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The Courts Government The Internet United States News

17,000 Downloads Does Not Equal 17,000 Lost Sales 398

Posted by timothy
from the channeling-captain-obvious dept.
Andrew_Rens writes "Ars Technica has a story on a ruling by a US District Judge who rejects claims by the RIAA that the number of infringing downloads amounts to proof of the same number of lost sales. The judge ruled that 'although it is true that someone who copies a digital version of a sound recording has little incentive to purchase the recording through legitimate means, it does not necessarily follow that the downloader would have made a legitimate purchase if the recording had not been available for free.' The ruling concerns the use of the criminal courts to recover alleged losses for downloading through a process known as restitution. The judgement does not directly change how damages are calculated in civil cases."
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17,000 Downloads Does Not Equal 17,000 Lost Sales

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  • by Stormx2 (1003260) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:16AM (#26528869)

    I have like ~1,000 albums downloaded. Would I have the money to buy 1,000 albums? Hell no. Not unless I sold all my possessions.

    Download != Lost Sale

    • by russotto (537200) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:20AM (#26528947) Journal

      I have like ~1,000 albums downloaded. Would I have the money to buy 1,000 albums? Hell no. Not unless I sold all my possessions.

      RIAA: That'll be $7220 in "restitution", plus $750,000 minimum in statutory damages. Or you can just use the suicide booth down the hall; if you make a statement as you enter to the effect that "this is what happens to downloaders", we won't hound your family for more than half of the judgement.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        I'd quietly disappear if RIAA issued that ruling against me. The next time you would hear from me is on CNN, as the man who killed RIAA's CEO aka Tyrant. I am not a slave to the RIAA CEO or any other man. My forefathers were slaves, but I will not be. I will kill rather than utter the phase "yes masser" again.

        >>>'it does not necessarily follow that the downloader would have made a legitimate purchase if the recording had not been available for free.'

        Also: Just because something is downloaded d

        • I will kill rather than utter the phase "yes masser" again.

          Again? When was the list time YOU uttered that phrase?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by aliquis (678370)

      I thought they reasoned that a copy was more than one lost sale.

      Like 30 songs = shared to plenty of people = possible 3000 downloads and lost sales.

      So 1000 albums according to RIAA would probably mean you're stealing one million album sales from them, your thief! :D

      So just pay back the 15 million dollars you own them thanks to your piracy and it's all fine! :D

      • Re:Exactly right! (Score:5, Informative)

        by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:28AM (#26529045) Journal

        That got shot down [cnet.com]; a judge ruled that just having the file available for download did not constitute damages unless there was proof that that file had been downloaded.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Hurricane78 (562437)

          Watch the RIAA completely ignore that ruling in the next lawsuit, and hope that the judge does not know about it.

          So GP is still right.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Dan Ost (415913)

            Wouldn't the Bar Association have strong words with the RIAA lawyers if the lawyers knowingly left out or misrepresented relevant case law?

            If not, then what's the purpose of the Bar Association if it isn't to enforce the practice of law?

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by HiThere (15173)

              I think the Bar Association is a lobbying group on behalf of the lawyers. It clearly doesn't exercise any quality control over them.

      • Re:Exactly right! (Score:4, Informative)

        by blueg3 (192743) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:36AM (#26529147)

        There are some differences between what you're talking about and the actual situation in the article.

        This person is actually the operator of a torrent site, not a peer. He's already received fines and prison time for the sharing others have done using his site. The RIAA/MPAA asked for restitution in addition, which is based on actual damages. (The typical sky-high figures are fines and statutory damages.)

        • Re:Exactly right! (Score:5, Informative)

          by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray.beckermanlegal@com> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:30PM (#26533973) Homepage Journal

          This person is actually the operator of a torrent site, not a peer. He's already received fines and prison time for the sharing others have done using his site. The RIAA/MPAA asked for restitution in addition, which is based on actual damages. (The typical sky-high figures are fines and statutory damages.)

          Correct. And where this ruling becomes relevant to the statutory damages civil cases is that (a) the disproportion of the statutory damages being sought to the actual damages has been decried judicially [blogspot.com] and is the basis for a constitutional attack in several of the civil cases, such as Capitol Records v. Thomas [blogspot.com], SONY BMG Music v. Tenenbaum [blogspot.com], and others, and (b) the theories which the RIAA lawyers have used to justify the size of the statutory damages are the identical theories whose logic was just shot down by Judge Jones.

    • Re:Exactly right! (Score:5, Informative)

      by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:25AM (#26528997)

      Download != Lost Sale

      This is especially true for me, since I always check RIAA Radar [riaaradar.com] before purchasing an album. If it's an RIAA artist, then they don't get any money.

      • Re:Exactly right! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @11:04AM (#26529623) Journal

        See, I think you are part of the problem in this. On one hand, you say the RIAA doesn't deserve money from you. On the other, you illegally download their creations, sending a clear message that you have some demand for what they offer. If you want the RIAA to go away, just ignore them, and everything they create. While people download their stuff, they can justifiably whine about people ripping them off (because even though 17,000 downloads != 17,000 lost sales, it's also true that 17,000 downloads != 0 lost sales).

        • Re:Exactly right! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @11:12AM (#26529773)

          See, I think you are part of the problem in this.

          That may be true, but I really don't care. You'll never get a large enough group of people to boycott, so my feeling is that the best way I can contribute to their demise is to spread their product to all who want it, for free.

          While people download their stuff, they can justifiably whine about people ripping them off

          I don't care if they feel or sound justified. I just want them to make less money. The fact is that I can download their stuff for free with little chance of repercussions, and I can show others how to do the same. It's already forced them to change quite a bit... DRM free music from all the major studios - wow, what a difference a few years of bloodletting makes!

          • by bilbravo (763359)
            You seem to care for someone who claims to not care. Otherwise you wouldn't take the time or go out of your way to find our if someone is an RIAA artist before deciding to purchase or not. And you are the exact person the RIAA is getting ripped off by (whether you think you are or not).

            You are justifying their actions; they do not need to justify them any other way.
            • by MightyYar (622222)

              You seem to care for someone who claims to not care.

              I meant that I don't care if I am perceived to be a problem. I wear my behavior as a badge of honor and only hope that my actions can hurt them enough that they go away.

              • Re:Exactly right! (Score:4, Insightful)

                by TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @12:04PM (#26530543) Journal

                I meant that I don't care if I am perceived to be a problem.

                When I told you that I perceived you as part of the problem, I actually meant, a part of the problem, not just some external fuss that doesn't affect you. It's a problem for you too, and a problem for people you know. In your efforts to hurt the RIAA, you may be only hurting them temporarily, and helping them gain a stronger stranglehold on policing your communications, and invading your privacy. Your actions may leave them as an unprofitable business with significant, almost universal demand, which makes them a prime candidate for government subsidies. Your actions allow (and encourage) others to be part of the same problem, fuelling and exacerbating it.

                If you were to boycott them entirely, and spread the message as far as you can, you might actually make a dent in downloads and sales. Then again, maybe people actually do want the RIAA's music, and there's not much you can do about it. Whatever it is, what you are doing isn't helping anyone.

                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by MightyYar (622222)

                  When I told you that I perceived you as part of the problem, I actually meant, a part of the problem, not just some external fuss that doesn't affect you.

                  I know, and I disagree. We have different takes on what is happening. I see the record companies in decline, and I claim that piracy is a big part of that.

                  You might be right that it will cause unforeseen consequences... it might even make things worse. I'm not Nostradamus, so what do I know? I just think that it is hopeless to organize an effective boycott, though I would probably support such a thing if the piracy route doesn't pan out.

                  When a kid gets a new iPod, I can either lecture him on the evils of th

          • Re:Exactly right! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @11:52AM (#26530337) Homepage Journal

            You'll never get a large enough group of people to boycott

            Then how do you explain their abysmal sales? Piracy? No, the years-long established boycott is working, but they're not blaming me and our boycott, they're blaming you and your piracy.

            Stop downloading that crap. Download their competetion, the indies, instead. Most indies WANT you to download.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by MightyYar (622222)

              Then how do you explain their abysmal sales? Piracy?

              Yes. CD sales have gone down steadily, and it's thanks to pirates like me. Arrrrrr.

              Download their competetion, the indies, instead.

              I generally buy the Indies. Sometimes if you write them saying you want all of their albums, they'll even send you swag like t-shirts and such. I've even gotten hand-written notes!

            • Re:Exactly right! (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Trailer Trash (60756) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @01:31PM (#26532317) Homepage

              Then how do you explain their abysmal sales? Piracy? No, the years-long established boycott is working, but they're not blaming me and our boycott, they're blaming you and your piracy.

              Their sales are explained in a couple of ways. First and foremost, their sales were bouyed for a few years after the advent of CDs (the 90's) by people replacing vinyl with CDs. I gave them a lot of money to do just that. Then I stopped. Second, their current music is substandard by any measure - they are so desperate to just use a formula that there's little risk-taking nowadays.

              Then there's digital downloads. They could have entered this game early and easily made the move from CDs to downloads. Instead, Steve Jobs dragged them kicking and screaming into it, and it still took him, what, 7 or 8 years to finally get them to give up on DRM? Their cluelessness has definitely hurt them.

              Finally, their sales aren't off that much. They're down 10-20% from the high. No big surprise given the above.

              I remember during the last recession (circa 2002) when the MPAA was trying to push through their "superdmca" bill in the states, and I sat across from their slimy lawyer Geoff Beauchamps in a meeting with our state representative. He lamented that the record industry's sales were off by 10%. I asked him how they'd kept their sales up that well in a recession, as mine were off by 50% (I wasn't kidding). Music is non-essential, people are going to buy bread before they buy a CD.

              Anyway, they've spent years digging the hole that they're in, and most of what they're doing now is looking for a better shovel.

        • I do the same thing as the GP does, but I check RIAA Radar first. That's "first" as in "before downloading." If it comes up "Warning" I trash the .torrent and forget about the music altogether. Out of sight, out of mind, out of hard drive. If it comes up "Unknown" I check extensively to be sure that it's safe, and finally if it's marked "Safe" I do a very quick double-check on Amazon or the band's site and then I'll do the download (and 9 times out of 10, the purchase). This way I can give the biggest

        • Stop right there! (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Hurricane78 (562437)

          Nobody is illegally downloading anything!

          If you have a license for the media, you are allowed to do what it states. If you offer the files for download without license, and someone takes them, then you have broken the contract (=license)! The downloader got it from you with no license (that is your implicit contract), so he can legally do with it, whatever he likes to do with it. Like offering it to others. Nothing illegal here at all. No theft (original still in the hands of the owner). Only a broken contr

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hoi Polloi (522990)

      Exactly. Most of the music I have I have purchased as CDs in the past or bought as single tracks online. The music I have copied is music I never would've bought for myself. Those aren't lost sales. They were never going to be sales in the first place. I only have it because it cost me nothing so it didn't hurt to check it out. I still buy music that I am seriously interested in.

      Their arguement is like someone discovering how to copy a Rolls Royce for free. Suddenly all the millions of Rolls Royces o

      • by h4rm0ny (722443)

        So perhaps it would be fairer to say that 17,000 downloads only equals 5,000 lost sales, for example. Would that be sufficient grounds for concern? It's ludicrous to take the statement that 17,000 downloads doesn't equal 17,000 lost sales (well, duh!) and then swing to the other extreme and use it as an argument to say that piracy isn't causing lost sales. I know few people these days that actually pay for music or movies, but they certainly would if they couldn't download them. They'll say so themselves q
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Dun Malg (230075)

          It's ludicrous to take the statement that 17,000 downloads doesn't equal 17,000 lost sales (well, duh!) and then swing to the other extreme and use it as an argument to say that piracy isn't causing lost sales.

          Without any evidence to show that the net result is lost sales, you can't say that that's the case. The error in your assertion above is that you assume that the range we're looking at starts at "zero lost sales" and goes to "X number of lost sales, where X == number of MP3's in someone's download directory". Given that all we have to go on is anecdotal evidence, and that a non-zero number of anecdotes demonstrate that some downloads result in a sale that otherwise would not have happened, we are looking at

          • Re:Exactly right! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @11:57AM (#26530421) Homepage Journal

            From Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture [sslug.dk] (I've abridged the quote drastically)

            File sharers share different kinds of content. We can divide these different kinds into four types.

            There are some who use sharing networks as substitutes for purchasing content.

            There are some who use sharing networks to sample music before purchasing it.

            There are many who use sharing networks to get access to copyrighted content that is no longer sold or that they would not have purchased because the transaction costs off the Net are too high.

            Finally, there are many who use sharing networks to get access to content that is not copyrighted or that the copyright owner wants to give away.

            From the perspective of the law, only type D sharing is clearly legal. From the perspective of economics, only type A sharing is clearly harmful.

            Type B (try before you buy) can do nothing but increase sales, and every study not financed by the recording industry has concluded that "pirates" spend far mor of their money on music than non-pirates.

            Lessig's book is available online under a GPL license, as well as in bookstores. Oddly, being able to legally "pirate" it hasn't kept it out of the bookstores, despite the atti-pirates' bleating that if you can get it for free you won't pay for it.

            Only thieves have the mindset "if I can get it for free I won't buy it". Most people have scruples. Unfortunately the people in the RIAA labels don't.

    • by mi (197448)

      Download != Lost Sale

      Download == some fraction of a Lost Sale. How big a fraction exactly is only relevant for grandstanding, that both RIAA and its foes engage in.

      The reality remains, that some sales are lost due to illegal downloading, and that the victims are entitled to compensation. Including punitive [wikipedia.org] monies — to not only compensate for the loss itself, but to punish the thieves (yes, thieves).

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by hobbit (5915)

        The reality remains, that some sales are lost due to illegal downloading, and that the victims are entitled to compensation.

        The reality remains that some sales are gained due to illegal downloading. If those sales outweigh the sales lost, how are punitive measures justified?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by KDR_11k (778916)

          By the law saying you're not allowed to share that music?

        • by tompaulco (629533)
          So if a guy walks into a store and steals a gallon of milk, and then two of his friends see his gallon of milk and decide to go buy some from your store, then should the shoplifter be prosecuted?
          The law was still broken, regardless of the net benefit to the shop owner.
      • by Dun Malg (230075)

        Download != Lost Sale

        Download == some fraction of a Lost Sale.

        I don't listen to music much, and what I do listen to I have had on CD for close to 20 years. I have purchased only one CD in this century. The only music I have downloaded in violation of copyright has been one song from the aforementioned CD to verify that the live version of the song listed on the back of that CD case was, in fact, the particular version I was looking for. This resulted in a single CD sale that would not have happened otherwise. I have mostly downloaded scads of freely released indy band

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rickb928 (945187)

      Not a great argument...

      I lost my first record collection, just shy of 1,000, when it failed to materialize along with the rest of the second crate of household belongings the U.S. military attempted to deliver from my base in England to my home in Maine, back in 1975. If you happen to know where it is, I'd go get it. Really.

      My second collection, well over 1,500, I gave up when it was just not worth it to go back in that house. It just wasn't.

      My current CD collection is around 3,000 and is growing very sl

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Yewbert (708667)

        Nothin' particularly much to add to the discussion, but I couldn't resist replying to mention of the SL-1200MKII's. I worked at a radio station in college, and those of course were the standard. I can still feel that big rectangular button and visualize the start-up time of a cued-up LP sitting on one.

        In all this discussion of downloading and the RIAA, I very rarely see any mention of the kind of downloading I do - pretty much exclusively NON-commercially-released live recordings. I'm closing in on 12,00

  • by gapagos (1264716) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:17AM (#26528885)

    That is the best way to summarize a very good share of "illegal" mp3 downloads.

    • by TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @11:10AM (#26529721) Journal

      Try this one instead:

      "I don't want to pay the iTunes price"

      These are the ones that make up most of the lost sales.

  • by clickclickdrone (964164) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:18AM (#26528911)
    The albums I've bought that I wouldn't otherwise have had I not been able to download and try it first? I buy MORE albums now that I did before Napster et al opened my ears to new artists and songs.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I have purchased some albums multiple times due to loss, wear, theft, etc. For example, I have purchased the Back in Black album by AC|DC 6 times: 1 LP, 3 Cassettes, and 2 CDs. When the last CD got scratched beyond repair, I said the heck with it and downloaded the songs. Now, technically, doing that was illegal. But seriously, how many times should I have to purchase the same music?
      • I don't even play my CDs (and I do have a few, legally obtained). I don't have a CD player other than my computer, and I import all my CDs to my digital audio library on that. I don't ever have to shuffle discs and I won't risk damaging the originals.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        But seriously, how many times should I have to purchase the same music?

        As many times as it takes before you learn to take care of your music. ;)

    • I actually tend to like web radio services like Pandora and Last.fm better for that sort of thing, but I definitely appreciate being able to listen to an entire album before I buy it, and the record companies have zero stake in allowing that to happen.

  • by cashman73 (855518) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:19AM (#26528929) Journal
    I'm with the Judge on this one! Even when I first started downloading music on Napster, I often wanted to get a better perspective of a particular musician or group before purchasing CDs or going to a concert. There are a lot of artists out there whose music I enjoy that I would not have if I had not downloaded their music. Much in the same way as listening to the radio -- except that, thanks to major corporations buying out all the radio stations in the country, that media is now dead. Sadly, the music industry neither has accepted this, nor have they embraced the new media (internet). Hopefully, they'll eventually realize that you can't sustain an entire industry based on income from lawsuits alone, and get with the times. If they don't get this, then I say, let 'em die!
    • I'm with the Judge on this one! Even when I first started downloading music on Napster, I often wanted to get a better perspective of a particular musician or group before purchasing CDs or going to a concert. There are a lot of artists out there whose music I enjoy that I would not have if I had not downloaded their music.

      You're not with the judge, the judge thinks there's little incentive to buy a song you have downloaded for free. You and I know the opposite is true: We are most likely to buy a CD from an artist we have downloaded than one we have not.

    • by samkass (174571)

      The judge said that just because you downloaded it, doesn't mean you would have bought it if you hadn't downloaded it. I didn't see mentioned, but a point I think is equally valid, is that just because you downloaded it, it doesn't mean you didn't ALSO buy it! I found a bunch of MP3s in my collection awhile back from an ancient "lets rip our CDs and pool our music at work" server from the early days of MP3 ripping. I went and deleted the ones I didn't like and bought the ones I did. RIAA's claim doesn't

  • 1. perform a song (Score:5, Interesting)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquar ... m ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:20AM (#26528937) Homepage Journal

    2. distribute it online for free
    3. make cash via ancillaries: special fan material, concerts, etc.

    this is the economic model of the music industry for the future. probably for books and movies too

    of course, there is always room for step 1.5: go into contract with a traditional music conglomerate to massively hype your music and reap larger windfalls of ancillary cash. this represents though a radically different business model for the traditional industry stalwarts: promoter. and nothing more. a much smaller financial footprint. oh well

    but what there is NO more room for is revised step 2: charge for your music online

    yes, itunes is radically successful and profitable. but mainly because it matches a low price point for a useful service: quick download, quality assurance, robust cataloging, easy searching. none of which can't eventually be beaten by competing free services as the riaa and the dead business philosophy it represents fades away

    recorded music, from now on, is nothing more than advertising material

    advertising material for revenue streams comprised of fan-appreciated ancillary materials and live concerts

    • I wish I had mod point for you.

    • If I hadn't already posted and wasn't short a mod point, I would have upped this. You don't even need step 1.5 in most cases. The cost to record music has plummeted. You don't need high profile labels anymore to back your album. You can record it digitally in your basement for a small upfront cost that you never need to pay again. I have heard basement digital recordings that are almost indistinguishable from big-time huge studio recordings.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Thiez (1281866)

      > probably for books and movies too

      I don't think this will apply to books. How many book-related 'special fan material' do you have? To how many book concerts did you go this year?

      • she can, and has, made money:

        1. reading from her books on stage and other special lectures and appearances
        2. selling special signed copies and other unique author-tweaked material (hand drawn artwork, hand written material, etc.)
        3. selling rights to hollywood to make a movie
        4. selling figurines, MMORPG rights, licensed kids toys...
        5. etc., etc., etc.

        will jk rowling of the future make as much as jk rowling as the past?

        no, not at all. probably a tenth of what jk rowling of the past has made so far. and?

        and no

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mcgrew (92797) *

          Cory Doctorow and Lawrence Lessig manage to sell Little Brother and Creative Commons despite the fact that you can download these books freely under a GPL license.

          The RIAA should take note and do the same. They should stop lying to people and calling a music download a "sale". It's only a rental.

          If I buy a thing, I own it can can do whatever I want with it (save make and sell copies, which is no different from CDs as counterfeit Rolexes). I can loan it to a friend, I can sell it to a used bookstore, I can p

      • See the Baen Free Library [baen.com].

      • by sugarman (33437)

        > probably for books and movies too

        I don't think this will apply to books. How many book-related 'special fan material' do you have? To how many book concerts did you go this year?

        This is exactly the problem facing publsihing (and authors) today. While music can get by on concert revenues, what happens to the writers?

        While there is some small market for ancilary material for books, is that enough to support an author? Printed works will still be made but they may either be similar to academic work (the

    • by Mex (191941)

      recorded music, from now on, is nothing more than advertising material
      This is the saddest thing I've read on Slashdot, ever.

  • by fructose (948996) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:21AM (#26528955) Homepage

    This is basic economics. If the perceived cost doesn't outweigh the perceived benefit, then the rational actor won't do something. IOW, if the cost of a song is more than someone thinks it's worth, they won't buy it. But if the cost is effectively zero, then it only takes a small benefit to make it worthwhile to download.

    I mean, seriously people. I'm no economics expert, but I did take the required class in high school, and I'm pretty sure that was covered. Do these law degree holding people really think you can ignore basic economics and not expect anyone to realize it?

    • Even our economic experts are ignoring basic economics these days, do you really expect lawyers to?

    • This is basic economics. If the perceived cost doesn't outweigh the perceived benefit, then the rational actor won't do something. IOW, if the cost of a song is more than someone thinks it's worth, they won't buy it. But if the cost is effectively zero, then it only takes a small benefit to make it worthwhile to download.

      The RIAA is using the courts to ensure that the cost of downloading a song is far greater than $0.

  • Saying that there is no necessary relation is a huge step, because it throws the whole question open to interpretation. Given that there isn't a one-to-one correlation, it becomes an issue of individual cases as to how many songs are able to be cited as damages by the plaintiff, which does have a major effect on restitution and final costs (since the labels have been basing their claims on a per song basis).

    I can only imagine the indignity of being forced to pay whatever obscene per song is required for som

  • Why?

    If someone downloaded a song, she could make a backup and if the original song (with her email in it) was accidentally deleted, she still has the backup.

    If someone bought a CD, and her dog ate it, she'll have to buy again.

    You guys are kidding yourselves if you think that one pirated song equals one lost sales.

  • Living proof (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rinisari (521266) * on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:36AM (#26529155) Homepage Journal

    There's one band in particular whose entire discography I downloaded. I couldn't find anyone who has the CDs and the previews on Amazon were insufficient. Within a month, I liked it so much that I wanted to have higher-quality, lossless rips and to support the band, so I bought every album the band, and have bought every one since.

    I know I'm certainly in the minority in my desire to support the band for its efforts, but there are more people out there like me.

    • by Kabuthunk (972557)

      Hey, I'm one of 'em. Never heard of a band, downloaded an MP3 on a whim, liked it, got a few more, and long story short, I bought all of their CD's.

      If I were to suddenly get sued for that, I'd smash the cd's with a hammer and tell people not to listen to them.

  • Economics 101... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by clone53421 (1310749)

    Demand at $0 < Demand at $14

    And they get paid to figure this out?

    • Re:Economics 101... (Score:5, Informative)

      by clone53421 (1310749) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:42AM (#26529229) Journal

      Damn it, got the arrow pointing the wrong way... I was too concerned about getting it to show up at all what with the &lt; and all.

      • On top of that:
        Downloads = Demand + Tasting (which _could_ turn into demand)

      • Demand at $0 < Demand at $14

        And they get paid to figure this out?

        Damn it, got the arrow pointing the wrong way... I was too concerned about getting it to show up at all what with the &lt; and all.

        Ah, I thought you were making some kind of psychological statement on the general population's attitudes and perception about worth. You know, the reason why your dad has no problem paying $200 for Windows Vista or a monthly bill for McAfee but scoffs when you talk about open-source software.

        • by MadKeithV (102058)
          I'm a musician, and in my friends-circle I've noticed a trend towards this... Everyone ends up buying the special-cool-edition with alternative packaging, extra songs etc.
          I think all the attention and lawsuits have pushed CDs out of the "commodity" range and into the "luxury" range - everyone's so pissed off at all the lawsuits that they only buy the stuff they are *really* sure about that they want for years to come.
          Everything else gets downloaded, sadly.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by clone53421 (1310749)

            I think all the attention and lawsuits have pushed CDs out of the "commodity" range and into the "luxury" range

            Advancing technology does that all the time, too.

            For example, when the horse-and-buggy were the common means of transportation, horses were a commodity. With the invention of the automobile, horses became a luxury.

  • I've been saying this for years (as have most of you); the fact is that people who steal music are generally just being cheap and greedy. Cheap and greedy don't by CDs, at least not to the extent they would if they couldn't steam them.

    I won't claim no money is lost or the absurdity that the companies actually do better because of copyright infringement, but certainly the damages are no where near what they claim.

    I think they should just look the other way, it's probably costing them more to pursue the infr

    • Afaict thier aim is not to make money from the actual court actions. Instead it is to scare people out of filesharing. It's kinda like the lottery in reverse, filesharing probablly won't cost you anything but if they do decide to pick on you then you are screwed.

      Does it work? I'm guessing it probablly does to some extent. Whether it will be enough to save them is another matter.

  • by the4thdimension (1151939) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @10:42AM (#26529237) Homepage
    Thank god judges are starting to turn up the heat on the RIAA. We really do need more judges like this presiding over these cases. This judge took a step back and asked, "If someone downloads a song, would that mean there is a lost sale? Not always."

    It does not logically follow, by any stretch of the imagination, that a downloaded song is a lost sale. In fact, it may be more logical to conclude that a downloaded song is a gained sale. Maybe not in the sense that I ran to iTunes to download it for $1, but maybe if I liked the song, I went to a concert, or bought a hoodie... both of which put more money in the pocket of the actual artist than the record label.

    Record labels eat ~95% of the money taken in by music sales. This means that "supporting the artist by buying their music" is simply wrong. The artist sees almost none of the money from direct music sales. People, if you want to support your favorite artists, buy a shirt or go see a show. They see almost 100% of that money back, minus the cost of the roadie to see it at a show or the venue they held the show at.
    • put more money in the pocket of the actual artist than the record label.

      That predictable outcome is why the record labels are pooling their money for a large campaign of propaganda and litigation/intimidation.

  • There's a lot of major label music you just cannot buy new (which is the only time they get money on a sale).

    Lots of film scores are out of print in the US. You can only get them used or as imports.

    Sure Patton was an obscure movie with a forgettable soundtrack (sarcasm there folks) but that doesn't mean the only legal way to get a new copy of the original soundtrack (not the re-recording with tora tora tora) should be buying the collector's edition dvd and extracting the soundtrack from the photo-montage on

    • the only legal way to get a new copy of the original soundtrack [...] buying the collector's edition dvd and extracting the soundtrack

      I'm pretty sure that the in the USA, it's illegal to do that because of the anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA.
      And elsewhere, the US has been pushing for that to become law (it's one of the strings attached when the US gives emergency aid in case of natural disaster, IIRC).

      If you (the music labels) want to cut down on illegal music downloads

      They are actively campaigning to make more music downloads illegal. It's control they want, to make sure that the money you have to spend on music goes into THEIR pocket.

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @11:18AM (#26529855)

    my point is that even if I downloaded songs and 'liked the artist' enough to buy more, I am still more likely to buy USED cd's on amazon than new ones.

    first, I control the mp3 quality and encode process (or even flac). second, I know that NONE of my money is going to the riaa or mpaa for movies.

    this is the elephant in the room that no one talks about: used cd and dvd sales NEVER 'help' the artist yet they are 100% legal.

    we have to get away from the whole 'if its not good for the artist, its not good for anyone' thinking. its just wrong. downloading doesn't hurt artists anymore than used cd's hurt them. or help them. the x-axis doesn't "help" the y-axis either - they are different things that have no inherent correlation.

    until 'first sale doctrine' is updated, I refuse to believe the industry in ANYTHING they say about sales, right/wrong or how things 'should' be in some new model they are hoping for.

    as long as I can buy used cd's - I will continue to ignore the industry and its crying about 'fairness'.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ChrisA90278 (905188)

      this is the elephant in the room that no one talks about: used cd and dvd sales NEVER 'help' the artist yet they are 100% legal.

      You can claim the same thing about used cars. How can buying a used Ford help Ford? Well here is how: a good used market helps keep the price of new good up. New goods (cars, CDs, Houses,.. have more value when the buys knows there s potential resale value. With CD's this effect is small but I think it's real. Small with CD's because so few are re-sold, bigger with cars and bu

  • It looks nice on the numbers and sounds easily defensible. However we all know this is untrue. When they find 1.000 Rollex watches, this is not a loss of 1.000 Rolex watches. The problem is that it most likely also will not be 0. So it is somewhere between 0 and 1.000. But where.

    Obviously the 1.000 sounds nicer, especially when you put a value next to it. The same can be said when drugs are cought in large quantities and the street value is quoted. Well, sorry, but the value is wholesale value, not street v

  • That's an important step in legal history. Finally the courts have arrived at where we around here have been for years. But what the courts think matters, what we think matters little, in the context of immediate real-world impact.

    It's a good thing, and it takes away the RIAA/MPAA's most important FUD element.

    I'm certain, in another 3-4 years, the media will arrive at where the courts are now, and stop spreading the RIAA/MPAA FUD unchecked.

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.

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