Wednesday, December 12, 2007

This Song For Rent

The RIAA has long been one of my least favorite groups, but just when I think they can't get worse they do. Now they're trying to sell the idea that we can't time shift music to a judge. This doesn't just mean that we can't download songs off of sites like Kazaa, it means that in their legal opinion we can't burn CDs to our computers. Honestly, what is going on here? They opined back when they were fighting Grokster that we could do that and now because record sales are in the toilet (which I would say is because there's not as many good albums released now as there used to be) and they want to be known as more ham-fisted than the MPAA we can't copy our CDs without being criminals. It's clear that they believe that we have no ownership at all of the products we buy, we're merely renting the intellectual property until such a time that the CD breaks or technology moves on and then we should have to re-rent that.
Last time I checked, these products are made available for sale, not out of the goodness of the record labels' hearts for rent to anyone who wants them. If they want people to not be criminals, why don't they try not criminalizing our behaviors? While I have moral issues with stealing songs and whatnot, I think the more they treat their customers like criminals, the more they will become criminals. I have no problem sticking it to the man, in as moral a way as possible, because the man needs to be knocked down a few pegs. I'd love to see artists split from the RIAA and self-release music like the Eagles and Radiohead have done. Merely not buying music isn't going to stop the problem, it will only lead to them blaming us for their problems. If the artists, especially the big ones (U2, Coldplay, Justin Timberlake, 50 Cent, Kanye West, etc) jump ship, the labels will fail because their meal ticket is gone. I have no problem paying U2 for their music and the digital revolution, with iTunes and other digital middlemen mean that you still need promotion, but it's much easier and cheaper than it used to be. Touring will still be the backbone of support, but you don't need Columbia Records to make some marketing materials for you. Let's turn the system on its head and see what it does for everyone.

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