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RIAA anti-P2P campaign a real money pit, according to testimony
Written by Daniel   
Wednesday, 03 October 2007 12:05

 All the time and money wasted, all the people harmed, and guess what!? What hurts your customers, hurts YOU!

 RIAA anti-P2P campaign a real money pit, according to testimony
ARS Technica
By Eric Bangeman | Published: October 02, 2007 - 11:40PM CT

Duluth, Minnesota — During an occasionally testy cross examination, a Sony executive said what many observers have suspected for a long time. The RIAA's four-year-old lawsuit campaign is costing the music industry millions of dollars and is a big money-loser for the record labels. The revelation came during the first day of Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas, the first file-sharing case to go to trial (it was formerly known as Virgin v. Thomas, but the sole Virgin Records track was stricken from the complaint, making Capitol Records the lead plaintiff).

After a relatively calm morning session, proceedings resumed after lunch. After RIAA lead counsel Richard Gabriel finished his direct examination, Thomas' attorney David Toder began his attempts to undermine the labels' case. He focused on apparent inconsistencies from the testimony of Jennifer Pariser, Sony BMG's the head of litigation. Toder also got Pariser to admit that IP addresses and screenshots "don't identify human beings."

Pariser also said she had no idea why Virgin Records dropped its part of the case. "The RIAA and the plaintiffs have the same lawyer and coordinate the lawsuits," Toder noted. "You don't know why they bailed on the case?" Pariser said she had enough trouble keeping track of Sony's litigation, let alone what the other companies are doing. Perhaps—and this is just a guess—it's the money.
Lawsuits are punitive, not business

One of the biggest bombshells from the cross-examination was Pariser's admission that the RIAA's legal campaign isn't making the labels any money, and that, furthermore, the industry has no idea of the actual damages it suffers due to file-sharing.

The admission came during questioning over the amount of damages the RIAA is seeking in the case. Toder asked Pariser how much Sony was suing the defendant for, and she replied that the amount was for the jury to decide and that the labels weren't suing for actual damages. As is the case with the other file-sharing lawsuits, the record industry is only seeking the punitive damages available via the Copyright Act, which can range from $750 to $150,000 per song. "What are your actual damages?" asked Toder.

"We haven't stopped to calculate the amount of damages we've suffered due to downloading, but that's not what's at issue here," replied Pariser, who was reminded by Judge Michael Davis to answer the questions actually asked by Toder, not hypotheticals.... MORE     Comment in the Forums
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