I’ve had enough. For years I’ve seen the Recording Industry Association of America make a mockery of their customers, common sense, and fair play. I love music, though, and I really respect a lot of the artists that are represented by the RIAA. Yesterday, though, I read this story about a verdict handed down in the trial of the RIAA versus Jammie Thomas-Rasset:
This is the result of a retrial, by the way, so it’s not like this is some one-off crazy jury. She downloaded 24 songs off of Kazaa, a popular file sharing software, and made those songs available to others. Boom: lawsuit. She fought it, mistakenly thinking that you can depend on the courts and the U.S. legal system (I’m not that much of a cynic, mind: usually you can, but not always). Years later, after a retrial was allowed, a jury hands down a judgment against her for $80,000 per song. Because, you know, that’s how much money the recording industry might have lost due to her evil machinations. I don’t use that word carelessly, either: it was decided that her actions were “willful”. Right. Like this woman decided to get those horrible industry executives, managers, and oh, especially the artists.
Listen: the intellectual property system needs to change. The whole mess needs to be rethought, refactored, and redesigned from the ground up. Regular work-a-day artists aren’t going to make this happen themselves, and I understand that. The thing that’s pushed me over the edge is the fact that the RIAA doesn’t have to do this. It’s a choice they make. The law gives them the power to go after people like Thomas-Rasset for “damages”, and they don’t pass those laws. They have a choice to exercise that power or not. And they choose to. The RIAA’s reaction:
So to heck with them, and to heck with any artist that’s represented by them. This is Arstechnica said about the ruling:
From now on, I will only buy music by way of used CD’s, or from artists who are either self-published or on labels not represented by the RIAA. Here’s a list of the RIAA member labels. I’ll be checking this from now on with every purchase. I encourage more people to do the same.
Things need to change. Keep voting at the ballot box, but vote with your dollar, as well.