Friday, October 05, 2007

RIAA Wins Lawsuit in Minnesota


A jury awarded $222,000.00 to the RIAA from a woman who allegedly shared music online.

You know, I can't begin to express how unfair I believe this is. First of all, I'd really like to see a transcript of the trial, to see how the RIAA proved this woman was really doing the infringement claimed. The article says they got some folks from the woman's ISP to testify that the address belonged to her. I guess that's it, then. Throw the book at this lowlife scum. Put her in the poorhouse for the rest of her life over a grand total of roughly $1,200 in lost revenue. Great idea. And while we're at it, let's hop on down to the schoolyard and pop those kids who are sharing a pair of earbuds from an iPod.

The recording industry is waaayy behind the curve on this one. Their idea of "damage control," instead of embracing new technologies, is to make the "little guy" lick your boots. They're producing cookie-cutter music at increasingly low overhead, and yet prices are still going up.

I'm not saying people should be allowed to indiscriminately share copyrighted material. I mean, the mixed-tapes I made in the 80's without a doubt cost the recording industry all of twenty or thirty bucks, and I feel bad about that. I really do. And I fully admit that I dubbed songs off the radio as late as 1987. I cry myself to sleep on a regular basis that, because of my actions, some recording industry executive couldn't afford one ten-trillionth of his mortgage payment. Just imagining the poor fella, sobbing in his Bentley, wondering how he'll make it to his next paycheck...

Sorry. I got choked up for a minute there.

Piracy is wrong. It always has been. But it's not a case of raving marauders attacking, pillaging and plundering the high seas, killing all in their quest for gold.

It is, overwhelmingly, a case of people who love music, and are tired of the recording industry being able to dictate the entirety of the marketplace's terms.

I suppose it's clear I'm conflicted on the issue. I haven't downloaded anything illegally, although I know folks who have. I don't associate with them anymore, because I don't want that oily taint to rub off on me. I have better things to do with my life than register on bittorrent sites like The Pirate Bay and search and download torrents of hundreds of songs (or even one, for that matter). It doesn't mean that I want those who do so to be treated as if they've caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages to the RIAA. They haven't.

Hey RIAA! Let's stop treating these folks like criminals and find a happy medium, shall we? I know, it sounds like extortion, but until your heavy-handed tactics stop, it's not going to get better for you. Remember the old saying:

"You catch more flies with honey than you do by putting them through intense trials and subjecting them to massive fines that are waaaay out of proportion to the amount of damages you have suffered."

Remember, Robin Hood was cool back in the day. But I imagine it wasn't so much that Robin Hood was cool, as it was that the Sheriff of Nottingham was a complete tyrant.

I leave you all with some serious words of advice.

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