I am very happy to be a US citizen. It is like winning the lottery. Many companies around the world do not have the benefit of being in the US, and hence cannot get a fair trial. In America, we have a “Rule of Law” system. People and companies can be tried in a somewhat fair way, and many times they can actually defend themselves. Citizens and companies alike. There is no less than an entire lifetime of blog material about how this system is used abused. But I digress.
Back on point: It turns out that someone read a little deeper into the copyright law and historical rulings, discovering that a party probably cannot sue someone who may have given music or copyright materials to someone else, but the party (read RIAA) would actually have to show the entire scenario of illegal distribution from download source, to the specific hard drive it landed on, to the next person who picked it up in full, and in turn handing it off to someone else. Since that someone else could be using another ISP, then discovery is even more complex.
According to this article:
“The judge is now saying that he may have committed a “manifest error of law” in his jury instructions by overlooking controlling Eighth Circuit authority…”
Copyright is a terrific concept, and will probably be a part of the US law for a long time. The companies that rely on it need to understand the ever-changing marketplace and how older distribution models are no longer working. These companies have had MANY years to figure this out – since Napster hit the scene for mp3 issues. Yet, they ignore these trends and only want to hold on to what they know.
I think it is a witch hunt and a complete waste of time for the RIAA – who can do whatever they want – to go after teens who are grabbing music for free off the Internet. The RIAA could do so much more with these lawyers, and their profits. They could have a huge marketing campaign that actually helps explain to the US population (especially schools) how copyright law works. They could spend that money coming up with new distribution models, and give more profits to the artists to get them on board. (A common excuse the RIAA claims is that P2P networks are stealing from the artists, but the artists are only getting a small percentage of the overall profits.)
Instead of Seize, Arrest and Fine, someone needs to consult over there and change the way they are doing business. Imagine someone who goes to the RIAA and says “Look, you are spending millions on lawyer fees just to show people that they are stealing. People ARE still stealing, and they are getting more clever about how they are stealing. Why not spend more on education of the law, instead of intimidation? Why not use those millions in layer fees to work with R&D and come up with something like iTunes, Hulu and Sirius streaming radio?”
The only people who do not get the fact the RIAA is dying is the RIAA. Those old Fat Cats are like mobsters, saying to their henchmen:
“STOP THEM, NOW!!! They are taking our profits (cough cough hack)!”
Instead of saying
“The market is telling us something. Times are changing and we need to look at it as it is and where it is going and make changes we may not understand at first. Lets give the artists another 2 percent increase to use our new method of distribution, and steal away the motivations of the people who download music for free.”
When Jack Welch was poised to rebuild General Electric – he turned the company from a $14 Billion company to a $410 Billion company. He started by removing products and services that either did not make money or were the market was overly-saturated. He was clear minded about where to make money and how to avoid wasting it on overly saturated markets. Steve Jobs did the same thing when he returned to Apple. He shut down entire engineering projects that were proof-of-concept and couldn’t generate profits. Jobs KNEW what attracted people to Apple’s market, and so did Jack Welch for GE. Both were exceptional at turning around their respective companies.
The RIAA is the old guard, who really does not understand the future. They are clinging on to their old business models, and holding tightly with screwed up ancient faces and white knuckles, in smelly moldy blue suits. They are dying, and so is their business model. They are running to the top edge of the sinking ship. It is impossible to change the way the Internet is going, and the RIAA is never going to regain their financial position with their current business model. Places throughout the world, before Napster was founded, pirated music and movies. The RIAA could have had their R&D departments looking out for a Napster opportunity, but they ignored it and missed the boat.