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Napster redux?

A News.com reader writes that, as often happens, members of the MPAA and the RIAA have forgotten the lessons of the past.

 

  
Napster redux?

In response to the Nov. 12 column by Doug Isenberg, "ReplayTV lawsuit: Napster redux?:"

With the audio portion of your program sufficiently silenced by the recording industry, it was a predictably short wait--and three-dozen attorneys--before the video portion got a good taste of the "New Cheese." Guess what? They didn't like it either! So it's off to the courthouse muttering, "Where's old Jack Valenti when you really need him?"

In case you've forgotten, Jack Valenti will be marking his 35th year with the Motion Picture Association of America, with most of those years spent as president and CEO. He'll be 80 years old this year but Valenti still had plenty of energy to come out fighting against Napster. Now it looks like he'll be getting a chance to play on his home field.

Jack's story is classic. It perfectly illustrates the foolishness of closed minds requiring the customer to drag them kicking and screaming into the future only to find a pot of gold at the end of their rainbow.

It was the early 1980's and Jack's MPAA had been embroiled in a court battle leading his constituents against the devil of the day, the Sony Betamax VCR, when he made his famous remark, "The VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston Strangler is to the woman alone."

Fortunately, the courts and the Congress of the day believed in a market economy. They were much more progressive and open to innovation that benefited the consumer. The results have been apparent for 20 years. The VCR became standard equipment in nearly every home, the electronics industry thrived, and the motion picture industry annually added billions of dollars to their revenue stream, selling and renting the rights to their videos two days at a time. We call that a win-win situation in America.

As often happens, members of the MPAA and the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) have forgotten the lessons of the past. They've had little desire to change and provide the consumer with the product or service they want, despite the fact that there's a lucrative business model out there waiting to benefit both parties when greed gets out of the way.

I guess it's just easier to drag your feet, stifle the competition, pay the attorneys tens of millions of dollars, and just be happy eating moldy cheese.

Dennis Jugan
Johnstown, Pa.