So two weeks ago I took on illegal downloaders. In that post I spoke specifically to the ethics of taking something for free that you rightfully should pay for. What makes this issue so hard to argue at times is the total lack of sympathy that anyone can feel for the RIAA. Their total lack of disregard for the public impression of themselves or the artists and labels that they purportedly represent makes it impossible to defend them.
What made me decide to write this at this point was a recent article about a woman who is being sued by the RIAA for downloads made through her ISP account. The woman states that neither her nor her children set up the KaZaA account through which songs were being shared but rather by a visiting friend . The RIAA has a policy that regardless of the transgressor, it is the owner of the ISP that is responsible – and this policy is apparently no questions asked. They basically bully these people into submission even though they don't have a case. Aren't there bigger problems in this world to deal with other than people stealing copies of R. Kelley's Trapped in the Closet?
Since the RIAA’s position on digital music is so extreme at times they’ve essentially made everyone Robin Hood to their Sheriff of Nottingham. (Before you start thinking yourself as Robin Hood – taking music to fill your $300 iPod does not make you Robin Hood, it makes you a thief). It wasn’t until recently that the RIAA even agreed that it is legal to copy CD’s that you’ve purchased to your own digital devices. It is near impossible to comply to the rules so why not just ignore them all together?
The labels aren’t any better. A bunch of fat, rich, men who complain about the money that they aren’t making – even though they continue to make money, just not enough of it. The labels eventual solution will be to copy-protect everything (as they did with the Foo-Fighters recent cd). This only treats the actual buyer as a criminal.
The good thing is that the longer the RIAA fights against technology - the more irrelavent they become. Every week there's something new more advanced. The more unreasonable they are, the more they are ignored.
Isn't it about time the RIAA and the labels decide to figure out a way to actually co-exist with technology?