Music Wars Scene 23:
It seems the RIAA is going to be nice enough to send you a letter, and politely, and in a most plesant manner, tell you that they are suing your ass:
In Which the
Empire RIAA says Please Mr. Postman
The public backlash to the suits was immediate, prompting the Recording Industry Association of America (news - web sites) to agree that, in the future, it would issue warnings before formally filing lawsuits. On Friday, the industry made good on that promise, announcing that it had sent letters to 204 people informing them that they face imminent legal action.How very
According to The Associated Press, the "letters give the recipients 10 days to contact the RIAA to discuss a settlement and avoid a formal lawsuit. The RIAA declined to identify the individuals, but said they were sharing an average of more than 1,000 songs on their computers. The advanced notice also could help the RIAA avoid embarrassment. Last month's targets included a 12-year-old girl and a grandmother who claimed she was falsely accused of sharing rap songs. Many of the accused learned of the lawsuits when they were called by reporters." "In light of the comments we have heard, we want to go the extra mile and offer illegal file sharers an additional chance to work this out short of legal action," RIAA President Cary Sherman said in an oft-quoted statement.
In a related commentary, Todd Rundgren had this to say:
The plain reality is that, except for a few notable aberrations, musicians will always be more appreciated, certainly in a financial sense, by live audiences than by labels and the listeners they purport to represent. The seemingly quaint idea that recordings were promotion for great performers is no less true today. Ask Phish.You tell em Todd.
Ask also whether, as a musician, you ever believed the RIAA was actively protecting your interests until they got into a fight with their own customers and started using your name, your so-called well-being, as justification. And when the customers became skeptical they became the enemy. And to follow the RIAA's logic, customers are therefore the enemies of musicians. Let us ignore the fact that if you ever got compensated for your contribution, it would have been because your manager and lawyer (and many before) forced the labels to recognize your labor in financial terms.
The reason why the RIAA comes off as a gang of ignorant thugs is because, well, how do I put this -- they are. I came into this business in an age of entrepreneurial integrity. The legends of the golden age of recorded music were still at the helm of most labels -- the Erteguns, the Ostins, the Alperts and Mosses by the dozens. Now we have four monolithic (in every sense of the word) entities and a front organization that crows about the fact that they have solved their problems by leaning on a 12-year-old. Thank God that mystical fascination with the world of music has been stubbed out -- hopefully everyone will get the message and get over the idea that the musician actually meant for you to hear this.