I always knew the RIAA was crazy but this is so far beyond insane that my brain hurts. The RIAA recently defeated LimeWire in a copyright infringement lawsuit and they have decided $75 trillion in damages were done.
The entire music industry makes around $40 Billion per year. The GDP of the USA is $14 trillion per year. The GDP of the entire world is less than $62 trillion per year. That means that the RIAA wants more money than there actually is in the world. WTF.
How did they get to that number? The infringement damages for each song are $150,000. The RIAA won the case based on 11,000 infringing songs. They state that each of those songs has been downloaded thousands of times. So, after a little math, we have $75 trillion in damages.
The judge called this number "absurd" and said they were only entitled to collect one fee per song. This will still give them hundreds of millions in damages. The RIAA is very upset that they will not be getting more money than there actually exists in the world. I feel bad for them.
Seriously, something this absurd should be a red flag. The system is totally broken.
First, when is the last time you paid $150,000 for a song? Never. That's right, they are only $1. So, how does downloading a $1 song do $150,000 in damages? This number makes no sense and there is no way that anyone can make sense of it.
I'm not just going to complain for the sake of complaining (I'm not a hippie), I like to solve problems. So, here is how we fix this:
- Musicians release all their work DRM free
- They allow sharing but still have copies available on their own sites
- They make money from touring, donations, merchandise, etc.
- Publishers can die
Publishers serve no purpose. The only thing they do is stand between the customer and the music they want. They also ruin the industry by ignoring many amazing artists while continually forcing bands like Nickelback down our throats. They will not be missed.
But without publishers, how would we find new music? There is only one way to find good music: look for it. You can ask your friends, search the internet, or even download a torrent! Several bands are uploading their work to torrent sites with a note, "Check out our new album, hope you like it". This guarantees them at least some exposure. If they are good, people will share it with their friends, bloggers will write about it, reviewers will review it, and they will develop a fanbase... And all of this is free. No need to waste money on some ridiculous marketing scheme.
If you are a publisher, you might be wondering what you should do to pay the bills. Well, suing the customers is the wrong thing to do. Perhaps it is time to start learing how to do something useful... You know, like farming, teaching, or anything that actually helps the world. You are standing in the way of innovation and, when this is all over, you will be on the wrong side of history.
Why is everything so f*cked... That's it. I'm running for "King of Earth". Free music for all (support your favorite bands!).