Digital Chutzpah

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Item One: Digital Chutzpah! From an email:

“I’m friends with a few songwriters in Nashville. . . . One Nashville artist
even said she was approached with a CD-R of her album to sign once after a
concert.”

“Have these people no sense of morality at all?”

Well?

Item Two: New Website Addresses Digital Stealing

You might want to take a look at this website. Poke around a bit. See what the artists have to say. See here and here what the law has to say. See how parents can be
held liable for their children’s activities. See what newspaper editorial writers and cartoonists are saying.

In short, learn something, even though you might not like it.

Yes, this website is largely if not entirely sponsored by the entertainment industry. So? The material that’s there is accurate (for the United States). The law is what they say it is. It applies to you. What you’re doing is illegal according to the law; it’s called copyright infringement. You can be arrested for this. You can be sued for it.

Now you may not like the law, or the music industry or whatever. That won’t stop you being put in handcuffs.

According to the law, this is stealing, and if you do it, you are a thief. Period.

That’s not an opinion. These are facts. Cold, hard facts. It doesn’t matter what you and your friends think about it. This is not high school, the law is not subject to peer pressure, and you don’t get to individually get to pick and choose the laws that apply to you.

I know a lot of people don’t want to hear this, and they don’t want to hear the “S” and the “T” word; they certainly avoid using it like the plague. But the real world knows what it is, and is getting ready to nail you for it.

You might think laws don’t apply to the Internet. These laws aren’t being applied to the Internet, they’re being applied to you as a citizen or resident of the United States, and these are laws you are subject to.

But this website is just another piece of the entertainment industry’s strategy to end the gravy train, and they are going to use the “S” and the “T” word as early and often as possible in their efforts to get these laws enforced.

You may not like how the record or movie industry works, and there’s something to be said about that. But stealing doesn’t solve any of those problems, does it? All that does is make those you’re stealing from demand the cops.

People yell about Palladium and El Grande and whatever. I don’t know why, they asked, no, begged for it. Don’t you see the consequences of your own actions?

Please, please, stop deluding yourselves.

Do you know why I carry on about this, even though it doesn’t do this website a bit of good? It’s not because I like the RIAA; I know they do a lot of crap.

But reacting to injustice by stealing is and always has been the wrong way to address it. You play right into the hands of the oppressors. You give them a wide-open field to use the law for their own benefit.

Since when have thieves ever made stealing legal in any civilization? What civilization is ever going to say, “Stealing is right?” No functioning one, that’s for sure.

The RIAA doesn’t have the only way. There are many feasible paths we can take. The inevitable logic of digital distribution will eventually answer most legitimate gripes. It can be sooner or later.

The only path that won’t work is the one people want to take. Saying “stealing is OK, leave it alone” is a nonstarter in any functional society. So the RIAA will get what it wants, and that ideal digital day will come later, much later.

And any answer, any alternative to the RIAA approach has to say the stealing has to stop, too, provided . . . . You agree to that and use that as a bargaining chip, you probably could force the RIAA folks into a lot of concessions they certainly don’t want to make, and bring that ideal digital day closer. That would be the smart, adult approach.

So far, though, nobody on the other side seems willing to even try this, not even the lobbyists. Rather, they think they can defend the right to steal so long as they don’t mention the word. It won’t work. That approach is doomed to failure.

The EFF won’t use the word, but the RIAA sure will, and they’ll ask, “What answer do you have to stop the stealing?”

They have none, and that will kill them.

Ed

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