Sunday, September 07, 2003

THIS IS GENEROSITY OF SPIRIT: The RIAA is being reported as being about to offer an 'amnesty' to music file sharers. The Washington Post reckons they're about to announce that if people delete the copyright-breaching music on their computers, providing they've not been making money off the file sharing, they'll say no more about it. Erm... since the whole point of the heavy-handed legal action has been to try and bully people into doing this anyway, it's not really much of an offer, is it? And are the RIAA implying that, once this amnesty is over, they'll consider suing people even if they have stopped and deleted the files off their machine? Was that always the plan? Because if it was - and thats what this 'amnesty' suggests - then surely there'd have been no reason for file sharers to have altered their behaivour in response to the legal action otherwise? If the RIAA was going to bring action on the basis of past transgressions, then suing a few to scare people straight would have been pointless - why bother deleting the files off your machine if you're going to get sued for having had them there in the first place? It makes the whole legal route seem even less well-thought out and clumsy than we'd originally believed.

For what it's worth, we suspect that someone at the agency has sat down and done the maths about how much cash and time it would have to burn through in order to make any sort of dent into people's behaviour, and is now looking desperately for a face-saving get out.

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