File Sharing and the RIAA Theory

November 2, 2003

Now, this goes pretty deep into the past (a whole 4 years or so), but it all started with Napster. Napster was a revolutionizing program, and one of the most useful ones you could get your phone line transferring to your computer by far, in 1998. I was actually apart of this “revolution,” and its sort of a bragging right, to say that “I was there, and I had done that,” because I had downloaded Napster while it was still free. The original Napster was and will still be the best file sharing program (music-wise) in my mind. All the other file sharing programs pale in comparison to Napster, but some have come pretty close to it.

Pretty much as soon as Napster had came, the RIAA threw a hissy fit. You wanna know why? Because the consumer got smart enough to not buy a CD Single for $4 or buy an overpriced $20 album for only one song, when they could get the one song for free. The RIAA lost a total of about, oh I’d say, $50 and some change when people stopped buying their stupid singles. Because their lovely little single was shot and killed, the RIAA was out for blood.

About a year after its release, Napster came under a heavy lawsuit by the RIAA. This was a really bad move by the RIAA. When the media started covering it, the popularity of Napster exploded. Instead of having a 100,000 or so people downloading increasing at 1,000 users or whatever a week, it was 2 million people, and increasing at about 10,000 users a week. I’m not sure if these are the right numbers, but I’m just giving a comparison to what it was before and after. The RIAA just made the problem worse, and millions of files were being transferred a day. Instead of possibly working out a deal with Napster to use it to their advantage, they sued them. In retrospect, this would have been a good thing for Napster, but at the time, it probably would have had the disadvantage for us. And yes, I know that Shawn Fanning’s uncle was pretty much the one in charge of Napster, and the guy was a complete idiot as a business man. But if things had worked out in a fashion that it would have been favorable for all parties involved, this wouldn’t be such a big problem.

Many lessons were learned by the eventual downfall of Napster. The reason why Napster was shut down was because they had a central server which kept the listings of all files being shared. This was something that could not be included in the next generation of file sharing programs. Well anyway, that’s what happened, and the RIAA hasn’t been able to shut most of them down completely. The RIAA has impacted some of the file sharing programs to place some sort of restriction on what can be downloaded in their policy, but not any actual filters or things that will actually stop the downloading of that certain file.

The RIAA claims that they, and the artists and songwriters and seemingly everyone in the mix is getting screwed by the whole file sharing deal. Artists are payed millions and millions of dollars to make albums with at most 1 or 2 good songs on it, out of 20 or even less. Rarely ever do you actually find a CD that actually has good songs all the way through and doesn’t all sound the same. The artists are just going to be incovenienced a little bit because they won’t be having their 300 million dollar check coming in the mail from good ol’ uncle RIAA, instead just getting a 240 million dollar one. File sharing is not going to kill the fan base for a certain artist. Nothing is as intense as seeing an actual band or artist in concert, so they just have to have more performances and work harder for their millions of dollars. Sure, I know all about how artists and bands get drained from touring so much, but if they don’t want to make up the money they lost with more tour dates and junk, then they can just live in semi-luxury, which is still about 3 million times better than how I live and most other people in the world. All of them (except the really stupid ones) don’t even use all their money, they just hide it in a bank somewhere until they decide to buy an island somewhere, or even build one. I don’t care if you disagree with me or not, this is just the plain truth.

So, now to more recent events. Have you heard now, that the RIAA is suing America now? I saw a picture (below), that says if you file share, you support communism, and a devil that looks like Stalin will become your dad who approves of what you’re doing because he’s looking over your shoulder all the time. This is exactly what the RIAA would have you believe if this kind of propaganda still worked (we’re in the “terrorism” phase).

Kid: Look at me daddy, I downloaded Madonna – Like a Virgin today!

Devil Stalin: Good job, kiddo. Tomorrow we’ll get the next Creed album before its made.

This campaign for educating the public is not a well-intentioned one, mind you. Buried in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (or the DMCA), is a statement that basically says that if a copyright violator does not know that he is committing copyright infringement, they will not be responsible for the full penalty of their wrong doing. But guess who comes around and starts teaching everyone that sharing music is a bad thing? The good ol’ RIAA, helping out the American public everday. So when they start suing everyone, they can go for the maximum penalty, and scare everyone into thinking that file sharing is a horrible thing to do, even if it is legal. It’ll be just like going to a strip bar. And mp3s will be demonized, and the RIAA will probably want to make it so that the mp3 is never used again, even though it is a very good file format to use for sound.

(Ok, the thing I said about the people committing copyright infringement not being responsible isn’t actually real. I thought I saw it in there when I was looking at the thing, but it was only meant towards ISPs. I could’ve sworn I saw it in there for regular people too)

So, basically what I’m saying is, don’t fall into the RIAA’s traps, and boycott the RIAA. The RIAA is too conservative, and their endless stream of subpoenas being handed out to the American public will have a tremendous backlash one of these days. Universal is the only company in the RIAA that I will somewhat support, because they have lowered the prices of their CDs to 10 bucks. That’s what CDs should cost, not 20. You could get 2 really crappy movies for that price, and still have enough to buy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie, and STILL have change. Probably enough to buy another couple crappy movies.

Fuck the RIAA.

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