Wednesday, July 30, 2003This was sent to my by my friend Adam Konner, and I thought it made a lot of sense so I decided to post it here ...
Boycott the Recording Industry
"The RIAA has issued at least 911 subpoenas so far, according to court records. Lawyers have said they expect to file at least several hundred lawsuits within eight weeks, and copyright laws allow for damages of $750 to $150,000 for each song.
"If they end up picking on individuals who are perceived to be grandmothers or junior high students who have only downloaded in isolated incidents, they run the risk of a backlash," said Christopher Caldwell, a lawyer in Los Angeles who works with major studios and the Motion Picture Association of America."
The recent actions of the Recording Industry Association of America completely baffle me. Do they really expect that they are going to improve their business by suing their own customers? It seems to me that the only reasonable way to respond to this is to boycott the recording industry. This means, simply, don't buy any albums in the stores. If you want a new album, find a friend who has it and copy it, get it directly from the artist, or, if it remains possible, try to download it from the internet or from a private network.
The victims of a boycott of this hopelessly corrupt industry would be almost exclusively record companies. Musicians get an oppressively small percentage of album sales. It is common knowledge that musicians don't get rich from album sales, but from concert tickets.
The RIAA contends that internet music sharing is responsible for the fact that music sales have greatly fallen in the past few years. But the past few years have been the midst of a recession. Music is a luxury, one of the first things people will stop buying if they are in financial trouble. The fact is, music sales boomed during the time that Napster was fully functional, and it was only after the RIAA killed Napster that sales began to decline.
In addition to all this, CD's have always been vastly overpriced. CD technology has been available for two decades, and it now costs far less to make a CD than it ever did to make a cassette tape. Despite this, CD's started out costing about 50% more than tapes, and instead of getting cheaper as the technology improved, CD's have been gradually getting more and more expensive over the years. Add this to the oppressively small percentage of album sales afforded to artists, and it becomes clear that a boycott of the recording industry has been ripe for a long time.
The RIAA is missing the point here, and missing a great opportunity. Ever since the beginning of the World Wide Web, countless services and sources of
information have been provided free, funded by advertising. There is no reason internet music sharing cannot function the same way. Instead of fighting this inevitable trend, the RIAA should be embracing it.
Posted by Rob at 1:12 PM