(The Setup: Here's my far-too-short post to an online message board attached to a news report on the Recording Industry Association of America (R.I.A.A.)'s successful court battle to force Verizon to reveal the name of a subscriber suspected of (gasp!) downloading music. Being a closet musician, I have less than no respect for the major record labels or their treatment of their artists. While the legality or illegality of file sharing is, as they say, a matter for the courts, what should not be is the rape of individual rights by a money-hungry and possibly illegal (can you say R.I.C.O.?) trade organization already convicted of price fixing. That is what the Supreme Court has in the past referred to as a 'clear and present danger.')
Add another nail to the coffin of individual rights. Isn't it about time we all voted with our wallets? No more CDs. No more DVDs. No more tapes. Not a single dollar should flow to these bastards. Already their sales are in the dumper, and they blame piracy. Perhaps they should take a close look at the number of people calling for a boycott on all media, and think hard about what they're going to do when the public stops buying their lies right along with their products.
We should all take a stand. Boycott the RIAA and MPAA members. Those in the US should contact their so-called representatives in Washington D.C. and raise hell, and not stop until the DMCA is repealed and dead. I'd rather go to a club and listen to live music anyway. Let's get moving!
(The Setup: This is an actual letter I sent to my Congresscritters to urge them to actually do what we elected them to do and protect the Public from an illegal, anti-competitive trust, rather than accept bribes from special interests to look the other way while they bend us over and pick our pockets after abusing us rectally. Naturally, you'll be amused by the "response" I got back from one of the Senators.)
This message was sent to:
Senator Dianne Feinstein
Senator Barbara Boxer
Rep. Gary Miller
Copy of message text follows:
Ladies and Gentleman:
In re: the recent Appeals Court ruling against the file sharing service
Napster, I am struck by the similarities between the Recording Industry
Association of America (RIAA) and Microsoft, currently appealing its conviction
for anti-competitive practices. Both organizations are industry behemoths
using anticompetitive practices to supress opposition. Microsoft has been
found guilty, and will have to eventually pay for their crimes. Unfortunately,
it seems the RIAA will get away with preventing me (and millions of my fellow
taxpayers) from storing music files and other similar digital reproductions for
our own use on Internet service providers. Persecution of these services by
the RIAA and its members is not materially different from Microsoft's criminal
activities. If, as this recent decision seems to indicate, it is currently
legal for this soi-disant "trade organization" (the Japanese term 'keiretsu'
leaps immediately to mind, as does the American term 'trust'), you may want to
consider proposing or supporting legislation that would allow consumers the
right to use legally obtained digital copies of a product they have purchased
the right to use. Can we, the consumers of the State of California, depend on
our elected officials to set right this injustice? I'm sure your millions of
constituents would find it a refreshing change.
-- Duke Walls
Yorba Linda, CA
(...and, as promised, part of Senator Feinstein's carefully crafted reply:)
April 7, 2003
Mr. Duke Walls
Yorba Linda, California
Dear Mr. Walls:
I am sending you a copy of my latest newsletter because
you have written me recently about issues that concern you before
the U.S. Senate. To sign up for future copies of my newsletter and
other electronic updates please go to
If you wish to respond to this message, please go to
http://feinstein.senate.gov/contact.html and follow the directions.
Please do not respond directly as it is part of a semi-automatic
system. I appreciate your interest and welcome your comments.
A WASHINGTON REPORT
FROM SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN
Friday, March 28, 2003
Welcome to the newest edition of my e-mail newsletter, which has
been designed to keep the people of California informed about
issues facing our State, our Nation and the latest developments in
the U.S. Senate.
(I'll spare you the rest of the self-serving and mealy-mouthed nonsense. Clearly, here's a career politician so deeply in the pockets of special interests that she has no interest in helping her constituents. Perhaps, after the people of Califrisky get through tossing soon-to-be former Governor Joseph "Gray" Davis overboard, they can address themselves to removing our current Senators (please note there was absolutely no response from Feinstein's younger, even more liberal colleague, Babs Boxer. Now there is a person California would be far better served without.)
One more note: there has been a recent court case in which the RIAA actually LOST to an individual in re: personal use of electronic media. When I find a referent to the case, I will post it here. In the meantime, enjoy the idea that, at least in one courtroom in this formerly free nation, somebody actually got to kick the RIAA in the shins. It probably cost them several hundred thousand dollars to do so, but some things are beyond price. Just ask MasterCard.
(The Setup: Once again, our friends at Ziff-Davis published a pithy commentary on the RIAA rights rape, and once again, I was moved to comment on their comments. Please note that this was written long enough ago that Napster still existed in its original form. We've all seen the RIAA's actions against Napster, as well as their conviction for price fixing (gotten your refund check yet? Neither have I, and I'm not holding my breath, either). These days, I prefer LimeWire, although the RIAA's current practice of going after music sharers with as few as five songs would make even the most intellectually challenged think twice about going online with their 1200-song collection of MP3s -- whether legally obtained or not.)
Bravo on this editorial. It needed to be said, no matter what some "Pull up the ladder, I'm aboard" types would have you believe.
Is the RIAA morally equivalent to convicted monopolist Microsoft? Are they a vicious monopoly using anti-competitive tactics to stifle possible competitors? Absolutely.
They do the same thing to musicians. You'll never hear a copy of my latest hit single, "Can't Complain (Wouldn't Do Any Good)," simply because I won't play their game. Probably also because it doesn't contain four-letter words or refer to women as "ho's."
Calling song storage "piracy" and denigrating it on the basis of copyright laws written *before* the previous century does not change reality. Vox populi, vox Dei.
In the same vein, a great many of us prefer open source software. The quality is usually better, and the source is on hand should one have to fix egregious errors. You can usually tell this type of software by the "Copyleft" to which you must agree in principle before use.
I'm pleased to report that the automated email response systems of both my Senators work perfectly at responding blindly to keywords in messages forwarded to them. Obviously, if they're using automated systems, they and their staff aren't really reading our messages. Nonetheless, I urge those of you in the U.S. to send your Senators and Representative a nicely worded message stating your opposition to vile monopolists who use the courts to punish innovation. Pigs may fly before your missive has a beneficial effect, but hope springs eternal.
Now if you'll pardon me, I'll go and run my Jolly Roger up the flagpole to see if anybody salutes. See you on Napster!