Here we go again. When, in our country, I speak specifically of the US here, did "We the People" become "We the Corporation"?
As a young, aspiring classical musician, I was able to find work, though I can't and don't do that anymore and at the time, was terribly flattered to be considered semi-professional. It was great, I enjoyed it and seriously recommend anyone that can, take the chance and put yourself out there, it will change your life.
Stating that, I'm trying to defuse the usual arguments that crop up, that the authors of anything that criticizes the RIAA and MPAA are horrible artist hating morons that want something for nothing, before they begin here.
What I abhor, is the abuse by a very wealthy few (especially during our global recession, geesh) of frankly, anyone.
When the VCR first arrived on the scene, many, many attempts were made to block consumers from legally being able to record television broadcasts. Obviously, that didn't go over so well.
Last time I personally turned on the radio, I was still able to pop in a cassette tape and record broadcast. It becomes illegal to do so when you copy this to sell it, to make a profit off of someone else's hard work. That is a legitimate protection that artists need and are entitled to.
In the case of Jammie Thomas-Rasset, recently found guilty, by jury, of infringing the copyright of twenty-four songs over Kazaa (back when it wasn't a legal site) the RIAA apparently believes, and so does the jury, they are entitled to reparation to the tune of 80,000 US$ per song. I know commercial CD's have gotten a bit expensive, but I didn't realize they cost that much now.
A favorite phrase of indivuduals of an older generation, "What are they gonna do, they did away with debtor's prison?", comes to mind. The RIAA will never see that money, and don't tell me, or anyone else with half a brain, that this is to send a message to pirates that they can't get away with this kind of thing. What this decision, and in fact, all DRM legislation does, is encourage right-minded citizens to flaunt the law at every opportunity. I'm reminded of the period of "Prohibition" in the US, where eventually, a constitutional change came about, now you can drink all the alcohol your liver can stand.
Here is the RIAA reaction to the decision, and I get to copy it out of fair use, ain't it great.
“We appreciate the jury's service and that they take this as seriously as we do. We are pleased that the jury agreed with the evidence and found the defendant liable. Since day one, we have been willing to settle this case and we remain willing to do so.”
-- Cara Duckworth
Sorry, I don't believe that a jury of a single-Mom's peers found her liable. Seems to me that she was tried by twelve people that might need to re-evaluate how much material that violates copyright is in their own homes.
Back in 2007, when this case was first tried to be brought against the plaintiff, the RIAA also sought to bring charges against a deceased plaintiff. Took them a couple of years, but it seems they found a judge and jury that would let them get away with the invasion of privacy trying this case allowed. How do you send a letter to a deceased person, and a minor (under thirteen years of age) seeking damages for copyright violation?
Support the artists that make the music, the movies, and other entertainment you enjoy, please, purchase their products. Just remember, that with the advent of the DMCA, if you are able to find a way to copy, for personal use your legally purchased entertainment, you've become a pirate. You are allowed, by law, to make one copy of anything you purchase, for archival, but, if you break the digital rights management embedded in it to prevent copying, you've broken the law. Those two concepts negate each other, that seems simple enough, you can legally make a backup, but if you do, you're breaking the law by breaking the protection to do it. Huh?! Makes no sense to me either.
As a last here's the plaintiffs public statement outside the courtroom, Jammie stated the verdict was “kind of ridiculous” and vowed that “there’s no way they’re ever going to get [that money]”. She's right, they won't. I challenge them to prove me wrong, after all, isn't the punishment supposed to be in proportion to the crime?
MediaSentry investigated over NC RIAA Lawsuits
A very informative link, check it out, and let your legislator know that you don't want an unlicensed company invading your privacy.
MediaSentry canned by RIAA
Don't miss the excellent, and happy, followup.