Mark Cuban has a great article on his Blog Maverick site that says:
"...with the introduction of Yahoo!'s new $5 per month music service that this needs to become the new de facto 'damages' that the RIAA ought to be able to claim when suing kids. After all, when the kids could have paid for the music via Yahoo! for $5 a month it makes it hard to say the music loss is worth more than that. 'The RIAA can no longer claim that students who are downloading music are costing them thousands of dollars each. They cant claim much of anything actually.
In essence, Yahoo just turned possession of a controlled music substance into a misdemeanor. Payable by a $5 per month fine.'"
That is a truely interesting argument. I've also considred a "no redemption made" defense. Someone could argue that they didn't redeem all of their iTunes bottle caps or Sony Music Store / McDonald's Big Mac Wrappers or the recent Musicmatch songs included with meals at Jack In The Box.
Here's a conspiracy for you:
Consider Yahoo's new unlimited music rental service. Like Napster's Napster To Go offering, for a monthly fee, you can download all the songs you like. You will have to hack the songs and strip the DRM in order to use them beyond the 29 day rental. The songs themselves actually expire on the 30th day and become a blank 4k file that just contains your account information and the MP3 tag (info about the song, title, and artist)
The iTunes Music Store operates on the premise of a pay per song, but you own the song and the ability to burn to a CD - something that cost's an extra 75 cents per song at both Napster and Yahoo.
Now consider, if Apple, Sony, or Real Networks - Napster's main competition had an insider. I noticed that some of the people who worked on the Yahoo Music project had worked at the competition. Suppose one of these "new management" people working on the Yahoo offering managed to convince Yahoo execs that the low $4.99 a month for unlimited music downloads was a good idea - to put Napster out of the market! In the corporate world - you have to realize that drama like this is common and not just some guy on a small web site's crazy theory.