The RIAA redirects its lawsuit machine

I don’t buy the idea that the alternative to the sue em all strategy is a three strikes policy at your ISP.

I think the three strikes idea is mainly for saving face.

The sue em all campaign is not making a profit on settlements. The contrary — its very expensive. The overhead needs to be reauthorized once a year. In the latest reauthorization there was an examination of how well Sue Em All is working, and the finding was that it’s having no real impact. The labels have less money to throw around than before, so they care more and more about how much those 35,000 lawsuits cost. The whole thing was an expensive failure. The three-strikes-ISP plan doesn’t seem incredibly effective to me, but it can hardly be less effective, and it doesn’t require as much lawyer time.

On the other hand, the labels have succeeded at forcing tech companies to negotiate for licenses. They did this through a series of court cases that ruined companies — the MP3.com case, the Napster decision, Grokster. Investors won’t put their money into companies facing that kind of risk. The investors insist on licensing.

It did turn out to be a waste of time to sue the masses. It was anything but a waste to sue businesses.

So the lawsuits will continue, but they will target ISPs this time. TimeWarner/RoadRunner will cut a deal for sure. AT&T I don’t know about. Is there anyone else?

And if the ISPs turn out to be a dry hole, so what. The rest of the money currently being blown on Sue Em All will go into Myspace Music and other licensing projects. At least those have a chance of success. The only thing the majors could all agree on is that none of them believed Sue Em All was going to make a difference.