Friday, February 04, 2005

I SUE DEAD PEOPLE: They've sued twelve year old kids; they've sued grandparents. Now, though, the RIAA's campaign to ensure that nobody escapes their writs has broken through another stage: the RIAA are issuing lawsuits against the dead.

"Hey, have you seen Buffy?" said spokesperson Jonathan Lamy. "Let's not run away with the idea that just because you're dead, you're innocent. It's not as simple as that..."

Okay, he didn't. The RIAA issued a lawsuit against Gertrude Walton, believing the 83-year old to have been sharing music under the name of smittenedkitten. Not only did Mrs. Walton not even have a computer of any sort in her house, she died in 2004. Here's what Lamy had to say:

"Our evidence gathering and our subsequent legal actions all were initiated weeks and even months ago," said RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy. "We will now, of course, obviously dismiss this case."

I don't know why the organisation that forces people on low incomes to hand over thousands and thousands of dollars on the basis of their preteen kids downloading TV themes thinks that we'd assume that they wouldn't pursue a campaign against a corpse; but we're not entirely sure why the fact it takes them time to bring an action explains this around anyway - Lamy seems to be suggesting it would have been much better if they'd been able to falsely accuse Mrs. Walton to her face, before she died. Can you imagine what a shock like a demand for thousands of bucks might have done to a frail octagenarian?

Lamy doesn't seem to notice that this woman didn't have a computer. At all. The problem isn't that the evidence took a while to gather - that just compounds the deeper problem: their evidence is useless. No wonder the RIAA is going for kids and students - they're able to put pressure on parents and colleges through that route, rather than confronting the accused themselves who might be able to point out they're not doing anything. How shabby do they want to make their business look?

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