It’s becoming apparent that the major labels are no better at making money through lawsuits than they are at making it through actual record sales. Recently the University of Michigan took the ballsy step of just saying no to RIAA demands that they snitch on their students, while the recipient of an RIAA “invitation” to settle out of court has not only declined, but has actually gotten Sony to back down, thanks to a well-written letter from his lawyer. (The RIAA investigates and coordinates the industry’s anti-file sharing efforts, but the lawsuits are actually conducted in the name of individual labels. Despite the appearance that the few major labels are all one bawling leviathan flailing about blindly, hoping some cash will magically stick to its ichorous, inhuman tentacles, there are still some minor distinctions between them.)
BoingBoing offers this juicy quote:
“In an age of Wintel-virus created bot-farms, spoofs, and easily cracked WEP encrypted wireless home networks (among other easy hacks), the only tech-savvy response to such a request is, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’ The extensive press that has been generated over computer security (and the insecurity of Windows XP and its predecessors) underscores the complete absence of facts on which probable cause to sue my clients could be established and your clients’ willingness (even insistence) that others be implicated in Big Music’s speculative, ‘driftnet’ litigation tactics. Sorry: Mr. Merchant cannot and will not expose himself to still more litigation by speculating.”
But I prefer this kicker at the end:
“My clients are willing to accept dismissal of the litigation in exchange for
1. Payment of Mr. Merchant’s reasonable fees and costs including retainer of $6,880.25. The payment represents good value considering what your own firm’s billings will have been to date and use of those billing records as the loadstar rate for Mr. Merchant’s award. See Capitol Record v. Foster, Western Dist. Okla No. 5:04-cv-1569-W, Docment 182 filed 3-15-07).
2. Apology on your firm’s letterhead by your supervising partner for inappropriately filing and maintaining an action against Mr. Merchant without probable cause and for the emotional hardship that such litigation caused.”
If I were this guy’s lawyer, I would’ve sent a messenger to read the letter aloud to Sony’s lawyers, along with a hype man to offer the occasional, “Oh snap!” and “Damn, Sony! Looks like you fucked up!” at the proper points.