When with the Media Giants Stop Fighting Change and Embrace It?

As is often the case with many corporate entities, the RIAA and MPAA have consistently failed to embrace new technology, instead attempting to maintain their old business model of manufactured stars, CD Sales, and brick and mortar distribution, while ignoring the success of entities like iTunes and Hulu.

This is nothing new and continues a long tradition of these organizations running roughshod over the rights of artists, in a scramble to make a profit.

For those who are unfamiliar, the RIAA, or the Recording Industry of Association of America, represents the corporate interests of the major recording labels, most notably Sony, EMI, Warner Music, and Universal Music. The Motion Picture Association of America(MPAA) is similar, except it represents the interests of the major movie studios, specifically Colombia ,Disney, Fox, Warner Brothers, Paramount, and Universal.

Traditionally, both the RIAA and MPAA have been slow to accept new technology, instead relying upon their old outdated distribution system. For example, when the tape cassete and video tape were first developed, both the recording industry and movie industry fought tooth and nail to prevent these technologies from reaching the public.

Instead of recognizing the advantages offered by modern distribution systems, they use litigation and laws in a desperate attempt to cling to their failing business model. However, while these entities spend millions on lobbyists to help create laws that extend draconian rights to the government, such as the ACTA treaty, in an effort to "protect" their intellectual property, they interestingly ignore the fact that their large media library is built upon the backs of hard working artists.

As an example of how ready people are to spend money on music and movies, one only has to look to the success of services like iTunes, which allow people to purchase individual songs, movies, and television shows for a reasonable price. So, rather than having to goto a record store and spending $20 on a album with a few goods songs and a lot of filler, a person can listen to a song from the comfort of their own home and purchase it if they like it.

Similar success can be seen with other services, such as NetFlix and Hulu, which offer streaming content.

Of course, this directly opposes the traditional media distribution method, where the recording industry creates pop stars, like Jessica Simpson, with limited talent to begin with and market the person rather than the music. So, it is no surprise that the MPAA and RIAA have been fighting modern distribution models at every chance.

Fighting Change with Every Breath

I think perhaps HULU is the best example of how these industries fail.

Hulu allows users to watch television and movies online with a reasonable amount of commercials. So, instead of watching a 20 minute program with 10 to 20 minutes of commercials, there are a few 30 second commercial breaks during each show. The success of this website is tremendous, yet the major networks do their best to cripple the service.

For example, rather than putting up all the seasons of a show online, they will show the first season and some of most recent season. However, they often only show a portion of the current season and often it is a week late than the actual airing.

This may seem like good business, as I imagine the major networks thinks this will drive people to purchase the DVD set or watch the program on TV with commercials. However, in truth, it is far easier to simply download the episodes and watch them without any commercials whenever you want. Most people would much rather do it the legal way, however.

This illustrates the disconnect that can be seen in virtually all of the RIAA's and MPAA's actions in regard to digital piracy and copyright protection.

Rather than embracing new distribution methods, the media giants instead focus their time and money on trying to rewrite copyright laws, ensuring that network neutrality fails, invading the privacy of the Internet user, and in general trying to lobby the government into protecting their outdated distribution system. This is in an effort to retain the old distribution channels, where a CD goes for $20 to $30, the artist is in debt to the record label, and the media company reaps the profits.

As an example of how lobbyists affect US policy, most US Trade Agreements require that the country agrees to follow us Copyright law. Currently in Costa Rica, the US Government is blocking the importation of goods(sugar,) until Costa Rica agrees to implement ISP Liability and DMCA take downs, which Costa Rican Officials feel would decimate their public health care system.

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