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Suing Your Customers: Winning Business Strategy?

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the history-lesson dept.

Music 395

Cobarde Anonimo writes "The Knowledge at Wharton has an interesting text about the RIAA strategy of suing its customers. As Wharton legal studies professor G. Richard Shell writes below, this same tactic was tried 100 years ago against Henry Ford. It didn't work then, and it won't work today."

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FP!!!!!!!112!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172686)

I do not fa1l it????

A shout out (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172694)

to the beat it fp guy.

Again, I'm giving you props for making me laugh.

Noone wants to be defeated.

A study?!? (4, Insightful)

L-s-L69 (700599) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172700)

They needed a study to tell them sueing your customers is a bad idea!? Wow, you piss them off, they dont come back. Basic rule of selling things must be dont piss the customer off.

Glad I got that off my chest.

Re:A study?!? (1)

YouHaveSnail (202852) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172850)

Basic rule of selling things must be dont piss the customer off.

It may be obvious to you, but SCO hasn't yet figured it out. They seem to think that sueing companies gives them strong incentive to buy SCO licenses.

Re:A study?!? (2, Insightful)

Rick.C (626083) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172895)

They needed a study to tell them sueing your customers is a bad idea!?

That's modern science at work, my friend - it may be as obvious as the nose on your face, but it ain't official until you pay for a "study".

No study mentioned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7173012)

The was no study, it was an opinion piece. I know that the desire to be the first post is strong but save that for fark.

Re:A study?!? (1)

triumphDriver (600794) | more than 10 years ago | (#7173125)

I am sure from the RIIA's point of view they are not suing paying customers but people who are stealing from them and not paying.

But in mind mind they they are alienating paying customers also.

Winning strategy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172710)

1. Make quiality software
2. Improve that software
3. Point out your biggest competition is smelly hippes, like RMS
4. Profit!!

BUT HEY! (-1, Troll)

Sir Haxalot (693401) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172713)

we can still sue them for monies%(%&(! WE WIN :D

Re:BUT HEY! (2, Insightful)

Colosse (522266) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172909)

Did you read the article? I guess not. The whole point is not about suing RIAA or anything, the article state quite simply that suing customers is a bad business practice. And that over time, peoples take side with David and not Goliath.

But!!! (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 10 years ago | (#7173113)

But it took 8 years! In this industry, 8 years is a lifetime.

Re:BUT HEY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7173087)

c'mon Devin, you can do better than that.

RMS/FSF will be lawsuit happy real soon (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172719)

Just wait, RMS/FSF will sue anybody and anyone real soon to:

- Prevent them from releasing some software package on time
- Hurt them financially
- Extort a 'fine' and a 'donation' to FSF

I fully expect to see one or more high profile software companies take many million dollar hits from this within the next 5 years.

Free software is public domain.

Cripple-license software is GNU/FSF and is not free.

First Haiku (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172721)

First Post Evades Me
All I got is seventh post
I am a failure

Re:First Haiku (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172817)

You are even a failure at Haiku!!!

YOU FAIL IT!!

One would have thought it obvious (-1, Redundant)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172726)

...Duh....

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Sir Haxalot (693401) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172756)

+4 Insightful methinks!

And yet ... (1)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#7173068)

the RIAA keeps doing what everyone else thinks is an astonishing self-destructive and stupid thing. In fact, they're ramping up for more of the same.

Never underestimate your opponents capacity for stupidity.

Suing your customers *does* save industries! (4, Funny)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172732)

The lawyer profession is still alive and well, isn't it? ;)

Re:Suing your customers *does* save industries! (2, Funny)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172886)

That's because they sue *other* lawyer's customers.

Re:Suing your customers *does* save industries! (2, Interesting)

Sir Haxalot (693401) | more than 10 years ago | (#7173065)

The lawyer profession is still alive and well, isn't it? ;)
Well... sort of. Once the lawyers that work for RIAA have stopped working for them, they'll probably find it harder to get work. Would you want to employ a lawyer that sued a 12 year-old [siliconvalley.com] for downloading music?

One big difference (4, Interesting)

Tebriel (192168) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172734)

The judge wasn't constrained by laws such as the DMCA and other nonsense that favors business over innovation. The same scenario today would probably have swung against Ford, despite public support.

Re:One big difference (-1, Flamebait)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172828)

Aah, but the RIAA, etc has the US government on its side, doesn't it? DCMA, copyright extensions, etc, etc. Do you really need further proof that your government is run by bought-off politicians for special interests rather than for public interest?

Re:One big difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172984)

Yes, you silly pseudo-intellectual, you! No Fox News for you, eh? It's CNN all the way!

Re:One big difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7173063)

so did the auto association in ford's situation. your point?

Re:One big difference (4, Insightful)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 10 years ago | (#7173077)

Did you RTFA? The association DID have patent law on their side.

However, the whoile point of article was that suing the entire population will not win you any favors in Congress. Already there are rumblings about turning back some of the DMCA as a direct result of the outrage of RIAA's subpoena-a-thon. If the RIAA makes themselves less popular than telemarketers, no amount of money will be able to keep laws like the DMCA on the books.

Not that we should be telling them this. I see the RIAA's actions the best chance we have to get the DMCA rolled back and I would encourage them to sue more 12 year old girls.

They found step three (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172739)

1. Make product.
2. Advertise product
3. Sue anyone that does or does not buy said product

4. Profit!!

Well common sense was never (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172746)

the RIAAs forte...maybe they can litigate themselves out of existance...or maybe they and SCO can join forces and sue each other.

More commenly known as... (5, Funny)

nizo (81281) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172752)

....about the RIAA strategy of suing its customers....

I think this is more commonly known as an "exit strategy" in the business world.

Re:More commenly known as... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172863)

Exactly, the RIAA finally realized that thier time is up. Why not go out with a bang?

The best thing about the strategy (5, Interesting)

chia_monkey (593501) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172753)

They best thing about the RIAA's strategy is that their heavy-handed tactics have brought them to the mainstream press and now has A LOT of people pissed at them. Before, it was just rumbling amongst the geeks and a few other industry players. But suing 12-year olds, suing thousands of people, going after anyone and everyone with reckless abandon, has forced even the most average news-reading Joe to go "man...what a bunch of sleezeballs". Had the RIAA kept this an underground fight and sued more discriminately, they may have succeeded in their scare campaign. Luckily they didn't and now that it's in the mainstream press maybe something will be done to halt their actions.

Re:The best thing about the strategy (1)

shaka999 (335100) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172904)

They have pissed people off but they have also educated ma and pa kettle. Too many times parents are ignorant of what the law is and how it applies to the internet world.

Obvious? (2, Insightful)

indros13 (531405) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172762)

Yes. But the professor's quote of Henry Ford sums up why the RIAA is pursuing this strategy anyway:
lawsuits against new technologies provide "opportunities for little minds ... to usurp the gains of genuine inventors ... and under the smug protest of righteousness, work a hold-up game in the most approved fashion."

It's all relative... (0, Insightful)

-Grover (105474) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172763)

1) Sue our customers so they have no money
2) ???
3) Profit!

I really think the RIAA is screwing themselves on this pretty bad though. People are going to go back underground where it's multitudes more difficult to track. Piracy is not going to go away because of the lawsuits.

The RIAA could have done all this differently and made a TON of money with a good marketing scheme, but instead they went for the throat and screwed themselves. They won't ever be able to 100% protect against it, and it won't fade on it's own. I just see it as bad business planning, and nothing more.

The other side of it is there are alot of good indy artists who provide their music free to download, and don't answer to the RIAA. I have a feeling you'll see more people take this route eventually, and less rap stars turned producers...

Just my $.02

Re:It's all relative... (1)

blitziod (591194) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172997)

yea but even if they are not members of the riaa they are assumed to be in the US.

wow.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172766)

Ok so i dont want to burn my karma,
but sofar what a piss poor responce by everyone,
basicly just me two's, not evena good karma whoreing of 'In Soviet Russia Your customers Sue you'

Re:wow.. (1)

Colosse (522266) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172979)

Actually it's : In America, your customers sue you, litterally. Ask McDonald about the warning on the coffee cups stating that the content IS HOT. All of this came from peoples that used the system. The have no common scence, but the aren't as stupid as we say since they got richer, who knows if it was on purpose.

And what do SCO wanna do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172767)

Sue people to make them become customers....

go figure..

Oh shit, I mentioned SCO..

Darn there I go mentioning SCO.. Shit!

Be patriotic. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172769)

Join the army. [informatio...house.info]

New licensing agreement for all products. (4, Funny)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172771)

By purchasing our products, you agree to be bound by the terms of this licensing agreement:

1. Upon clearance of your check by the bank, we will sue you.

2. You agree to settle out of court for whatever amount we ask.

3. Failure to follow the terms of this agreement are grounds for lawsuit.

Profit lust... (2, Insightful)

xenoweeno (246136) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172772)

...drives corporations and conglomerates to do morally repugnant things like suing its customers in order to achieve the all-important goal of preventing revenues from dropping from previous years'.

On the other hand, its also the same thing that drives corporations and conglomerates to be penny wise and pound foolish. Dirty money from suing children is a source of income that is necessarily limited. It will end. The individuals in the RIAA aren't stupid: they know it will end, too.

However, the RIAA, the entity itself, will charge ahead anyway.

Think again... (2, Interesting)

johnwyles (704259) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172777)

It didn't work then, and it won't work today.

Think again, this is scaring everyone around me into going out and buying CD's or purchasing rights to the music (mp3's) online. I think it is worthwhile for the RIAA to bring on these lawsuits. I only think they were too late in the game that it may not have near the effect it would have had had it been a few years back and with slightly different tactics.

Re:Think again... (1)

Sir Haxalot (693401) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172898)

Think again, this is scaring everyone around me into going out and buying CD's or purchasing rights to the music (mp3's) online
Then why has the number of filesharers gone up?

Re:Think again... (1)

Kyn (539206) | more than 10 years ago | (#7173002)

You know what? I have been buying music...

Just not RIAA shit. In the past month I've bought five albums. All five were released on indie labels. I'm not buying less music, I'm buying more. Just not the crap they're trying to unload on people.

And if for some unknown reason I want an album from an RIAA label, I'll buy used from a local merchant. It supports local business without supporting the RIAA.

In closing: The RIAA can blow me.

Love, luck, and lollipops.

Re:Think again... (1)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 10 years ago | (#7173033)

You're really going out and buying all kinds of CDs in an attempt to legitimize the illegal distribution of music contained on those CDs? Are you daft? If you are sharing the files, you are violating a copyright... and no amount of buying CDs will help. If you have downloaded the files, you may still be violating a copyright (personally I don't think this meets the technical definition), but wouldn't it be easier to delete the file(s) than go on a buying spree?

Music monopoly (1, Insightful)

Izago909 (637084) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172782)

I'm no psychic, but I think I might understand the "logic" behind the suits. Since the RIAA dominates the popular music market, they probably think it's safe to sue some people without losing too many customers. I mean, where else is little Cindy going to go for that latest Brittney Spears record? It's just a shame that more people don't know, or don't care, about small labels and independent artists. I guess some just find it hard to beleive that there are people out there who love making music more than their love of outright profit.

Re:Music monopoly (1)

pmz (462998) | more than 10 years ago | (#7173056)

I mean, where else is little Cindy going to go for that latest Brittney Spears record?

It's telling that the only people that the RIAA truly and successfully locks into their business model are 12-year-olds, yet they will even sue them, too.

As an adult, I have come to fully appreciate the value of going without if it means sticking it to someone, if only for the sake of negotiation. Most 12-year-olds haven't learned this, yet, hence N'Sync and Britney Spears. Yes, these bands are products sold to a demographic of insecure children. God bless the RIAA.

Re:Music monopoly (1)

PeterGraves (27634) | more than 10 years ago | (#7173070)

Well, if who ever is getting Cindy her latest Britney fix is pissed at the RIAA instead of scared, they may download it because they refuse to pay the RIAA, whereas if this had not happened they may have been more then happy to drop the $20 to get the nice printed cd cover.. Depends how much they annoy the average consumer..

this is New news? (1)

baneblackblade (682424) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172791)

I thought we'd already decided the RIAA screwed themselves up by doing this. Maybe to push the point further, rather than repeating ourselves we should have a coup de etat and take over the RIAA offices, turning all they're computers into a massive LAN party. I don't think any authorities will mind, really, since they are targets of the RIAA's scheme as much as anybody. And the RIAA has been walking a fine line of legality as it is so far...

They're not customers (1, Insightful)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172794)

A customer is someone who buys something from you. If you download MP3s illegally, you're not buying them from any of the record labels. Therefore, the RIAA is not suing any its (technically, the labels') customers!

Theives are not customers. It's plain and simple.

Re:They're not customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172829)

So far, most of the people who they've sued have been shown to own dozens and in some cases hundreds of actual CDs. Therefore, they are customers.

Untrue (1)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172911)

They're also suing potential customers (12 year olds with no money *yet* but the desire to listen to music) and mistakenly suing customers (65 year old grandmas using Macs, who since they don't use Kazaa, have probably bought at least *one* CD in their 65 years, more likely more, especially as gifts if not for their own sake).

In the business world, anyone with money is a potential customer, and the process of courtship is what determines whether you get that money or not.

Re:They're not customers (4, Insightful)

cK-Gunslinger (443452) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172914)


A customer is someone who buys something from you

Fine, instead of calling them customers, call them "the market" or "potential customers" or even "previous customers." Either way, they represent the people with whom the RIAA have the greatest potential to do business.

They are music lovers. The RIAA members sell music. Ergo, it is *not* in the RIAA's best interest to piss off these people. Pretty straight-forward, if you ask me.

Re:They're not customers (1)

kovy (706771) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172932)

Good point. If anything, you might say that the RIAA is actually trying to win goodwill from paying customers, protecting their interests, etc...

Yes, they are... (1)

polaar (564379) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172964)

At least, the majority of them are.
They can be both customer and thief. If they also buy music legally, they are customers. In this case, the RIAA are suing their customers.
The importance of this: their customers might be thieves, but by suing them, they risk losing them as customers...

Re:They're not customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7173045)

That would be true if the RIAA were suing people who download music, but they're not, they're suing people who share large amounts of music. Most of the biggest filesharers are people who actually pay for the CD and rip it to their hard drive. Therefore they ARE paying customers... the thieves are the very people the RIAA ISN'T suing.

Re:They're not customers (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 10 years ago | (#7173114)

Given the ubiquity of the RIAA's music, most consumers of music undoubtedly have a long-standing relationship with the RIAA. IMO, the RIAA is being incredibly short-sighted in approaching their marketing relationships with consumers. If they start suing consumers who would otherwise provide a long-term (30+years) revenue stream, despite some odd spots of file-sharing, they will produce angry consumers and greatly reduce and possibly lose those long-term revenues.

As for myself, I've committed to avoid purchasing RIAA music and only steer my dollars toward independent labels. I don't use P2P, but I'm personally disgusted that children and elderly are being sued, irregardless of the technical legality of their actions.

Of course it is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172795)

Actually, it is a winning strategy. All you need is one big win, and you're set for early retirement.

About the time the courts handed somebody millions for spilling coffee on themselves while taking the lid off the cup and drinking it while speeding on the shoulder of a busy freeway, the companies learned something:

To make a billion dollars, you can sell a hundred million units at $10 each, OR you can win one or two major lawsuits. Seriously, which way would you go if given these options?

Apart the Ford precedent... (1)

RyoSaeba (627522) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172796)

...nothing that wasn't discussed at length here :)

He must work for SCO.... (4, Insightful)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172808)

From the article: "But having a strong legal claim on the merits is only one factor in legal strategy success. Indeed, this factor is often the least important one from a business point of view." Does this explain SCO?

What's "interesting" about the text... (1, Funny)

Halloween Jack (182035) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172812)

...is that the first part of the introduction to the article is exactly the same as the first paragraph of the article itself. I wish I had that editor's job; must beat workin'.

This shows why. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172814)

I never went to law school. The guy has some valid points but misses the overall point.

In the case of Ford he was actually selling a product. The people could actually see what he had to sell and gave him money in return for that product.

In the current case no one, that I am aware, who downloads music using Kazaa or whatever, pays for that music. They are, in fact, stealing since they are not compensating someone for the product they now have.

I'm not sure why people have such a problem grasping the concept: if you didn't pay for it it's stealing.

previous art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172824)

Anyone ever heard this?

Don't bite the hand that feeds you!

cross-reference to SCO vs. IBM (2, Insightful)

ansak (80421) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172825)

Is it bad karma to mention SCO? Can't resist: the whole time I was reading that article I thought "...and SCO vs. IBM ...and SCO vs. IBM ...and SCO vs. IBM." The parallels are obvious.

Re:cross-reference to SCO vs. IBM (2, Insightful)

Hieronymus Howard (215725) | more than 10 years ago | (#7173099)

Exactly what I thought. The last paragraph perfectly sums up SCO:

As Henry Ford once summed it up, lawsuits against new technologies provide "opportunities for little minds ... to usurp the gains of genuine inventors ... and under the smug protest of righteousness, work a hold-up game in the most approved fashion."

HH
--

Reminds me of Pets Warehouse (4, Interesting)

Dynamoo (527749) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172826)

Reminds me of the infamous Bob Novak of Pets Warehouse who decided to sue some unhappy customers who moaned about his company in a forum for the tune of $15,000,000.

A Slashdot favorite, you can read about it here [slashdot.org] , here [slashdot.org] , here [slashdot.org] and a synopsis here [petsforum.com] and another one here [dynamoo.com] .

Basically, suing the customers backfired horribly and Mr Novak ended up being countersued and lost. A cautionary tale!

Spinning like a top (0, Insightful)

Kombat (93720) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172833)

Whoo, boy, this'll invite the "Flamebait" mods, but here goes anyway.

the RIAA strategy of suing its customers.

This is such a blatant spin, I can only shake my head in awe. The RIAA is not "suing its customers" - it is suing illegal filesharers. While I suppose it is remotely possible that a small fraction of those people actually occassionally buy a CD every few months, and would thus technically make them "customers", the logical connection drawn by the inflammatory statement in the story summary is completely backwards.

If Microsoft, acting with the BSA, took action against an illegal OfficeXP piracy ring in Korea, would you say that Microsoft is "attacking its customers?"

Actually, yeah, you probably would, sorry, bad example. I forgot. Microsoft is evil too. Lemmie see if I can come up with a better one.

If a hacker (oops, "cracker," I'm all over the negative mods today, aren't I) broke into Valve and copied the Halflife2 sourcecode, managed to get it to compile, and started giving away binaries from his website, and Valve sued to shut him down and get injunctions against all those who downloaded the binary, would you say Valve is "going after its customers?"

It's ridiculous. Give us a little credit guys, come on.

Re:Spinning like a top (2, Insightful)

Funksaw (636954) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172978)

QUOTED:
This is such a blatant spin, I can only shake my head in awe. The RIAA is not "suing its customers" - it is suing illegal filesharers. While I suppose it is remotely possible that a small fraction of those people actually occassionally buy a CD every few months, and would thus technically make them "customers", the logical connection drawn by the inflammatory statement in the story summary is completely backwards.

RESPONSE:
The "suing it's customers" deal isn't as inaccurate a claim as you think. Illegal filesharers typically buy MORE music than non-filesharing customers. Why? Because they are exposed to more and more kinds of music.

How else are you going to tell if that new album is any good unless you get a chance to listen to it? And yes, Borders and other places have very recently installed listening booths. But back when everyone got into Napster, back in 1998 or so, that wasn't even an option. (In fact, it could be said that Napster provided the impeteus for the listening booths, no?)

As for Microsoft attacking an illegal OfficeXP piracy ring in Korea, yeah, I don't think anyone would complain about that - just as no one complains about the RIAA hitting "the real pirates" in Hong Kong. Whether legal or not, there's a large ethical difference (for most people) between someone downloading to hear the music, and someone ripping off CDs to sell bootlegs.

Re:Spinning like a top (1)

GeorgeH (5469) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172994)

Uhhh, did you RTFA? The established automobile industry wasn't suing their own customers, they were suing Ford's customers. Due to their patent, they felt they were on as sound legal ground as the RIAA feels today. That didn't matter, because the court of public opinion is where profits are determined, and they fucked themselves royally. The RIAA is in a similar position - alienating potential customers and driving them to the competition.

Re:Spinning like a top (1)

Dark Fire (14267) | more than 10 years ago | (#7173032)

Perhaps the slashdot description is a misnomer. The article talks about the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers suing the customers of Henry Ford's company. The RIAA and Kazaa/Napster provided music to the same market. RIAA is suing the customers of Kazaa/Napster. The situation is not a 1:1 mapping, but that is not the point of the article. The article is about the importance of public opinion. Litigation between a company and a company can be beneficial to the company suing. A company suing the public will be a disaster for the company. That is what the article is trying to say.

L.L. Cool J and Jack Valenti? (1)

TimTheFoolMan (656432) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172838)

Give them a break!

At least the RIAA has given us the hysterical image of L.L. Cool J at the same desk with Jack Valenti. Given their recent track record for providing late-night TV with such opportunities for comedy, the RIAA's lawsuits are the next-best thing to "The Governator" when it comes to the laugh-factor.

Tim

Selden Patent (1)

UrgleHoth (50415) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172848)

ASs the article states:
It was called the Selden Patent and it gave its owners the exclusive right to sell a very basic invention: self-propelled vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. Many people in the car business thought this patent was an outrage - much as some online retailers today are angry that Amazon.com received a patent on its "One-Click" checkout system. But the U.S. Patent Office had issued the Selden Patent and a group of powerful incumbents had purchased it and formed an association to enforce it.

I don't see the relationship between an over encompasing patent, as the Selden Patent and a song copyright for a specific song. I think it is a weak analogy.

In addition, its nice to see that the US Patent Office hasn't changed much in 100 years.

Re:Selden Patent (1)

UrgleHoth (50415) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172983)

Doh, I meant to insert this instead
They had acquired a strategic property right very much like the recording industry's copyrights on recorded songs.

But go ahead and mod me into oblivion anyway for my error.

Price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172849)

How about you just lower the price of CDs to $10 so the 12 year olds can afford it. Duh...

One sentence says it all .... (1, Insightful)

pirhana (577758) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172861)

> No legal rule is strong enough to overcome a radical technical innovation.
This one sentense sums up the the fate of the RIAA crusade. Digitalization of property is a reality and has made their business model outdated. No litigation can stop the wave of changes occuring also. People would never stop sharing things they possess, ever. RIAA can either adapt themselves to this (like news paper industry) or get perished (like whip manufacturers). I wish RIAA understand what Victor Heugo had said long back , "you can stop an invading force, but you cant stop an idea whose time has come".

this is all clinton's fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172874)

i blame clinton

Sue the Radio broadcasters. (1)

sonnik (49704) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172882)

If the RIAA wants to sue anyone for poor sales, they should go after radio station operators (Infinity, Clear Channel).

Really, how many FM music stations in your area really feel compelled to bring you new music you might want to buy? How many of them sound different?

Customers DO like variety, and being able to "browse" you know.

Misconceptions. (1, Troll)

Krapangor (533950) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172883)

  1. These sued people ain't RIAA customers but potential customers of it's member. In fact with increased file sharing these people won't be customers. But the sueing will convert them into customers.
  2. File sharing is illegal. No, please spare any rubbish discussions about "music should be free" or "bad sucking companies". File sharing is illegal by the IP laws in most countries of the world. If you don't like that then you can lobby your politicians. But this doesn't give you the right to break the law. There is something called democratic process. Anything else is anarchy and crime.
  3. It doesn't matter for laws if the damaged party is wealthy or not. People always give this lame "rich companies" excuse for file sharing. But this doesn't matter. You break the law. If you burn down Arnold Schwarzeneggers car, you would get arrested, too, not mattering how much bucks the governator has in his pockets.
  4. Copyright is not an evil invention. If you think about - the whole OSS scene uses it. Artists have rights on their creation. You can't take these away just because they are annoying. And if they choose to lay the commercial use of these right in the hands of the companies, then this is ok. It's their decision and not your. You do not have the right to negate this decision and break the revenue system.

Re:Misconceptions. (2, Interesting)

realdpk (116490) | more than 10 years ago | (#7173124)

These sued people ain't RIAA customers but potential customers of it's member.

That's a dangerous assumption.

Though I'm not one of the sued, I'll give you an example. A friend of mine had a KMFDM CD and let me listen to it. I liked it, and bought myself a copy, but I wanted to see if I'd like their other albums before I went and purchased them. I went online, downloaded some mp3s from their other albums.

At that point I was a customer of theirs, even though I was getting mp3s of other albums online. (Turns out I liked those mp3s too, so I picked up the other albums.)

In fact with increased file sharing these people won't be customers.

This is also a dangerous assumption. It assumes that everyone, everywhere, will eventually be using file sharing to get files instead of buying the CDs in stores. This is impossible under our capitalist system, because *someone* has to buy the CDs.

But the sueing will convert them into customers.

???

File sharing is illegal.

I do not believe there is any law that prevents me from lending a CD I've purchased to a friend. If there is, could you please point me in that direction?

"Customers" is the Wrong Word (1, Troll)

ReadParse (38517) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172884)

Regardless of agreement or disagreement with the RIAA in general or this particular lawsuit strategy, "suing your customers" is a silly way to put it. If I walked into Wal-Mart and stole a case of Coke, they would not worry about whether or not it was a good idea to "put one of our customers in jail". They would be stopping their loss and taking legal action against an offender. If I happened to be a past or future customer, that's a separate issue.

RP

hrmm..... (1)

m00by (605070) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172887)

I think it's somewhat of an elegantly stupid business strategy. sue customers for more money than they would ever spend on BUYING music, maybe alienate them, most likely just make them mad that they have to pay for music ever again. it does make some sense, but only lawyers and moneygrubbing jerks in the music industry would try it. maybe they figure that since everyone already hates them for unleashing such people as brittany speared and and christina whoreguileria, that we cannot hate them any more than we already do... :)

Sue Me ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172891)

Sue me and i'll never consider buying a CD ever again in my life

SCO (2, Insightful)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172892)

This actually sounds much closer to the SCO situation. Form a cabal around some questionable patent (and other intellectual property) claims, then sue everybody who tries to enter the market. Describes the USA's dysfunctional software industry perfectly.

Re:SCO (1)

pmz (462998) | more than 10 years ago | (#7173127)

...the USA's dysfunctional software industry perfectly.

The software industry is going through the growing pains that all industries go through. Right now, we are just getting past the "Model T" phase (e.g., UNIX is the worst OS on the planet, except for all other OSes). Perhaps, in another century or so, we will finally have the Toyota Camry of software, easy, functional, and reliable. Until then, we will have to keep our own mechanics (IT staff) around to fix every breakdown as it occurs.

Missing link (4, Insightful)

nanojath (265940) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172897)

The comparisons are interesting. Now if only there was someone out there truly analogous to Henry Ford - coming out with a true alternative commodity. Kazaa and its ilk are merely repackaging someone else's property, intellectual though it may be - the point of the Ford case is he won based on the reality that the patent was BS. The copyrights the music industry owns are not BS. They're solid. The DMCA may fall but it will still be illegal to dupe and share stuff with someone else's copyright on it.


Still, the ill-will the industry is generating (and the resources it is expending on being the bigger bully) do expand the opportunity of independent publishers to band together and take the high road. Let's hope we get some Ford-scale contenders in the mix soon.

Re:Missing link (1)

tsg (262138) | more than 10 years ago | (#7173116)

Now if only there was someone out there truly analogous to Henry Ford - coming out with a true alternative commodity.

The alternative commodity is the packaging and delivery of the music, not the music itself.

Telling line... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172900)

The most telling line in the article, for me, was the resources it has available to sustain a legal war , yes folks it is a war but the good news is when they lose they die.

new acronym? (1)

spoonyfork (23307) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172907)

F ree
O ur
R ecording
D ownloads!

(lame, I know.. but what the heck)

That's uncanny (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172908)

Because in every discussion about rights that I can remember on Slashdot, at least one person has said "What if the motor car had been patented?"

Well, I guess that's no longer a rhetorical question. And we also know the answer: "not much, as long as just one person is prepared to fight it out rather than cave in."

Length of the litigation (2, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 10 years ago | (#7173074)

Except that the litigation required to overturn the patent took 8 years... or 1/2 of the length of the patent. In that time, the motor car companies made large amounts of money on their ill-gotten gains, and the endless march towards suburban sprawl was pushed back another 10 years.

In short, a real patent lasts 20 years, a fake patent lasts 10. This is "not much?"

Strategy for avoiding RIAA lawsuits (1)

mrtroy (640746) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172922)

#1. Be a true geek, only non-geeks get sued.
#2. Have an obscene amount of music. I dont think they will sue you for 15k per song when you have 10,000+ songs.
#3. Dont live in the US. They only sue americans.
#4. If you cant do #3, at least use a proxy.
#5. Optional: use something like bit torrent to download albums instead of using kazaa.

Simple, easy, I know I will never be sued, I follow all 5!

Re:Strategy for avoiding RIAA lawsuits (1)

sjwt (161428) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172960)

apprenltythere having a go at the universitsy out hear in .AU, on the bright side in Australia
one can only be sued for copyright infrigment bassed on the ammount of proffit said person made.

No proffit, not worht sueing,
they get nothign in return for the lawsuit.

Principle of Methodic Inertia (1)

heironymouscoward (683461) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172923)

Medium-to-large businesses do not generally create or invent business strategies, what they do is to take existing strategies, and refine them slowly and carefully. The biggest reason for doing something is that "it worked before".

(Quite different from the motivation for small teams "damn, that's a great idea!")

So, a business that succeeds once, then twice, in a changing market, is pretty much doomed: they have gone through their innovative phase and now rely on Methodic Inertia to keep going.

The RIAA (like SCO) is just doing what trial lawyers all across America are doing: using lawsuits to extort money. It has worked in the past once or twice.

The point of the article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172945)

Throwing lawyers at the problem won't fix anything.
You need to catapult them instead.

What about this... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7172970)

The RIAA is suing people that are 'sharing' a huge amounts of their CD's with everyone else around the globe. Some people on slashdot think "that's dumb, they are suing their customers!"

What if a person bought all of a company's commercial software, software that is licensed to you to run on only a handful of machines (example: Apple's home license for MacOS X).

Now that person shares all the software they've purchased with everyone around the globe for free. Company X finds out and sues that person.

They are also suing their customer. Would you agree this is also stupid? If so, why? How is it different from buying music and giving it away to everyone?

It's one thing to make a copy of your CD's for your friends. I consider that fair use even if it isn't REALLY legal. But sharing your music with thousands of strangers is just plain WRONG.

Here are some scenarios...

1. You can't afford as many CD's as you really want to have. Tough shit. Work more, earn more, buy more. Borrow CD's from the library and make copies for yourself.

2. The record companies are bastards that are screwing the artists. OK... and stealing their CD helps them how? Save up your money, don't buy their CD's, and go to their concerts instead. Bring a recording device and capture that memory. Write to your favorite bands and tell them you would like to support them, but cannot stand helping the labels.

3. Music should be free. Correct! CD's, however, are not free. You must pay for them. Get used to it and stop whining.

I used to download music off napster, but never shared it. Not much, maybe downloaded 5-10 albums worth of music the entire time. Now I buy songs and albums off of iTunes, or borrow them from my brother and make a copy for myself. I support my favorite artists by watching them live when I can afford it. And when I can't afford it -- I listen to the CD's I already own. I listen to the radio.

RIAA methods not working? (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172973)

Gee, ya think?

What customers? (1)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 10 years ago | (#7172988)

In case you haven't noticed the RIAA is NOT suing customers. The targets of RIAA lawsuits are people who trying to get music WITHOUT PAYING FOR IT. The whole point of the lawsuits is that no matter how many people the RIAA pisses off, scaring people away from filesharing networks means a hell of a lot more record sales in the long run. No matter how many people try to justify Napster and its kin as great promotional vehicles, they aren't- they just allow people to search for and downloading music they already want, thus cutting out profits for the music companies.

Litigation insurance! What a great idea! (3, Interesting)

fain0v (257098) | more than 10 years ago | (#7173007)

If someone offered litigation insurance, I think I would gladly pay. Join a P2P network for a small fee, and have that money go for insurance. If the RIAA decides to sue individuals en mass, this money would be used to fight them. I would rather flush my money down the toilet than give it to the RIAA.

The bottom line.... (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 10 years ago | (#7173024)

I'm your customer. You sue me. Fuck you.
I'm not your customer anymore or ever again.
And what's more, I'll bad mouth you from the rooftops and to my grave.

I'll wage a personal psyops war against your ass for life and my kids will carry on the battle after I'm gone. Grudges can span generations in my family..
SBC spent a lot of time fscking me over and I spend a LOT of my time bad mouthing them. A whole lot of my time.

Bad customer relations can bring down a business. One unhappy customer can do a tremendous amount of damage in lost sales and lost customers. And in my business I deal with the public so I get a much better chance than most people to spread my bad words about SBC..

I don't worry about RIAA or MPAA because I don't do that but like these old folks that are wrongly sued, if I was them I'm not only counter sue I would put the bad mouth on them in spades and maybe even hire a voodoo witch doctor to put a curse on them, their children, their mothers, their cats, their dogs, their fish and their canaries..

Forgivness is for those that are too weak to hold a grudge forever..

RIAA has no alternative (1)

f97tosc (578893) | more than 10 years ago | (#7173029)

, they are redundant at this point.

Sure, they may lose/ piss off customers but they really don't have an alternative business model.

Their business is to distribute music; and guess what, that can be done for dirt cheap by anyone now. It is to be expected that RIAA will fight to the bitter end.

I only hope that more artists realize this as well...

Tor
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