This webcomic's almost more like a webtragedy. Why? Its depiction of Wired's conversation with the confused CEO of the world's largest record label, Universal, isn't all that exaggerated. I mean, sometimes it seems like they're still searching for this whole "internet" thing. [Hijinks Ensue via Boing Boing]
I've finally read all the underlying pieces here. This guy is no sweet old confused grandpa. I'm not adding a lot here - we all know these guys aren't teddy bears, but he's got a lot more in common with Hesh Rabkin from The Sopranos than my Luddite grandpa. He's old school record label - muscle over knowledge, air-tight contracts, money and power over anything else.
He prides himself in not knowing not because it's what "the kids are doing" but because he wants to prove that he doesn't have to know. At the end of the day, these guys believe that the "old ways" will win out. And by that I mean the rules of the back-room game, not what kind of format we're using or what kind of distribution.
Seeing his pictures and reading his words, these RIAA lawsuits make a lot more sense. They're not meant to be part of some "consumer-producer" relationship, their the same as Hesh trying to jack up some poor 50's musician that wants out of a bad recording deal.
That Schmoo crap is way old school "negotiation" - teaching a "lesson" through some semi-enigmatic anecdote that throws the listener off their guard. He may not be able to find the intertubes, but he's no Senator Stevens. I'm glad I'm not the one crossing him.