Last week the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) held a meeting talking about SOPA/PIPA , the future of being able to curb piracy and illegal downloading . What the RIAA didn't expect was that their PowerPoint would be leaked to millions, and expose them for exaggerating the truth in regards to P2P and illegal downloads. Many of us have known that those who have the most money hold the most power. But what if those with the most power abuse that all under the guise of piracy? That is what the RIAA has been doing for a long time now. I don't want to come off as being anti-RIAA because there are some thing that they do right in protecting the industry, but the area of piracy and illegal downloading is one are that they have blown it tremendously. When you summon a single mother and sue her for damages totaling over $260,000 or claim that LimeWire owes you the laughable sum of $75 trillion dollars for damages (a sum greater than the gross domestic product of the entire globe), then you should probably take a step back and rethink your strategy.
The RIAA have powerful allies in the congressmen and woman of Washington. Now you have a powerful corporation teaming up with the lawmakers in Washington - and that makes for a very bad combination for the rest of the world. The USA has become the United States of Corporations, and our representatives who are suppose to be representing our interests as the people are now passing laws to benefit lobbyists like the RIAA. The RIAA should be sued for abusing their power and should be put under new management. After all, they fought the new digital age of music instead of embracing and working with digital distributors. To me, they come off as being like my grandma who never embraced any of the new technology and still owned her rotary dial up phone right to the end.
So, back to this PowerPoint ordeal. I have included one of the photos of the presentation- and here it is:
What the chart shows is that P2P file sharing has actually declined by 6% from December 2010 to December 2011 and paid downloads have actually increased by 3% in the same period. This chart presented by the RIAA goes contradictory to what they have been telling the American public and congress. The stunning part of the chart is the line that shows that most unpaid music comes from people letting other people borrow a CD or ripping it for them. That is not what the RIAA have been saying. They have been claiming that illegal downloading has been the culprit and that it is ruining the industry.
What this concludes is that maybe the RIAA should be rethinking its business model and stop exaggerating the truth - or maybe they should stop being hypocrites. In December of 2011, (at the same time the RIAA was putting this PPT data together) it was revealed that the same company that sues everyone for illegally downloading music was in fact illegally downloading episodes of Dexter to the tune of $9 million (you can read about the RIAA's illegal downloading activity here). Maybe they should have included that on the PowerPoint.
Kevin "Danger" Jackson is a New York-based producer, engineer, composer, performer, educator and Berklee College of Music alumnus. He writes, produces and engineers music for a wide range of artists in the pop, hip-hop, rock, R&B, classical and electronic genres. His work can be heard daily on a multitude of albums, radio and television stations worldwide.