p2pnet.net news:- “Years ago, college students were our best customers,” says RIAA spin doctor Cary Sherman (right). “Now they’re among our worst customers.”
Maybe that’s because years ago, Warner Music, EMI, Vivendi Universal and Sony BMG’s RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) weren’t trying to sue students into buying ‘product’.
The quote comes in an Associated Press story on the fact the RIAA is again running wild through the US school system, sending out what it calls “pre-litigation” letters to college students across America, ordering them to pay a ‘settlement’ amount. Or else.
In their most recent attack on the people who used to be their best customers, the Big 4 music cartel sent out another 405 blackmail letters to 23 universities and is now promising to send “hundreds” more every month, says AP.
This harks back to the days when the RIAA routinely fired subpoenas at men, women and even 12-year-old children every month.
The University of Wisconsin is refusing to forward RIAA ‘settlement’ letters, wrote Nick Penzenstadler in the University of Wisconsin’s online Badger Herald.
And, quoted by Penzenstadler, dean of students Lori Berquam said, “Housing is kind of like easy pickings. It’s like they are any easy target because there are 5,000 of them on our campus. My fear is that this is just the residence folks are being targeted, but who knows about the rest of the country.”
Thanks wholly to unstinting and constant help from the mainstream media, who re-publish Big 4 RIAA statements as though they’re factual documents from credible sources, the impression given is that students, and anyone else, are in very real danger of being singled out by the Big 4 enforcement unit.
In fact, the chances of any one person ending up on an RIAA hit list are similar to them being struck by lightning or winning millions of dollars in a lotto contest.
Meanwhile, is the RIAA effort paying off? Is it making an impression on file sharing or file sharers? Not in the slightest. In fact, the numbers of people using the p2p networks and independent online services and sites, rather than those backed and supported by the corporate music industry, are growing
“There are nearly ten million people using only the most popular networks at any given time (to say nothing of private, invitation only, small group sharing etc.) and there are – very conservatively speaking – more than a billion files a month,” BigChampagne ceo Eric Garland told p2pnet recently.
He went on:
The IFPI and RIAA project the volume of downloads to be far greater than that (estimates approaching 3 billion/month), but we do not know the basis of these projections.
We have observed no decreases in file sharing activity. On the contrary, the aggressive growth in popularity of BitTorrent clients (and increases in gnutella users by way of Limewire et al) demonstrate very much the opposite.
Proportionally, the growth rate in file sharing of film and television (and other multimedia) now exceeds that of popular music. We have observed no net decline in music, and music remains the most popular entertainment on P2P networks.
Garland puts the number of downloads at perhaps three billion a month. However, a new IDC white paper says it’s probably more like one billion a day.
But the corporate music industry, with its high prices, product of questionable quality and thin catalogues, doesn’t even begin to figure in this.
The RIAA and its owners would do better by putting the many millions of dollars they’re wasting on suing their own customers into finding ways to tap this potentially huge consumer base of music lovers.
Instead, they’re, “just hoping somebody is going to figure all this out for them,” say retailers.
Associated Press – Tribler: New Dutch p2p network, February 21, 2006
blackmail letters – 405 more RIAA blackmail letters, March 21, 2007
refusing to forward – University ignores RIAA blackmail, March 20, 2007
one billion a day – 1 billion songs a DAY shared online, March 8, 2007
figure all this out – Big Music: ‘No plan, no direction’, March 14, 2007
If your Net access is blocked by government restrictions, try Psiphon from the Citizen Lab at thIs the end (of the Net) nigh?zze University of Toronto’s Munk Centre for International Studies. Go here for the official download, here for the p2pnet download, and here for details. And if you’re Chinese and you’re looking for a way to access independent Internet news sources, try Freegate, the DIT program written to help Chinese citizens circumvent web site blocking outside of China. Download it here.
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Tired of being treated like a criminal? They depend on you, not the other way around. Don’t buy their ‘product’. Do bug your local politicians. Use emails, snail-mail, phone calls, faxes, IM, stop them in the street, blog. And if you’re into organizing, organize petitions, organize demonstrations and then turn up on your local political rep’s doorstep, making sure you’ve contacted your local tv/radio station/newspaper in advance. Don’t just complain. Do something!