[mythtv-users] The RIAA makes the final misstep

Steven Adeff adeffs.mythtv at gmail.com
Tue Dec 23 15:52:31 UTC 2008

On Tue, Dec 23, 2008 at 10:14 AM, Joe Borne <joe.borne at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello all, long time no post.
> Some of the other "lifers" on this mailing list will probably remember my
> posts concerning the RIAA/MPAA and the cable companies. Particularly I
> posted several times about how their efforts to use legal strongarm tactics,
> and user experience crippling technology to perpetuate an antiquated
> business model were doomed to fail.
> This week the RIAA announced they will cease legal action against
> individuals who download music
> (http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/12/19/131227&tid=123). Instead
> they intend to pursue "working with the ISPs to limit file-sharing services
> and cut off repeated users"
> (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122966038836021137.html?mod=rss_whats_news_technology).
> Interestingly, a Louisinana ISP owner has responded in what I consider the
> proper way, by demanding the RIAA's billing information before he lifts one
> finger (http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10127841-93.html). His response is
> not only valid, it's the end game for the RIAA. I predicted last December or
> January the the RIAA would cease operations in 2008 due to the backlash. I
> was incorrect in predicting their demise, but this move amounts to financial
> suicide.
> Why? well any attempt to strongarm ISP's into enforcing their debatable "IP
> rights" can be challenged in court, and more importantly in the realm of
> commerce law, not criminal prosecution. In essence, the RIAA must prove to a
> judge or jury that a completely separate business entity must provide
> extraordinarily expensive services to them gratis. It doesn't take a legal
> scholar to understand that this is a complete non starter in the courts. No
> judge, no matter how corrupt or inclined to the RIAA is going to make that
> ruling. It's career suicide. The vast majority of campagn funds still come
> from business contributions and no business is going to support a judge who
> ruled in favor of what amounts to corporate extortion. It's tantamaount to a
> ruling that paving companies must pay for the armed guards at banks and
> patrols cars/police because theives drive away on the roads the paver built.
> All of this leads right back to what I had discussed earlier. IP rights will
> never be legally invalidated, but they will become irrelevant as time goes
> on. Slowly, companies will come to realize that the days of content control
> and packagized sales bundled with forced viewing of advertising are OVER.
> The future lies in the subscription model delivery of on demand media in
> open formats that allow portability or completely transparent access. I've
> stated over and over that if my cable company offered a completely
> restriction free, ad free channel package for a reasonable upgrade fee that
> I would pay it gladly. I would pay even more for the ability to watch any of
> their programming on demand. I am sure the market for this would more than
> make up for the loss in ad revenues.
> In the end this wiould inevitably lead to the end of encryption of cable
> signals, CC bit and other types of DRM restrictions and the end of
> proprietary and closed formats.
> Obviously the profit margins for media companie from this will never equal
> the "good old days" of $20 CD's and $35 DVD's we saw in the early 90's. This
> is a hard painful truth themedia companies are going to be forced to face.
> These companies will be forced to bring themselves into the 21'st century
> business world much like the US auto industry must, or face a similar fate.
> The future will most likely bring smaller, leaner and more prolific media
> delivery companies and indivduals aggregating their content together through
> services similar to YouTube, NetFlix, Hulu and the like. It's already
> happening. How long before services like these start providing access to
> their content to cable and satellite providers on demand? Not long if they
> are smart. Providing the ability for set top boxes to browse and view this
> content would be only moderately challenging. How will the big 5 compete
> with these smaller, more agile, and more flexible rival providers? They will
> have to provide similar services or die.
> How doe sthis affect us in the MythTV world? Well it's nothing but good
> news. The integration of streaming video platforms like HULU and YouTube can
> virtually guarantee MythTV's future and increased popularity. We should be
> focusing our efforts on the integration of these services in anticipation of
> the oncoming change. MythTV is uniquely poised to embrace this new wave of
> media because of it's existing technology base and rapid development cycle
> compared to proprietary solutions.
> All in all, 2009 and farther out is looking great for us.
> Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
> Joe

As always, thanks for staying on top of this for us!

Mr Lessig was on BU's NPR station last night (I forget what show, nor
do I know if it was a new interview) discussing copyright history and
his new book. It was quite interesting to hear him speak, especially
how radically calm he was as the interviewer (who it was obvious had
done little to no research on the topic) threw out some pretty poorly
phrased questions.

As for me, I'll go on happily supporting my eMusic subscription and
playing other non-DRM purchased music from my MythTV frontends =)

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