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RIAA to Shift Tactics

December 20, 2008

Interesting notes on the RIAA and their War on Us:

“Peace in our time” – 10 years later the music industry’s highly controversial strategy of suing individuals for illegal file-sharing has come to an end, wants ISPs to adopt a three-strikes policy. I’ve read the article in the Wall Street Journal three times already and I still can’t believe it. For 10 years, some 35,000 people, and wasted tens of millions of dollars later, it seems the music industry has finally admitted the error of its ways and abandoned the practice of suing illegal file-sharers en masse. The practice has long been criticized by music fans and artists alike as the RIAA dragnet snared single mothers, poor transplant patient teens, disabled veterans, and even the deceased. Backing away from the practice, the RIAA now plans to form voluntary partnerships with ISPs whereby it will notify them of IP addresses suspected of making music files available for download and the ISP will then act accordingly, either simply forwarding the warning to the customer, or asking them to stop altogether.(link)

I think, too, that a lot of artists are beginning to suss out that it’s not piracy from users that is cutting their purse strings, but that the theft is coming right from the very people they think they are in partnership with, evidenced by all the artists trying out new, internet-based business models. One artist who has been successful at extricating himself from the tentacles of the big record business is Robert Fripp. His online diaries have been rife with rancor towards the patent dishonesty of the record industry. The following snippet was posted at around the same time as the news of the RIAA’s shift in tactics:

(…)The first speaker: RF for 40 minutes, presenting an overview of my professional life, noting a characteristic throughout the entire period of industry dishonesty, theft & exploitation. Also, that the main copyright violation suffered by KC / DGM / RF has come from, not pirates or little people, but EMI & Sanctuary-UMG.(…)

(link)

It’ll be interesting to see of this will also work against the RIAA and their clients. I think the Monolithic Record Industry suing the pants off of regular folks has been disastrous for them. It’s possible that this tactic will backfire as well. Some of it sounds unfeasible and difficult for them to pull off, as well.

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