How Unethical is the RIAA?

There are more nasty rumors floating around about the RIAA claiming that their greed goes far deeper than just suing the elderly, twelve year olds and the general music loving community. I know that before catching a a story on another site, I thought that the RIAA had pretty much bottomed out in terms of a being anything of a respectable organization. That apparently is not the case though, as some recent information seems to point towards the RIAA being completely devoid of ethics and fueled by nothing but greed.

I understand that the music industry has always been a bit rougher and harsher than other forms of business. More than a few bands have been screwed over by their managers, promoters, record labels etc over the years and so I guess some level of corruption is not necessarily tolerated, but somewhat expected. This bit of news though left me pretty steamed... to the point where I had to take a few days to truly collect my thoughts and prevent an all out rant.

If you didn't catch the story I read or have seen it reported on other places... what do you suppose it stated about the good ole' RIAA that got me so upset?

I'll give you a hint:

For an organization like the RIAA that is out there nobly suing all those criminals sharing music and steal music from the artists., what is the worst possible thing they could do?

It's easy... steal money from the artists themselves.

Apparently that is exactly what has been happening. Instead of paying the artists, the RIAA has just been keeping all the money from those illegal downloading legal settlements to themselves In fact, lawyers are being called in by the artists to take action against the RIAA so that the artists finally receive the royalties that were supposedly lost to pirating. The record labels who back the RIAA of course are claiming some sort of copyright infringement problems are what has delayed the artists receiving their due At least that's what they're saying one moment. A second later they;re saying that after legal fees etc, there isn't any money left to pay out.

Now, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that perhaps it really is some legalities delaying the pay outs, or perhaps the story is out of line and blowing things out of proportion. No matter what the case, the mere possibility of this being true absolutely infuriates me both as an artist and as a music enthusiast. Basically the record labels have been using the artists as a front saying: "We're trying to get money for our artists who are hurt by pirating". I've always thought that statement actually means: "We're trying to get money for ourselves because we lose money on pirating", but apparently it should actually be interpreted as : "We're trying to get money by pretending to support the artists only to screw them worse than illegal downloading ever did". Do these idiots have any ethics at all?

Whether they realize it or not, by being greedy money grubbing "insert your favorite expletive here", they have put the final nail in the coffin of the major record labels because any trust... or illusion of trust... that may have existed between labels and artists is gone. It's hard enough for musicians to make a living, but if the very organizations that are supposed to be working on their behalf are doing nothing but robbing them blind, then more and more musicians are going to go independent. In the age of the Internet, why stick with a company that is only looking to screw you when you can get just as much if not more accomplished on your own?

Part of me hopes that the reasons sited by the RIAA for why the artists haven't been paid are true, because at least then I could take some comfort in the fact that they might not be completely unethical. I think deep down though, I'm finding this story less and less surprising and more just par for the course for the major record labels. Both of the excuses they're providing sound like just that... excuses, and nothing more that a way to delay having to pay.

This level of greed is completely despicable.

I'll let you read the facts for yourself though, and make up your own mind. Here's a link to the story run at Ultimate-Guitar, which is where I first heard about it: http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/industry_news/riaa_keeps_settlement_money.html

And here is what that story is based on and originally quoted, found it at Torrentfreak: http://torrentfreak.com/riaa-keeps-settlement-money-080228/

This concludes another rant. Bring on the age of independents... greedy record labels should be extinct soon enough and I for one will be glad they're gone.

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