Monday, October 28, 2002

NOW, THEY'RE COMING TO YOUR OFFICE: The RIAA has widended its attempts to bully people into working as its unpaid policeforce, sending a vaguely threatening letter to companies in the US to try to bounce them into forcing their employees from downloading music via workplace computers. They trot out the dishonest "it's like stealing a CD from a shop" analogy (no, its more akin to photocopying a page in a library book), and then hint that employers may be held liable for breach of copyright if employees download material without their knowledge - which, as far as our understanding of the law goes, is completely wrong. If it is with the employer's implied consent, perhaps, but if the company is ignorant of what's going on, how can they be found guilty of having criminal intent?
The trouble is, the letter seems pointless anyway - the sort of company who is going to react to a muscular piece of lawyer-rattling is probably going to be the sort of firm who already have built in so many systems to prevent their employees doing anything other than behaving like mechanised drones (firewalls, filters, small cubicles, men with orange blazers staring over their shoulders) that the chances of them flash-downloading a Neil Diamond best of are slim in the first place; the sort of company who appreciate a small spot of mucking about on the web at work will file the letter in the bin anyway. Not for the first time, we suspect that the RIAA doesn't really know what its doing; instead of helping its case, it's now making itself look like it's on the side of snooping employers and cubicle snitches.

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