Wednesday, August 06, 2003

IS IT CAPONE THEY WON'T PUT A CAP ON?: If you need to spot the difference between the RIAA in the States and the BPI in the UK, you only have to spend a couple of minutes looking at the two organisation's websites (assuming you can visit the RIAA when they've not been hackjacked). While the RIAA bangs on and on about illegal downloading, the BPI seems to be concentrating its efforts a lot more on the flogging of actual, real world, pirate CDs. In the course of this Ars Technica debate, a couple of plausible reasons for the RIAA's shying away from taking action against Proper Pirates are floated: the first is that CD-Rs in the states are mainly a product of organised crime, and either because they're closely snuggled up with the industry, or because they're scared, the major labels are trying to leave the whole nest of vipers alone. Or else, the RIAA is trying to choke off the development of an alternative to a national distribution system which they currently control. The non-conspiracists suggest that maybe they're not bothering pumping cash into stopping fake CD sales when they know downloading will make all CDs - genuine or otherwise - obsolete in a couple of years anyway.

If you look at the RIAA piracy pages, they trumpet stopping 1.5m CDs in 1998, and, ahem, 100,000 in "the first half of 1999" (while the problem was supposedly getting worse). There are no figures after that, and under 'what the RIAA is doing', almost the entire page is given over to spidering the internet and saying the web offers no hiding place. You need to send out a lot of robots through the web before you'll find a guy with several CD burners in a back room in Chesapeake. Compare this with the BPI's record, which took part in 125 raids and 700 court cases in 2002, and in a single raid in May managed to get 3000 fake CDs, which makes the RIAA's 1999 efforts seem even thinner.

It is curious, isn't it?

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