- Where's the money going, by John Gorman: 29th September
credit to writer, John Gorman
Bainwol is the new Chairman of the Record Industry
Association of America (RIAA), the non-profit organization
and lobby group, representing the top five music labels.
Hes paid a million dollars a year plus munificent
expenses to help major labels rid the country of unlawful
music downloading renegades. Hes a staunch Republican
dealmaker with unrestricted access to the President.
To establish territory, insiders claim that Bainwol
surreptitiously put current RIAA president Carey Sherman
on a 60-day performance evaluation. Hes in Bainwols
doghouse for offering amnesty to those willing to
remove music from their P2P files.
whose favorite music is rumored to be German World
War II marching songs, chortled over news of the first
group of music downloading criminals sued under his
watch. Among them is Brianna Lahara, a 12-year old
African-American girl, who lives in a New York housing
project. Her single mother, Sylvia Torres, scrimped
and saved and obtained supplementary poverty level
assistance so Brianna could receive a respectable
education. The RIAA suit coincided with Briannas
first day in the seventh grade at St. Gregory the
Great Catholic School in Manhattan.
reached an agreement to pay a $2,000 fine to settle
the case, according to the RIAA. The organization
refused to discuss how the settlement amount was reached.
In the RIAAs world $2,000 is spare change for
a single mother living in Harlem. The RIAA claimed
Brianna received a significant financial break since
the actual penalty the theyre allowed to charge
is $150,000 per downloaded song, according to the
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
DMCA, which was clandestinely passed by Congress and
signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton in
1998, places stringent control on how trademarked,
copyrighted, licensed and exclusively controlled material
is distributed through the Internet. The bill interprets
any Internet audio or video transmission as a perfect
digital reproduction of the original recording. In
reality, file-shared music on MP3 and distributed
by peer-to-peer (P2P) programs isnt even close
to an exact copy. MP3 distributed audios fidelity
is highly compressed.
Washington-based P2P United, an industry trade association,
is paying Briannas $2,000 fine. "We don't
condone copyright infringement, but it's time for
the RIAA's winged monkeys to fly back to the castle
and leave the munchkins alone," said executive
director Adam Eisgrau. P2P United represents six of
the largest file-sharing Web sites, including Grokster,
StreamCast and BearShare.
decade ago when the Internet evolved into a mainstream
medium, P2P creators offered labels propriety right
leasing but couldnt get appointments with label
decision makers. They werent interested in hearing
a pitch on a far-fetched music distribution system
and were content with the gargantuan profits they
were raking in by re-releasing their vinyl record
catalogs to CD. It was found money since, with few
exceptions, the label controlled artist catalogs and
contract interpretation deprived many artists of royalties
from the CD repackages. What the labels didnt
have primed was how they would generate revenue after
the baby boomers replaced their vinyl with CDs. By
disregarding P2Ps, the music industry fell behind
the curve of technology.
of P2Ps for music sharing fall into two categories:
Those who are music lovers and collectors discovering
new music by downloading tracks from albums. These
people buy the actual CD of music they like to hear
full fidelity. The other group is downloaders who
have no intention of buying music. That criterion
hasnt changed since music was first played on
radio, which, initially, was also attacked by labels
claiming that hearing free music would put them out
of business. There are those who buy music and those
who dont. The percentage of music buyers before
and after the introduction of P2P services has remained
the same. Along with Internet radio, P2P music trading,
in less than a decade, has replaced traditional radio
as the prime source of new music exposure.
gets better. When pressed on what the RIAA planned
to do with the money received through settlements
and lawsuits, they were forced to admit that not a
single penny of money collected would be distributed
to recording artists. Instead, the money will be used
to cover expenses for its on-going anti-P2P campaign.
Pity poor Metallica drummer and anti-P2P zealot Lars
Ulrich. . The dumb bastard probably believed some
of that collected money would be distributed to the
artists that created the music. King Nothing.
Mediaman interviews John Gorman - 9th July 2003