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RIAA Claims P2P Has Been Contained 388

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the desperate-spin-control dept.
Magorak writes "USA Today is reporting the RIAA now claims that the issues surrounding P2P and piracy have been contained and are no longer as big an issue as they once were. From the article; 'The problem has not been eliminated,' says association CEO Mitch Bainwol. 'But we believe digital downloads have emerged into a growing, thriving business, and file-trading is flat.'"
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RIAA Claims P2P Has Been Contained

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  • Phew... (Score:5, Funny)

    by jbirdkerr (879010) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:19PM (#15525420)
    Looks like Grandma and her illegal downloads of the "Happy Birthday" song can rest easy once again.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:19PM (#15525423)
    Mission accomplished!
  • by spahn (227384) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:20PM (#15525429)
    We won!
  • by rritterson (588983) * on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:20PM (#15525430)
    I tried hard to come up with a serious comment to this article, I really did. But every time I started writing one, I starting giggling. The RIAA is just too much. So, then, let me be the first to say:

    BAHAHAHAHAHAAH
  • So... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nicholaides (459516)
    So you're going to stop sueing college kids?
  • by LM741N (258038) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:20PM (#15525442)
    I can still get on Gnutella and find almost every song that exists. What a bunch of nonsense. I believe they are just saying this so they can save face in the midst of their defeat.
    • Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

      Don't tell them! Let them declare victory and leave....

    • by moranar (632206) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:36PM (#15525661) Homepage Journal
      To be "fair", what they seem to be saying is that even though every existing song can be found on p2p, the money they're making is still increasing while p2p downloads aren't.
      • by Skreems (598317) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @02:02PM (#15526607) Homepage
        So basically, they finally realized what the OSS/P2P/Hippie/Thief community (yeah yeah, flame on) has been saying for years: that "illegal" downloads are not actually depriving them of any money, since people use it to test out bands they're unsure of, or discover new music, as often as they just download without paying? But even though the rest of us have been trying to stuff this idea into their tiny little skulls, they have to declare moral victory so they don't lose face?
        • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @05:29PM (#15528219) Journal
          But even though the rest of us have been trying to stuff this idea into their tiny little skulls, they have to declare moral victory so they don't lose face?

          Yes, they do.

          Their company exists to protect the interests of their member copyright holders against widespread unauthorized copying.

          Up to now their members/customers/owners have been interpreting the "internet piracy" as lost sales - or at least more sales lost than sales gained by free advertising, etc. - and they didn't have a download business model.

          In this atmosphere, if they were to declare surrender, their members/customers/owners would just let them die - or replace their execs with new ones who would attempt to carry on the fight.

          But now "this stuff" is beginning to percolate into the skulls of the RIAA's customers. And many of them do have a way to profit directly from authorized downloads (thanks to iTunes and the like). So it's now possible for both the RIAA and its clientele to look at things more rationally. They can entertain the possibility that unauthorized downloading, like pre-Betamax-decision videotaping of broadcasts, might not be an unmitigated disaster - and may even be a Good Thing (especially once the for-pay alternative is available for honest people who are more than browsing.)

          So the RIAA can now back off its enforcement efforts and go back to more reasonable functions, such as hunting down mass-production pirates, collecting royalties from broadcasters and those creating commercial public performances, and so on.

          But on their way out they still need to declare victory - not just to save their own tails, but to keep some pressure on downloaders to go to the commercial services and pay the 99 cents, and to keep in the public mind the idea that they SHOULD do so.

          (Of course they can claim to their clientele (with some justification) that their efforts to date are what branded this concept into "the public mind" in the first place.)

          Meanwhile, now that the clients see that the "piracy" isn't going to sink their ships they can get on with the job of making product and making money off it, and taking advantage of the new medium to make even more profit.

          New media mean new opportunities for profit, and these opportunities are greater than the (largely illusory) "losses" from the unauthorized copying they enable. This was shown with piano rolls, wax tube recordings, disk recordings, radio broadcasting, and tape recordings.

          Now it has been shown with digital recordings and network distribution. But it's sufficiently counter-intuitive to The Suits that they have to learn it fresh every time.
    • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:40PM (#15525710) Homepage
      I can still get on Gnutella and find almost every song that exists. What a bunch of nonsense. I believe they are just saying this so they can save face in the midst of their defeat.

      Or, they're trying to use it as a tactic to convince people that everybody else has given up on using p2p, and they're better off switching to the 'legit' ways of doing it.

      Sometimes, trying to affect people's perceptions is as effective as trying to affect their actions.

      Everything the *AA's says is all about spin and perception!
    • Think about *casual* piracy, though -- average people who formerly bought CDs but then turned to file sharing in the past 5 or 6 years -- the segment that cost the RIAA most dearly.

      Yeah, people who can name 5-10 file sharing programs off the top of their head, or know what warez or IRC are, will always be able to track down what they're looking for (and probably weren't formerly spending as much cash on CDs anyway). But think about your less computer-savvy friends. The fear mongering by the RIAA et al (suin
    • I can still get on Gnutella and find almost every song that exists.

      It rather seems that p2p shaped your notion of what exists.
    • by griffjon (14945) <GriffJon&gmail,com> on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @01:36PM (#15526357) Homepage Journal
      Quiet! My remote Jedi Mind Trick finally worked!

      "These are not the nodes you're looking for"
  • by HRogge (973545) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:20PM (#15525444)
    If you cannot win, claim victory.
    • Hey, it worked for the US in Iraq after all ;)
    • by KWTm (808824) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:28PM (#15525551) Journal
      You know what? Maybe they have won, if student pirating has been curbed to the extent that they want. And if more digital downloads are legal now than before, then that's great. It probably means that more companies are getting a clue about how to take advantage of the business model, but we'll let the RIAA save face.

      All we want them to do is quit trying to stomp out every conceivable method of information transfer in the name of stopping piracy, and go back to their executive boardrooms and golf courses.
      • by flibuste (523578) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:34PM (#15525635)

        No, they would have won if former users of P2P were now downloading songs from paying sites, which is probably not the case. Have all the people willing to "illegaly" (meaning "against MAFIAA rules") download music moved to ITunes or such? I doubt it. What we'll see is an upcoming huge drop in CD sales in favor of downloaded music, but will the gross income increase? I am not sure.

        They're losing the battle they started. Just as in project management, to keep face when a project is majorly failing, declare a success mid-course then terminate the project before big money gets lost.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:47PM (#15525784)
        Of course they've won. They've got the "get rid of allofmp3.com" as one of the requirements for Russia to join the WTO, and they've got Sweden raiding (apparently against Swedish law) ThePirateBay just because the U.S. asked! Seriously, this isn't about P2P. This is about controlling distribution channels. You don't go after BitTorrent because you people are using it to pirate your copyrighted material. You go after the people distributing the copies. (Just like you don't go after Ford because people use cars to move drugs around the country. On the other hand, if you are a cartel of taxi drivers, removing private cars from the road is a great way to guaranteed revenues.) They only way I'll believe this is the end of it is if I see sales figures for RIAA members dropping drastically (and then they'd just blame pirates...).

    • by geobeck (924637) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @01:36PM (#15526347) Homepage

      TMS - Typical Movie Scientist
      TMG - Typical Movie General

      TMG: Doc, what's the status of the plague?
      TMS: As of an hour ago, the virus has infected every living thing on Earth.
      TMG: But it hasn't spread since then?
      TMS: Well, no, but--
      TMG: Then it's been contained! Victory is ours!

  • by Lithgon (896737) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:21PM (#15525448)
    Pirate 1: Arrr! The RIAA ship has been swashbuckled! Pirate 2: Ayye! The fools even think they sunk us! ARRR!
  • by LDMackSAE (888394) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:21PM (#15525450) Homepage
    Isn't that like a /.er's parent saying "My child doesn't spend that much time on the computer"?
  • Not flat (Score:5, Funny)

    by Himring (646324) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:21PM (#15525452) Homepage Journal
    file-trading is flat.

    I actually think of it more as a rectangular prism....

  • by Churla (936633) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:22PM (#15525465)
    Was the guy who made this press release doing so on the deck of a ship with a big "Mission accomplished" sign behind him?

    Any chance there?
  • by Douglas Simmons (628988) * on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:22PM (#15525466) Homepage
    What would you do?

    Seriously...
    • I'd quit trying to squeeze money out of both ends of the entertainment industry by buying off lawmakers in a feeble to sustain my viability as a middle-man dealing in an obsolete medium, and I'd get a real job.
    • I'd try to squeeze as much money outta the organisation as I legally can before it sinks. Because it will. They're sitting on the horse cart and the automobile came into play.
      • by happyemoticon (543015) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @01:32PM (#15526299) Homepage

        The perception that the *AA is going away is somewhat flawed. Sure, like many companies in the past, they are hanging onto outmoded business models and many individual companies are doomed to shrink. But the 800 lb gorillas of the past, such as IBM and Xerox, didn't go away - they just reinvented themselves and shrank somewhat, while other companies took innovations that the gorillas were too thick to see as viable and ran with them.

        To say that their entire business is going to disappear is to overlook the fact that most people like the music that they sell, and like buying their albums. Sure, I have friends who can record songs that sound as good as any studio-polished single in their bedrooms on commodity equipment. Certainly, I watched Star Wreck: The Pirkinning, and I know that fan films can be made at a fraction of the cost of a real motion picture, with more thigh-high boots and miniskirts, and still look great. But if you indulge in these things, it means you're an avant-garde free content nerd, and you are in the minority. I know exactly how out-of touch I am, because I'm looking at last year's top 50 and I don't have a clue what 95% of them are. But clearly somebody's buying them, and I suspect that these people would be more than happy to download portions of these songs as ringtones onto their Verizon mobile phone. Whole droves of teenagers are listening to something with the nonce-words "Numa, Numa" in it, and buying it on ITMS as well.

        Imagine that. I'm 23 this Thursday, I have about five computers, I write for a living, play the guitar, have a reasonably active social life, and I feel like both a luddite and a hermit. I'm two steps away from Abe Simpson. Is this what all of adulthood is like?

        Anyway, what is going to contract is the retail distribution channels, such as movie theaters and music stores. The cable companies and the telcos will pick up the slack like I've hinted at above. However, since the content owners still have the majority of the market and you still have to do business with them to have a prayer of making it anyway, they will continue to snatch up new artists and buy their souls.

        • Imagine that. I'm 23 this Thursday, I have about five computers, I write for a living, play the guitar, have a reasonably active social life, and I feel like both a luddite and a hermit. I'm two steps away from Abe Simpson. Is this what all of adulthood is like?

          I dunno, but I've felt that way since before I was 23. Then again, I'm a recluse anyway, I've never been all that social, although I do very well in most highly social situations. (Slashdot doesn't count, this isn't the real world, it's a rolepla

        • What I see is a classic erosion of an unnecessary middleman. RIAA proved themselves really good, until 1990, at packaging and distributing music. Now there's an easy-to-implement strategy for just hooking artists directly up with listeners.

          But this doesn't kill the "music industry". There will always be a need for a legitimation structure -- an industry that sifts the amateurish crap from the high-quality art. But it won't be done through "push" marketing: "Britney is the next Madonna (as if Madonna was a

    • If you were the RIAA..what would you do?

      Besides going to Disneyworld??
    • What would you do?

      Dress in black clothing wearing my sister's mascara while cutting my wrist and whimpering? My teacher told me it was "down the street" not "across the highway"... :'-(
    • by tbmcmullen (940544) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:54PM (#15525846)
      Shoot myself in the face sixteen times for the betterment of society as a whole.

      Seriously...
  • Rain dances have begun working, since water has started to fall from the sky.
  • Just askin'. After all, if we can pretend that "Peace with honor" isn't the same as "I give up", why can't the RIAA stick their fingers in their ears and sing "LA-LA-LA-LA-LA - I can't hear you"?
  • by jhill (446614) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:22PM (#15525479) Homepage
    Would appear that the writer of the story does what writers do best, not research facts. Appears that they're still using the same old sorry BS of CD sales dropped 30% in whatever year it was. When in fact, what has been shown is that it was singles that dropped ( you know, the things you can't find any more, because people aren't willing to pay 5 dollars for 1 song on a CD ), during that year CD sales actually increased.

    Overall the article is rather blah, I'm sort of surprised that they didn't throw in there something about the lose of some umpteen billion dollars that they would have made if it weren't for illegal file sharing...the good myth of each download is a lost sale.
    • by ZombieWomble (893157) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:32PM (#15525600)
      Heck, if you think that statistic is bad, look at this one:

      "Nearly 10 million people are online, swapping media, at any given time," he says. That May figure is up from 8.7 million people in 2005, he says.

      Apparently a 15% growth rate per year is what the music industry calls 'contained'. I wish someone would come and 'contain' my savings account...

      • I think a lot of people who've read the article are making a few assumptions:

        1. The RIAA has an agenda to promote, and thus, the things that they say should not be trusted.
        2. The things that BigChampagne state are factual, and can be trusted.

        The RIAA probably believes that it's in their interest to state that file trading is flat, as their agenda is to curb piracy and increase sales.

        But keep in mind that BigChampagne is a for-profit company. Tracking P2P usage is what they do. They generate reports on

  • P2P downloading hasn't stopped and we can't stop it so we're going to just say it's contained, ignore it, and hope the media can snow the public.

  • We as a society are safe from those filesharing twelve year olds and grandmas. Thank-you RIAA!!
  • by kfstark (50638) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:23PM (#15525488) Homepage
    A story about Microsoft calling a truce with the GPL followed by the RIAA saying P2P is not a problem.

    It's not April 1st.

    Hmmm... Only logical explanation is that /. has been hacked and someone is posting bogus stories.

    --Keith
  • by Toby The Economist (811138) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:24PM (#15525502)
    It's true - because everyone who is going to do P2P download is now doing it.

    So he is right; P2P growth is flat - in exactly the same way TV purchase growth is flat.

    Note any shortage of TVs around the first world? alas not...

    • by Toby The Economist (811138) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:31PM (#15525592)
      In fact, thinking about it, what I find interesting is the implied equivelence of legal and illegal downloads.

      There appears to exist in the RIAA mind the notion that if legal downloads rise, illegal downloads must fall.

      I think the derives from a failure to understand that the majority of illegal downloads *would never have otherwise been a legal purchase*.

      Naturally, if you imagine the two are precisely correlated, if you see that the rate of illegal download growth has leveled out, you might - if you wanted to imagine it were so - consider that the problem had been "contained", especially since the number of legal downloads is rising (naturally, since it began recently at zero).

      In reality of course it simply means the problem has maximized and naturally, with no relation to the RIAA in any way, the number of users has levelled out.

      The RIAA just doesn't get it, it seems.

      Of course, we have to consider how the RIAA are measuring numbers - absolutely nothing is said about this. Are they still fixated on the now-defunct Kazaa network? looking on eMule right now, there appear to be approximately 19 (nineteen) million concurrent users. On one P2P network, just at this moment. In the evenings UK time it's about 26 (twenty-six) million.

      It's quite likely their measuring method is deliberately deceptive, in which case the statement means even less that it does.
      • "I think the derives from a failure to understand that the majority of illegal downloads *would never have otherwise been a legal purchase*."

        Failure to understand, or failure to acknowledge? It's fun to say "The RIAA is a bunch of doodyheads" and all, but I think they're capable of hiring people who tell them the truth. How they spin this, however, is a different matter. I think it's very dangerous to assume that the collective employees of the RIAA are simply too stupid to understand this. Underest

    • Yer right... time for management to come up with some new P2P idea so we can sell the same old crap once again to our custom... WHAT YOU MEAN, P2P IS FREE???
    • Another factor is that there simply isn't any good new music anymore. Everyone has downloaded everything they ever wanted and have now given up.
  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:24PM (#15525504)
    If file trading is measured in terms of ease of use, then the number of available outlets has dropped. Things like Napster and the WinMX utility used to make file swapping incredibly easy even for people who weren't computer savvy. Now it takes a little work to get what you want. Plus, the major public file sharing networks are full of incomplete files, viruses and other garbage that most people don't want to deal with. In that way, people are either turning to harder-to-use file sharing techniques or giving up and getting a "real" copy of the media from a service that you know is good.

    Your average user is using LimeWare and used to typing words into a search box. Doing this these days will usually yield you one or two real copies, and hundreds of viruse files or trojans.
    • Which is why you stick to emule (brain-dead easy to use) or bittorrent (almost as, but harder to find stuff).
    • Doing this these days will usually yield you one or two real copies, and hundreds of viruse files or trojans.

      I just tried this on Gnucleus: I searched for "Hips Don't Lie" from "Shakira". I'm not a fan or so, it was just the first popular thing that popped up in my mind. After a few seconds waiting I got over 3000 hits, then I just sorted on size in reverse order. Those 200KiByte zip files and exe files won't fool anyone that knows that a regular MP3 is about 3MiByte. Now sort on "Distribution" (

    • Untrue, there are still many programs out there that newbies can use. Soulseek is extremely easy to use, and while it's still a bit buggy, the networks are clean.

      But in all honesty, I don't really care about that type of filesharing as much anymore. File sharing has moved beyond that into social networking, how many people now send MP3's over AIM or MSN. I constantly recommend albums to friends and they recommend them to me. Maybe it has to do with me already having a lot of music and I'm just searching
  • ...is probably laughing at this right now, wherever he is in the afterlife! The RIAA have turned into Wonko the Sane [wikipedia.org]. I hope they're happy outside the asylum!
  • "Mission Accomplished", anyone?
  • Snrk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by American AC in Paris (230456) * on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:27PM (#15525546) Homepage
    But we believe digital downloads have emerged into a growing, thriving business

    ...yeah, after Apple dragged your sorry asses kicking and screaming into the digital age. After you tried everything in your power to make digital downloads as locked down, expensive, and all but impossible to effectively implement.

    Digital downloads have emerged into a growing, thriving business despite your lot's best efforts to screw it all up.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:29PM (#15525569)
    Just... where have I heard that before...

    Well, if you can't win, just say you won and rely on your opponent to not contradict you.
  • RIAA now claims that the issues surrounding P2P and piracy have been contained and are no longer as big an issue as they once were.

    Does this mean that their lawsuit campaign is now over? That's when I'll actually believe a statement like theirs above.

  • ..... one of Apple's old Reality Distortion Field genrators.
  • Next (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:34PM (#15525633)
    First, MS declares a truce with Open Source.
    Then, the RIAA stops chasing P2P downloaders.
    Next, Hell freezes over.

    What a day!
  • What a bunch of ostriches. They think that by wishing the "problem" to go away it will...

    Whoops, sorry, I have to go to the library to RIP CDs with my laptop before it closes...

  • Maybe I have to bust out the C++ and make one. Basically, instead of hitting a central server, you dial up the IP list of people you were connected to the last couple times until you get a successful online signal, then that connection feeds you all the rest of the connections. Also, each one should use a unique port with its connection so port blocking can't do anything. There's no reason Gnutella should be able to be shut down unless you go to everyone's house and rip it out of their machine.
  • File sharing is flat along with the rest of the recording industry. Maybe because most of the music and movies they are pushing are repetitive and tiresome? Cookie cutter hip-hop, American Idol pseudo Vegas acts and movie takeoffs of TV shows (or worse, pointless remakes i.e. The Omen) are the problem. If I were them I'd be very worried that people aren't even willing to take your product for free.
  • Does this mean the music industry will stop shitting on consumers? Will they lower prices, publish less crap and more good music, eliminate draconian DRM, reinstate fair use, and stop whining all the time?

    Yeah, I didn't think so either.

    /resumes p2p downloading
  • P2P sharing soared 35,000% today as students, quote "Finally had those pigs off their back" end quote. Film at 11.
  • And I most definitely haven't downloaded over 10 GB of files on bittorrent this month alone.
  • by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slashdot@NOspam.gmail.com> on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:45PM (#15525759) Homepage Journal
    Some prankster let free all the dangerous animals on a zoo. The public was in panic, so the zoo chief gathered all the people inside the lion's cage. Then they locked it from inside.

    "We're safe! The animals are contained!"
  • by azemute (890775) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:46PM (#15525765) Homepage
    ...welcome our oblivious overlords.
  • Hmmmm.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @12:46PM (#15525766)
    That number is huge but hasn't grown substantially, while video piracy has. "The music industry isn't seeing double-digit growth in piracy anymore, but Hollywood is," Garland says.

    So in other words, they're handing over the job of showering their customers with lawsuits to the MPAA. What's that, a relay race? Share the bad press for stomping on people's rights so nobody gets hurt too much?
  • So this means they won't have to bother pushing for all that new DRM right?!? Right??

  • [I have karma to burn]
    First go into a conflict under false pretences. Next go after innocent people without the intend to go to trial. Then halfway declare you have won, while everybody knows that you are (still) lying.
  • by PC-PHIX (888080) *
    Clearly some people have not [downloaded and] watched enough movies to know better than to be this foolhardy.

    RIAA Claims P2P Has Been Contained

    That's they said about the Aliens too...

  • Personally, I'd look at this announcement (had I actually RTFA - this is /. after all), I'd be quite wary of stuff like this. Rosen's comments, while interesting both for their their content and possible motive, do not represent the RIAA anymore. Who's to say that six months from now, they don't release the hounds on their customers again?
  • Everyone now has all the music downloaded they could ever want to listen to :)

    Dslreports just linked the story to a top 100 list (or something) from piratebay. I had no idea. Mostly they were huge compilations. 500M - 2G at a pop times 100 files times hundreds(or more) of downloads sounds like ALOT of music to me just from piratebay. Interesting much of it was old including a couple 60's top 100 files.
  • Quit while you're behind.

Dennis Ritchie is twice as bright as Steve Jobs, and only half wrong. -- Jim Gettys

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