RIAA wins round one of many – Read it and weep!
According to a BBC News article, a US court has found against a woman in the first case of an individual contesting the claim of illegal file sharing by the RIAA. It would seem that the birds are finally coming home to roost for the recording industry’s legal truncheon against this activity, but the question remains as to who really wins/loses out in the deal?
The initial impression is that this outcome would deter others from contesting similar claims in future, instead seeking to settle out-of-court by paying the few thousand dollars demanded by RIAA. It certainly seems better than the threat of having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars should they lose their legal appeal as in the case of the above defendant (She has been ordered to pay over two hundred thousand dollars in damages).
However some analysts are of the opinion that this could very well be an own goal by the recording industry for several reasons:
- Major labels may now wish to rely more on these lawsuits to protect their profits instead of fully focusing on creating more innovative and profitable business models for their music content.
- Customers are being further alienated by their possible exposure to this type of legal threat, especially where they cannot prove they did not download the content. It was the neighbour’s cat. Honest.
- Finally the lawsuits do not seem to have had any significant impact on the rapid decline of the recording industry’s CD centric business models, nor has it provably reduced the sharing of files by consumers.
In the words of Paul Resnikoff, Editor of DigitalMusicNews, ‘time is running out’ for the major labels, therefore they should focus their dwindling resources on more constructive initiatives than individual infringement lawsuits, if they are to survive this seemingly terminal market disruption.