Tuesday, November 15, 2005


We might have cackled once or twice that the music industry is probably planning on suing everyone in the world as the only way to stamp out dubious filesharing - now we're starting to think that maybe that is their plan.

Another handfull of people across the globe have received legal letters today, trill the IFPI. 2,100 alleged uploaders across 16 countries, apparently, 57 of which are in the UK. John Kennedy, head of the IFPI, is keen to try and portray this as a measured response by a sensible organisation rather than the sound of more cash being pissed away on a pointless, failed policy:

"This is a significant escalation of our enforcement actions against people who are uploading and distributing copyrighted music on p2p networks."

Actually, you're talking about these people as if there's a legal principle of "innocent until the RIAA says so" - it's not like the claims the various agencies have made haven't been wrong in the past.

"Thousands of people - mostly internet-savvy men in their 20s or 30s - have learnt to their cost the legal and financial risks involved in file-sharing copyrighted music in large quantities."

Thousands of people. There's six million filesharers in the US alone - at the most gentle estitmate. But what's more noticeable here is the lame attempt to try and shift attention from the pensioners, teenagers and single parents on benefits who are being called upon to fund the conglomerate's legal activities so far.

Trying to demonise downloaders as "internet savvy men in their 20s" is a rather weak gambit, though (whatever happened to the child porn and drug dealing claims they used to rely on?) - firstly, when you hear of a grandmother getting a nasty letter from a multinational cartel demanding money with menaces for using a computer program she doesn't actually have, you're not going to go "ah, but they're having to crack down hard to catch the 23 year-olds who know how to install a Google Toolbar on Firefox, so it's not that bad."

More importantly, the only people who are going to be reading about this in any depth are internet savvy twenty and thirtysomethings, so it's hardly likely to win them over, is it?

And what is the belief that women aren't downloading music? If the quality of research the RIAA/IFPI are relying on tells them that it's all boys doing the bad behaviour, it might explain why they're behaving so stupidly - maybe they really don't have a clue what's going on out there at all.

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