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About this weblog
Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.

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In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

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May 6, 2011

In Their Own Words They Damn Themselves

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

Since I gave Greg Sandoval such a hard time last go-round I wanted to take a second step away from my lack of comment on the LimeWire case to speak better of his reporting this time.

Sandoval's May 4 column highlights points of the defense LimeWire is making against the RIAA's claim that P2P, and particularly the LimeWire client and network, are the cause of the Cartel's retail malaise. Part of what I excoriated Sandoval for was just foolishly parroting back the claims of a market research firm about that malaise. Now, just maybe, we'll get the truth. And we'll get it because the Cartel's own executives spoke it, and it is now part of the public record. The things we Copyfighters have been saying publicly, the executives were saying in private.

LimeWire's trial is in the penalty phase. They've been found guilty of contributing to illegal sharing, copyright infringement, and so on. The question to hand now is what amount of damages are they responsible for. To a significant degree the answer to that question could turn on the degree to which P2P and file sharing has been the reason for lost revenue in the Cartel's business. The Cartel's position, of course, is that it's all their customers' fault, and the fault of companies like LimeWire that served those customers and facilitated their sharing. But when you peek behind the curtain, here's what you get:

"[T]he real problem is that there is no technology coming from the record companies" - Doug Morris, former CEO of Universal Music
"[W]e inadvertently went to war with consumers ... [and] consumers won," - Warner Music head Edgar Bronfman, Jr.
"We can [compete with free]. We have to. It's just that we have to be creative and add value." - Universal Music CEO Zach Horowitz
"Burning and ripping are becoming a greater threat than P2P." - RIAA chairman Mitch Bainwol

As I noted earlier, I have a potential conflict of interest, so I'll refrain from my usual judgemental closing paragraph. I just wanted to see these words spread a little farther. In your own words, gentlemen. In your own words.

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