RIAA lawsuits = terrorism

Sure those are fightin' words but the truth hurts. How else are you going to describe a policy where you hunt for victims regardless if they're 'guilty' or not of whatever vendetta you're on. Sounds kind of like the policy of suicide bombers who go about their dirty missions to get their point across, doesn't it?

So how much nobler is the RIAA when they send out hundreds of lawsuits trying to thwart illegal downloading and they wind up nailing people who don't even know what they're being sued for? This excellent story in Wired Magazine details this shameful practice: RIAA Takes Shotgun to Traders.

Two encouraging trends you'll note there are that some of the judges on these cases see how flimsy these suits are and some of the defendents are fighting back. Needless to say, the RIAA claims that they haven't done anything wrong (sounds like Bush-speak) but their strategy is a high-priced house of cards- they've been able to back up their threats with lawyers and suspect settlements so far but it's likely that their tactics won't hold up to further judicial scrutiny. They've counted on that so far, figuring that all of the people they go after wouldn't have enough money to do anything except to pay up thousands of dollars to settle and then sign a waver to shut up.

Sooner or later, they were bound to go after the wrong person and/or someone who did have the resources to fight back. In these cases, the RIAA itself might be forced to settle or withdraw their suit for fear that it'll compromise future lawsuits. In that case, if the defendant turns them down or counter-sues, the RIAA might be screwed. A counter-suit would mean that their whole scare tactics would be called into question and, most likely, not hold up to legal scrutiny. And then that defendent would become a hero and other downloaders would feel emboldened to go about their business as usual.

And then what's left for the RIAA? They've already shown utter contempt for consumers so little will be off limits now. Search warrants and raids, maybe? Strong-arming paid-off congressman to add some kind of rider to an anti-terrorist bill that includes tougher penalties and greater latitude for prosecuting downloaders?

Look at the RIAA's board of directors and you see major reps from the big labels there, who obviously must be supporting these lawsuits- heard any of those people or their labels even mildly disagree with this? Not that I know of. Any artist on their label might also want to think long and hard if they want to be party to these sleazy tactics, supposedly done in their name (though the RIAA says that the artists aren't entitled to any of the court settlements here).

You see, this is why people hate the majors. Their contempt just breeds more contempt, in a never-ending cycle.

To use another euphemism related to terrorism, think of America's Middle East policy- we invade, bomb and raid sometimes indiscrimately and are seen as bullies and worse by many people in the region. The RIAA doesn't have blood on its hands but has squeezed a lot of blood money out of people, furthering the mistrust and anger that people have towards the industry. Our State Dept and the RIAA might be a little wiser to put down the ammo and try to do some honest hearts-and-minds rebuilding.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.