Thursday, October 17, 2002

The Globe and Mail takes on RIAA

10 rules of e-business failure, a list inspired by the recording industry's imaginative approach.

Be sanctimonious: Claim to be more concerned about the artists than about your profits. You are selfless; your only interest is paying the musicians, without whom you would be nothing. Pray that nobody remembers countless rockers who signed away their souls on recording contracts and were dumped the moment their sales started slipping.

Kill it: Hollywood failed to make the VCR illegal, but you're going to succeed with peer-to-peer technology. Spend millions on lawyers to sue Napster and Scour into oblivion. Sure, paying lawyers has suddenly become more important than paying your artists, but so what? Hedge your bets by setting up your own Web site, offering songs that aren't selling well in stores. When your e-business proves to be less than a thundering success, blame it on the pirates meaning all your customers.

Make government your accomplice: Demand exemptions from criminal prosecution by the U.S. government for your hacking and denial-of-service attacks. You're doing this for a Higher Cause, after all, which is paying royalties to your artists (remember them?). Drag Verizon Communications, an Internet provider, into court demanding it surrender the name of one of its subscribers allegedly sharing 600 music files, so your expensive lawyers can crush this kid's little skull. Then get the Canadian government to impose a levy on all recordable media sold here, whether it's used for burning pirated music or archiving corporate data or storing pictures of the kids. Make mortal enemies of Apple and Sony because the levy adds something like 20 per cent to the retail price of their portable jukeboxes, pricing them out of the market. Collect more than $30-million without disbursing a single cent to your artists after all, you're Fighting the Good Fight, and you're going to have to tighten the artists' belts for them if you hope to win.

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