Tuesday, January 23, 2007

RIAA is a four-letter word

EDITOR'S WARNING: Serious rant incoming!!!

The stuff that the copyright-enforcing branch of the music industry does simply cannot be made up.

It's been just over a year since Sony was caught putting what essentially amounted to spyware on their artists' CDs.

Basically, whenever someone had the audacity to load their new tunes onto their computer, a hard to find, hard to uninstall program went right along with the music onto the hard drive, a program designed to keep users from making more than three backup copies of their CDs.

Thanks to its software's shady operation, Sony was later forced to settle with CD purchasers.

And now we get this unbelievable tale.

A week ago today, DJ Drama (name mamma gave him: Tyree Simmons) was arrested for copyright violation stemming from his production of mixtapes (basically unlicensed compilations of songs from the hip-hop/rap industry). Yes, arrested. And Georgia prosecutors are charging him under the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization law (known as R.I.C.O.).


I understand that protecting copyrights is crucial to intellectual innovation in the US, but let's not lose our common sense. Mixtapes have provided needed exposure for up and coming rappers and DJs, further, and I quote from the Times article, "most of DJ Drama’s mixtapes begin with enthusiastic endorsements from the artists themselves."

You know that greed has grown out of control when it's the record labels and RIAA who are controlling the music - going so far as to act in opposition to their clients' (the artists') wishes.

Unconvinced that things have gone too far?

I understand that DJ Drama has a high income, but consider the following:
This alleged copyright violator is being held on a $100,000 bond, while meanwhile, a man charged with rape in neighboring Tennessee is being held on a $75,000 bond.

I'm sorry, but to me, that's just plain jacked up.


Carol said...

Interesting, but a bit beyond my frame of reference. Apparently these guys haven’t put out barbershop music.

Daniel said...

CJ, once again, kudos on the blog. In the immortal words of MC Lars,

"You know, we just wanted a level playing field.
You’ve overcharged us for music for years, and now we’re
Just trying to find a fair balance. I hate to say it, but…
Welcome to the future."

-From "Download This Song"

Anonymous said...

It certainly is a whole other world that I can't claim to fully understand.

Thanks Daniel. I think MC Lars may have a pretty valid point.