Tuesday, October 09, 2007

This RIAA case ....

Okay, there's lots of chat over the sites I read daily about this RIAA court case win over a 30 year old single mother.

24 files shared on Kazaa == $220,000 in fines to the RIAA.

So, #1: The copyright law is pretty clear in this case (with some debate over whether it was right for the judge to limit the RIAA proof of burden to only "making available" files for download). The woman was a Kazaa user and had hundreds of songs available for download. She used a handle that was easily pinned back on her. No jury following their instructions could have found her innocent.

But #2: The thing that bothers me most about this case is where the money will go. Exactly how much of that $220,000 will find its way back into the hands of the artists who created those works? Absolutely none, because the holders of the copyright on those 24 songs are the corporations that make up the RIAA, not the artists who created the works.

Defenders of current copyright law hide behind statements like what came out recently from Chris Israel, the Bush Administration's U.S. Coordinator for International Intellectual Property Enforcement, who said: "Cases such as this remind us strong enforcement is a significant part of the effort to eliminate piracy, and that we have an effective legal system in the U.S. that enables rights holders to protect their intellectual property." [emphasis added by me]

Copyright law was created with the original intent to protect creators from others who might make money off the original work, or claim the original work as their own.

Today we have a music industry where the creators automatically give up their rights to corporations who now make most of the money off the original work.

Isn't this exactly what copyright was supposed to prevent?

Today's copyright law is not only anti-consumer, as many posters to the CNET blogs and arstechnica.com are quick to point out in their discussions of the unfairness of the size of the fine.

It's downright anti-artist.

1 comment:

jazz bird said...

I'm so glad to see your post. You spoke many of the words floating around in my own head that just hadn't made it to writing yet. I am all for artists getting what's due to them, obviously. I have my own strong views on piracy and how I ensure certain money is spent in support, but it angers me when corporations become the "voice" for artists themselves, who are, in turn, screwed on so many sides of the deal (especially "smaller" artists on bigger labels, etc).

And happy belated birthday, too! :)