Clear Channel case.

It's nuts.

But I have a great idea.

I mean a great one. You'll want to tell it to everyone in every town, every state, every country, every solar system.

This great idea will stop illegal filesharing like the kind that is going on in that crime-ridden ghetto of Scottsdale, AZ.

Here it is. It's simple. Be careful what you wish for, RIAA! Ready?

Don't buy CDs.

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