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RIAA Tries to Get Public to Lobby Congress for 3-Strikes


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The RIAA is apparently having a tough time convincing the country’s ISPs that it’s in their best interests to disconnect erstwhile loyal, paying customers. It’s now decided to create an ad hoc grassroots effort called “Music Rights Now” of individuals that it hopes will petition their elected officials to force them to implement a “three-strikes” regime and disconnect repeat accused file-sharers.

After 10 years of suing individual file-sharers and failing miserably at stemming the tide of P2P (imagine that) the RIAA announced late in 2008 that it felt that although “litigation was successful in raising the public’s awareness that file-sharing is illegal” it wanted to try a strategy that “could prove more successful.”

That strategy was asking ISPs to enter into voluntary agreements to disconnect illegal file-sharers. That plan has failed miserably as ISPs are keenly aware that they have little to benefit, serving only to protect the failed business models of others at the expense of its own.

Enter the group it’s created called “Music Rights Now.” It’s a bold-faced effort to trick people into believing that the only way to protect music (read: record labels) from online copyright infringement is to lobby members of Congress for a “meaningful and swift response.”

“If you believe music has value please join us in asking Congress to do all they can to protect music from online theft,” it asks.

The kind of response that it thinks most music fans want hast to be what it wants: a “three-strikes regime” that’s already been implemented in countries like New Zealand, South Korea, France, and most recently, the UK. What else would real music fans want right?

“How is it that countries around the world like New Zealand, South Korea, France and the UK are taking steps to protect their creative communities and being more aggressive than the United States — the largest exporter of creative works in the world?,” reads the online petition. “We need the government’s help.”

Is this “we” the record label’s “we” or is it the Big Lebowski’s royal “we?” Either way, it’s pretty gutsy to try and trick people into thinking that music needs saving, something that’s been around since before the days of ancient Greece, and that the only way to do so is to disconnect, in some cases, entire households from the online world.

“Jobs, creativity and our culture are at stake,” it warns. Oh really? A Harvard Business School study from just last year found that the number of albums produced has doubled since the advent of illegal file-sharing.

“Consumer access to recordings has vastly improved since the advent of file-sharing,” it concludes. “Since 2000, the number of recordings produced has more than doubled. In our view, this makes it difficult to argue that weaker copyright protection (as a result from illegal file-sharing) has had a negative impact on artists’incentives to be creative.”

So much for music fans needing to worry that our very culture is at stake. As for our creativity? How can sharing music do anything but help spur our creativity to create and appreciate more of it?

Too bad we can’t have a petition to take down this petition. The least we can do is report the Facebook page as “spam.”

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