When RIAA Sues, What Will You Do?

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The RIAA is going to sue hundreds of the biggest file fencers, and the BS is hitting the fan. Here’s some talk about boycotting.

A few points:

1) How do you boycott something you’re stealing? Yes, I realize that even MP3ers buy a CD occasionally, but if you’re getting most of your music that way, you’ve already rather diminished your economic impact on the record companies.

2) What if you had a boycott and nobody came? Boycotts are double-edged swords. If they succeed, that’s one thing, but if they fail, the boycotters are revealed as a bunch of BS artists.

If you think a bunch of geeks agreeing not to buy CDs is going to ruin the record or movie or whatever industry, you are simply out of your mind.

No, to have a chance at success, you have to get the non-geeks aboard. Including, and especially, the female non-geeks, you know, the ones who won’t give you the time of day?

3) Show Me the Money, Part I: The average girl buying Britney doesn’t sign on to Slashdot every morning. For that matter, the vast, vast majority of MP3ers don’t, either.

You’re going to have to get their attention, which means money, time and effort. The less money, the more time and effort. That means you.

You need organizations that are willing to work to first inform the rest of the world of what you’re doing, then get them to commit to do something about it. This is hard. It doesn’t happen by itself. Are you willing to make that kind of commitment? If you’re not, how can you expect anyone else to?

It’s going to be put up or shut up time pretty soon. So far, I see a ton of mouth, and a thimbleful of money.

4) Show Me the Money, Part II: Pretty soon, there’s going to be hundred of people like yourselves in deep trouble, essentially because they gave you music. Some may be subject to criminal charges (at least they could). Are you going to give back?

They’ll need legal help (though these are probably going to be slamdunk cases in court). Then the question becomes “Are you going to help pay their fines?” or will it be, “You’re on your own, Jack?”

These people aren’t going to need your mouth; they’re going to need your money. Will you give it to them?

I’ve seen estimates which say that the average young person buys about five CDs a year. That works out to about $75USD a year. Are you willing to take that $75 and give it to the cause?

Because if you’re not, if these big file fencers find themselves all alone and left hanging, you’ll see P2P dry up like a prune.

4) Show Me The Money, Part III: This is illegal. You have to do something about that. You can’t seriously walk around chanting, “1-2-3-4, Leave us steal a little more.” If you expect to be taken seriously by anyone outside of your little group, you have to do something about the stealing part, like suggest it shouldn’t be considered stealing anymore.

The only plausible argument you might be able to make is to change the law to make MP3ing the equivalent of taping off the radio. This will take serious lobbying, and that will take serious money.

Money Talks, BS Walks

Are you really a dedicated member of the cause willing to make some sacrifices for it? Or are you just a little bull-byproduct leech?

The RIAA and Company is betting that the vast majority of MP3ers are the second, and that even the vast majority of the noise-makers will do nothing substantial beyond pumping hot air.

It’s “Show me the money” time, and your mouth is no asset.

So far, I see a ton of mouth, and a thimbleful of money.

I think it would be a uphill struggle, but by no means impossible. If only a decent-sized franction of the MP3ers put their money where their mouths are as I suggested, there would be plenty of money to do all these things and confront RIAA and Company.

The RIAA and Company don’t think that’s going to happen to any serious degree. Neither do I.

Mouth won’t make it anymore. It’s getting serious now, and mouth won’t matter any more.

Do or do not. Anything else is BS, and will get called just that.

So put up or shut up.

Ed

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