The Onion always comes through with great satire. In honor of my post on MP3 blogs, here's a little blurb about the RIAA found in this week's Onion:
RIAA Bans Telling Friends About Songs
November 30, 2005 Issue 41•48
LOS ANGELES—The Recording Industry Association of America announced Tuesday that it will be taking legal action against anyone discovered telling friends, acquaintances, or associates about new songs, artists, or albums. "We are merely exercising our right to defend our intellectual properties from unauthorized peer-to-peer notification of the existence of copyrighted material," a press release signed by RIAA anti-piracy director Brad Buckles read. "We will aggressively prosecute those individuals who attempt to pirate our property by generating 'buzz' about any proprietary music, movies, or software, or enjoy same in the company of anyone other than themselves." RIAA attorneys said they were also looking into the legality of word-of-mouth "favorites-sharing" sites, such as coffee shops, universities, and living rooms.
I don't blame the RIAA for being afraid of peer-to-peer downloading and other forms of MP3 sharing. However, the year isn't 1999 anymore, where there was talk of a little program called Napster making the rounds on college campuses. The RIAA continues to combat piracy in 2005, but only alienating more people in the process. Isn't the point of all successful businesses to make the customer happy?
Several measures have been taken in trying to stop people from putting a CD into a CD-Rom drive and ripping songs from it into an MP3 format. So far, the most elaborate attempt has been via Sony's DRM program (which installs a program in one's computer after a CD is placed into a CD-Rom drive). With threats of viruses attacking computers with this program installed and a lot of pissed off listeners, Sony wisely recalled discs with the DRM feature.
My feelings on the matter have always been this: I bought it, so I can do whatever I want to do with it. If I love a particular track or album and want to share it with people via the Internet, that's my choice. This is about sharing by making the fences lower, not higher. To use the old cliche, the cat is out of the bag here. The technology is available to share music this way, whether it's seen as legal or illegal. Trying to put a stop to it only means that people will create ways to get around it. That's the power of a virtual world.