Thursday, July 17, 2003

NO, THEY'RE REALLY JUST INSANE, AREN'T THEY?: Hats off to John Conyers and Howard Berman, who've introduced a bill to senate that would send file sharers to prison. Because, you know, you might think you're just sharing some Bon Jovi, but that whole filesharing thing could, apparently, lead to 'government security violations', not to mention be used for swapping kiddie porn and them computer viruses. (It's not clear how sending people who are sharing music rather than pictures of naked preteens or the I Love You virus to the big house would exactly stop these things, but we imagine that it's like dope-to-heroin; today you might be downloading the theme tune to Dr Snuggles; by October you'll be pumping a virus up into the Pentagon). Of course, trying to get anyone to take seriously the idea that making available a copy of Love To Love You Baby is a crime that demands you be banged up is a bit tricky, so the two Democrats have cooked up some maths-fudging to push the figures into the criminal zone. They've decided that a file on your machine is worth USD2,500 - and thus an automatic trip to jail. To arrive at this figure, they've had to believe that each file will be downloaded an average of ten times (which, in our experience, is pushing it a bit) and that each download represents the theft of twenty five buck's worth of material. Each track is worth twenty five dollars? What, are they using data prepared specially by the RIAA and Lars to come up with this crazy figure? Because on that basis, an average album would be retailing at two and a half thousand a piece, wouldn't it? We hope this gets treated with the withering disdain such calculations deserve. Look: A legitmate download comes in at around ninety-nine cents. So, to come up to your figures, you'd have to wait for 2525 downloads to make your money up. Andf shouldn't there be something a little more solid than a vague assumption on the part of two chaps who don't look like they spend much time listening to music.

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