Round 14: RIAA vs Exxon

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  1. mattbrown says:

    Call me crazy… but it’s appalling to me that RIAA is beating out Exxon. Absolutely appalling.

  2. bluebuilder says:

    I don’t understand how people think that RIAA (who yes, has its head up its ass) is more harmful to our entire species than Exxon?

  3. says:

    i agree with the above comment…riaa is doing their job. if you don’t want to get sued, don’t download music. the sueing is preventable, but thats up to your actions. oil spills are preventable and outrages prices are preventable too, but thats at the fault of the company, not the consumer.

    it just goes to show that real issues don’t matter unless people get free music.

  4. bricklayer says:

    Are you actually keeping that swastika RIAA picture? As much as I hate their litigation-loving, anti-consumer ways, they are not mass murderers! Come on, Consumerist…

  5. tadiera says:

    Wow. RIAA is “winning”?

  6. ColoradoShark says:

    @: No, no , If RIAA only sued people that actually illegally downloaded music they would merely be mean. RIAA sues people on the flimsiest of evidence and does not back down even when they find they are suing someone who is computer-illiterate which is what makes them evil.

    Although, you are correct RIAA probably won’t kill you while what Exxon does might.

  7. danieldavis says:

    RIAA deserves the award. They arent just “doing their job.” In fact, they sue people who dont have computers for downloading music. Not to mention that the RIAA considers Torrent sites and limewire illegal.

  8. WindowSeat says:

    Exxon does far more harm than RIAA ever will, which isn’t to say the RIAA aren’t a bunch of douchebags who are actually killing the industry they’re charged to protect. Exxon’s crimes are on a global scale. BTW the swastikas are way over the top.

  9. Skylar says:

    The RIAA screws over everybody it associates with, artists and consumers alike. CD prices get higher and higher, but the artists barely get 50 cents from the sale of each one. Then they use their profits to control how music is used, even after purchase, and go so far as to try to prevent the implementation of technology through which piracy might be possible (such as public wifi). Not to mention the lawsuits against, more often than not, innocent people, just to rake in as much undeserved money as possible.

    On the other hand, Exxon stubbornly sticks by oil and dismissed global warming as a falsehood, effectively pushing the world closer to a “peak oil” situation every day and loving every minute of it, because they have the disgusting profits to lobby against anything being doing to them.

    Neither organization is doing their job, which is to benefit the consumer. But Exxon’s negative effects on our economy and our environment are almost as despicable as Halliburton’s profiteering off of human suffering and death, and that makes them worse than the RIAA in my book.

  10. Skylar says:

    Oh, and the reason RIAA has more votes than you might expect is because of Gizmodo’s RIAA boycott. There are likely a lot of users just coming here to vote for the RIAA, regardless of who it’s against.

  11. Kanchi says:

    Exxon is losing? I hope some people with some sense come by and correct this. The RIAA may be draconian bastards who are ruining the music industry, and eroding some consumer freedoms. But come on, worse than Exxon? Seriously?

    As bad as the RIAA is, their policies have never killed anyone (Aceh), they’ve never caused massive and permanent environmental damage and then refused to pay for it, they’ve never damaged the US economy by artificially inflating the cost of fuel, they’ve never used their lobbying powers to rob the treasury of billions in the form of subsidies to the richest industry in the world, and they’ve never lobbied in support of invading and occupying unarmed countries, resulting in the deaths of way more than a hundred thousand people, all for the sake of resource attainment, and increasing their share price.

    You people who are voting RIAA really need some perspective. Say what you will about the RIAA, they’ve never been responsible for a large part of global warming, and then hired ‘scientists’ to lie and obfuscate the international scientific consensus on mans impact on global warming, and even on the very existence of global warming, slowing and possibly stopping our ability to respond to it, and therefor stave off a disaster of historic proportions. They’ve also never put lobbyists into government office so that they could roll back environmental and consumer protection, so that they could sell increasingly impure fuel, shortening engine lives, and forcing consumers to refuel more often.

    By ANY metric, Exxon is one of the worst companies the planet has ever seen. Others may be more obviously evil, others may be bigger dicks (like the RIAA), but none have had a more negative, and permanent impact.

    Seriously. Real human lives are more important than your DRM infested iTunes downloads.

  12. Pelagius says:

    If it were “The Oil Lobby” vs “RIAA” then this would make sense. RIAA is a great company, if you’re one of the record companies or music distributors who buys RIAA’s services.

  13. Logan26 says:

    So what if it is Exxon, I’d rather do business with Exxon than with any dick from the RIAA. After being found guilty of music price fixing back in the late 90ies, sure the price of CD came down a bit. It made it easier to buy those pathetic disks with 1 good song on them. Not sure if any of you have noticed or not, but they are back up around 20 bucks again. It costs them less today than it did then to make the damn things and yet they are back to charging stupid prices for them. The Oil Companies, not just Exxon, make billions, have had oil spills, have killed 100s of thousands of living organisms, but they aint raping us with crap products. And before go “They aint raping us!? Have you looked at gas lately?” Yes I have, and it is to be expected. During the winter they do refinery maintence. which means less production. They do this during the winter because of the reduced demand during that time of year. another thing to concider is that the fed and state govs rake in around $1 in taxes from that gallon of gas, in some states the combo is less, others it is more. when you get done looking at where the rest of it goes, they end up with about 8 cents, thats $.08 for you unknowing people that is profit. Oil is where they all make thier money at. It is a commudity, bought and sold just like it were a stock. It costs them a bucks per barrel to pump out of the ground, and they can sell it for over 60. AND THEY DONT SET THE PRICES! The market does, well more to the point, idiots at stock exchanges around the world do. If these clowns woudl stop believing the crap the oil is going to dry up in 10 years, it aint, Alaska has about 30 yrs worth, almost all the entire midwest of the US got capped off back in the 70ies. And yes the are drilling in the Gulf, but very very little is being pumped out and it isn’t because there isn’t oil there. It is because the US has very strict restriction as to how much oil the oil companies can pump out of wells controlled by them on US soil. So between Alsaska, the midwest and the Gulf, we have about 100-120 years worth of oil that can supply the world. The problem is, to many people are making fat wallets of the current oil prices.

    Someone want to bring charges of price fixing on someone, do it to those who actually set the oil price per barrel.

  14. BillyShears says:

    The RIAA never blew their load – literally – into Prince William Sound. Sure, they may be a bunch of copyright nazis, but they’re also not a willing participant in the killing of the environment.

  15. jeblis says:

    @mattbrown: You’re crazy and yes, it’s absolutely appalling.

  16. Why is anyone even surprised that RIAA is winning this vote? Think of the demographic that reads Consumerist. I bet the percentage of voters in this poll who have downloaded something illegally is incredibly disproportionate to society at large. Why bother arguing? Obviously, RIAA is going to “win” this. RIAA threatens to disrupt and pollute internet popular culture, a seemingly far more important crime than polluting and disrupting the planet. Who cares about oil being spilled as long as we can still download the new Arcade Fire album before its released.

  17. RogueSophist says:


    I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  18. rideon says:

    Last week Exxon stopped trying to clean up the biggest oil spill in history (going strong since 1978)… because they’re being sued. Ironically, this massive environmental damage hasn’t stopped housing prices in the neighborhood from going up 65% over the past year.

  19. d0x says:

    This was a tough call for me. Each company is evil for their own reasons and its really hard to compare.

    I wont say who I voted for but honestly this poll is kinda silly as have been most of them.

    There are different class’s of evil and putting two seperate industries like this against each other its kinda tough to chew.

  20. Mogbert says:

    Arg! I want to vote!
    Can anyone tell me why all I get is a small grey square between “PREVIOUSLY: Halliburton vs Walmart
    ” and “READ MORE”?

    I hope I have time to get home and vote before the poll closes down!

  21. Kanchi says:


    Your argument has some holes in it. Exxon works WITH Opec to set the price per barrel, they’re oil traders and sellers/distributors, so they get to set the value of their own product (even if somewhat indirectly). So they can, at their whim, inflate the value of oil (either through opec, or by shutting down their own refineries to decrease availability), and then raise their prices accordingly (note: they are far from alone in doing this, but they are the most excessive).

    So they DO set their prices AND the cost of oil (just in collusion with others), so your argument in support of them holds no water. Another shady move is the use of those they have placed into office. Using Bush, they can increase or decrease the amount of fuel that is put into the national reserve, which is why the price of gas started to drop before the November elections (adding to the reserve was halted, so ‘demand’ went down), and why the price is now going up (adding to the reserve has been restarted).

    I hope that helps you understand. You can’t just blame the market, because they ARE the market (along with the other major companies). The amount of credit you give them is, I’m sorry to say, naive.

  22. Elaine Chow says:

    @idledebonair: word. I was equally upset for the first five minutes when Monsanto didn’t win its round, but then realized that half the people who read this aren’t informed enough to give a shit about things that actually matter.

    Oh, disease, genetic modification, eroding all arable land, trying to control our food system… ZOMG! RIAA WANTS TO BAN LIMEWIRE? WTF! EVIL!!!!

    So yeah, I voted for Exxon. But people in general are stupid.

  23. jeblis says:

    @spatuladeity: I’d have voted for Monsanto. It’s just that nobody ponied up any hard evidence of Monsanto’s evilness in the comments (nor could I find it elsewhere).

  24. cheesyfru says:


  25. jeblis says:


    So Hitler is less evil that Exxon or the RIAA? Or ar you just bad with math?

  26. BillyMumphry says:

    Exxon is just doing its job. Returning value to shareholders is the primary job of any company and it is the most profitable company in the history of world. It has success despite profit margins that are below industry average and far below that of your beloved Apple and other tech companies.

    And if you think that purchasing (or not purchasing) gas from exxon in any way affects their bottom line then you are greatly mistaken as to the profit center of an oil company.

    RIAA sucks donkey balls.

  27. jeblis says:

    “Exxon is just doing its job. Returning value to shareholders is the primary job of any company”

    Wow! so it’s OK to be evil as long as I increase shareholder value?

  28. Logan26 says:


    And I’m sorry to say, but your thoughts are wrong. Exxon could go out of business today and the day traders who ACTUALLY set the price of oil will continue to do so, it sure isn’t OPEC. All they do, And this is for the Middle East countries only, is dictate how much oil those countries are going to produce in a given month to month basis. Oil prices didn’t start to make large jumps until people start crying, “OMFG we only have X years of oil left” knowing this would make news and would drive the price of oil up. Mean while ignoring the fact that the US is sitting on, reserves yet untapped and/or capped(acpped is an oil well that has been struck been has been closed off to prevent oil from being pumped out of it) that will and can run the world for another 100 years or so. Does Exxon, the other Oil companies and their share holders alike currently enjoy the price of oil today? HFY they do as they are making large sums of money because of it. And to the great dismay of everyone else in the world, the price of oil may never come down below 40/barrel again because of this fact. And Exxon will continue to take the brunt of the irk from this as they do the most business. Another point lost everyone nicluding the media is that fact that Exxon’s 10 billion in profits each of the last few quarters is from world wide sales, not US sales. All Oil companies have had their fair share of eco disasters, problem is, everyone likes to pick on Exxon because they are the biggest.

  29. Prosumerist says:

    I hope the overwhelming outrage at the current state of the poll will push Consumerist to veto for Exxon… Capitalist methods are what make America, hence RIAA. Exxon has, is and will continue to poison YOUR PLANET with lingering effect for centuries!

  30. @spatuladeity: Well thank goodness there are people like you willing to lower yourselves to conversing to stupid, apathetic people like us Consumerist commenters. Otherwise we’d never know how ignorant we are.

  31. Logan26 says:

    Here is something else for everyone to concider when it comes to exxon and the price of gas

    1. 50 gallons makes up a single barrel of oil. Yes I know they 55 gal drums but the only fill them to 50 for expansion reasons
    2. Out of 50 gallons of oil they get about 30-33 gallons of fuel. this is in the form of Gas, Deisel, kersene. fuel oil and jet fuel and propably one or 2 other types i’m not thinking of. they get about 10 gallons of motor oil like products used for lubercation applications. the rest makes up platics and other cocsumer products with the run off used as asfault and other types of industrial use.
    3. They have to pay for the shipment, storage of the oil and it by products and the maintence of the vessals they are shipped/stored in. Not to mention the erfineries used to make said products
    4. They also pay for the running costs of those faculties and the transportation of the products around the world.

    Everything I listed here is also true all other oil companies.

  32. radiofree says:

    Exxon, with whom hundreds of thousands if not millions, of CONSUMERS deal with daily, is clearly a more hideous company than is the RIAA, which is actually a trade group.

    As bad as the RIAA is, we are ultimately talking about a luxury product — CDs, recorded music — not about an essential commodity.

  33. Firstborn Dragon says:

    When Exxon pays off scientist and buys BS to try and convince the world that global warming is a hoax they are by FAR more dangerous then the RIAA.

    Not to mention they feel there are places in the world that are meant for them to drill in and screw what everyone else says. And they deny problems with their massive pipelines that spills oil out on route. Only going into damage control when humans suffer as a result.

    They use single hull ships when double hull ships are proven far safer. Most oil spills are caused BY single hull ships. Exxon Valdies was a single hulled ship that had been recomended to be pulled off because of the danger it presented. But it would have been too costly to replace, so they pushed it into servive anyways.

    Cheeper in the end to loose oil to a spill then replace a tanker before hand.

  34. bet the percentage of voters in this poll who have downloaded something illegally

    This is one of the reasons that I am voting for the RIAA. Since when has the modifier illegal been used consistently to describe something that is inherently NOT illegal?

    What the hell is an ILLEGAL MP3? What is an illegal download? I just dont get it.

    Exxon is evil, but they are a beast that are past their prime. They are on their way out the door and Exxon does not force tyranny upon the mind of man. We have a ways to at least keep exxon in check, but the potential long term damage to the freedoms we have as human citizens are largley challenged by the business model called the RIAA.

    What other entity has the power to restrict membership to the united nations based solely on accusations of civil infractions occurring in said country? What agency has the audacity to train foreign governments and police forces in their draconian policies? What group of people have enough sway to change the way you think about the world and your neighbors?

    Do you remember a time when the word downloading was not associated with breaking the law? The act of downloading something has never been against the law and it never should be. Yet the majority of society is convinced that accepting entertainment without payment is stealing. If we continue in this direction of thought we willl soon be lost.

    What kind of corrupt justice can convince you that shoplifting a cd will get you a misdemeanor and a small restitution whereas downloading less than a whole album causes you to be liable for 10’s of thousands of dollars in fines?

    It took a lot of work but I think the reason the RIAA is winning is because of our embarassment that we have been hoodwinked.

    Exxon has never pulled this kind of stunt. They were just outright nasty. But the RIAA, they conned us into fooling ourselves and giving ourselves up. Thats why they are winning. We are like the drunken one night stand for the RIAA and only now are we realizing that we took it in the ass and were raped and now we want restitution.

  35. mattbrown says:

    @Skylar: If this is true, Ben, can you please give numbers on source URL?

  36. Trai_Dep says:

    Wow, there’s some seriously whacked thinking going on here. Would be great to capture all of this and use it as a high school debate class: bad use of logic and uncritical thinking.

    Anyway. It was the cute lil’ otters swimming in Prodhoe Bay that did it for me.

  37. xenth says:

    As far as evilness? RIAA all the way. They go out of their way to sue and harass their customers while relying on new laws to support a failing business model. It’s not their fault they can’t change with the times – its yours and their lawyers will make sure you know that.

    Exxon provides a necessary resource with lower profit margins than many loves companies like Apple or Whole Foods. Like it or not, the world’s economy runs on oil and there is no alternative in sight. Fortunately there are so many unutilized areas that none of us will ever live to see the answer to the question of what would happen if we suddenly ran out without an alternative. Hell if the supply were merely cut in half we’d have World War III over who controls what is left.

  38. bigfish says:

    This was too close to call for me so I ended up going with the RIAA simply because they have a greater effect on my daily life. I don’t have a car and don’t really care about global warming so Exxon has little impact on my daily life.

    But I think it is more important to note that these two groups aren’t really comparable. The RIAA is a trade group made up of a large number of companies while Exxon is a single company. This fact is what makes the RIAA so evil. Where as Exxon has legitimate competition in their industry, the RIAA is a cartel with complete control over the entire industry. But the real kicker is that Exxon hasn’t ever introduced a bill into Congress while the RIAA has. Also, Exxon has a legit business model while the RIAA makes all their money off suing people.

    Shouldn’t Exxon be Exxon Mobile?

  39. TechnoDestructo says:

    Who SUES more babies?

  40. cheesyfru says:

    @xenth: “As far as evilness? RIAA all the way. They go out of their way to sue and harass their customers while relying on new laws to support a failing business model.”

    The RIAA’s customers aren’t us, they’re the record labels. Targeting the RIAA itself misses the point. And while the RIAA’s methods are shady at best, the idea that they’re more evil than Exxon is just plain misguided. They’re basically just a collections agency gone horribly awry.

  41. asherchang says:

    I’m sorry that for this one I’m making more of an emotional decision than a rational one (RIAA)- but hey, look at it this way, the RIAA in its underhanded practices is supposed to represent record companies that produce 90% of the world’s music. And it’s screwing all those artists and the consumers royally. Meanwhile Exxon is only one of multiple evil oil companies who exploit and destroy.

  42. says:

    @Skylar: artist get only 50 cents per album because of middle men like distribution

    @ColoradoShark: and riaa has evidence, your ip address leaves a footprint where ever it goes.

  43. Deryn says:

    All y’all need to lighten up. It’s not like what we’re doing here is going to make either one of ’em stop and decide to be less evil, or by voting for the RIAA we’re saying Exxon is just exactly like Mother Teresa, only with more rainbows and baby ducks. It’s an internet poll. If ever there’s a real national referendum on Exxon versus the RIAA, I might vote that Exxon is more evil, but on this Consumerist internet poll I’m voting for the RIAA because they just piss me off more from day to day.

  44. xenth says:

    @cheesyfru: “The RIAA’s customers aren’t us, they’re the record labels.”

    The RIAA is a group representing major labels. The labels are not customers, they’re members.

    Ignoring the whole pollution thing, Exxon is a global company providing a needed resource at a respectable profit margin. Making money isn’t evil and if I was a shareholder I’d be asking them why they aren’t making more.

  45. Ian S. says:

    Although I would agree that Exxon is generally far more impacting and generally more of a negative influence on human existance, I’m voting for RIAA. The reason? I think our problems with oil in general go WAY beyond a single company, no matter how big. Politics, our support of Americans towards the adoption of alternative energies and transportation, supply, and all sorts of huge factors go into this big ball of hate we call oil. I’d say that as greedy as the CEOs are, it’s not like Exxon is purposefully going out of their way to inconvenience customers or do harm, it’s just all about money, and hey isn’t that what America is about?

    Now the RIAA, on the same quest for money, is going beyond the call of duty to attack their consumers, abusing the legal system, abusing politics, and abusing artists. Noone wins, except maybe a few scared men who think they are going to be able to fight off “piracy.” It’s completely misguided, wasteful, and *completely* under the control of a group of individuals.

  46. nysports says:

    Hey, I think you’re great, hands down, and you have become like my favorite site on the web (big honor) but having spent the last week in Austria being reminded about the holocaust and how horrible it was, you should really take the swastikas down on the RIAA logo. It’s lame to use them to make a point about the recording industry especially considering how much time this site has spent making fun of Walmart for its stupid use of Nazi symbols to make money. Just saying is all.

  47. thrillhouse says:

    Excellent. 64% of readers have forgotten about $3+ gallons of gas coinciding with Exxon’s record profits.

    Summer’s approaching, who’s ready for round 2?

  48. crayonshinobi says:

    It’s very simple. Like TechnoDestructo said, “who sues more babies?” Not just babies, but elderly, students, and even people who have never used a computer.

    Holden Caufield also hit the nail on the head, “What kind of corrupt justice can convince you that shoplifting a cd will get you a misdemeanor and a small restitution whereas downloading less than a whole album causes you to be liable for 10’s of thousands of dollars in fines?”

    More of our civil liberties and constitutional rights have been damaged and rescinded by the RIAA and the MPAA than Exxon could ever hope to. Exxon takes your money, but the RIAA…it takes your soul.

  49. Trai_Dep says:


    Sigh. For all those that are repeating Big Oil’s talking point, probably from Fox TV.

    Exxon’s net profit for last year was *twice* the average for other Fortune 500 companies.

    Big Oil LOVES to cherry pick the companies that, thru innovation and Capitalist Goodness, have insanely high profit margins (for a job well done).

    The critical question to ask is, How does Exxon, et. al compare to its peers. Hence, their comparison to the other Fortune 500. And – again – their’s is TWICE the norm.

    The only innovation they’ve done is in Lobbying and buying refineries, closing them, then complaining about lack of refining facilities to explain their obscene profits.