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RIAA Exec Moves Over To Gaming Industry 66

Posted by timothy
from the shake-your-moneymaker dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The same RIAA executive who defended a $222,000 verdict over 24 song files at an academic conference back in March, Kenneth Doroshow, is leaving the RIAA and joining the Entertainment Software Association ('ESA'). As I said on my blog, if Mr. Doroshow 'accomplishes for game manufacturers what he accomplished for the recording industry, I would say the industry's prospects are bleak.'"
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RIAA Exec Moves Over To Gaming Industry

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  • I think the primary reason why he was hired is to provide ESA with insights on what not to do when clamping down on pirates. However, I get the gut feeling that ESA wants to clamp down on the pirates fast and silent.

    • Actually he probably noticed the fair amount of gaming videos posted on youtube, and how game companies send takedown notices because its "their content" (and actually win) if you play a game and record the game you were playing. He figures he could spin something and be able to sue any gamer who posts a video of their gaming experience.
    • Still, I wonder how does it affect those of us who use GPL application.
  • by sm62704 (957197)

    A fight between this Kenneth Doroshow (who wikipedia has no entry on) and Jack Thompson [wikipedia.org]? Somebody get the popcorn, this is going to be hilarious!

    • Sadly it will be a lawyer fight: lots of name calling and legal terms but no real violence. I would prefer if they settled it with fists and/or knives.
    • Isn't JT on a collision course with disbarment? I know the cage match sounds good (I'm getting teary eyed just thinking about it) but it seems like we have a rapidly closing window of opportunity for that.

      • by sm62704 (957197)

        Isn't JT on a collision course with disbarment?

        I thought it was pretty much a done deal, but disbarrment won't stop him from being an anti-gamer gadfly.

  • by philspear (1142299) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @02:52PM (#24693353)

    At the risk of being unpopular, I'm going to say that in my opinion sharing ripped MP3s is morally the equivalent of jaywalking, wheras sharing games is morally closer to shoplifting.

    For one thing, I think more work goes into game-making than a Brittney Spears song, and it's done by people I respect rather than people I think are the scum of the earth. For another, it seems to me that the higher costs of making a game makes game piracy closer to real theft. I know recording studio fees are quite expensive, and indie game makers can often make a game without so much as a bank loan, but there's a reason for the generally higher price of games than CDs.

    There are hardworking people in the music industry sure, just like there are scum in the gaming industry, and I should also say I've worked in neither industry.

    All the same, I think game piraters have less of a moral leg to stand on than music pirates. A $220,000 fine for 24 songs or games is ridiculous, but moreso for music.

    Like I said, my opinion. This is not based on legal crap (obviously.)

    I also would say that in both cases, nothing is actually stolen in the same sense that you would steal a car, and for the RIAA or ESA to sue individuals into bankrupcy with either is/would be dickish. The RIAA and ESA if they follow suit are the real bad guys here.

    • by mxs (42717) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @03:07PM (#24693613)

      At the risk of being unpopular, I'm going to say that in my opinion sharing ripped MP3s is morally the equivalent of jaywalking, wheras sharing games is morally closer to shoplifting.

      For one thing, I think more work goes into game-making than a Brittney Spears song, and it's done by people I respect rather than people I think are the scum of the earth. For another, it seems to me that the higher costs of making a game makes game piracy closer to real theft. I know recording studio fees are quite expensive, and indie game makers can often make a game without so much as a bank loan, but there's a reason for the generally higher price of games than CDs.

      Oh come on, at least compare music from musicians you respect and games from studios you respect. No need to rap on the default example of "bad music" any more. Furthermore, how do YOU know how much time and effort it takes a musician to create their work ? I'm pretty sure many of them are hard-working people, working at least as hard as game-designers. The only difference with the bigger games is that there are more people working on them, total. If pirating a game is morally equivalent to shoplifting a TV, pirating music is probably morally equivalent to shoplifting a towel. It's still shoplifting, and no, it's not, in either case.

      There are hardworking people in the music industry sure, just like there are scum in the gaming industry, and I should also say I've worked in neither industry.

      All the same, I think game piraters have less of a moral leg to stand on than music pirates. A $220,000 fine for 24 songs or games is ridiculous, but moreso for music.

      Riiiight. Because the game retails for $49.99, while the music retails for $19.99 ? That's reality. Neither warrant $220,000.00 fines, ever. The moral leg and the arguments from the "sharers" are pretty much EXACTLY the same. "I'll buy it if I like it." "If I share it, it gets more exposure !" "It's too expensive and EA is treating their employees like slaves, anyway !", etc.

      I also would say that in both cases, nothing is actually stolen in the same sense that you would steal a car, and for the RIAA or ESA to sue individuals into bankrupcy with either is/would be dickish. The RIAA and ESA if they follow suit are the real bad guys here.

      It's not just dickish, it's also short-sighted, immoral, and counteproductive. But I guess some lessons just have to be learned the hard way.

    • by phorm (591458)

      One is as-close or as-not-close as the other, however I would say that the way the game industry reacts to piracy is different.

      For one thing, while the number of seperate big producers in the industry is shrinking (EA has eaten a bunch of them, for example), there is no overall collusive body for games like there is for music. Moreover, the games industry is a bit more segmented in terms of what they produce for: the RIAA members are still mostly using CD's in terms of public production, while the games ind

      • For one thing, while the number of seperate big producers in the industry is shrinking (EA has eaten a bunch of them, for example), there is no overall collusive body for games like there is for music.

        Citation needed. There are plenty of game genres that haven't been shown to work well on PCs running Windows, such as 4-player in-person party games. If you're developing one of those, and Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo turn you down, there's no way to get your game in front of the public.

    • For one thing, I think more work goes into game-making than a Brittney Spears song, and it's done by people I respect rather than people I think are the scum of the earth.

      I'm sorry to hear you think sound engineers and studio musicians are the scum of the earth. I've met quite a few over the years and the vast majority have been pretty nice people.

      I hope you realize that much like a Sid Meier game, a Britney Spears album has a whole lot of talented folks behind the scenes who would like to get paid fo
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I hope you realize that much like a Sid Meier game, a Britney Spears album has a whole lot of talented folks behind the scenes who would like to get paid for the work that they do.

        If they're not getting paid for what they do, they should complain to the RIAA and then quit. It's not my job to feed the undeserving mouths of today's pathetic entertainment industry. The crews should be asking for enough money to satisfy their needs during production, not some foggy purchase-based commission which consumer tastes will affect. Bonuses when a record goes gold, perhaps, but he should get all the money he earned before I ever have the chance to download "LudeThaCros - More Beats and Bumps

        • If they're not getting paid for what they do, they should complain to the RIAA and then quit. It's not my job to feed the undeserving mouths of today's pathetic entertainment industry. The crews should be asking for enough money to satisfy their needs during production, not some foggy purchase-based commission which consumer tastes will affect. Bonuses when a record goes gold, perhaps, but he should get all the money he earned before I ever have the chance to download "LudeThaCros - More Beats and Bumps (fe

          • The point of the post was: Don't try to push piracy as the bad guy when the industries mistreat their crews and employees. By saying "Think of the sound engineers!" that's exactly what your post was doing. I'm not justifying piracy, but to say that I owe it to a sound engineer who's already been paid is the "bullshit rationalization."
            • What? Did you not read the post I responded to, or are you intentionally trolling?

              For one thing, I think more work goes into game-making than a Brittney Spears song, and it's done by people I respect rather than people I think are the scum of the earth.

              I'm not saying anything about paying sound engineers (or game developers) in perpetuity. I'm not saying that you owe these people anything. What I am saying is that there are a lot of other people behind the scenes in both industries; claiming that piracy

      • I'm sorry to hear you think sound engineers and studio musicians are the scum of the earth. I've met quite a few over the years and the vast majority have been pretty nice people.

        You know, I saw that coming, and put in a little line to try to head it off at the pass. In fact, the line was right after you seem to have stopped reading. To quote myself: "There are hardworking people in the music industry sure, just like there are scum in the gaming industry, and I should also say I've worked in neither indus

        • Sigh.

          I wasn't offended at all by your original post, which I read in full. You'll note that the line you repeated above explicitly states that you haven't worked in the industry; my post was intended to let you know that there are lots of decent people behind the scenes.

          Judging by the moderation in this thread, it would appear I'm in the minority with regard to that opinion, so I'll respectfully withdraw and leave you to your discussion.
    • by jbezorg (1263978)
      The cost and advertising of a song or game can be considered about the same. You can spend as much or as little as you want to produce either.

      However, there is the need for continued customer service and support needed for a game that is not needed for a song once it hits the market.
    • by Mistshadow2k4 (748958) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @04:12PM (#24694769) Journal

      And what about what the game industry does to its paying customers? Remember Starforce? What about DRM so bad that you can't even play the game you paid for? Yes, that happened to me. I bought Neverwinter Nights 2, paid over $40 for it and it won't load in my DVD drive. I can't return it to get my money back either. (My co-worker, who pirated the game, didn't have that problem.) I can say with absolute certainty that will be the last money Atari ever gets from me, which shows you how stupid their draconian DRM is because I would have probably bought 10 more games in the future otherwise.

      The games industry will screw you up one side and down the other any time they think they can't get away with it; they proved that with Starforce, which they kept using until the pressure from their customers got very heavy. In short, I understand that they have higher development costs, but from their treatment of their actual customers I don't see how they're any better than the RIAA. To Hell with them too, I say.

      • Really then, only support games that don't screw over its customers... Sins of a Solar Empire. Excellent game, no copy protection. Guild Wars, no copy protection, just a single cd key to store your account for online play, no monthly fees or whatever. Ok, this might be a different case, but still... There are games and devs out there that aren't DRM crazy. Buy those, and don't even bother pirating the others... Pirating games is almost as good ad buying them... The more pirate support crappy/DRM fil
  • great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nawcom (941663) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @02:54PM (#24693395) Homepage

    I can't wait for the time when applying no-cd fixes will mean jail time. No, I haven't RTFA, but with the title including "RIAA Exec" and the game industry, I can only think of the worst.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by arkhan_jg (618674)

      Circumventing DRM on a game (a copyrighted work) is already illegal under the DMCA*. As is making the no-cd crack, and distributing the no-cd crack.

      In addition, sharing a no-cd crack on a P2P service (uploading) would most likely also be illegal under standard copyright, at least until 'making available' is overturned. The no-cd crack is a modified exe, which is a derivative work under copyright.

      *17 U.S.C. 1201

      (a)(1)(A): Illegal to circumvent a technical measure copyrigh

      • by Alaren (682568) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @03:18PM (#24693807)

        Circumventing DRM on a game (a copyrighted work) is already illegal under the DMCA*

        The section you are quoting refers to access, not use. That means getting the information in the first place.

        There is another section with similar language regarding use, but making an exception for personal use. The prevailing jurisprudence is that you can personally decrypt your DVDs, games, whatever if you gained access legally (i.e., purchased the stuff), but you cannot distribute the tools you use. So distributing cracks or cracking tools can get you in trouble, but possessing them and using them really can't, at least not under the DMCA.

        More strangely, it remains sort of an open question as to the legality of "showing" or "teaching" someone else how to do what you can do with your technical knowledge, especially if your teaching involves giving them tools (i.e. distributing) intended to circumvent protection.

        People toss around the word "illegal" way too casually here.

        I am not a lawyer, but I am a law student with some real-world copyright litigation experience. The foregoing is not legal advice.

      • by nawcom (941663)

        Note that I said nothing about creating and distributing a no-cd crack, I simply referred to applying one. The legality of this has many variables to question, especially if you personally fix the binary yourself (not downloading someone else's "fix"). Also the issue with what makes a crack illegal, if the application you use modifies a binary versus itself being a modified binary of the original copyright owner's work. (referring to your comment: The no-cd crack is a modified exe, which is a derivative wor

      • by crossmr (957846)

        Damn that's scary..oh wait..
        I don't live in the US, nor do 6.4 billion other people.. The concept of what is "illegal" and what isn't, really doesn't universally apply.

      • by tepples (727027)

        The no-cd crack is a modified exe, which is a derivative work under copyright.

        There are tools analogous to diff [wikipedia.org] for binary files, such as IPS and UPS. Are diff files also derivative works?

  • Wrong turf (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @02:56PM (#24693423) Homepage Journal
    The gaming community are not like ordinary people in idaho, montana, who do not know about fair use, media cartel predation, overpriced products. not only that, but they are also a more cohesive, communicating group.

    its a VERY bad choice for ESA member companies. Right at a time when gamers were starting to complain about games being all the same with sequels, and mass produced without a passion. Great move to take gaming companies prestige further down.

    so, will anyone post a list of ESA member companies so we can start avoiding them ?
  • by MarkAyen (726688) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @02:56PM (#24693433)
    Most facets of the entertainment insustry are closely scrutinized by the fan press. And there are fairly large overlaps between music lovers, movie buffs, videogamers, etc. So, you have to wonder if (1) the ESA didn't think anyone would notice that they hired one of the most hated execs in the music industry; or (2) they didn't think the fans would care; or (3) they just don't give a damn what gamers think.

    I'm guessing (3), but given the bad blood between the ESA and -- well -- pretty much everyone else in the industry, you'd think they'd at least want to give the impression that they aren't a bunch of bastards with hearts of coal.
  • The front page of The Times [timesonline.co.uk] yesterday alerted readers to an 'unprecedented assault' on downloading by the UK gaming industry.

    All harbingers of things to come, I reckon. Feel it in the water.

  • Consumer fear and intimidation.
    Because, Kenneth Doroshow would gladly have people tortured and then publicly executed for downloading a single copyrighted song, if that's what the law allowed.
    Now he gets to go after them evil 14 year-old gaming pirates!
    Kenneth has no ethics or morals or sense of justice, he's a vile, evil, hateful, vengeful and petty little man.
  • by Trojan35 (910785) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @03:53PM (#24694451)

    "The same RIAA executive who defended a $222,000 verdict over 24 song files at an academic conference back in March, Kenneth Doroshow, is leaving the RIAA"

    I'm pretty sure if he didn't defend that verdict, as an RIAA executive, he wouldn't have been an RIAA executive for very long. Maybe he's leaving the RIAA since he's realized their business practices are shit, and he got tired of defending them? I don't know, but it's possible.

    Plenty of people on this site have worked for tech companies who have done some uncool things. Let's not pretend anyone who works for or with the RIAA is evil or an idiot. Honestly, I don't think they're idiots, they're just scared for their business model. And they should be.

    • "The same RIAA executive who defended a $222,000 verdict over 24 song files at an academic conference back in March, Kenneth Doroshow, is leaving the RIAA"

      I'm pretty sure if he didn't defend that verdict, as an RIAA executive, he wouldn't have been an RIAA executive for very long. Maybe he's leaving the RIAA since he's realized their business practices are shit, and he got tired of defending them? I don't know, but it's possible.

      When I mention that he defended it, I mention it to show that he is shameless, and would defend the indefensible. He brought up the subject. He did not have to bring up the subject of a verdict of $222,000 over $23.76 worth of song files, where the copyright infringement -- if it occurred at all -- caused damage in the neighborhood of $8. When I mentioned at the conference that the verdict had made us a laughingstock in the international community, our copanelist -- a Copyright Law professor from Australia -- agreed.

      And how did he defend the verdict, by stating -- falsely -- that she 'might' have distributed '10,000,000' copies through Kazaa. As anyone familiar with software knows, her files probably could not have been copied by 100 people, let alone 10,000,000.

      Part of me -- I guess my heart -- would like to believe that he left the RIAA because he was tired of defending them. But my brain tells me otherwise.

  • For people who haven't followed the ESA closely, it may interest you to know that developers and publishers alike have been jumping ship and quitting the ESA as of late. Their influence is waning, and they can no longer claim that they represent the majority of the game industry (given the high-profile members they have lost, I doubt they do). Who they hired for what position hardly even matters at this point, given how few supporters they have both in and outside of the industry, from both the customer and

  • Crazy as it sounds, this might be good for indie game developers. If the mainstream gaming industry gets too obnoxious, indie gamers who have more reasonable approaches to theft might gain greater followings.

    I have to admit I'm a little biased here, as the creator of a free web-based game. Copyright protection isn't at all when your format can't be copied--and doesn't even need to be since it's always available.
  • Not like the ESA is really a major concern these days. The games industry is hardly the Cabalistic oligarchy that the recording industry is. It's still quite possible for small/independant studios to put out a good product that garners high ranking sales, without the help of arbitrarily inserted gatekeepers.

    What was ESA's big claim to fame anyway? Oh yeah, E3. And look at how shockingly important that is these days...
    • It's still quite possible for small/independant studios to put out a good product that garners high ranking sales, without the help of arbitrarily inserted gatekeepers.

      You mean like the console makers? WiiWare still isn't open to developers operating out of a home office, and a PC running Windows tends to have a 17" screen that isn't comfortable for four players holding gamepads plugged into a USB hub to sit around.

  • whether the ESA's hiring of this guy is a sign that they are about to go to war against end users like the RIAA has been doing, or whether it's just an ordinary personnel-type move.
  • If I am to understand his track record this will be high on his list

    Now all Video Game discs will have a special magnesium and thermite backing. Should you read the entire disc in one sitting, the disc will ignite and destroy your gaming device. This will prevent all disc copying. It will also increase read error rates 50%, but we all brought it on ourselves.

    Also all game systems and games will not be playable if not equipped with phone home technology. Existing games which are re-released as Gam
  • There goes the planet.

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