p2pnet news | RIAA News:- Warner Music, EMI, Vivendi Universal and Sony BMG’s RIAA has kicked off the new year with renewed attacks on university students across America.
It boasts it’s sent out a new “wave” of 407 extortionate ‘settlement’ letters to 18 universities, using “evidence of significant abuse of campus computer networks for the purpose of copyright infringement” as the excuse.
Arizona State University (33 pre-litigation settlement letters), Bowdoin College (11), California State University, Monterey Bay (25), College of William and Mary (15), Duke University (16), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (19), Mount Holyoke College (15), Rhode Island College (22), Saint Mary’s College of Minnesota (13), Stanford University (15), Texas Christian University (14), University of California, Berkeley (26), University of California, Los Angeles (26), University of Connecticut (25), University of Iowa (24), University of Nebraska-Lincoln (22), University of Texas at Austin (50), and Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (36).
The Big 4 are using their RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) as a front end in a vicious attempt to use legal systems not only in America, but around the world, to force ‘consumers’ into buying corporate product.
The campaign was started in 2003 with children as young as 12 being accused of being “massive online distributors of copyrighted music”.
Last year, the labels switched the focus to students with school staffs and administrations willingly acting as RIAA factotums, funded not by the purely commercial music industry, but by taxpayers through state and federal authorities, and parent fees.
The labels gives students a choice: pay upwards of three thousand dollars each to get the RIAA off their backs, or risk going to court.
Well over 4,000 students have, thanks largely to their own universities, received RIAA blackmail letters. The implication is: scores of students have appeared in civil courts and to be found guilty of file sharing when the reality is: there is no such offence, and at this point as far as we know, no one has yet appeared before a judge or a jury.
Thanks entirely to the mainstream print and electronic media, the RIAA has been able to scam people into believing it’s successfully ‘prosecuted’ thousands of filesharing criminals and thieves, as it calls its own customers.
In its letters, the RIAA openly admits it’s trying to pull students in by offering them a “discounted rate” before a “formal lawsuit is filed”.
Students who fall for this are, however, doing only one thing: admitting they’re guilty of a non-existent “crime”.
Even worse, the Big 4 hit organisation may well use these ‘confessions’ in new attacks sometime in the future. Because paying the RIAA to go away by no means guarantees it won’t be back, going after the people who made the confessions again.
But most simply cave in, and the US government is actively helping this disgraceful campaign, aimed wholly and solely at preserving entertainment cartel profits.
In CNET’s The Digital Home, Don Reisinger says he asked the RIAA to answer 10 questions to, “clear the air,” saying he’ll run the results tomorrow.
Meanwhile, according to RIAA mouthperson Clara Duckworth, the sue ‘em all campaign has, “made people more aware of what is legal and illegal when it comes to downloading music,” says Reisinger, going on, “But if you ask me, the RIAA’s policy of utilizing lawsuits to make people ‘more aware’ is creating a more hostile environment that only harms the organization’s standing in the court of public opinion.
“Of course, Duckworth disagrees,” he says, continuing >>>
She contends that although some may dislike the RIAA, “amongst the general public, the favorability ratings of the record industry remain as positive as ever and surpass other forms of entertainment like movie or TV studios.” Of course, the question is not necessarily whether the public likes Sony BMG or EMI, the real question is whether or not people like the RIAA itself. And so far, very few do.
In the end, Duckworth says that we should be skeptical when we hear news on the RIAA. According to her, she would rather “give [us] the facts and encourage [us] not to believe everything [we] read that aggressively villainies the organization.”
Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. When an objective observer looks at some of the actions taken by the RIAA over the past few years, including hiding behind the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 2003 to force Verizon to hand over private customer information, asking the court to force a 10-year old girl into a deposition over a lawsuit with her mother and a host of others where the organization chose to attack low-hanging fruit instead of finding and charging those enterprises that have allowed piracy to become so ubiquitous in the first place, it’s no wonder people dislike this organization.
In an environment where technology is changing by the minute, there are still some organizations that flounder in the past. Is piracy wrong? Yes. Should people pirate? No. But what the RIAA doesn’t understand is that its policy of lawsuits only enrages people and fails to bring about change.
That said, it seems like the writing is on the wall. The RIAA will continue to employ its bullying tactics in the hopes that piracy will stop, but the recording industry will refuse to realize that what we really want as consumers is the ability to take music and do what we want with it. Beyond that, the industry will never realize that although I can copy a track I purchased and send it along to a friend, sales will continue to rise because most people are honest and are willing (and ready) to do the right thing.
Meanwhile, the writing is now clearly on the wall.
The labels and their attack organisations such as the RIAA, CRIA, ARIA, so on and etc, stumble from one public relations disaster to another, adding thousands of angry people to the new consumer bases comprising music lovers who consciously and a very deliberately avoid like the plague anything and everything to do with the labels.
The RIAA’s the days are numbered, as are Warner Music, EMI, Vivendi Universal and Sony BMG’s IFPI (International Federation of Phonographic Industry)’s.
EMI, the first to abandon DRM, is also the first to cut its support of the IFPI and it now seems likely the RIAA and IFPI will be merged to form a new enforcement organisation.
More power to it because all it’ll do is add more fuel to the fire.
Because it’s too late. Far too late.
The corporate music industry as it’s existed for decades is as good as dead and it’d probably be a good idea for the people who’ve been screwing up the music industry, and the flacks and hacks at the so-called trade organisations who’ve been helping them, to start looking for new jobs.
Jon Newton – p2pnet
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