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The Almighty Buck The Courts Music

RIAA Paid $16M+ In Legal Fees To Collect $391K 387

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In a rare outburst of subjectivity, I commenced my blog post 'Ha ha ha ha ha' when reporting that, based upon the RIAA's disclosure form for 2008, it had paid its lawyers more than $16,000,000 to recover $391,000. If they were doing it to 'send a message,' the messages have been received loud & clear: (1) the big four record labels are managed by idiots; (2) the RIAA's law firms have as much compassion for their client as they do for the lawsuit victims; (3) suing end users, or alleged end users, is a losing game. I don't know why begrudges the RIAA's boss his big compensation; he did a good job... for the lawyers."
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RIAA Paid $16M+ In Legal Fees To Collect $391K

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  • shareholder lawsuit? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:45PM (#32895380) Homepage

    Perhaps people who own shares in the RIAA's member companies should sue for misspending?

  • by EdIII ( 1114411 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:56PM (#32895468)

    recover $391,000.

    I think in this case that means the value of the judgments themselves. What is actually collected from the victims, and what is actually delivered to the RIAA's clients may be another matter entirely.

    Either way, bwahahahahhahahahhahahahahahahahahahah!!!!!!

  • Re:yes... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sporkinum ( 655143 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @11:05PM (#32895522)

    Our household has been contacted a couple of times by our ISP for downloading shows through bittorrent. They said they were contacted by rightsholders. If we are "reported" again, we will lose our connection. As they are the only game in town (outside of satellite) we have stopped.

  • In other news (Score:1, Interesting)

    by meekg ( 30651 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @11:10PM (#32895542) Homepage

    Police spends more money protecting your home than the value of merchandise in it.

    Irrespective of whether music pirating is theft or not, the observation is question is irrelevant, and the "we can get away with it since it's too expensive to stop us" does not help the argument that copying music without restrictions should be legal.

  • Yes! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by crhylove ( 205956 ) <> on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @12:00AM (#32895820) Homepage Journal

    On a related note, am I the only one who won't buy Sony products due to their inability to work without layers and layers of draconian DRM? These corporations are so obsessed with jousting windmills that they are throwing millions of dollars away and losing millions of dollars of sales.

    The MPAA/RIAA and all their constituents WILL go out of business eventually. They are clearly outdated, outmoded, and irrelevant in the internet age. Watching them choke to death on their own stupidity is both amusing and kind of fascinating.

    If Sony is Japanese, does that make them ninjas? If so, THE PIRATES WIN!!!!

  • Re:To be fair, (Score:3, Interesting)

    by twidarkling ( 1537077 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @12:01AM (#32895830)

    Uh, no. Since the music industry is too big to fail, the RIAA is too big to fail by extension

    I find this unlikely. The RIAA does not employ as many people directly and indirectly as auto manufacturers, nor is as much money tied up with them as the banks. Since music artists have proven capable of existing outside the RIAA's structure, it cannot even be sold as necessary to the industry. Thus, they are incredibly unlikely to get bailout money.

    No, the only thing they're likely to get is some laws, maybe, in their favour, and those laws aren't likely to be anything the RIAA actually likes, in the long term, since it'll probably come at the expense of their corporate structure.

  • Re:Good Heavens! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by causality ( 777677 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @12:15AM (#32895898)

    Um, I thought that the RIAA was composed of the major labels, and is in no way directly accessible and/or responsible to "the little people', namely the actual recording artists.

    So what do you suppose happens when there is a certain cost for the artist to deal with a major label, and the RIAA as a trade organization is making decisions that drive up costs for every major label that is a participating member?
    They're "the little people" because they have no veto power, not because they don't bear the costs.

    And it would not shock me if the labels just spread the expense of these legal fee's across the accounts of all their artists [ie, taxation without representation].

    That's generally what happens when there is a significant increase in cost for a corporate entity: all of its clients and/or members experience an increased cost, either in terms of increased fees or in terms of fewer services for the same fee. The question is whether the increase is a legitimate cost of doing business or the direct result of mismanagement.

    The bottom line is that this goes on because we (collectively) fund it.

  • the only people? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hAckz0r ( 989977 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @12:25AM (#32895964)

    the only people who win this game are the lawyers

    That is almost true, but let us not forget the "snake oil salesmen" that sell the DRM that can never do what it is promised it will do. Anyone that invests big money on software to perform DRM is throwing money at a lost cause. Where else can you get millions for handing the end user the media, the algorithm, and the encryption key, and expect them not to be smart enough to put them together? Or better yet, to even use a felt tip marker to defeat it? Oh, their solution is to make doing that illegal. Yet again the lawyers can all have a field day, and not just the ones working directly for the RIAA.

    They could cut the price of the CD's by 50%, not pay for the DRM'ed media/software cost, time to manage the high tech drm-keying process, and save the misery of user support/returns, and still stand to make more money by just selling more music. The problem with that volume-selling concept as the RIAA sees it is the artists would make more money because there would be lower overall overhead expenses to deduct out of the revenue stream before paying out the remaining fraction of profits to the artist. The RIAA depends on this contrived overhead to reduce what is actually paid to the artists. More overhead, more profit at the top! I would hope the artists catch on to this concept one day and actually ask for a 'reality check' (the paper kind preferably) from the RIAA management.

  • Re:Money well spent (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Stormwatch ( 703920 ) <> on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @12:35AM (#32896004) Homepage

    Now significantly fewer people download music.

    Oh, you almost got me there! Someone mod this man +1 funny! XD

  • Re:yes... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @01:23AM (#32896228)

    This happened to me too. I actually got cut off without warning, and was told I could only be turned back on if I wrote a letter of apology to the rightsholder. I wouldn't do that (primarily because I didn't download the offal they accused me of), and got a new ISP. Now I just keep a 2TB external hard drive on me, and pass out free music and movies to anyone who wants them. I'll often throw in free media with a computer repair, it's a great incentive, especially in these economic times.

    I would actually feel bad about it if the people I were hurting were actually people. There is simply no humanity in those executives, and the artists that they feed off of don't suffer one bit from my actions. Hoist the sails landlubbers.

  • by Anachragnome ( 1008495 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @01:42AM (#32896302)

    "...are using up their infinite mod points to protect some of the stories more than others."

    Doesn't even have to be that.

    One person with 15 mod points(for me, that is about 75-80% of the time) can go back in your post history (further they go back in time, the less likely you are to notice it) and mod down 15 "+0" posts, knocking them all into the -1 state. Two people? 30 posts in negative land. Really, it takes very few people to completely ruin your reputation here...except the smart ones on /. know better--they actually read your posts rather then the fucking mod points.

    Let it go. Most of us don't need moderation to know intelligence and wisdom when we see it.

    And yeah...I could see Apple shills working the forums. I could see that quite clearly.

  • Re:Timeline (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Marcika ( 1003625 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @03:06AM (#32896646)

    Thank you for the good chuckle, NewYorkCountryLawyer. I'm curious: where on the timeline of events does this 2008 disclosure form fall? Is that before or after some of the atrocious monetary awards given out by the courts? In other words, will the RIAA see greater collection in the future, based on more recent court cases setting precedent for amounts to be awarded to the RIAA?

    It doesn't matter since the RIAA won't see a red penny from any of those cases -- Jammie Thomas is unemployed and wouldn't be able to pay a 10k settlement let alone 220k or 1.92M. The same applies to Tenenbaum - they might be able to recover a couple of bucks, but he can still choose to go the path of personal bankruptcy.

  • Re:Good Heavens! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by catmistake ( 814204 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @03:30AM (#32896732) Journal

    The bottom line is that this goes on because we (collectively) fund it.

    Right. So what does it cost us? (Any positive figure is unacceptable.)

  • Re:Good Heavens! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @05:38AM (#32897278) Journal

    You want to know what is sad? A few years ago my sis had a neighbor with a violent ex. She had restraining orders, didn't matter, he would come by and beat the shit out of her whenever. She would call the cops, they would show up three or four hours later. Sis asked me what to do because she was afraid the asshole would kill her, I told her to take me to the girl. When I met her I said "You want his ass beaten and thrown in jail? Say the D Word(Drugs). Tell the cops he is beating on your door and you think he has dope"

    Guess what happen next time he showed up? Cops were there in under 3 minutes and after they got done tearing his truck down to the frame looking for the stash they manhandled the fuck out of him, slamming him on the cop car, and then hit him with every little charge they could possibly tack on. He ended up with something like 4 years behind bars by the time they were done. While there are still a few good cops they are damned few and far between. From what I've seen most are just bullies with badges looking to score free dope and cash.

    As for TFA I'll be surprised if the RIAA doesn't cook up a nice powerpoint showing this loss and then end up getting YOU, the American taxpayer to foot the bill. After the whole "too big to fail" bullshit expecting corps to pay their own bills is so passe anymore. Whether you agree with his politics or not I think Ron Paul said it best "What we are seeing from Obama and even from my own party isn't socialism, it's corporatism. The corporations are making the laws and the People simply aren't getting a say anymore". I'd say that with eternal copyrights and DMCA we are seeing perfect examples of that, and I have NO doubt the RIAA will end up sticking us with the bill somehow. It is just how we do business in the United Corporate States of America today.

  • by PimpDawg ( 852099 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @07:39AM (#32897904)
    This is what happened to me once. I posted something negative about C vs C++ in the linux kernel and got modded down to terrible karma. Since all my posts are now -1 nobody reads them, so I never get modded up and can never leave terrible karma land. So I left for Digg. Great system we've got here.
  • by JasoninKS ( 1783390 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @07:52AM (#32898000)
    This makes me think of an old "Bloom County" strip. Seems Bill the Cat's sweat works as a super hair tonic, so the gang is collecting and selling it. Eventually the government says it's illegal and tries to stop the supply, driving everyone to work an underground black market. At one point the government is so proud of a shipment they stopped, which consisted of something like 0.000037% of the supply...but they treated it like a huge haul. The gov't booty was a few small boxes, meanwhile Opus has a massive stash on a fishing pole under the lake.
  • Re:Good Heavens! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:11AM (#32899884) Homepage Journal

    You just made me feel better about our cops here in Springfield. I called them about a home invasion (journaled here) [], and they were at my house in less than five minutes. The invader tried to say that his wife (who was at my house) and I were "smoking drugs" and they ignored it.

    As to the American taxpayer footing the bill for RIAA's legal fees, those fees will at least be deductable. What's even more disgusting is BP's cleanup costs are deductable, too.

  • Re:Good Heavens! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @11:02AM (#32900876) Homepage Journal

    The bottom line is that this goes on because we (collectively) fund it.

    Untill fairly recently when the cost of recording and having records* pressed went down to the point where artists don't need the labels, the only way around it was to not buy records, because there is an illegal but unpunished cartel. Nowdays you can get out of funding it by listening to indie music.

    * CDs are in fact "records"; they are as much records of performances as LPs were. I don't know why people stopped calling them records just because the media holding the records changed.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!