The RIAA has lost touch with reality

Written by Tim Smalley

January 15, 2008 | 13:48

Tags: #college #copyright #industry #lost #reality #recording #students #touch

Companies: #riaa

When we thought that the recording industry’s fate couldn’t get any worse, the RIAA drops another bombshell that goes to show that it really has lost touch with reality.

CNet’s Don Reisinger managed to get in contact with Cara Duckworth, a representative for the RIAA, and asked ten straight questions to give the organisation a chance to clear the bad blood. Sadly for music fans, the answers that came back could prove even more damning than the crusade the RIAA has been on for the past couple of years.

Duckworth said that its latest round of action against students, which includes 407 pre-litigation settlement letters sent to 18 universities in the US, was “by no means our first choice, but a necessary step we had to take.

But given that the only alternative that the RIAA has offered up was to actively invest resources “in the education of students of all ages on the value of music and the importance of copyrights,” there isn’t a lot of evidence to suggest that the bullying tactics it has employed in recent times aren’t its favourite deterrent.

When Reisinger asked Duckworth why the RIAA was going after an easy target, the response tells you everything you need to know about the RIAA’s current vision. “College students have reached a stage in life when their music habits are crystallised, and their appreciation for intellectual property has not yet reached its full development,” said Duckworth.

Out of everything that Duckworth said, this is probably the standout statement that shows why the recording industry has really lost touch with its customer base – it really is a sorry state of affairs. Duckworth later stated that college students “used to be some of music’s biggest fans, unfortunately that is no longer the case.” That couldn’t be farther from the truth and Duckworth is essentially saying that students that illegally download music aren’t fans of music – insulting the intelligence of one of the recording industry’s biggest customer bases isn’t going to close the flood gates.

Later in the interview, Duckworth did say that the RIAA wants to take action against those that are facilitating mass piracy, but the organisation is still working with the US Government to encourage countries to bring their copyright laws in line with those in the United States. In the meantime, it seems like the organisation is quite happy to continue going after the easy target, which the RIAA believes is working – even though independent studies suggest otherwise. A recent study from NPD says that only 50 percent of Mac users paid for their music in the third quarter of 2007, while 84 percent of PC users chose not to pay for music in the same quarter.

There’s much, much more to read on CNet’s The Digital Home blog – don’t forget to drop into the forums to share your thoughts with us.
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