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Mitch Bainwol is the current public face of the Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony BMG’s RIAA and as such, he’s responsible for an endless stream of disingenuous (at best) statements designed to scam people - especially politicians - into believing the hugely wealthy corporate music industry is being ravaged by file sharing criminals, some of them 10 years old, bent on stealing corporate ‘product’ by sharing it with each other. The idea behind the claim is: every time someone shares a piece of music with someone else, a sale has been lost. The reasoning behind the falacy is fundamentally unsound, US federal judge James P. Jones wrote recently. But the RIAA is remarkably similar to the Joseph Goebbels’ World War II propaganda ministry which, under Hitler, proved if you say something often enough, eventually it’ll be taken as the truth. In 2009, under Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony BMG, Bainwol again demonstrates the efficacy of the Goebbels principal, with American politicians as his marks. His recent letter to Congressional Committees falsely says the RIAA “discontinued initiating new lawsuits in August,” states Ray Beckerman on Recording Industry vs The People. “Obviously, regardless of what it is telling the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Congress, and the N.Y.S. Attorney General, the RIAA has no intention of ending its litigation campaign anytime soon,” says Beckerman, going on: “I just came across a return of service in Massachusetts indicating service of a summons and complaint on January 30th, in LaFace Records v. Griffin. “Additionally, as mentioned yesterday, the RIAA is collecting assignments of default judgments it has obtained, and is commencing new judgment enforcement proceedings against the defendants. Return of service in LaFace Records v. Griffin.”‘Unsuccessful intimidation and extortion scheme’An RIvTH reader recently wrote to senator Orrin Hatch compaining about, “the practices of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and to bring to your attention the false statements and blatant lies the RIAA provided to the Judiciary Committee in their December 23rd letter”. Approaching Hatch, a long time admirer of the corporate music industry and would-be vocalist who’s also known as Terminator, may not yield much in the way of fruitful results. Be that as it may, “As you most likely know, the RIAA has been involved in an unsuccessful intimidation and extortion scheme under the guise of curtailing peer-to-peer sharing of music files,” says the letter, continuing »»» Unfortunately, this litigation campaign has not been effective and has instead been an abuse and drain on our legal system. The vast majority of ordinary citizens caught up in their dragnet (guilty or not) have no means for an adequate defense and end up settling out of court. For the few defendants who stick up and fight, the RIAA is quick to throw in the towel when things don’t go their way. In fact, only one case has gone to trial in this multi-year campaign, the result of which was a verdict in favor of the RIAA later being thrown out due to the major legal argument of the RIAA being invalid in the eyes of the courts. With the news that three lawyers with ties to the RIAA are now part of the of the Department of Justice (Associate Attorney General Perrelli, Associate Deputy Attorney General Verrilli - the lawyer in the above mentioned trial, and Deputy Attorney General Ogden) I am deeply concerned that the RIAA’s campaign and other illegal activities may continue unchecked. The specific matter I would like to draw your attention to is the statement in their December 23rd letter: “Also, during this past summer, we began discussions with New York Attorney General Cuomo, who suggested that now was the time to take our practice of last resort – lawsuits – and replace that form of deterrence with productive engagement by the ISP community in the form of graduated response programs. At his request, as an act of good faith in pursuing these alternatives, we discontinued initiating new lawsuits in August.” What were their discussions with New York Attorney General Cuomo regarding? Were the record companies being investigated for some violation of NY law? What was the RIAA’s agreement to stop their litigation campaign some kind of deal with respect to this investigation? If so, I’d like to point out that their statement that the RIAA discontinued initiating new lawsuits in August is a blatant lie. The following link shows a list of nearly 40 lawsuits the RIAA has known to have initiated as part of their litigation campaign in December alone: http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com/2008_12_01_archive#1104859189661357526I have no ties to the recording industry nor to anyone sued by the RIAA. I am just a concerned citizen of your state that has followed this litigation campaign with disgust for a number of years. I ask that as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee you remain diligent in your dealings with the RIAA and critical of their continued campaign, including their recent misrepresentations of facts to you.And here’s Joseph Bainwol’s December puff piece»»» You may have seen news reports that the RIAA has discontinued our broad-based end user litigation program against illegal downloading on peer-to-peer (p2p) networks. I wanted to take a few minutes to outline why we made this decision. When we originally initiated the litigation program some five years ago, we made clear that lawsuits were not our preferred response. We simply had no other alternatives. A whole generation of kids was growing up with the practice and concept that it was okay to take our music without paying for it. Schools chose not to engage. ISPs were busy building broadband penetration and didn’t have an appetite to engage on copyright issues. And parents had no real understanding that theft was taking place on their home computers. The digital marketplace was just forming. We knew that, in the absence of action on our part, that marketplace was destined to be destroyed by an attitude that suggested there were no property rights on the Internet. So we chose our least preferable, but only option – lawsuits against end users. That decision was encouraged by many in Congress and the Department of Justice, which felt that self-help was the appropriate and responsible act of any copyright owner. In short, we had no option but self-help, and we stepped up in order to allow the digital marketplace to get the oxygen it needed to take off. And, happily, it has. Digital revenues still haven’t replaced the decline in physical sales, but we are seeing dramatic growth – both in revenues and in the range of models that consumers can now enjoy. Digital revenues in 2004 totaled about $180 million. For 2008, they will approach $3 billion, or about 30% of our total revenues. And while the marketplace is dominated still by the download model (especially iTunes), consumers enjoy phenomenal choice – subscriptions, advertising-based legal peer to peer, streaming services, mobile music, and on and on. As a result of our lawsuits, and the Supreme Court’s Grokster decision, there is now remarkable awareness and clarity about the law. Kids now are growing up with a clear understanding that the owners and creators of intellectual property are entitled to compensation, in some form, for their work. That understanding inures to the benefit, ultimately, of every digitized product in the economy. The other critical change has been the growing willingness of ISPs to engage to protect the integrity of legal web commerce. The interests of content and ISPs are converging. We both want to see a digital marketplace uncompromised by network hogs, spammers and con artists.Also, during this past summer, we began discussions with New York Attorney General Cuomo, who suggested that now was the time to take our practice of last resort – lawsuits – and replace that form of deterrence with productive engagement by the ISP community in the form of graduated response programs. At his request, as an act of good faith in pursuing these alternatives, we discontinued initiating new lawsuits in August. Since that time, we have worked through the Attorney General, and directly with ISPs, to craft agreements for graduated response programs. While this process is ongoing, we have reached a confidential agreement on principles for such programs with several leading U.S. ISPs. We intend to work vigorously to conclude additional agreements and implementation plans expeditiously. Relative to litigation, a graduated response program is far less blunt, far more efficient and, we believe, ultimately far more effective to protect the property rights of the music community. Already, in just the last couple of months, we have seen more notices forwarded from ISPs to subscribers than we filed lawsuits over the previous five years. We are delighted that circumstances have evolved to the point where we could transition from lawsuits to these ISP graduated response programs. Please let us know if you have any questions. As always, we look forward to working with you in your efforts to make the emerging marketplace as vibrant as possible by harmonizing rules for platforms and strengthening respect for property.
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