The collision of market forces and lobbying

I read this interesting side piece by Russell Shaw about how the RIAA’s website was hacked. Russell hypothesises that its most likely the work of disaffected students who have been the target of the RIAA’s aggressive stance around their content.

Yea, the RIAA hanging on for dear life using broken business models, and then summoning the might of the state when those models don’t work and CD sales from their music-company masters continue to plummet.

And yes, music companies headed by CEOs who still, in 2008, are cyber-illiterate and still dictate their emails to their secretaries.

Russell then goes on to say

I don’t care if the hackers are digital guerilla warriors or practical-joker punks.The way you combat your opponents is not through malicious scripts, or whatever they used to temporarily bring the RIAA site down.

You lobby Congress for a change in the copyright law you find unjust

I find this very interesting. Lobbying to my simple way of mind is a form of legalised bribery. Sure its got rules and some fancy names like ‘Public relations’.  The fact remains that lobbying is undertaken by big business to asserts its interests and influence the political system to vote for their interests against the small guys. Lobbying has virtually nothing to do with minority interests, popular opinion, market forces or democracy. You very rarely see one large industry attacked by another in lobbying (like the RI AA and Telco’s who should in fact be the targets of their ire ). Instead its typically a protectionist stance against a popular trend that has large ramifications ( ie job losses) for that industry. In fact it is suspiciously like evoking regulation and a massive hindrance to competitive change. Check out the http://www.opensecrets.org website to see just how much money is being spent.

 
In this system, I don’t know how minority interest with limited funds and no vested interest in defending an obsolete business model can affect change.

 
I find the
RIAA’s stance around this whole evolution to be quite intriguing It’s almost like they believe they’ve got this divine right to deliver music to us in this archaic manner. They missed the technology disruption, but instead of addressing the real issue, have embarked on this crusade. I could understand this strategy if they were feverishly working on alternate business models that spread the wealth equitably and embraced the internet as a delivery model. But I rather suspect this is it from the RIAA, they've got nothing else but this legalised defensive play. History is clear on this though. If you don't evolve you do become obsolete. The  environmental forces at work here can only be held back for so long

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