In response to the editorial in Thursday’s paper regarding the RIAA: While I agree that children should be dancing in the streets because the RIAA has finally come to grips with the reality that their policies aren’t panning out as a long-term strategy, the proposed solution of the editorial board makes even less sense. For the sake of my argument, I won’t even touch the numbers (music sales haven’t dropped dramatically), but just address the proposed strategy.
According to the editorial, the RIAA should “chop the heads off the file-sharing monsters named LimeWire, Ares, and BearShare.”
This strategy has never worked in the past. These easy to use programs make up a tiny share compared to other software and going after the software makers (BearShare has litigation pending right now, if I’m not mistaken) will not stop file-sharing.
File-sharing has been alive and well since Napster’s fallout in 2001 thanks to BitTorrent and exhcanges on IRC. Users are becoming smarter about using these technologies and setting up private, invite-only databases allowing them to slip below the radars of the RIAA and MPAA, which regulates movie sharing.
Rather than embrace the technology like it should have 10 years ago, the RIAA continues to use an archaic business model to retain its control in the music industry (and the MPAA in the movie industry). More than likely they can see the writing on the wall – successful programs like the iTunes store mean that artists can release their work online and make a profit while doing so, thus rendering the RIAA and its formerly locked-down production and distribution network obsolete.
Instead, consumers have become used to a “get it for free” mentality and are no longer willing to pay the $15 for an album or even $0.99 for a track. RIAA has lost its control on the market and is now paying the price for its resistance to adopt new technologies.
Andrew Wilson is a senior masters of accounting major from St. Louis, Missouri.