Ever since the music producers realized that they were behind a digital eight-ball,
they've been scrambling to remain relevant in a post-analog world. However, their recent
attempts to gain the legal authority to "hack" into computers solely on the belief that
the computers are hosting inappropriate copyrighted material are completely obscene and
Broadband connections, music compression algorithms, cheap CD rippers and P2P networks are
rapidly changing the comfortable business model that the music labels created over the
past 80 years and the labels have begun to panic. So the RIAA recently tried to attach an
amendment to the latest anti-terrorism bill working its way though Congress. The proposed
Wired's story here) would have apparently allowed anyone that has reason to believe
that there was illegal copyrighted material on computer to surreptitious and without
authorization, log in to the computer. Copyright holders would also have the right to
delete any files they believed "stolen" - even though we all know that it perfectly legal
to rip your own mp3s and store them on your computer. And most annoying of all, the
amendment shielded the perpetrators from any liability, even if they deleted the wrong
files or did other damage to your machine.
So now corporate America wants the ability to invade your personal possessions and have
free reign to whatever they like - all in an attempt to protect their bottom line. As
long as they "believed" that there was stolen copyrighted material, they would be
completely shielded and you'd have no recourse to whatever they did. Not even the police
can do something like that without a valid search warrant signed by a judge. But a
warrant is too much hassle for the RIAA. The absolute gall of those bastards is un -
fucking - believable.
Not too mention that I already have a significant distrust of the current copyright "law"
as it, in my opinion, is has become seriously unconstitutional. Copyright law was
envisions by the Founding Fathers as a necessary evil - the granting of a limited monopoly
as an incentive to that a creator. After a brief period, the work enters public domain.
Obviously, the more information that is in the public domain the better off society as a
whole is. Unfortunately, corporations are now unwilling to allow "their" intellectual
property to ever become public domain, so they have been bribing Congress to increase the
length of time that a copyright is valid - to the point where I will not live long enough
to ever see another piece of music "officially" enter public domain.
As far as I'm concerned, with these attacks on our civil liberties, the RIAA has lost
whatever remaining moral high ground they once had concerning intellectual property
rights. Not that they had much to begin with. But from here on, I really don't care what
the RIAA says they "own". Fuck'em. If the RIAA thinks it's OK to hack my computer when
they feel like it and delete files that may or may not be "legal", then I feel it is OK to
"borrow" whatever music I want to listen to. If they think that they lock up music
forever, then I'll just ignore their bad laws. As far as I'm concerned, their abuse of
the Constitution results in the forfeiture of all of their copyrights. All copyrights
currently held by RIAA member's are now null and void. So suck on that lemon Hillary Rosen.
If someone ever figures out a way to directly pay royalties to the musicians, I'll gladly
compensate them for my enjoyment of their work. But the RIAA and its record companies
backers are no longer of interest to me.
It is clear that the RIAA and its members won't go easily as they enjoy their moneymaking
oligopoly and have the deep pockets to continue to buy laws and lawyers and make serfs out
of musicians. Their attempts to stave off death will definitely result in numerous other
attacks on our rights as consumers and citizens, but in the end, they will be completely
disintermediated by the Internet, like so many other middlemen. We just need to make sure
to remain vigilant to limit the amount of damage they do during their death rattle. That
the jaws of obsolescent are rapidly closing around their necks only brings a smile to my
face. The sooner these parasites are gone the better.