A Saturday Evening Post


First scenario: Download music MP3s from a file sharing service, get sued by the RIAA, owe upwards of $1,000 per song downloaded if it goes to court and you lose, or settle out of court for around $3000 - $4000. (I'm pulling these numbers from memory. Actual amounts may vary, but are still silly high.)

Second Senario: Be Sony, a member of the RIAA, put out multiple CDs that contain DRM that damages your customers' computers and leaves them vulnerable to hackers, settle so that the customers effected are reimbursed by allowing them to download three albums from a pool of 200 as DRM-free MP3s for free OR receive a cash payment of $7.50. Never mind what it cost the customer to repair their computers and fix whatever other problems that may have come from your DRM. (link)

It looks to me – if you are the corporation who owns the copyrights on the music – three albums worth of songs, say 33 songs, are worth $7.50 total, or 22¢ a song. If you are the citizen who downloaded the same number of songs from the web without permission, you could be held liable for $33,000 in damages if you go to court, or $121.21 per song if you settle out-of-court. If my math is correct, that's 551 x what they've established as the value of their music with this settlement.

How the fuck do they figure THAT is just?

As of 29 days ago, 14,800 people have settled with the RIAA out-of-court and more than 3000 have paid the settlement amount according to this site. Using the middle range settlement amount of $3,500 that means that with these lawsuits the RIAA has potentially made $10,500,000. Just from suing their customers.

I'm now stating that, as of this moment, I will never again purchase new music unless it's from an independent label who is not associated with the RIAA. Instead I will limit my music purchases to used CDs. They don't get a dime that way and it's perfectly legal.

Addendum: Check this boingboing story out.


Jen and I got MP3 players. They both came with trial period music downloads from Napster for two months.

So my question is how can the RIAA figure out what you have downloaded and what you haven't?

I join you, my brother, in your RIAA denouncement. I too will not buy new music unless it is other than the RIAA.

Kathleen said…
Having a friend who owns a CD store (with a great used section), I will continue to buy music, because the musicians/artists still deserve to make money on their talent. And one day the only place to buy music will be Best Buy and Wal-Mart and you'll be stuck with the latest Mariah Carey comeback album. *gag*
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