stmarc (stmarc) wrote in copyright,

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The RIAA: It's Worse Than You Think.

The Recording Industry Association of America has been in the news from time to time lately when their lawsuits against ordinary people they accuse of infringing their members' copyrights through file-sharing services get sued for lots and lots of money. While these articles usually do contain a hint of "Hey, this is getting a little nuts, suing parents for ten grand because their kid installed Kazaa," because of journalists' urge to represent "both sides of the story," the RIAA usually gets quoted as how they're protecting musical artists and trying to stem the tide of music piracy before poor Madonna is reduced to living in a large refrigerator carton.

I attended a seminar on RIAA litigation yesterday and frankly, most people don't know the half of it. They don't even have any PROOF that said kids are sharing files, or that it was even said kids who did it. They are making a mockery, an absolute mockery, of due process and the rule of law. Ray Beckerman, the lawyer who gave the seminar, has a blog here:

If half of what he says about the RIAA's investigation and litigation techniques is true - and in the interest of "fair play," I should point out that he does represent several defendants in pending cases of this type, although all the evidence he cites is available in public court documents - then when the dust all settles, I should hope to see several lawyers disbarred and several investigators in jail. This is abuse of the legal system of the very highest order. If you want to know the particulars, read this:

How RIAA Litigation Works.

If you get served with process of some kind regarding one of these RIAA lawsuits, or know someone who does, I recommend that you visit the blog above immediately to learn more about what they are up to and how a person can defend themselves. If you are an attorney, I urge you to consider representing one or more of these defendents pro bono or at a greatly reduced rate, or at the very least to write letters and actively resist this blatant attempt to twist and usurp the copyright law to enrich a few at the expense of the many.

Disclaimer: I am an IP attorney who for almost fourteen years has represented copyright holders, creative arists, and providers of content. I believe in copyrights, and I think that copyright infringers should face the full sanctioning power of the law. I think that music piracy is morally equivalent to theft, and that artists deserve to be compensated for their creations. Happily, the RIAA has removed any potential hesitation I might have had in siding with alleged infringers by their public acts demonstrating that they are not, in any way, attempting to combat actual piracy or copyright infringement in this matter.


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