RIAA pays $16M to get $390,000 – no wonder the record companies are going tits up

When I first read this over at the Recording Industry vs The People blog this morning I couldn’t stop laughing, which made it extremely hard to get my required daily dosage of coffee into me and not all over my keyboard.

Yes folks it is true. The RIAA in 2008 paid out to three lawyer firms more than $16 million in order to pursue copyright infringement claims. In return they were able to collect only $391,000 in settlements. However it gets even better than that when you look back a few years:

As bad as it was, I guess it was better than the numbers for 2007, in which more than $21 million was spent on legal fees, and $3.5 million on “investigative operations” … presumably MediaSentry. And the amount recovered was $515,929.

And 2006 was similar: they spent more than $19,000,000 in legal fees and more than $3,600,000 in “investigative operations” expenses to recover $455,000.

So all in all, for a 3 year period, they spent around $64,000,000 in legal and investigative expenses to recover around $1,361,000.

And of course they are doing all this to protect the musicians. If I was the musicians I’d be asking for a rebate and a plea to the RIAA to stop being so damn helpful.