Mainstream media is beginning to report on the RIAA subpoenas. The New York Times has an article today about it.
Within weeks, many, probably most of those subpoenaed will get a little letter.
Then it will be truly “put up or shut up” time. For those of you who are against these suits, are you going to help these people, or are you going to let them twist in the wind slowly?
Are They On Their Own?
A big reason why I can’t take the anti-RIAA folks seriously is their almost complete lack of organization and money.
For instance, there is a website called Boycott-RIAA.com. They are attempting to get groups together to protest, but over half the states in the United States don’t even have a single representative, and I think there’s been a total of one event so far. Most of the state “representatives” essentially say, “Well, I’d like to do something.”
OK, maybe they’re not the best example, but if not them, who?
The most publicly known advocacy group is the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
When we move into actual litigation, those who get sued first are going to look around for help, and so far, nobody seems ready or seems to want to get ready to help these people.
I think EFF should declare early on what, if anything, they plan to do for these people.
If they plan to help these people, fine, they should say so.
If they can only help these people up to a certain point, or only up to the point where they get public support for such actions, that’s still fine. They should say that, and set up a separate defense fund to which people can contribute.
If they don’t feel they can help these individuals (and there are legitimate reasons why they may want to do that), they ought to say that to leave the field free for others to pick up that particular burden.
In other words, say yea, may, or get out of the way.
The one thing they should not do is be quiet about it and let people assume their money will go to defending these people if it won’t.
You Need An Army, Not A Mob
Imagine you’re in a war, in another country. Which would you rather fight?
For many of the pro-P2Pers, you obviously think number two is better, because that’s all you do.
This is the sound of a war with one side fighting.
And you expect the “Suck Strategy” not only to be taken seriously, but to win!
Talk about legends in one’s own mind. Sorry, folks, that’s a sure sign of a bunch of losers.
Do not for a moment doubt that the RIAA and Company will watch very carefully for signs of organized resistance. If they see that this “community” can’t even be bothered to defend its own, just what do you think that’s going to tell them. Don’t you think it will just encourage further actions?
But that’s the problem. There is no army, there is no community, there is no sense that “We must all stick together, or hang separately.”
I’m getting emails on the subject, and the vast majority of them do not contain a trace of “How do we fight this?” Rather, it is “How can I continue to scam the system.” Some even go so far as to say, “I’ll just leech off the stupid people.”
This does not an army make.
And that’s a big part of the reason why RIAA is going to win. They care, you don’t. They’ll do what it takes to win, you haven’t, don’t, and probably won’t.
They have an army, you have a mob. Armies always end up beating mobs. Why? Because armies are organized. They tell its members what needs to be done, and get them to do it, even when things aren’t going very well.
Mobs are unorganized, they don’t have support. They tend to drift away when the going gets tough.
There are a few, very few, who call P2Ping an act of civil disobedience to unfair conditions and compare it to the civil rights movement.
I find the comparison ridiculous in many ways, but for now, let’s just focus on one big difference.
The civil rights movement was organized. It had a legal team (most notably the NAACP Legal Defense Fund) ready to defend people and principles, and not just the glamorous cases (important as they were). There was legal help available, not just lawyers, but money for bail and fines.
It didn’t leave people dedicated to the cause hang out to dry.
I’ll give you a sign that will tell you things are changing. This “movement” stands a chance the day when “who can curse out the RIAA the best” stops being admirable or even acceptable.
This movement will stand a chance the day when blowhards will be told “put up or shut up. Tell us what you’re doing and have done. How much have you contributed to the cause?”
To quote a certain athlete from a while back, “Do first, then talk.”
May I add, “If you do, then there’s no need for talk, outside of talking about doing.”
No, you won’t and can’t be the hero of this. If this “movement” goes anywhere, you’re going to have to replace the “me” in your head with a “we.” You’ll be sheep for some shepherd, so check out the shepherd first. Ask questions about where the shepherd wants to lead you.
But it is far better to be part of a flock than a stepped-on slug.
There is nothing dishonorable in staying away from this “cause.” It’s hardly an admirable one. What is dishonorable is making lots of noises, then slipping away when it’s time for action.
Who is your friend? Someone who watches your back, or someone who says he’ll watch your back until you need him?
Whom do you think more of? Wouldn’t you have preferred person number two not pretend he was there for you?
Do you play person number two when it comes to this?