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RIAA About to Transform? 217

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the and-i'll-form-the-head dept.
It has been reported for a while that the RIAA was suffering some cutbacks and dwindling support, but techdirt is reporting that the cuts may be even deeper than most originally suspected. Who knew suing potential customers would ruin your business? "I'm sure some will somehow 'blame piracy' for this turn of events, but it's hard to see how that's even remotely the issue. The real issue is that the RIAA has basically managed to run one of the dumbest, most self-defeating strategies over the last decade. Rather than helping major record labels adjust to the changing market, it continually, repeatedly and publicly destroyed its own reputation and the reputation of the labels — each time shrinking their potential market by blaming the very people they should have been working to turn into customers."
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RIAA About to Transform?

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  • Well I would imagine the excess employees will be much in demand as witnesses.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Sponge Bath (413667)

      No way! People willing to work for such an ethical and forward thinking organization would have more loyalty to each other.

    • by LuYu (519260) on Friday February 27, 2009 @08:33PM (#27019051) Homepage Journal

      Well I would imagine the excess employees will be much in demand as witnesses.

      Then, let us all hope for the sake of the families involved that the MafiAAs do not make them mysteriously disappear.

      "The RIAA has announced a new severance package . . ."

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by vux984 (928602)

        "The RIAA has announced a new severance package . . ."

        I think its dubbed "Head and Shoulders"... er no that's a shampoo... "Head from Shoulders"!

    • by Arthur Grumbine (1086397) * on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:00PM (#27019673) Journal

      Well I would imagine the excess employees will be much in demand as witnesses.

      We've always known when it comes to the RIAA there's more than meets the eye, but witnesses would truly help expose their deceptive cons.

      • Yes, we must expose the Decepticons!....Wait, you guys aren't talking about *that* kind of transformers, are you?
    • What if the RIAA was there to harrass customers until enough customers had transitioned over to Vista and Win7 where the DRM is more substantial and more songs are getting sold on iTunes and cellphones -- again and again and again -- .... its easier to download from the net to your phone that load up songs from your computer -- the purchase price is low enough that the songs purchases are have become what the music industry wants -- they want you to purchase the song each time for each device and form...2.9

  • RIAA (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    TERRORIZE!!!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Hordeking (1237940)

      TERRORIZE!!!

      I think "EXTERMINATE!!!!!! EXTERMINATE!!!!!!" is more appropriate here.

      Just throwing that out there.

  • by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Friday February 27, 2009 @07:34PM (#27018541) Homepage Journal

    ...a Z Transform, a Laplace Transform or a Fast Fourier Transform?

  • by Endo13 (1000782) on Friday February 27, 2009 @07:37PM (#27018571)

    Chasing down the links leads to this:

    http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2009/02/is-the-.html [hypebot.com]

    But one seemingly knowledgeable but unconfirmed source tells Hypebot that the cuts run much deeper than previously reported.

    And not much else. One can hope, but so far this is nothing but a rumor.

  • book publishers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cyborch (524661) on Friday February 27, 2009 @07:39PM (#27018591) Homepage Journal
    If the book publishers are about to make the same mistakes as RIAA [slashdot.org], then at least we know where they are heading now.
    • Re:book publishers (Score:4, Interesting)

      by cptdondo (59460) on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:17PM (#27019765) Journal

      Yeah, too true. I quit buying music years ago when CD prices got ridiculous. I haven't bought (or downloaded) music for years. Now my daughter is getting into music, and surprisingly for our 40-years-of-age difference, our music tastes are similar, so we've been building our library.

      She's started sending me links to youtube videos of her faves. Sent one today. I gave it a quick listen at work; kind-of-liked it, went back to listen again at home and it's been taken down. Humph. No sale there.

      I end up buying about 1/4 of the music links she sends me. This just makes no sense at all - the music industry is shooting itself in the foot. All the younguns are growing up pirating music instead of buying it - because the industry has created such hurdles to getting music legally.

  • by Dan667 (564390) on Friday February 27, 2009 @07:41PM (#27018611)
    While it is no doubt that the people who run the RIAA and IFPI have no idea what they are doing I also wonder how much of a contributing factor that people are putting 2 + 2 together and recognizing who supports the RIAA. Companies are very protective of their brands and sony, emi, warner bros, and universal do not like the negative image this is bringing them directly.
    • by uniquename72 (1169497) on Friday February 27, 2009 @08:21PM (#27018969)

      Companies...do not like the negative image this is bringing them directly.

      Neither do the artists themselves, who seem to get lost in the "OMG PIRACY IS THEFT!!1!" argument.

      It gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling to go to a concert and hear the band say, "Thank you for paying to come see us, now go download our stuff illegally and fuck the labels who are fucking us!" (No, I don't download music and am not a pirate, although I don't care if others do and are.)

  • Is something wrong with the site preferences? I disabled YRO but I see several of its stories on the front page.

  • by jamstar7 (694492) on Friday February 27, 2009 @07:45PM (#27018637)
    Yo, ho, ho, pass me the rum.

    I do, however, once RIAA is dead and buried, intend to dig them up once a year on the anniversary of their death just to make sure they're still dead.

  • Worse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday February 27, 2009 @07:45PM (#27018639) Homepage

    each time shrinking their potential market by blaming the very people they should have been working to turn into customers.

    Worse than that, they were shrinking their market by blaming the very people who already were their customers. Contrary to the way we sometimes talk about it, "people who download music in violation of copyrights" and "people who buy music" are not mutually exclusive groups.

    Often enough, the same people who will spend money on high-quality convenient products that they feel are worth the price will also look for alternate channels in cases where they don't think the product they are being offered is high-quality enough, convenient enough, or worth the price.

    Now I'm not trying to excuse people who download music illegally. It's illegal. I don't do it. I don't advocate that others do it. I don't approve of it. I'm just pointing out that all those nasty/evil group of "pirates" and "thieves" that the music industry keeps blaming, vilifying, and suing-- that group has a fair amount of overlap with that industry's legitimate customers.

    • Re:Worse (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LuYu (519260) on Friday February 27, 2009 @09:16PM (#27019369) Homepage Journal

      Now I'm not trying to excuse people who download music illegally. It's illegal. I don't do it.

      I am so sick of this argument. The RIAA never (as in: not once) sued anybody for downloading music. No matter what they said to the press, 100% of their "filesharing" lawsuits were for uploading. Further, it has never been conclusively established that downloading songs is illegal. In the Napster case, the judge stated that people using a service like Napster had the "effect of piracy". Just because something has the same consequences does not mean it is the same thing. On top of that, it has since been argued -- rather convincingly -- that music sharing increases sales because the heaviest downloaders are also the biggest music buyers.

      You can listen to the radio for free. Are you or the radio station doing something "illegal" when you tune in? Are radio audiences "pirates"?

      This whole "downloading == theft" thing is merely the RIAA's creation.

      • Re:Worse (Score:5, Insightful)

        by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:02PM (#27019681) Homepage

        I didn't say that "downloading == theft". I wouldn't. In fact, I've argued many times here on Slashdot that copyright infringement is not the same thing as theft, and people who are trying to equate them are being dishonest.

        However, there are many laws other than those against theft, and to the best of my knowledge, it's not untrue to say that copyright infringement is "illegal". Also, that copying copyrighted material without a license to do so is generally considered copyright infringement, and that the process of downloading something from the Internet includes "copying".

        I'm not trying to be controversial here. I don't believe that copyright was intended to prevent private individuals from enjoying copyrighted material without a license. It was more to prevent professional publishers from poaching off of each others' work for profit. On the hand, copyright does have a valid role in ensuring that artists are compensated for their work, and in the current legal formulation, I believe copying songs without buying them (outside of "fair use") is illegal.

        • Re:Worse (Score:5, Insightful)

          by steelfood (895457) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @12:59AM (#27020527)

          Yes, but what GP is trying to say is that downloading isn't copyright infringement. The burden of obtaining authorization to distribute is on the person offering the goods, or the uploader. And it shouldn't be on the burden of the receiver to know whether the copy is obtained through legit channels or not.

          So people who download may be pirates, but they're not committing any crime or tort until they redistribute what they've downloaded. Whether it is moral or otherwise is another issue. But since copyright infringement is not theft, the data can't actually be "returned" and the owner of the files can't be charged with possession of stolen goods.

          • The burden of obtaining authorization to distribute is on the person offering the goods

            Well though IANAL, I've read a few different arguments about this, including some rulings. It seems that they do distinguish between uploading and downloading in that copyright law talks specifically about offering distribution.

            This is where is gets weird in the context of how we deal with information in the digital age: copying happens all the time, so we think distribution is the key issue. However, copyright is specifically about the act of copying, and not about distribution. In order to go after so

        • by Draek (916851)

          Yes, but I believe the grandparent was merely trying to state that the one doing the actual *copying* (and therefore running afoul of copyright laws) is the uploader, not the downloader, and that so far the courts have seen it as such.

          It does make sense, IMHO, though it'd add an interesting loophole to copyright law: namely, when you download something off someone living in a non-Berne country.

          • Yes, but I believe the grandparent was merely trying to state that the one doing the actual *copying* (and therefore running afoul of copyright laws) is the uploader, not the downloader, and that so far the courts have seen it as such.

            The courts do seem to have seen uploading as infringement, but I haven't heard of any rulings that suggest that download is not.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              The courts do seem to have seen uploading as infringement

              The issue hasn't come up yet; there hasn't been an RIAA case with any evidence of uploading... at least not of which I am aware.

      • by zrq (794138)

        The RIAA never (as in: not once) sued anybody for downloading music.

        Then what is this Sony v. Tenenbaum [groklaw.net] about then ?

        ... a guy who allegedly downloaded seven songs over Kazaa years ago when he was 17 and who is now facing a damages claim of $1 million dollars ..

    • by n dot l (1099033)

      The only thing that makes me sad is that, despite not actually saving their business with all the law suits, they have still managed to (likely forever) change the way the people think about IP. It used to be not such a big deal. Yes, anyone that knew anything about computers (or was a friend of such) wasn't paying for media, but the record stores weren't closing either so nobody gave a damn. And even during Napsters glory days I knew tons of kids that went out and spent ridiculous sums of money on posters

      • Re:Worse (Score:4, Insightful)

        by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday February 27, 2009 @10:06PM (#27019693) Homepage

        It just depresses me that you (quite rightly) felt you had to throw in that last paragraph, even though the things you didn't say can be easily spotted, simply by reading your actual message.

        It depresses me a bit too. I've found that I have to tell people what I'm not-saying on a pretty consistent basis, or else I get attacked for saying things that I specifically did not say.

        I don't think we really listen to each other very well, and we don't think very deeply about what other people are saying. If we did, we'd often find that people who disagree with us are disagreeing for a reason-- maybe even a valid reason-- even if they're still "wrong".

  • Meet the New Boss, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Neptunes_Trident (1452997) on Friday February 27, 2009 @07:50PM (#27018677)
    Same as the old boss. Heh, Just because the RIAA transforms, does not imply that the copyright laws they try to enforce or fight for have changed. Slam them all you want and call'em a failure, as far as I'm concerned this means nothing. When the laws change toward cultural liberation, (like they used to be) only then will I celebrate. Only then.
  • Heck, with the way they have been suing everybody I'm surprised anyone still even wants music any more. Why even possess music when it is apparently such a dangerous thing? :P

  • by portnux (630256) on Friday February 27, 2009 @08:02PM (#27018783)
    Maybe it will involve skinning puppies or pulling the horns off unicorns? Perhaps ripping the wings from butterflies? There must be and endless supply of ideas for the RIAA, given all their experience.
  • by HartDev (1155203) on Friday February 27, 2009 @08:04PM (#27018817) Homepage
    I am not gonna make remarks that are uber pro-piracy, but I will say this about the RIAA, they should have seen this many years ago, they were just stubborn.

    The market for blank media was not going to go away, and it was going to be filled with downloaded music, now regardless that it is illegal to download copyrighted material did not slow anyone down. And just like the article mentioned, it only soiled the name of those who tried to stop it, yeah I am talking about how people like Metallica a whole lot less.

    Being Pro or Anti piracy aside I do not feel for the RIAA losing money (if in fact they did lose any money, and if that money was a substantial amount) because they blatantly starred the changing times in the face ignored all possible opportunities it could have afforded them, and now, just like the banks and the auto industry they will cry about how the oldschool ways don't work anymore.

    I am glad that hard drives and blank CD's and DVD's are so cheap now a days!
  • by mysidia (191772) on Friday February 27, 2009 @08:12PM (#27018901)

    With RIAA Lawyers running the DOJ [cnet.com], the RIAA is transforming into a US government agency.

    Now their antics re. DoS'ing suspected torrent sites will not only be legal but an act of the gov't.

    Not only will gov't money will be budgeted for catching the file traders, and probably some money from the economic stimulus packages to help bail out the recording industry and encourage innovation, it will be a gov't initiative.

    Along with a new and improved patent enforcement department to help make it more cost-effective for companies having difficulty collecting license fees from people infringing on patents like one-click (due to millions of small infringers, and formerly expensive legal processes required to enforce a patent)

  • by mc1138 (718275) on Friday February 27, 2009 @08:13PM (#27018911) Homepage
    Does this mean the RIAA is more than meets the eye?
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday February 27, 2009 @08:14PM (#27018917) Homepage Journal

    Its not over yet.. Transforming isn't always a good thing.

  • by wcspxyx (120207) on Friday February 27, 2009 @08:15PM (#27018925)

    What, are they going to go from 'suck' to 'blow'?

  • Who knew? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Groo Wanderer (180806) <charlie@ s e m i a c c u r a te.com> on Friday February 27, 2009 @08:22PM (#27018979) Homepage

    "Who knew suing potential customers would ruin your business?"

    SCO did. Worked for them as well.

                -Charlie

  • 1) RIAA
    2) SCO
    3) Microsoft
    4) Banks?
  • by Dahamma (304068) on Friday February 27, 2009 @08:45PM (#27019159)

    Left arm: MPAA
    Right arm: IFPI
    Left leg: SPA
    Right leg: BSA
    Torso: RIAA
    Head: DMCA

    Combined: WTMGDL! (Way too many god damned lawyers)

    Hmm, any other suggestions for the copyright megacronym? :)

  • If they are being "transformed", I hope my work had something to do with it.
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Saturday February 28, 2009 @12:46AM (#27020479)

    And I hope as much as the next guy that this means what it says in the summary. The RIAA is finally getting the results it has worked so hard for.

    But it might just be the crappy economy.

    Music is a luxury item, and they're usually the first thing to go when things get tough. This might be nothing more than a consequence of the current economic picture. I've seen massive layoffs pretty much everywhere lately.

    Sorry if this dampens the mood in here. But it's worth considering. The last thing we need to do is to start bullshitting ourselves. Seeing things as they are best prepares you to deal with them.

    But that being said, this is still a good thing. The less of these goons working the better. It would be nice if it was simply their just desserts for their failed plan, but if they go out as collateral damage to our ailing economy, well...at least some good has come from that.

    • by Torodung (31985)

      That's the first thing I thought too. Did President George H. W. Bush write this summary? It's the economy... (you know the rest).

      Unless we're claiming that RIAA lawsuits were the cause of that, too. If that's the case, Federal agents should be kicking their doors in right... about... ;^)

      One can always hope.

  • How much you want to bet that said "transformation" is going to include a name change under the hope (hopefully misguided, but you never know) that a fresh DBA will give them something akin to a clean slate now that the tides of public perception have turned against them a bit.

    It didn't work for Diebold (or whatever the hell they're called now. See? Fail.) and it probably won't work here, but it doesn't mean they won't try.

    Association for the Ethical Treatment of Harmonists, Entertainers and Recordings has

  • *facepalm* (Score:3, Funny)

    by w0mprat (1317953) on Sunday March 01, 2009 @06:30AM (#27028631)

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