Monday, October 07, 2002

The full majesty of the law

As the judge in the US case where Verizon is being bullied by the RIAA into revealing private information on one of its customers says that Congress could have made the law clearer, Cary Sherman drops another humorous little doublespeakette into the proceedings: "One of the things we're discovering is that people are not aware that that they are engaging in conduct which is clearly illegal - If you got a letter from the RIAA saying we know that you're doing this, I'd say there's a good chance that you would stop."

Considering the RIAA have done nothing but bleat about filesharing being responsible for all the evils of the world for the last three years (hey, how many Dell PCs do you think Saddam's got in them Presidential Palaces - all running Morpheus twenty-four-seven, I'll bet), there probably isn't an American alive who hasn't got the message that file sharing is at best a dubious hobby. What Sherman actually means is "If we could start firing off threatening letters, I'd bet them code kiddies would cack themselves - then we'd see some unsecure downloading; straight down their big pipes..."

Lets go round again, shall we? Yes, strictly speaking, many music downloads are illegal. But very few music downloads equal any loss in sales. And singling out individual music fans and threatening them with dire consequences is taking a carpet bombing to crack a nut. Do the words "Ineffective PR disaster" feature in your 2002-03 year planner anywhere?

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