Thursday, March 29, 2007


Ok, so news like this makes me grin. While I understand that downloading copyrighted music is a civil offense, I really think suing your customers is a stupid business strategy. Although, I also think adding "Don't even think about pirating this you evil person you!" messages to CDs, and liner notes, and guilt trip clips before movies is just as insulting to the consumer, especially since you only see these after you've handed over your money, placing you firmly in the classification of paying customer.

However, even once we get over these issues, the way the RIAA primarily, and to a lesser extent the MPAA, are going about these lawsuits is ridiculous, and in many cases fraudulent. They threaten people with lawsuits to get upfront settlements, file anonymous lawsuits by the hundreds, and even tried to scold a college for not keeping IP address assignment logs because "Don't they know they are important?". Well, they may be important to the RIAA, but to the college they hold no special value, and consume valuable & expensive resources to keep around, so the logical choice is not to keep them unless they have a specific need for them.

I'm all in favor of people fighting back on these lawsuits, whenever they have the means to do so. Progress is finally being made too. With several cases having forced the RIAA to pay the defendant's legal fees, this may embolden lawyers to offer their services in exchange for any fees they can recover if they win, which would help more people get qualified representation. In another case, the defendant, who was ruled against on the main issue, has successfully gotten the court to question the ridiculous per song damage figures spouted by the RIAA.

Lastly, if you haven't already heard the joke, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) should join together to form the Music and Film Industry Association of America (MAFIAA).