The RIAA shoots itself in the foot again16 Feb 2006
Image by FactoryJoe
Someone at the RIAA decided they hadn’t enough enemies yet. Why not start screwing with the iPod owners?
As part of the on-going DMCA rule-making proceedings, the RIAA and other copyright industry associations submitted a filing that included this gem as part of their argument that space-shifting and format-shifting do not count as noninfringing uses, even when you are talking about making copies of your own CDs
For those who may not remember, here’s what Don Verrilli said to the Supreme Court last year:
“The record companies, my clients, have said, for some time now, and it’s been on their website for some time now, that it’s perfectly lawful to take a CD that you’ve purchased, upload it onto your computer, put it onto your iPod.”
from EFF via BoingBoing
It’s a struggle for survival: the RIAA sees their old business model disappear, has no clue how to adapt to that and reacts by throwing money at lawyers and lobbyists. The RIAA is like the USS Nimitz in a pond that is drying up and the only reaction they can think of is: “sue the sun”.
What is so special about this is that the music industry has something that most industries would die for: passionate consumers. It’s not as if we buy music because we ran out of them (like toilet paper) or because the old ones aren’t any good anymore (like newspapers). We have developed a taste, we have artists we love and others we hate, we know the names of people behind them, we’re interested in how they live their life. There are groupies, musical subcultures, music magazines, music sites and TV stations with nothing but music. It’s a product any CEO would sell his mother-in-law for. Yet, the only thing the ‘old’ record companies seem to do with that is make their customers passionately hostile.
Look, I dunno what planet you guys think you�re on and what legal system is going to end up supporting your stilted worldview, but it doesn�t even matter. Because you�re irrelevant. You�re meaningless. What you�re doing is like a slow train wreck euthanasia; we�re all watching you pen your own demise, over months and months of screwing your best customers. I mean�it�s so painfully clear to us! Why is this not obvious to you?
Let’s take another example of a company that has passionate customers: Apple. Would it have been wise of Apple to sell a computer and forbid people to install software on it that was not developed by Apple? What if Apple had built a music player that only played music in its proprietary AAC format? “Yes, we know this MP3 thing is kinda big and stuff, but we feel we have to protect you from yourself. Oh, you want to print stuff? That’s an extra 50 cents per page!”
On the contrary, Steve Jobs is the (only) one who is driving the entertainment industry forward. While record companies were still arguing about “how much can we charge them for each time they listen to a song and how can we control that”, iTunes set the standard: 1$ per song, $10 per album, no limits on listening. While the MPA was busy suing toddlers and grannies with BitTorrent, iTunes came up with a model for TV show distribution: 2$/episode – no bullshit. We can only hope health problems do not keep Steve from setting standards in movie distribution either (like: get rid of the DVD regions or use BitTorrent as distribution mechanism). The content is ready, the bandwidth is ready, the customer is ready, all we need now is someone who wants serve his customers the 21st century way.