Sunday, September 28, 2003

SORRY SEEMS TO BE THE HARDEST WORD: The RIAA's capacity to consistently bungle its PR is almost incredible. Having fired off 261 writs, it now turns out they'd not even considered that the use of dynamic IP addresses by Internet Companies meant that using solely IP data to finger file sharers was a dodgy practice. But even when forced into a humiliating climbdown, they still can't resist being bolshy - so, while withdrawing charges against Sarah Seabury Ward, they can't actually bring themselves to admit they've made a fuck-up and apologise. The Wards don't have any filesharing software, and using a Mac aren't even able to get on the Kazaa network the RIAA announced they were using to download gangsta rap - but do the RIAA say "Sorry?" No, they say they're withdrawing the lawsuit "as a gesture of good faith" and then warn that they're still going to carry on investigating.

No, the RIAA. A sign of "good faith" is not withdrawing a totally flawed and baseless prosecution. Good faith would be if Ms Seabury Ward chooses not to go to her lawyer, and ask how her local paper came to be told that she was an illegal file sharer, and if she decides not to launch a defamation suit against you. We realise that you're now locked into this awful, awful course of action, and there's no way out for you - you may have some victories, getting students to pay you some money - but squeezing cash out of little people isn't going to make you look good. You'll certainly have more cases like this, where you'll wind up looking like a bunch of asses who haven't even bothered to check the basic details before going crashing into the courts demanding recompense for non-existent misdeameanours. Or you could just withdraw all the actions, but though it'll save your face from the drip-drip of bad publicity, it'll still make you look like a bunch of bungle-bounces. How has the person who dreamed up this line of action managed to keep their job?

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