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An anachronistic industry

December 31, 2007

Extracting money by any means necessary seems to be the sole purpose of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). You may not agree with my appraisal of that group, but read this article and you might be tempted to agree with me.

The RIAA is understandably concerned over slumping record sales. They point the finger of blame at file sharing technologies for the drop in revenue. I believe that the industry’s loss of profits is due to inflexibility and hubris.

Rather than adapting to change, the music industry unleashed the RIAA to try to teach the consumer lessons in copyright enforcement. At first, the RIAA contented itself with attempting to stop the practice of on-line music sharing. Because music recordings take money to create, produce, package, deliver and advertise, their attempts at shutting down file sharing is understandable. However, their efforts at modifying behavior through litigation have infuriated the public and driven away potential customers.

Now this group of lawyered-up suits is claiming that people who transfer music from legally purchased CD media to computers for any purpose are guilty of copyright violations — and subject to legal action. In an age where we like music to be portable, the RIAA seems to be of the opinion that we must carry around CD players and a large supply of purchased CDs. I’m sure that some people thought it was cool to carry “boom boxes” around, but I don’t happen to think so. It looked ridiculous 25 years ago and it would look even more ridiculous today.

There are a large number of media players and portable mp3 players. Whether its streaming media throughout your home or playing your favorite music while travelling, it’s all about portability and collections. Locating and changing CDs is time consuming and not acceptable in today’s world.

The RIAA is out of step with the world we live in. If the courts don’t take the side of the consumer, there is but one option: stop buying music in any form for a few months or even years. The music industry will soon realize that today is the day of portable digital media. Once that concept is understood, the business people can develop acceptable business practices that embrace the new technology.

Until next time,
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