According to Hypebot, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) spent $16 million dollars on lawyers in 2008, much of it suing music fans for “copyright infringement.” The amount they recovered? $391,000. A blog points out that in 2008, the RIAA paid the firm Holmes Roberts & Owen, $9,364,901, Jenner & Block over $7 million and Cravath Swan & Moore $1.25 million to recover $391k. It gets worse, too. in 2007, they spent over $24 million on legal fees and investigative fees to recover $515,929, and $12.6 million in 2006 to recover $455,000. So if you look at those three years combined, they spent about $64 million in legal and investigative expenses to net about $1,361,000.
If it isn’t already obvious that the RIAA’s tactics of punishing their customers is an utter failure, others are weighing in on the inevitability of file sharing. Former Pink Floyd manager and emeritus president of the International Music Managers’ Forum (IMMF) Peter Jenner states that trying to prevent file sharing is a “waste of time,” comparing it to prohibition in the 1920’s. He suggests the industry think about rewriting copyright law and coming up with a new way to make money. One option he brings up is Rapid Share, the file sharing service that offers much faster downloads for paying subscribers. “If we can get £1 a month from every person on this island [Great Britain] for music… this is getting very close to the current level of revenue for recorded music,” he says.