The RIAA is still a nuisance
I’m a user of a paid subscription service for music (the Zune Marketplace), but when Napster was still new I tried P2P filesharing to sample new music. I still bought CD’s over the years and continue to buy a few from time to time even today. There is something that is still satisfying about having the media for albums you really like. Over the last three years or so, I thought that the whole filesharing phenomenon was largely over with the exception of campus networks, which battle the issue at the network layer typically. Stories of the record companies suing individuals haven’t really crossed my radar in a while. From my vantage point I thought that DRM was largely on the ropes (at least for music), the record companies were opening up their business models and filesharing was rapidly dissipating. Boy, was I naive.
Today’s Washington Post has an article on recent judgements against end users sharing files. One of the examples cited in the article involves a $220K judgement against a user sharing 24 (that’s right, twenty four!) songs. This represents damages of over $9000 per song. TechCrunch also has an article about a recent case in which the RIAA argues that it is illegal to rip your own legally purchased CDs to your personall computer. This posture represents an extremely aggressive position by the record companies; some might even say desperate. Yet one thing is clear- the RIAA doesn’t intend to go down without a fight. Despite the new world of YouTube and MySpace for publishing content and gaining notoriety, the old record industry (that adds so little value) intends on sticking around- and sticking it to users- for quite a while.