CNET had an interview with the RIAA which provides some insight in this organization's beliefs.
Don: Why do you think you're such a disliked organization?
RIAA: I don't agree with the loaded premise of the question. In some online quarters, there may be lots of heat about the tough stands we sometimes must take. But amongst the general public, the favorability ratings of the record industry remain as positive as ever and surpass other forms of entertainment like movie or TV studios. I believe my answer to question No. 5 can apply here as well. But let it be said--the RIAA is much more than lawsuits. For example, we also are responsible for the Gold & Platinum program awarding artists who have achieved successful album sales and are active proponents of free speech in music. But no one likes lawsuits, and no one likes to get caught. It's not an ideal situation for any party involved. But with all the new, innovative legal alternatives in the marketplace (and more emerging on almost a daily basis), the music community is proactively offering fans ways to avoid lawsuits and get their favorite music at affordable prices.