Tuesday, December 03, 2002

'Tis the season to be bullied

What with that vital holiday season coming up, the RIAA have decided that it's time they gave the universities a bit of a kicking.

The Chronicle of Higher Education carries an email sent from Cary Sherman to Graham Spanier, president of Pennsylvania State University. Let's see what they had to say...

Hi Graham. Wanted to send you a note to give you a heads-up that, in the next few weeks, we plan to increase notices of P2P infringement.

This sounds nice and cosy, doesn't it? Spanier is, for those who've missed this, wasting his precious time heading up some pointless committee to "allow" universities to liaise with the recording industry. The idea is to snuggle up to the RIAA in the hope that the next time they crack down on the free flow of information, there may be some scraps thrown to the academic sector so that there will be crawl holes in the legislation given to the RIAA.
As you know, the record industry has been facing steadily increasing piracy on P2P systems and other areas of the Internet.

Wasn't it booming the other day? Thank god its calmed down and is now only steadily increasing.
We've also seen a dramatic drop in CD sales this year.

Maybe you should try putting out some better CDs? Let's face it, the biggest release this Christmas is by Shania, a woman who's told Time magazine she isn't particularly arsed about making music, after all. Michael Jackson says he doesn't like pop music any more. If the people whose records you're selling don't have the heart for it, why would consumers?
As Internet piracy continues to exponentially rise with no relief in sight

Hang about - I thought it was rising steadily, not exponentially? You do realise those two things are different, don't you, Sherm?
and with the critical holiday retail season upon us, we are planning to increase the number of notices we're sending on P2P piracy.

Hang about... is piracy only a problem when its winter outside? Are you saying that its for some reason less important to "lose" sales during quieter periods? That seems rather odd. "RIAA happy to turn blind eye to filesharing during summer lull" is splendid news.
Until now, we've been somewhat circumspect in the number of notices we send and to date have sent a relatively small number of P2P-related notices compared to the large number of infringements we're finding, but we no longer feel that we can afford the luxury of ignoring infringements.

Hang about a minute... infringements you're finding - how exactly are you 'finding' these infringements? We have to say, frankly, we don't believe the RIAA is sitting in its air conditioned luxury with evidence that, say, kids at the university of south dakota are sucking whole Craig David albums out of the internet - laughing as they do so - and not doing anything. We'd suggest, actually, the reason why you've not done anything is because you haven't got anything; which is why we suspect you're sending a letter going "You have never seen the rage of a salaried lawyer from the RIAA" in the hope that universities will panic, and unplug all the computers. In short, you're trying it on, aren't you?
These notices will be sent to the ISP or organization that is responsible for the Internet protocol address from which an infringing sound recording is offered.

Scary for any university which has students dopey enough to use their student webspace to offer MP3s. Mind you, we can only think of the McDonalds Hamburger University that would have such ridiculously low-calibre students. Unless, of course, you're hacking systems?
This will certainly increase the number of P2P infringement notices that universities and colleges are receiving from the RIAA.

Really? Why certainly? This whole habit of second-guessing is getting way out of hand - it's like Iraq, isn't it? You could at least do us the honour of pretending you care whether there's any evidence or not before you act.
Just wanted to make sure you were aware of this before we started sending out the notices. If you have questions about this, please let me know. And please feel free to forward this information to anyone else in the university community.

Just wanted to use you as a conduit for our heavy-handed bullying of the American academic establishment. You might want to throw in some stuff of your own about our might sword of truth or something.
Have a great Thanksgiving holiday, and I look forward to seeing you on December 10th.

Mwah! Mwah! We'll be round then to loosen the buttplug. Until then, don't sit down - love, Cary x.

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