Monday, January 14, 2008

The RIAA speaks -- and it gets worse

The RIAA has quickly become one of the most disliked organizations in the world. And now, they'll be liked even less.Kids these days are not afraid of the boogie man under their beds anymore, they are afraid that its the RIAA sulking around down there. Haven't heard of the RIAA, well either you don't have kids, or you haven't ventured outside the gated iTunes community. I'll let the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) speak for themselves on that point. From their website:The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry. Its mission is to foster a business and legal climate that supports and promotes our members' creative and financial vitality. Its members are the record companies that comprise the most vibrant national music industry in the world. RIAA members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 90% of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the United States.In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect intellectual property rights worldwide and the First Amendment rights of artists; conducts consumer, industry and technical research; and monitors and reviews state and federal laws, regulations and policies. The RIAA® also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi-Platinum™, and Diamond sales awards, as well as Los Premios De Oro y Platino™, an award celebrating Latin music sales.On the surface, one could suppose that they are an honest and reasonable organization that serves as an industry umbrella over US recording artists music. What the fail to mention, that this is a group who views its customers as thieves that must be subjected to draconian laws and practices in order to prevent them from stealing the farm. They have been a driving force behind laws and industry practices that the average American would balk at. They have taken their business model of finding every advantage they can take to squeeze money out of the customer ($18-20 per CD??) and decided to cut straight to the chase. There used to be a time when buying an album provided you with an entire "album" of enjoyable music. But now you can only hope to get 1 or 2 songs for your hard earned money. They have found that just suing people has made up for the decline of CD sales by forcing them to settle for thousands. The RIAA has was also a driving force behind the worst law you've never really understood, the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). I don't want to spend too much time going over what is wrong with this law, but it frames all customers a potential thieves and implements DRM (Digital Rights Management) to prevent the lost profit the industry would see once the customer acted on those nefarious tendencies, such as creating a back up of a CD or making a mixed CD from other CDs; truly evil, I know.So, as I said, the RIAA has been throwing its legal clout around anyone it can find, all the way from Internet service providers such as Verizon (they demanded customer names and logs of their activity online) to a Grandma whom they claimed was a notorious music pirate, sharing hundreds of music files online (the fact that she didn't even have a computer was merely a technicality). Through these actions, profits have been recovered from declining CD sales, and through litigation, the green line as turned around.Take some time to get their side of the story (they have decided college students and more so the Colleges and Universities they attend are the new cash cow), I promise you, you'll be surprise what you find out.

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