What Passes For A Music Business Victory These Days

Posted by: Jon Fine on October 5, 2007

So the record companies just won the first file-sharing lawsuit that actually went to trial yesterday, when a judge in Minnesota found Jammie Thomas liable of copyright infringement related to online music-sharing activities, and awarded the labels damages of $222,000.

Now: Let’s review the particulars of the verdict.

—Jammie Thomas is a 30-year-old Native American single mother of two.
—Who lives in Brainerd, Minnesota, a small rural town best known for being the partial setting of the Coen brothers’ movie Fargo.
—Who was found guilty of filesharing 24 songs.
—For which she now owes $222,000.

Call me crazy, but the optics for the record companies on this look pretty dreadful to me.

Meanwhile, this is what passes for a victory for the record biz these days. And that nigh-on-ten years after the invention of Napster, this is the best said biz can come up with to try to stuff the genie back in the bottle.

The sound you hear as your read this is that of absolutely nothing changing, of millions of tracks being traded online. Because this is going to do absolutely nothing to stop what’s been going on.

(Silver lining, kinda: at least the judge didn’t dismiss the charges and demand the record labels pay the plaintiff’s $70,000 in legal bills, which happened in a case in Oklahoma this summer.)

Reader Comments

joshgood

October 5, 2007 11:24 AM

I heard it was 1700 songs she made available to Kazaa users and the jury charged her like 7500 for each song. Considering the penalty was able to max out at 150k per song (for some weird reason),it wasn't too crazy as far as corporate muscle flexing goes. It is kind of ridiculous though, I mean, they sell the effing songs for 99 cents.

Sean Russell

October 5, 2007 11:29 AM

I agree that this is a petty lawsuit and the record companies should be going after the larger infringers. I went to school at Columbia College of Chicago and received my BA in music business and this was a huge debate when I was attending. There are people out there that are practically there own record company with the amount of file sharing they do. However, I do beleive that intellectual property is something that should be protected. In a generation that is use to getting everything free, the same goes for their music. Why do you think every major music star has their own clothing line, perfume, pepsi or other soda endorsement deal, shoes, and so on. Becuase they're not making nearly as much as they were on record sales! Intellectual property is something that should be taken very seriously as a criminal act. And on a side note this lawsuit was probably filed many years ago so I think that we have only began to see these kind of cases. And if you didn't know, Shawn Fanning, the creator of Napster, has been working on or has already released a legal file sharing software called SnoCap. Think about it, if you infringe and steal music you are in essence killing the art form that you love so much. Who likes to work for free?

Alex

October 5, 2007 11:42 AM

I have not purchased a cd in years.
After this $200,000 award to the recording industry I wil NEVER purchase a cd again.
I am instructing as many people as possible to do the same. I think this "victory" is a hollow meaningless one, that has done more damage than good.

William

October 5, 2007 11:50 AM

There have been study after study done that shows, by and large, that file sharers buy more music than non-file sharers. As much as 85% more. One of the studies that showed this was commisioned by the RIAA's branch in Canada, which they then quickly tried to cover up.

And this isn't just some comment's conjecture here, its been reported on by the BBC and many other mainstream news sites.

The music industry risks alienating its biggest fan base even more with moves like this. And it's no surprise that even the artists by and large do not support these types of actions when they are fully informed about exactly what is being done and why (and not just buying the RIAA company line).

jacob

October 5, 2007 11:51 AM

Lets face it, most artists are not the most savvy business people in the world. They have been getting screwed over by the record companies for years, not to mention promoters, agents and everyone else who wants a cut.

The Grateful Dead had it right. Let the music be free and the people will flock to your concert venues forever. That's where the real money is. And cut out the middle man of the record labels. With the internet and home studio recording they are now dinosaurs. Their era is over. Let them rest in peace on the money they stole from every artist since the recording industry figured out they could legally steal the rights to every hungry musician's intellectual property!

Dan Lee

October 5, 2007 11:54 AM

This reminds me of an alternative universe where the lawyer who sued the Korean tailor for giving him the wong pair of pants won his case. Where do they get these judges? An indiginous single mother is the record companies' problem? I don't think so. The problem is that the companies have become as useless as tits on a boar through a failure to adapt.
Suing random poor people isn't perfect as an alternative business model, but with Radiohead demonstrating how useless these comparies really are, it's at least an income stream.

Tim Herrmann

October 5, 2007 11:55 AM

First of all, the majority of the music that people are stealing is shitty pop/mtv bullshit. Screw those artists anyways, they don't produce and they don't write, they just preform, their is NOTHING intellectual about it. I for one am getting sick of paying 18$ for a cd with one song I like. BOOOO. As for the actual artists out there, many are giving their albums away for free online because they know their fans will come to their shows and buy their merch. As far as I am concerned file sharing can't and wont be stopped. Let them try.

Zag Man

October 5, 2007 12:02 PM

I thought a song is only worth 1 dollar, that would be 6 x $1702. Oh well I guess they just put one more prostitute on the streets tax payers have to deal with. Its unfortunate that the justice dept. does not look at the bigger picture rather than through the eyes of the high priced lawyers.

MCMXCIX

October 5, 2007 12:03 PM

I disagree completely... it is true that intellectual property should be valued, but i still think that what should change is what the concept of a succesful artist is. If it were still about the music, these lawsuits wouldnt happen. But the fact is, nowadays music is just business. The way things work, all a great song is, is reduced to a cold hard cash exchange that lets the artist indulge in debauchery. I know you cant exactly hold judgement in these things, but i think the senseless enrichment of the music "business" is far less valuable than having a following of millions who've heard your song for free.
Shouldnt it be enough with what artists make by going on tour performing and actually working for their money than just sitting down and collecting from their most loyal fans?
As far as record labels go... they're just plain evil. They disfavor the artist to keep a hand on the cash.
The music business should not be a business to begin with... art and business do NOT go well.

Andre Casanave

October 5, 2007 12:04 PM

It is completely ludicrous to decry a women 'stealing' music and condemn her and many others while at the same time giving a shrug of the shoulders to the RIAA 'victory'. Through legal channels the RIAA is stealing from this poor lady. Even the most anti-P2P advocate could never justify that 24 songs uploaded onto the internet caused $222,000 of damages to the record labels. Absurd! You can, however, if you have lobbyists who can basically write their own laws onto the books. This is corruption pure and simple. This is an industry using the courts to steal from people who do not have the financial big guns to defend themselves in the money hungry US court system.

I will never buy another cd legally. Money to the industry is simply more money for them to be used to suppress and rob others. Thanks RIAA for making me and thousands others Robin Hoods.

random

October 5, 2007 12:07 PM

It seems interesting that there are so many disparaging comments about the record industry and CD prices stating that the record companies are too stupid to understand that people can live without buying their "overpriced crap" and yet their "overpriced crap" is some of the most widely pirated and downloaded music out there by far. If the record companies charge so much for inferior products nobody wants, why are so many people downloading them when they're free? Why obtain an inferior product you claim not to want anyway? It would be like me going out of my way to get an ancient, rusted out Yugo as long as its free.

As for fining someone $220,000 for 24 songs being an unreasonable sum since the songs are sold for $0.99 on iTunes, this argument fails to take into account that these 99 cent songs are puchased by millions of people. If you put these songs on iTunes and a million people buy each track, you just made about $1 million per song for a grand total of almost $24 million. So in fact, posting a free file that should be sold on iTunes, you're taking away hundres of thousands if not millions of dollars in profit. The fines are based on damage to sales, not on price per song.

Why is it not acceptable to walk into a CD store and walk out with a CD without paying for it but it's a-ok to download a track without paying for it and then say that you should be able to do this since the track is crap, the company making it charges too much for it and you could do very well without it, despite the fact that you went out of your way to get it for free?

me

October 5, 2007 12:15 PM

First victory? Fine. I will continue to steal music because I don't think it is unethical or illegal. And the rulings are not yet conclusive one way or another.

Jim Natural

October 5, 2007 12:20 PM

from above: "Think about it, if you infringe and steal music you are in essence killing the art form that you love so much. Who likes to work for free?"

Real artists have always worked for free.

Matt

October 5, 2007 12:22 PM

This really is a really sad case. Why didn't the RIAA go after the Kazaa site rather than this one person? I also find it interesting that everyday CD's are sold at used stores - such as Amoeba Records in CA - or on EBay etc - and neither the artists nor the labels get a penny of that resale. Yet that is completely okay to the RIAA. But file sharing is somehow this big bad thing when it essentially yields the same result. Actually, wait, no it doesn't because Amoeba and Ebay get a profit and this woman got no profit. Weird. Wouldn't you want to chase the people making money?
File sharing will not stop and the multiple sites that do it won't prevent it happening.

John

October 5, 2007 12:23 PM

So, the Big Record Labels have just crushed an impoverished Native-American single mother of two with a ridicuously over-reaching jury fine.

Wow.

You've won ME over. Really. I'm off to buy that $24 ridicuously overpriced, nine-track, mediocre album I'm just DYING to have... at least, that's what the tv commercials tell me.

Honest injun.

Z

October 5, 2007 12:31 PM

This is one funeral I won't be going to. THE MUSIC INDUSTRY IS TOAST AND DESERVEDLY SO.

Jeff Cross

October 5, 2007 12:35 PM

The simple fact that there are perfectly legal ways to obtain music electronically for as little as $1 per song, along with how one must spend several hundred dollars on the computer equipment needed to download in the first place, conclusively demonstrates that the downloaders aren't doing it simply to have the music. They do so in order to punish the industry and the artists out of jealousy over their talent and success in a field they themselves wish they could excel in but can't. This is further evidenced by their often anti-Semitic panegyrics against the entertainment industry for being as profit-driven as any other industry on Earth.

Andreas

October 5, 2007 12:40 PM

For those who - like me - will take a closer look at who they give their money to:
www.riaaradar.com

Like many others I have a problem with justifying the amount of damage done here. Even if you include the uploading part. On average every user uploads as much as they download (this is easy to proof mathematically, just think about it). So she cannot possibly be charged more than twice the amount of the value of the data she shared. Unless there is proof that more than the average amount of users downloaded her files.

jeff

October 5, 2007 12:53 PM

Now she should be able to counter-sue the record companies for affecting her chances of employment because of damaging the balance of trade by destroying themselves through pig-headed dinosaur stupidity.

smoky

October 5, 2007 1:05 PM

BTW, this woman had the option to settle this case with the RIAA for a few thousand dollars but she decided (with EFF backing) to take it to trial.

She lost. It was pretty conclusively proven during the trial that she had made available for download copyrighted material. While she was convicted of "sharing" 24 files, she actually had made available more than 1700, and had attempted to cover her tracks by replacing her hard drive after she had been notified of the suit.

Then she lied about the dates of replacing her hard drive.

Sounds like she got bad advice all around.

A jury decided the award based on copyright infringement laws and punitive damages. It has nothing to do with the "value" of an individual track; if you convicted of willfully violating someone's copyright, you are in for large punitive damages. Doesn't matter if its music, movies, books, whatever. If it was only for the value of the tracks, then no copyright owner could afford to sue to protect their rights.

Of course she probably won't have to pay $220k as the RIAA will probably settle for much less.

geekmoid

October 5, 2007 1:15 PM

To Random and all you other corporate whores that are sticking up for the RIAA...

First of all, there is no way this woman deserves a $2220K fine for what she has done. At worst, a few thousand songs were downloaded off of her computer. Even if you fine her say $10 a song she should not have been penalized more than about $20-30K. The RIAA is simply making an example of this poor woman in the hopes of scaring the rest of us back into being sheep who will pay whatever price they decide their music is worth.

Second, and more importantly, the RIAA is just reaping what it has sewn when it comes to the billions of dollars they are losing due to internet "piracy." Since the CD format first came out, they have been charging $15-$20 for a piece of media that costs only about $2 to produce. Granted, they have to pay the recording artists and pay for the recording equipment/infrastructure etc., but charging something on the order of a %1000 percent markup!?! This is nothing but boning the consumer right up the ass! The money they have lost in recent years to P2P file sharing pales in comparison to the billions upon billions they have bilke out of consumers since the 80's.

Nope, I won't shed even a single tear for all these mega rich bastards now that they won't be able to afford that private jet or the 5th mansion on property in the Bahamas. Music is finally being put back into the hands of the people!

Joe

October 5, 2007 1:18 PM

The RIAA is one of the most childish and egotistical entities on the planet. Suing a regular "Joe/Jane" for simple trading? Ridiculous! Stop overcharging consumers, start broadening the genres and music availability, and get on the Itunes business model bandwagon and let go of this school ground bullying. They have the power to bully-sue for eternity. So effing what. My prediction is one day this type of "illegal" music exchange will be such a non-issue that this type of legal attack by the RIAA will be seen for how truly lame it is. And until then, the have-nots will continue to get screwed by the haves.

Jim Fowler

October 5, 2007 1:21 PM

...and the record industry really wonders why things are going belly-up?

Anyway, a sledgehammer can still be an effective way to silence a flea. -JF

diggthis

October 5, 2007 1:26 PM

Music companies are vultures...

Their motto is i guess
Makes as Much as you can

by suing her they have made them selves a public enemy..

Thomas

October 5, 2007 1:31 PM

Record companies need a new standard and I think Radiohead has found it: pay what you think it is worth. Support artists who follow this model, and do NOT buy another CD or track from anyone using an alternative.

I would pay $5 for certain tracks. Let the price the song earns in this model reflect it real worth to the consumer.

Jessica Emmerich

October 5, 2007 1:34 PM

Like Sean Russell I too went to Columbia College Chicago receiving my BA but in Performing Arts Management. You know the funny thing about the music business is the lack of innovation. Instead of wasting money on fighting illegal downloaders, why doesn't the industry come up with another way for artists to make money or maybe increase the artist's revenue margins. You know, there are ways of doing this instead of suing everybody and their brother which isn't making progress in the music industry.

AW

October 5, 2007 1:41 PM

I still find it inexplicable that record companies indulge in illegal payola, PAYING radio stations to play music which listeners receive on the air FOR FREE... cds can be borrowed from a library FOR FREE... and yet sharing lower-quality audio mp3 files FOR FREE is prosecutable theft.

Don

October 5, 2007 1:51 PM

Since the CD format first came out, they have been charging $15-$20 for a piece of media that costs only about $2 to produce.
----

Bulloney. I get new major label cds from www.yourmusic.com at $7 each. I also regularly buy cut out new cds on ebay for under $5 plus shipping. The $15-20 line was never true for me and I would never buy nor never was asked to buy a new cd for more than $15. If you were then you went to the lamest stores I could imagine, but don't blame me for your choices. I think the prices you mean are $5-$15 for a new cd. That has been my experience. If you won't pay $7 for a new cd then don't come crying to me over it.

Joe

October 5, 2007 1:57 PM

RadioHead will make more money off this next album than all their others combined and without the record companies getting a dime. RIAA has just killed what was left of the record company repect.

Izabael DaJinn

October 5, 2007 2:08 PM

This is really sad news. However I hope the woman who lost this judgement has a brain on her shoulders and can use the publicity to make most of that $220,000 back.

If it was me I'd immediately hit the talk show circuit and make myself a martyr for the anti-RIAA crowd. In the meantime I would research and write a book on all the evils of the RIAA and then publish that and hit the talk-show circuit again. There are definitely ways for her to use this to her advantage.

*Izabael

p.s. "What Passes For A Music Business Victory These Days" is a perfect title for this article.

random

October 5, 2007 2:21 PM

So saying that stealing music because you don't want to pay for it is "putting music in the hands of the people" somehow makes one enobled but me noting that stealing is stealing and laws are laws, makes me a "corporate whore?" That's fair.

After all, when you work for a year on an album, someone taking your music for free on a file sharing site because they don't want to pay a single dollar for it (or 99 cents on iTunes) is certainly fair. Just like if you sell a car at a dealership but instead of a commission, the person to who you sold the car drives off, says that "cars belong to the people because you charge to much for it" and leaves you high and dry.

Likewise, if you write a book, the text should be freely available online for anyone who wants to see it. Your years of work are meaningless and your hopes of making a profession by crafting stories people want to read and that inspire readers towards something great should be given away. You've got a day job, right? Well stick to it since as an artist, you do not have the right to get paid. And why would an artist want to get paid for all his or her work anyway? The marketers in the record industry will just get a cut anyway so why even bother with sales?

Obviously music should be free. Musicians should give it away for free, anyone who tries to make money on music should not be allowed to do so. Those who dare to charge people for crappy music they don't want but go out of their way to get anyhow, despite the fact that they can now buy only the songs they like for less then a dollar per track, should be banned and comdemned. If only we could extend this psychology to cars, houses, clothes, electronics, electricity and gas... Then we'd never have to pay for anything as long as we voiceferously condemn anyone who asks us to pay in a fit of self-righteous rage.

A Mourner

October 5, 2007 2:44 PM

Never liked Sony and their embarrassingly inferior products and Services. Good thing I boycott their stuffs a long time ago. I don't buy CD anyway, and will never buy CD. A bunch of overrated products. The real victims in the case: the mother who lost the law suit and the general public, what a TRAGEDY! Lets mourn in silence for a minutes for the death of justice. BTW How much did the jury/judge get paid for the biased verdict?

Dundo

October 5, 2007 3:05 PM

If she said "I allowed a few thousand downloads, and I will pay for them", she would end up getting less harsh penalty.

Also, her race/situation should not matter at all - you are suggesting that Native American single mothers of two should get mild penalty (if any) for stealing a few thousand bucks.

Go see a doctor (a veterinarian perhaps); you are patethic with your comments. Think about switching career to play music, rather than discussing things you do not have competency to do so.

Impeccable

October 5, 2007 4:13 PM

Where's a good virus when you need one? Come on, you hackers, what we need is a virus that randomly sends and receives MP3 files thru P2P networks. Then the RIAA wouldn't have a leg to stand on. We could rightfully say our computers were taken over by a virus.
Seriously...
Isn't the RIAA guilty of extortion and/or blackmail?
Invasion of privacy? Did they have a search warrant to examine her hard drive?
Look again people, our right to secure and ANONYMOUS/PRIVATE communication is guaranteed by our constitution and its amendments. Our fundamental nature to share is under attack here, what we share is irrelevant.

geekmoid

October 5, 2007 5:23 PM

Random, don't take my words and twist their meaning. The gist of my comment was that the RIAA has shown it's greed by way overcharging consumers for their product since the 80's. IN the meantime they have bilked not just consumers out of billions of dollars, but the artists themselves. I wonder how many artists got conned into signing contracts that ultimately ended up only paying them 30 or even 20 cents on the dollar? And who do you think got all that extra money? Those fat, corporate pigs, that's who.

I'm all for artists being paid for their efforts. But they should be the ones who recieve most of the money, and, God forbid, consumers should be expected to pay a fair and reasonable price. Go to a Best Buy and see how much they are charging for a CD, it's *still* highway robbery. I personally refuse to pay that much for any CD, partly because I know the artist only recieves a fraction of what they deserve. But there are still millions of people who do pay, that apparently don't care/know that they are being robbed. Seeing those fat cats in the RIAA crying because they've lost the power to screw people out of billions of dollars doesn't make me feel even an iota of sympathy. As I said before, they have reaped what they've sewn!

Z.C.M.

October 5, 2007 7:44 PM

Oh, yeah. A single mother of two is going to bring down the whole recording industry single-handedly. Pulease! Clearly this woman is being made an example of by the absolute worst elements of American society, but if Bush and his cronies can attack a sovereign nation for their natural resources then I guess we can turn a blind eye to this farce.Even better, now her kids can be taken away and raised by the state, so when they get old enough to do their duty for our country they can be shipped off to die in a war that doesn't benefit any of our people in this nation, save a certain "privledged few." Like George Bush's "base." And to all you bands/performers who played garages, free shows, etc. and got rich (and famous) by taking the money fans who identified with them paid, suck it up. When was the last time Metallica released a good song? To you disgruntled artists who feel you've been "ripped off", get a real job! How many working-class joes get to travel the world, be adored by millions of fans and make hellacious amounts of money? Try none unless you get into the music biz, which has; sadly, declined in the beginning decade of the 21st century. That doesn't excuse the fact that Jammie Thomas(or her kids) don't deserve what's being done to her by a corporate giant that makes a hundred times what she probably makes in a year by selling Justin (Ass) Timberlake's latest lame-ass single.

Zeerover

October 5, 2007 7:47 PM

It's about time some justice was dished out. Now we should go after libraries and used book stores. Imagine how many dollars a publisher loses to just one public library. Just think of the damage a bring-one-in-and-take-one-out bookstore causes to the romance novel industry. If you no longer want a book or an album, for God's sake, THROW IT AWAY.

Remember, any time you borrow anything, you are depriving someone of their livelihood. Any time you loan a book or a lawn mower, you are damaging someone's income. The next you ask the time of day from someone, tip them for their trouble.

Think of the havoc this woman has caused the world, then you won't have so much sympathy for her. We should all go out and purchase a cd to help the victims who have lost untold billions.

Matt

October 6, 2007 4:55 AM

$220,000 is completely unreasonable for this. She'll be paying for the rest of her life because "the preponderance of the evidence" indicates that she stole and distributed 24 songs. That's too harsh a penalty and not a demanding enough standard for a such a harsh penalty.

Also, concerning the $70,000 awarded to someone else who defended herself against the RIAA's lawsuit: It seems completely reasonable to me. Her adult daughter had used her computer to download the files. Mother was pretty much computer illiterate.

Case was won against her daughter by default, but the RIAA persisted in suing a computer illiterate woman for what her daughter did. Took 3 years and a lot of money to defend herself (And RIAA presumably spent even more money going after her). Case was dismissed with prejudice. Makes sense for them to have to pay all her legal bills; they're a serious issue for an innocent individual with limited resources. The legal costs of defending oneself against a false accuasation are insane.

steve

October 6, 2007 8:13 AM

This was all a set up, total set up to win a bogus lawsuit, the person, place everything, kinda a like believeing that napster was invented in a dorm room.

jsens

October 6, 2007 1:20 PM

As a lawyer who has tried cases for over thirty years I have learned that after we get over the emotional reaction to outrageous results the thing to do is get in the books and figure out how to confront the music industry legally in court to bring them to a halt. There are a lot of good, legal brains in the country more than willing to take on these bullies.

Fred Moolten

October 6, 2007 1:40 PM

For perspective, I should state that I'm a songwriter disturbed that others might want to deprive me of the right to decide for myself whether or not to charge for my songs or give them away. My own view of the latest court judgment is that the fine, if anything, may be too low (but with a qualification I'll mention later). These fines are intended for (a) restitution; (b) punishment; and (c) deterrence of others. Deterrence requires that the "cost" of stealing (my word for it) should exceed the cost of paying for the music. However, the cost of stealing is calculated by multiplying the size of the fine by the probability of being caught. Realistically, that probability is less than one in ten thousand, and with this in mind, a fine of even half a million might be reasonable. Even so, my guess is that once the RIAA gets as much mileage as it can from the deterrence value of the news story, it will privately arrange with Jammie Thomas to mitigate her penalty to levels she can live with.

Finally, my views on this don't contradict those of others who believe that the music business needs a new business model to adapt to changing times.

Fred Moolten

irrilevant

October 6, 2007 2:22 PM

This is a revolution, the “digital” revolution. Perhaps the record industry will disappear. Perhaps we will listen to music only on the street. Perhaps only who deserve to be called an “artist” will survive. Some of them is already starting a different approach with the record industry out of the scene (see Radiohead) . I do not care if the record industry will disappear. I do not care if who got a BA in music business is going to lose his job. Lots of people have lost their jobs lately because their jobs where outsourced. Nobody complained. Nobody went in court. Companies are just trying to reduce their expenses. I’m trying to reduce my expenses too. Most of my income is absorbed by the interests I’m paying to the bank for the overpriced cost of my house mortgage. If I won’t be able to download music for free or buy it for “extremely cheap” on line, I would listen it on the radio, or streamed out from yahoo (or one of the hundreds site that has a free stream of music) or if you argue that music won’t survive I’ll buy an instrument and I’ll make my own music. It is probably ten years I do not buy a CD (which I find way overpriced). For me, like for more and more people out there, the record industry is already dead.

Blank Frank

October 6, 2007 9:08 PM

As for fining someone $220,000 for 24 songs being an unreasonable sum since the songs are sold for $0.99 on iTunes, this argument fails to take into account that these 99 cent songs are puchased by millions of people.
---

Likewise, the "lost sales" argument depends on the false assumption that everyone who would download a song for free, would, if denied that opportunity, purchase a copy at its current market price, rather than just do without it.

That aside, plaintiffs argued only that Ms. Thomas "made available" the recordings. It's not clear the judgement was informed by the duration she made them available, much less an estimate she uploaded them the 9,343 times for her to have cost the plaintiff $9,250 in iTunes sales per song.

Which would be doubtful, as each user to whom Ms. Thomas uploaded the file would have multiplied the number of sources from which the file could have been downloaded. For someone to become the 9,343rd user to download a particular song from Ms. Thomas would defy the 99.989% chance they'd download it instead from one of 9,342 necessary others who would have the same file. And the odds are only so favorable if one supposes none of these 9,342 ever uploaded it to anyone else.

AlecWest

October 7, 2007 1:08 AM

Lawsuits like this make great headlines. But the RIAA is just whistling past the graveyard. Their real enemies aren't the file "sharers," it's the file "downloaders" who use hypercheap music download services in the post-Soviet republics. And, they have failed to keep them in check. Anyone who has ever been to a carnival and played the "whack-a-mole" game can attest to that. Knock one mole into its hole and another mole pops up in a different place. Likewise, the day after the RIAA celebrated the demise of AllOfMP3.com in Russia, MP3Sparks.com (a virtual clone of the former service) popped up in the Ukraine ... along with new services still in Russia like the MP3Sale.ru site. Sadly for them, the RIAA will either have to get used to the new world of cheap/free music availability ... or continue playing a never-ending game of whack-a-mole.

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