1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Record industry mocked again as the cost of fan actions are made public

The Recording Industry Association of America's 2008 finances have been published with the revelation that the major labels trade body paid out over $17 million to the three legal firms who spearheaded the organisation's legal actions against file sharing fans. In return, they recovered $391,000 in damages. On his Recording Industry vs The People blog, Ray Beckerman analysed the same figures for 2006 and 2007 and claims that the trade body spent a total of $64,000,000 on legal and investigation firms involved in their “sue-the-fans” campaign during those three years, and these cases brought in a total of $1,361,000 in damages. The RIAA eventually dropped the strategy of suing individual fan after years of costly failures, bad publicity and widespread criticism of high profile cases against defendants such as Joel Tenenbaum and Jammie Thomas-Rasset. In the same year, the RIAA’s chief executive Mitch Bainwol was paid just over $2 million in salary ($1.9 million) and benefits ($123,000). President Cary Sherman was paid $1.33 million, Neil Turkewitz (EVP, International) was paid $696,000, Mitch Glazier (EVP, Government & Industry Relations), pulled in $566,000 and Steven Marks (EVP & General Counsel) received $562,000.

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

A couple of small thoughts here:

1. Is it known whether all the $17 million paid over to the three firms in 2008 was just for the anti-fan litigation? If not, do we know the actual figure? Sounds like a lot to me for just those actions.

2. Has anyone done a model for estimating how much, in the same period, RIAA's members may have gained from erstwhile file-sharers spending their $$ on regular recordings or downloads?

I ask because while the RIAA's course of action looks like a lot of money for shooting itself in the foot, the real cost to the industry may have been less.