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RIAA sees Massive Layoffs, New Lawsuit

According to several reports, the Record Industry Association of America is laying off scores of employees.

Hypebot initially said there were somewhere in the range of 30 workers let go, but the site has no confirmed through its own sources that the number has grown to over 100. "It is about 90-100+ people across the US and global offices," said the anonymous source. "[The major labels] are squeezing the [expletive] out of these guys after the ISP failure and a major budget cut."

The ISP failure refers to the policy change made by the organization not too long ago. In December of last year, the RIAA announced that it would be dropping its five year old strategy of lawsuits against those it suspected of disseminating copyrighted information. Instead, it would put pressure on Internet service providers to cut off copyright violators. So far, that strategy has yet to be effective, and the lack of results isn't making the "Big Four" record companies (EMI, Sony BMG, Universal and Warner) happy.

"Can't confirm number but I can confirm there were layoffs," said RIAA spokesperson Cara Duckworth. "As you can imagine, the music community is not immune from the impact of these tough economic times."

The recession does have a hand in everything, but there's no doubt that the failed policies of the organization had some impact on the layoffs and impending restructuring. The anonymous source also said the RIAA (or what's left of it), might be rolled into the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which already represents the Big Four on a worldwide level. That same organization is also going after The Pirate Bay over in Europe right now.

If layoffs and massive restructuring aren't enough, the RIAA is also facing a potential lawsuit. Shahanda Moursy of North Carolina is bringing the suit forward, alleging that the RIAA consistently engages in fraudulent litigation. "As part of this campaign of their sham litigation program, the [record labels] enhance the intimidation factor by actually filing suit in a number of instances with no prior warning," says the lawsuit. "These suits are designed to attract media attention, and often do, as stories emerge of suits against the elderly, disabled, technologically clueless, and other vulnerable victims."

Who knows if the lawsuit will actually make it to court, but the complaint's timing couldn't be worse for the RIAA. Combined with layoffs and possible absorption into the IFPI, the organization is certainly in hot water right now.