MPA & RIAA continue Wrath into 2008

Only 10 days into the New Year and the two groups are at it again. On behalf of the major record companies, the Recording Industry Association of America has sent yet another (the twelfth) wave of 407 pre-litigation settlement letters to 18 universities nationwide. Each pre-litigation settlement letter informs the school of a forthcoming copyright infringement suit against one of its students or personnel and requests that university administrators forward the letter to allow the individuals the opportunity to promptly resolve the matter and avoid a lawsuit. Meanwhile, as part of the Motion Picture Association’s anti-piracy initiative Operation Blackout, which runs through the holiday season till the end of January 2008, a team of 22 officers from ECOTEC and MPA representatives raided two distribution centers and 11 retail outlets located in the notorious Banmor area in Bangkok. During the raid, over 25,000 optical discs were seized and five individuals were arrested.

Of the former, 6,000 were infringed MPA member company titles including “Alien vs. Predator 2”, “American Gangster” and “I am Legend”. “The police have no day off when it comes to pirates selling their products. We will continue to do everything within our powers to stop these criminals,” said General Visuth, who led the officers, after the raid.

As usual, the RIAA is backing up its methods with statistics:

  • a survey by Student Monitor from 2006: more than half of college students download music and movies illegally
  • Market research firm NPD: college students alone accounted for more than 1.3 billion illegal music downloads in 2006
  • Institute for Policy Innovation: global theft of sound recordings cost the U.S. economy $12.5 billion in lost revenue and more than 71,000 jobs and $2 billion in wages to U.S. workers per year

Bringing lawsuits has never been our first choice. But for those who continually ignore enticing legal alternatives and plentiful warnings, it’s a necessary part of the equation,” said Jonathan Lamy, Senior Vice President, Communications, RIAA.

The MPA also cites losses – MPA studios have reportedly lost US$6.1 billion to worldwide piracy in 2005. About US$2.4 billion was lost to bootlegging, US$1.4 billion to illegal copying and US$2.3 billion to Internet piracy. Of the US$6.1 billion in lost revenue to the studios, approximate $1.2 billion came from piracy across the Asia-Pacific region, while piracy in the U.S. accounted for $1.3 billion.

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