Monday, October 26, 2009

RIAA moves into fancy new Pennsylvania Ave. digs

At least according to a preview of a new documentary on the Joel Tenenbaum case by Bricks and Mortar Media:

On a more serious note, the title cards of the documentary contain several errors. The first card says:
Since 2003, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has filed over 35,000 lawsuits for copyright infringement.
First, the RIAA doesn't file the lawsuits against individuals; the record labels file the lawsuits, with the RIAA in a coordinating role. Second, the "35,000" figure is way off. Admittedly, the counting gets a bit tricky, because of overlapping lawsuits against unidentified "Does" and, in some cases, named individuals. But, as this declaration filed by record label attorney Matt Oppenheim in June 2009 makes clear, the number is nowhere near 35,000. According to Oppenheim's declaration, the labels "contacted" about 18,000 people regarding alleged infringement, and filed about 7,000 lawsuits against named individuals. Ars Technica has further details here.

Another card reads:
As it stands, Tenenbaum owes $675,000 ($22,500 per song). He and his lawyers are appealling [sic] the verdict.
But procedurally, this is jumping the gun. Judgment has not even been entered against Tenenbaum yet; as of today, he doesn't owe a dime. And, since there's no judgment, Tenenbaum has yet to file a notice of appeal.

I look forward to watching the rest of the documentary, but, so far, I'm less than impressed with its fact-checking.


  1. I followed your updates on Ars Technica during the trial. It is good to see a knowledgeable person such as yourself actually do some fact-checking. It's also refreshing to see the "other side" of the story instead of the incessant anti-RIAA pro-piracy drivel. Keep up the good work.

    Copyright in the Internet Age

  2. Kevin let's not forget there are also many independent artists who object to the big business agenda of the RIAA. They are hardly pro-piracy.

    Like you I thank Ben for providing the facts.

  3. Good point. Both Independent and major labels are important and hopefully provide a healthy balance in the market to which the consumer benefits. However, intellectual property rights are important to every artist whether they are with a major label or are independent. The anti-RIAA pro-piracy crowd seem to no longer believe that someone has inherent (natural) rights in their artistic creation. They argue that music (and other media) should be free. This mindset is dangerous and would result in a great reduction in the amount and quality of the arts society produces.

    Copyright in the Internet Age


Comments here are moderated. I appreciate substantive comments, whether or not they agree with what I've written. Stay on topic, and be civil. Comments that contain name-calling, personal attacks, or the like will be rejected. If you want to rant about how evil the RIAA and MPAA are, and how entertainment companies' employees and attorneys are bad people, there are plenty of other places for you to go.