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NewYorkCountryLawyer's Journal: Dow Jones MarketWatch likens RIAA to the Mafia 11

Journal by NewYorkCountryLawyer
According to commentator Therese Polletti at Dow Jones MarketWatch, "the RIAA's tactics are nearly as bad as the actions of mobsters, real or fictional. The analogy comes up easily and frequently in any discussion of the RIAA's maneuvers." Among other things she cites the extortionate nature of their 'settlement negotiations' pointed out by Prof. Bob Talbot of the University of San Francisco School of Law IP Law Clinic, whose student attorneys are helping private practitioners fight the RIAA, the illegality of the RIAA's use of unlicensed investigators, the flawed evidence it uses, and the fact that the RIAA thinks nothing of jeopardizing a student's college education in order to make their point, as support for the MAFIAA/Mafia analogy.
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Dow Jones MarketWatch likens RIAA to the Mafia

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  • by Reziac (43301) * on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:36AM (#22807010) Homepage Journal
    I've always found it extremely suspicious that the RIAA's targets uniformly fall into one economic class: seldom so poor that they *can't* cough up a few grand, but never so rich that they can fight it in court. This pretty much ensures an RIAA "victory" in every case. And it flies in the face of economic statistics for this country. Pick any 10,000 people and you're bound to have a good percentage of both "too poor" and "too rich" to be good RIAA targets -- yet that hasn't happened.

    Now, my question becomes, exactly HOW are they so-accurately targeting this economic class? Seems to me they must do financial investigations of their intended targets prior to filing the named-target lawsuit. Could this violate conspiracy or other laws?? (beyond the "unlic. investigator" angle)

    • Many of the targets are quite poor, and cannot afford to "cough up a few grand".
      • by Reziac (43301) *
        I didn't mean that it wouldn't hurt or that they could *realistically afford* it. Rather, that if they scraped together all the cash and credit they could lay hands on, they *could* pay -- and the RIAA doesn't care if that shoves 'em into bankruptcy; indeed, so much the better for the RIAA's fear-mongering. (New motto: "Share files, go to the poorhouse!")

        What you *can* pay with every resource available to you, and what your budget says your limits are, are not necessarily the same thing. Frex, I have over $
        • by Ruzty (46204)
          The poor demographic can be accounted for by the fact that they can not afford a computer or private Internet access. Internet connectivity and computing equipment are still a luxury in this country. My in-laws are a good example. They have to come over to my house to use the Internet. Even when we've given them older hardware as a gift they still can not afford a dial-up ISP ($10 a month) out of their shoestring budget.

          -R
    • Well, to play the devil's advocate...

      People "too rich" wouldn't bother fishing for music on p2p... they'd just grab everything off of the iTunes store for their iPod and buy the CDs for anything else. Duplicate copies wouldn't really register.

      People "too poor" generally have better things to do like making a living, don't have enough money to have a decent computer and an always-on high speed internet connection. They're more likely to have a friend make a mix CD to play in their old Discman or portable s
      • by Reziac (43301) *
        My understanding has been that once they paid off their lawyers, the RIAA actually was in the hole on the lawsuits, meaning that money is not the real goal here -- the real goal is FEAR. If you're afraid of filesharing, you'll buy more music, right?! (Er, yeah, right. From anyone who is NOT an RIAA affiliate.)

        As you say, normally not a good business model, but they get away with it because even if you kill off 1% of your customers, the other 99% still buy, so no loss to the labels.

        • My understanding has been that once they paid off their lawyers, the RIAA actually was in the hole on the lawsuits
          Mine as well.
          • I guess I should change my wording when I say "the RIAA" then -- this is not lucrative for the labels, only for the RIAA lawyers. I find it odd that the labels themselves have bought, hook line and sinker, the "facts" fed to them by the RIAA and their associates for so long. At least they're wising up to the DRM scam they've been subjected to for the last 15 years.

            I think one of the main issues here is that the same people who advise the industry are the ones who make a profit off of the way things are --
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              I find it odd that the labels themselves have bought, hook line and sinker, the "facts" fed to them by the RIAA and their associates for so long.

              In my view it's the 4 big record labels not the RIAA that is powering this; they use the RIAA as their 'cover' for activities might otherwise be subject to antitrust scrutiny. And it is not surprising to me that the management of these companies -- who are the very same people who failed to recognize and capitalize on the opportunity which the internet and digitalization offered them -- are the very same people endorsing and fostering the lawsuit mentality, since it is in their personal best interests to d

              • by iminplaya (723125)
                When the shareholders wake up, and realize they have been 'taken for a ride', is when it will end.

                Unless their investments tank, that doesn't seem very likely. And considering how diversified their(the entertainment industry) portfolios are, this will be seen as little more than a glitch. I think they could keep this up indefinitely. I'm afraid it will take the courts to recognize our rights and put a stop to it. And probably the Supreme Court at that.
    • I've always found it extremely suspicious that the RIAA's targets uniformly fall into one economic class...
      How do you know that to be true? Unless the RIAA has published a list of people who have paid up, perhaps we just don't hear about the middle to upper class ones who quietly settle so that their names aren't dragged through the courts.
       

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