The RIAA Pretty Much Sucks
I'm just sayin'.
"A piece of art is not a loaf of bread. When someone steals a loaf of bread from the store, that's it. The loaf of bread is gone. When someone downloads a piece of music, it's just data until the listener puts that music back together with their own ears, their mind, their subjective experience. How they perceive your work changes your work. Treating your audience like thieves is absurd. Anyone who chooses to listen to our music becomes a collaborator. People who look at music as commerce don't understand that. They are talking about pieces of plastic they want to sell, packages of intellectual property."
-- Jeff Tweedy, Wilco
The Recording Industry Association of America has sued 11,456 people. They blame those who trade music online for declining music sales although sales increased in 2004. Plus, so far this year, the RIAA has sued over 1,000 people. Last year, they sued 382 people.
What's more, even if the people who are sued were illegally file-trading, a new report indicates that other factors "are more likely to have had a significant impact on music sales."
In particular, the study attributes any fall in CD sales to "the rise in the number of entertainment sources." However, it would be very difficult for the RIAA to sue a lot of entertainment companies for ... er ... "alienation of consumer affection" or some such thing. The RIAA has to do something. Much like George Costanza, who tried to look impatient and annoyed so he would look busy, the RIAA sues children, college students, and grandparents to try to create the illusion of progress of some sort.
According to Rolling Stone, in August 2003, the month before the lawsuits started, there were 3.85 million peer-to-peer users and in April 2005 there were 8.63 million. The Electronic Frontier Foundation says over 60 million people in the United States alone use file sharing. Not all of them trade music, but you don't have to trade files to be sued by the RIAA.
Maybe if the RIAA stopped spending so much money on lawsuits, they could lower CD prices like they said they were going to oh so long ago. People might buy more CDs if they were less outrageously expensive. Too bad the RIAA would still get a cut of every one we buy.
Electronic Frontier Foundation - File-Sharing
Stop the RIAA Petition to Congress
Church Sign Generator