Someday we will look back on the actions of RIAA and the rest of the music industry and laugh, or maybe cry. For now, however, we will have to continue hearing stories like this:
The woman, Mavis Roy of Hudson, has called on legal clinics at the state’s only law school to represent her as she fights the charges in federal court this year.
The lawsuit brought by UMG Recordings, Interscope Records, Motown Record Co., and BMG Music alleges that Roy violated copyright infringement laws by downloading and distributing 218 audio files on April 24, 2007.
Roy’s defense team questions how that could be when she did not have a computer in her house at the time in question.
Why RIAA is allowed to behave in this manner is confounding. Nearly every suit they bring reeks of intimidation and weak evidence. Not only that, but going after grown women for allegedly downloads a few songs from a pirated source is simply not going to help save an industry that is built on a collection of obsolete business models.
In a rare sign of government siding with users instead of big media, the UK has indicated that it will not be policing ISPs and their users in what has been called a “three-strikes-and-your-out” policy:
There had been mounting speculation about government legislation on the issue as the music industry steps up its fight against the pirates. Other countries, such as France, have supported tough action on file-sharers, who the industry claims cost them dear. But Mr Lammy said legislation would be too complex. “We can’t have a system where we’re talking about arresting teenagers in their bedrooms,” he told The Times newspaper.
One hopes that other countries take notice and think long and hard before taking on “pirates” in an attempt to save a misguided and floundering music industry.
ArsTech has a great (and very well annotated) look at the ongoing struggles of the UK government to find some sort of working resolution between the music industry and people who use the internet to listen to that music in ways the music industry disapproves of – i.e. file-sharing, linking and streaming copyrighted content.
These are going to be the big issues facing every nation connected to the internet and the manner in which each government decides to handle it will be fascinating to follow.
One thing I desperately hope goes the way of the Dodo Bird (poor guy) is this whole “Three Strikes and Your Banned For Life” idea. This is insane for a slew of reasons.
1) Banning someone from the internet for life is equivilant to forcing someone to be a member of modern society without access to the most important communication and information delivery system in existence. Not only does that seem to violate the basic concept of the punishment fitting the crime but it seems kind of impossible to regulate. How the hell do you ban a person from getting online? Let alone enforce it.
2) Why “Three Strikes?” Not only is this arbitrary but they don’t even play baseball in the UK. What is this magical “three strikes” thing all about? Why three? Why not one? Or one hundred?
3) Finally, what constitutes a strike? What is the line between “sharing” – something we are all taught at an early age is a fine and noble act – and “stealing?”
I could go on, and I likely will in later posts. For now, please get educated on Intellectual Property policies and get ready to fight for your rights – they’re coming to take them away.
Seems like all I am doing today is citing the NYT. Maybe they hope that by actually covering the internet they can remain a relevant media outlet…
Anyhow, they have another piece about the challenges facing the major music labels in the digital age. This has been discussed ad nauseum but they do highlight one fascinating fact that ArsTech also picked up on: Atlantic Records became the first big record label to make more money via digital sales than via CD sales.
The interesting thing to note is how this was accomplished:
“In making that transition to a digital business, the music business has become immeasurably more complicated. Replacing compact disc sales are small bits of revenue from many sources: Atlantic Records’ digital sales include ring tones, ringbacks, satellite radio, iTunes sales and subscription services.”
It used to be much easier to be a record label – just sell records. Well those days are long gone and for the labels that refuse to accept that fact it’s going to be a fast trip to backruptcy.