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RIAA Paid $16M+ in Legal Fees to Collect $391K

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 74 comments

Lawyers love the recording industry.

Over the years that we've heard stories of the RIAA going after the little guy for illegal music downloads. Sure, the RIAA has the right to protect the interests of who it represents, but its efforts thus far seem rather… wasteful.

According to documents and figures obtained by P2PNet, the RIAA has spent a exorbitant amount of money defending musical copyrights, but has only raked in a small, minor fraction that back in winnings from infringers.

In 2008, the RIAA paid law firms Holmes Roberts & Owen, Jenner & Block, and Cravath Swain & Moore a combined total of more than $17.6 million. In return, it recovered just $391,000 back from its legal action.

DailyTech tallied up what the RIAA spent on its offensive and compared it against its haul from the pirates. Between 2006 and 2008, the RIAA spent $64 million to get back $1.36 million.

In the end, it seems that the true victor are the lawyers.

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  • 30 Hide
    asjflask , July 15, 2010 1:05 PM
    "In the end, it seems the true victor are the lawyers."

    You think? Hasn't this always been the case? No pun intended.
  • 22 Hide
    quiky87 , July 15, 2010 1:15 PM
    I don't think the RIAA's true intent was monetary restitution as much as discouraging future pirates (which can't be calculated monetarily). Although in the end they just end up looking like the greedy assholes they really are.
  • 20 Hide
    Sabiancym , July 15, 2010 1:14 PM
    hiniberusOh so this is why Americans have to pay through their nose with taxes on an everything, the money for the Lawyers has to come from somewhere. At least I'm pretty sure the RIAA/MPAA are financed by the tax-payers


    American Taxes are nothing compared to other first world countries.
Other Comments
  • 30 Hide
    asjflask , July 15, 2010 1:05 PM
    "In the end, it seems the true victor are the lawyers."

    You think? Hasn't this always been the case? No pun intended.
  • 4 Hide
    brad799 , July 15, 2010 1:10 PM
    That'll teach them...to download a law for dummies book.
  • 7 Hide
    g00fysmiley , July 15, 2010 1:12 PM
    they probably think they are actually acomplishing their goal by scaring people into not pirating.

    it'd be hard to prove if they are or are not mkaing this goal. but if they spent that much on legal fees and it somehow resulted in more revenue from fear of being caught then they are successful and mademoney despite losing money

    inversly if those people who usually pirate would have never paid for thier media in the first place and they spent more on legal fees than they would have in sold media to people persuaded to buy instead of download then it is in fact a fiscal loss
  • 6 Hide
    Hatecrime69 , July 15, 2010 1:12 PM
    and to think, if they only had common sense they'd see this is a waste of time and resources, shame they don't have any
  • 20 Hide
    Sabiancym , July 15, 2010 1:14 PM
    hiniberusOh so this is why Americans have to pay through their nose with taxes on an everything, the money for the Lawyers has to come from somewhere. At least I'm pretty sure the RIAA/MPAA are financed by the tax-payers


    American Taxes are nothing compared to other first world countries.
  • 22 Hide
    quiky87 , July 15, 2010 1:15 PM
    I don't think the RIAA's true intent was monetary restitution as much as discouraging future pirates (which can't be calculated monetarily). Although in the end they just end up looking like the greedy assholes they really are.
  • 11 Hide
    duckmanx88 , July 15, 2010 1:18 PM
    hiniberusOh so this is why Americans have to pay through their nose with taxes on an everything, the money for the Lawyers has to come from somewhere. At least I'm pretty sure the RIAA/MPAA are financed by the tax-payers


    O_o they aren't.


  • 1 Hide
    treefrog07 , July 15, 2010 1:21 PM
    Great ROI! Well it is for the lawyers. I guess RIAA likes capitalizing on the economies of scale.
  • 1 Hide
    enzo matrix , July 15, 2010 1:39 PM
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_7p4cvBURk
  • 4 Hide
    appletree_88 , July 15, 2010 1:39 PM
    I think Steve Jobs should pick up the legal tab because he got quite a windfall from all this legal activity through Itunes.
  • 6 Hide
    back_by_demand , July 15, 2010 1:41 PM
    Epic FFF-FAIL!!!!!
  • 0 Hide
    velo116 , July 15, 2010 1:48 PM
    Yeah, but think about how many people aren't downloading music because they are afraid they'll get sued.
  • 3 Hide
    Nightsilver , July 15, 2010 1:52 PM
    hiniberusOh so this is why Americans have to pay through their nose with taxes on an everything, the money for the Lawyers has to come from somewhere. At least I'm pretty sure the RIAA/MPAA are financed by the tax-payers


    You can't be serious.
  • 2 Hide
    accolite , July 15, 2010 1:53 PM
    hiniberusOh so this is why Americans have to pay through their nose with taxes on an everything, the money for the Lawyers has to come from somewhere. At least I'm pretty sure the RIAA/MPAA are financed by the tax-payers


    There you go making assumptions, what makes you think that the taxpayers are financing the MPAA, it's not a government institution therefore has no ties to taxpayers?!?!
  • 4 Hide
    nimbus77 , July 15, 2010 2:04 PM
    Its a futile battle that RIAA is waging. People will continue to resist buying music when a CD is 20 dollars with one track on there that is good. Sell the music at a lower cost and people wouldn't be pirating.
  • -4 Hide
    noodlegts , July 15, 2010 2:05 PM
    The numbers look dumb but the impact is much greater than just the amount of money they collect. Imagine how much money is being "not lost" when people buy a cd instead of pirating because they're afraid of being caught.

    (17.6-0.391) / $13 = roughly 1.3 million CDs.

    Considering that a single popular album can sell in the millions of CDs, it's actually not that bad.
  • -5 Hide
    Pei-chen , July 15, 2010 2:09 PM
    Obamaconics, spend money to make money.

    Pun intended as he is also a lawyer.
  • 3 Hide
    grieve , July 15, 2010 2:17 PM
    Take that RIAA says this "little guy".

    Now excuse me i need to find stuff to download.
  • 3 Hide
    MU_Engineer , July 15, 2010 2:30 PM
    hiniberusOh so this is why Americans have to pay through their nose with taxes on an everything, the money for the Lawyers has to come from somewhere. At least I'm pretty sure the RIAA/MPAA are financed by the tax-payers


    Some countries such as Canada do directly fund their equivalents of the RIAA with actual taxes on goods like blank CDs, but AFAIK the U.S. is not one of those countries. Lawyers do levy a "tax" on everything, but it's not a tax like a sales tax or income tax that is mandated by the government. The lawyer tax is that the price of everything is higher because of the cost of employing legal staff to try to prevent and defend against lawsuits or pay for liability insurance is passed on to the customers.
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