p2pnet.net news:- In only a few months the Net has stopped being a place of freedom where anybody, anywhere regardless of race or creed, colour, sexual persuasion, physical ability or disability, or anything else, had a home.
It didn’t matter who you were or what you thought, you could express your feelings and sentiments without fear. But that’s changing with horrifying speed.
Yesterday p2pnet ran a story with “Record exec to academic: stop criticizing us or I’ll tell your university” as the intro. It centres on a dust-up between music-loving academic Andrew Dubber and Paul Birch, the man who runs the supposedly independent label Revolver Records.
Not at all incidentally, Birch is also on the board of the IFPI (International Federation of Phonographic Industry), another of the Warner Music, EMI, Vivendi Universal and Sony BMG front organisations.
“I am in regular contact with the RIAA and both they and the IFPI are subject to hate mail as a consequence of hubcap, our litigation against consumers for illegally downloading our copyrights,” said Birch to Dubber on the latter’s new music strategies, continuing:
This manifests itself into individual members of our RIAA management being singled-out for malicious statements and blogs on the internet. As an example you probably saw the case earlier in the week of a Chinese Laundry in the United States being sued for $54M for loosing a pair of trousers, belonging to a lawyer. If you take a look at the criticism on your blog of the RIAA by one of the contributors, they are engaging in a similar malicious prosecution in the US courts but go further and make a number of assertions through your blog that gives credibility to illegal downloading.
You see it mentioned from time to time from within the cartel comments that all the folks that work for them are really good people. The implication is that the corporation should be viewed as separate from those that work for it.
Here is the problem, the corporation and the employees have one and the same viewpoint or they don’t work for that corporation for long. Here it is, put out for all to see, that is the case. We already know the RIAA is one of the most hated entities on the face of the earth. Due to the nature of their methods and its similar nature that IFPI uses, paints them with the same brush in the publics’ eyes. Neither are fit for public company among those that have moral standing. Certainly all of these handful of acronyms try to take the high moral road in their dealings and each comes out looking like the scum of the earth would have higher moral standing when viewed with what is attempted.
Dubber’s blog in the UK, which carries all of the emails in full, suddenly and mysteriously went offline, with the huge SUSPENDED notice posted in its place.
Given that Birch’s last email stated, “If you persist then I shall make a formal complaint to the University,” a lot of people wondered if Birch’s complaints had born fruit.
But, “There’s an explanation of what went down on the site now,” Dubber told me, adding, “Hopefully the problem shouldn’t repeat – but no, I don’t think there’s anything sinister going on.”
“Well, I’m not sure what caused the suspension of my account overnight, but it happened outside of the hosting service’s office hours, and as far as I can figure, it seems to have been the result of a faulty WordPress plugin, exacerbated by a massive increase in traffic,” says Dubber on new music strategies.
“Sorry to the people who phoned and got my voicemail – I was actually out DJ-ing when it happened. In the meantime, I’ve received a huge number of emails from people concerned about what might have happened to the site. After all, there was a lot of material for a suspicious mind to work with there.
So what started it all?
Ruffled the feathers
Says Grant Robertson on downloadsquad:
Recently, when a counterclaim was filed by Ms. Del Cid against the RIAA containing allegations of Trespass, Computer Fraud and Abuse, Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices, Civil Extortion, and Civil conspiracy, we published a short editorial on our perception of the unfolding events. Del Cid’s allegations are quite serious; in her and her lawyer’s view the RIAA broke serious criminal statutes while amassing evidence for their case.
Our editorializing seems to have ruffled the feathers of an IFPI executive who is now threatening action, not against us, but against another blog who simply linked to our piece. In an effort to quell what Paul Birch of Revolver Records calls, “malicious statements and blogs on the internet” he has threatened Andrew Dubber of the blog New Music Strategies with veiled words about lawsuits, and by directly threatening to file a formal complaint against him with the University of Central England, Dubber’s employer. All because in the course of discussion on the topic Andrew Dubber’s blog follows exclusively he felt it relevant to link to something we wrote.
After thanking Dubber for bringing me up-to-date, “Do you think Birch realises how much of a PR back-lash he’s created?” – I wondered, adding:
With all the negative publicity the Big 4 labels are already receiving around the world, they certainly don’t need this.
I’d love to be a fly on the wall at the next IFPI board meeting. heh
Definitely stay tuned.
Meanwhile, I know exactly how Dubber feels.
Not long ago, a defamation claim was laid on me and a number of other people and companies including, almost unbelievably, Wikipedia, Google and Yahoo, to name but three. Behind it isWayne Crookes, a Vancouver businessman who’s claiming a link to something he doesn’t like is sufficient cause for him to sue for defamation.
And in 2006, Sharman Networks, a huge multi-million dollar Australian company, and its Nikki Hemming, the woman in charge of Sharman’s Kazaa p2p application, lodged a defamation lawsuit against me for anonymous comments posted on p2pnet, and a story I subsequently wrote, quoting it.
Back then, these kinds of lawsuits were rarities. Now they’re everyday events.
Jon Newton – p2pnet
p2pnet – IFPI board member threatens blogger, June 15, 2007
downloadsquad – “An open response to an IFPI board member, June 15, 2007
Del Cid – RIAA charged with extortion, June 4, 2007
something he doesn’t – Wayne Crookes sues the Internet, April 25, 2007
anonymous comments – Free speech, libel and the internet age, Juyly 31, 2006
If your Net access is blocked by government restrictions, try Psiphon from the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre for International Studies. Go here for the official 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!