The RIAA Pendulum

I remember Dad telling me about pendulums in the ski industry a long time ago. I think it had something to do with skiing versus snowboarding and how after many years of increasing snowboarders, skiing was making a comeback: the pendulum effect.

I think many industries can be modeled the same way, including the lawsuits being brought by the RIAA. Which reminds me, guess who won the “Worst Company in America 2007” award? Yup, the RIAA, which really equates to Warner Music, Universal Music, EMI & Sony-BMG, was voted at the worst company in 2007. Bravo guys!

I digress back to my pendulum.

In recent months, I’ve come across a number of stories that constitute a severe hampering to RIAA’s recent attempts to extort recoup money from pirated music. We’ve all head the stories of that one mom fighting off the RIAA and winning.

I use “that one mom” in a generic sense. There have been several instances of this, with the accused typically stereotyped as a “soccer mom” who can’t even check her own email; or better yet, doesn’t even own a computer. In fact, as far as I know, the RIAA has never won a case when it actually went to trial. NEVER!

A few weeks ago, there was a FoxTrot strip parodying that fact:
foxtrot.JPG

The pendulum isn’t swinging back the other way yet, but I think it’s certainly slowing down.

Living in Colorado, I think there’s some unwritten rule that says I must hate the Nebraska Corn Huskers. In this case, I’m making an exception:
From www.boingboing.net:

The University of Nebraska is so pissed off with the RIAA’s outrageous requests to help rat out students who file-share that it has sent the RIAA a bill for the time the University has wasted dealing with the RIAA’s demands. Go Corn Huskers!

I tip my hat to you, Huskers.

There’s also this sickening story about WB suing a disabled Florida man:
From recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com:

Although the defendant John Paladuk, an employee of C&N Railroad for 36 years, was living in Florida at the time of the alleged copyright suit, and had notified the RIAA that he had not engaged in any copyright infringement, and despite that the fact that Mr. Paladuk suffered a stroke last year which resulted in complete paralysis of his entire left side and severely impaired speech, rendering him disabled, and despite the fact that his disability check is his sole source of income, the RIAA commenced suit against him on February 27, 2007.

via BoingBoing

Can’t imagine there’s great public relations on that story.

Then there’s this tale:
From www.boingboing.net:

A California man got out of his music-sharing lawsuit by having his lawyer send a sharply worded letter to Sony Music, the plaintiff.

The letter threatened to sue Sony for malicious prosecution, citing the crummy evidence used by record companies in other suits, and on receipt the letter it, Sony chickened out and withdrew the suit.

Remember those Microsoft Word Templates you could get to write up your last will and testament? How long until someone creates something similar for being sued by one of the RIAA members companies? (Side note/interesting fact: People aren’t sued by the RIAA, they’re sued by an individual music company that is a member of the RIAA. The RIAA more or less exists to deflect the bad PR from actual record companies).

The pendulum continues to slow down and it’s now only a matter of time before it starts swinging the other way.

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