Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ha ha ha ha ha. RIAA paid its lawyers more than $16,000,000 in 2008 to recover only $391,000!!!

Big hat tip to my friend Jon Newton at p2pnet.net for uncovering these documents.

The RIAA's "business plan" is even worse than I'd guessed it was.

The RIAA paid Holmes Roberts & Owen $9,364,901 in 2008, Jenner & Block more than $7,000,000, and Cravath Swain & Moore $1.25 million, to pursue its "copyright infringement" claims, in order to recover a mere $391,000. [ps there were many other law firms feeding at the trough too; these were just the ones listed among the top 5 independent contractors.]

Embarrassing.

If the average settlement were $3,900, that would mean 100 settlements for the entire year.

As bad as it was, I guess it was better than the numbers for 2007, in which more than $21 million was spent on legal fees, and $3.5 million on "investigative operations" ... presumably MediaSentry. And the amount recovered was $515,929.

And 2006 was similar: they spent more than $19,000,000 in legal fees and more than $3,600,000 in "investigative operations" expenses to recover $455,000.

So all in all, for a 3 year period, they spent around $64,000,000 in legal and investigative expenses to recover around $1,361,000.

Shrewd.

No wonder they get paid the big bucks

Commentary & discussion:

p2pnet.net
p2pnet.net
Slyck
Slashdot
Download Squad
Boing Boing
LeMonde (French)
Ars Technica
Business Insider
Tech Blog
reddit
Hacker News
Ferrett's Journal: Dinosaurs Must Die
opassande.se (Swedish)
bannination.com
ZeroPaid
digg
digg
winfuture (German)
OWNIlive (French)
metafilter
wearethemusicmakers
vnboards
phog..net
ComputerWorld
tribalwar
dailyswarm
TechDirt
Sitar Teli
gizmodo
drudge retort
bomb the music industry
dallas imports
maximumpc
sluniverse
torrentfreak
paste magazine
techmeme
betanews
tech eye
geek.com
NewLaunches.com
overclock.net
rage3d
linux today
trendalicious
whatreallyhappened.com
icerocket.com
ebusiness.info (French)
the present and future of post production business and technology
outerspace (Portugese)
habrahabr (Russian)
Hard Forum
Southern Maryland Online
GarrettWalker.com/Today
computeridee (Dutch)
gamevicio (Portugese)
The Big Lead
Lenta.ru (Russian)
AltDaily
HypeBot
Daily Online Examiner
Forte (Swedish?)
Jaakko Koivula blog (Finnish)
Tech News Today 31
Inside STL (top "Fail" of the day)
nezinau.lt (Lithuanian?)
switched
adslgr.com (Russian)
EfectoTequila (Spanish)
fyeahqueermusic
adslzone (Spanish)
metal insider
intern.de (German)
ABA Journal
ITProPortal
pcinpact (French)



Keywords: lawyer digital copyright law online internet law legal download upload peer to peer p2p file sharing filesharing music movies indie independent label freeculture creative commons pop/rock artists riaa independent mp3 cd favorite songs intellectual property portable music player

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I took a quick look through this and was wondering if by using this document and cross referencing it with other publicly available documents would it be possible to find out who they contributed money to? Maybe we can get these guys voted out of office? Or at least bring this information to light?

Well, at least if they keep this up, then maybe they will go bankrupt?

Just a thought.

-Me

Anonymous said...

How much did they spend buying legislation through their Lobbying...

w&w said...

I share your shadenfreude. Of course, when I mentioned this dimension of the RIAA's campaign during the Tenenbaum trial last summer, you scolded me for giving the RIAA rhetorical ammo.

Anonymous said...

Some where the numbers don't add up. They are not disclosing accurate information in their reports. Who would investigate their books?

Ray Beckerman said...

Dear Anonymous

1. You've got the forms; you tell me.

2. You're supposed to give us a "handle" when you post anonymously.

Ray Beckerman said...

Dear w&w

Me? Scold?

Inconceivable.

M. Yass said...

You're missing the point, Ray. It's not about making money at all. We need to call this what it is: Litigation terrorism. The RIAA is trying to instill the fear of being sued in hopes that it will deter would-be downloaders. It's not at all about trying to recover damages.

Ray Beckerman said...

Dear M. Yass:

I guess you're right; after all they did bring an end to peer to peer file sharing on the internet.

(Oh wait... did someone just tell me that p2p filesharing has increased exponentially since the litigation campaign was commenced? If so, I guess that as a "deterrent" .... it didn't work so great.)

tebee said...

This is the total amount they got in in settlements from all the threatening letters they sent out? It doesn't seem a very good rate of return, do we know how many they sent out in this period?

Even if you count the deterrent effect I don't think it's good value for money, and anyway I would suspect the number of new file-sharers attracted by the publicity is probably greater that the number who stop because they are scared of getting caught.

Ray Beckerman said...

Yeah, tebee. I was astonished there were so few.

I always figured they were getting nothing from the default judgments and nothing from the contested cases, but I assumed they were raking in ~2000 settlements a year. It turns out they were getting only ~150 settlements a year, if that much.

What a colossal waste of money.

Ray Beckerman said...

For a fraction of that money they could have hired some cool innovative coders to develop fun ways to market, buy, and share music.

red floyd said...

Well, now we know why they claim such huge losses due to "piracy"...

Anonymous said...

What is the standard payment agreement on these settlements? Monthly payments?

A sadder way to look at it -- using the 100 cases approximation, and assuming the process/settlement effectively bankrupts most victims -- is that it only costs $160,000 in legal fees to ruin someone's life.

Zapp

Anonymous said...

Heh, for $19M they could have paid some artists to make music.

Anonymous said...

Does the RIAA have a board of directors that could potentially sue their executive staff for what is appearing to be gross incompetence? After the first few years of bad press and negative sum returns, someone should have just said "this isn't worth it" and killed off this money pit.

SVartalf said...

Over 16 million...wow...

I've always said that the "message" they were trying to convey was that of, "we're in control and we'll RUIN anyone that challenges that control..."

I'd have to agree on your points, though, Ray- I'm honestly surprised there's not been investor lawsuits over it.

Anonymous said...

If the RIAA's anti-music sharing campaign is an effort at deterrence (rather than an an attempt to recoup industry losses), then the numbers that will inform their decision about the efficacy of the campaign must be some measure of that deterrence (rather than return on litigation). But how do they measure deterrence? How is deterrence distinguishable from other factors that affect the industry's overall returns? It appears to be built into the system that nobody can show them their campaign isn't working.

-Berco

Anonymous said...

What is eve better is that the Artists who made these songs have that 16M deducted as expenses, but see nothing of the 300k

canlı maç izle said...

Heh, for $19M they could have paid some artists to make music. this is very comic

canlı maç izle said...

I have same question "Some where the numbers don't add up. They are not disclosing accurate information in their reports. Who would investigate their books?"

Brian@attorneys letter said...

I think the amount paid to the Lawyers is really huge amount for solving the case by RIAA.The amount paid is more than for getting the dispute amount of money.They are trying to stop the sharing of the files in torrent site.But it can stop the software piracy.

latinos in rhode island said...

Ria paid too much amount for her work. May be it is default judgments and nothing from the contested cases. It is Good for her Hopefully, if she wins.

lig tv izle said...

Heh, for $19M they could have paid some artists to make music.