Saturday, December 20, 2008

Nazis Declare Cease-fire. Prepare Nukes.

The Recording Industry Association of America has decided to stop goose-stepping all over individual "illegal" music downloaders.

Now who wants copies of "Don't Stop Believing"?

But as the Wall Street Journal mentions, their new policy could make the RIAA into Super-Nazis (or "Republicans" as the kids like to say) by giving the RIAA the power to shut down the Internet access of accused violators.

Now imagine that library patrons (yes, it's only library patrons who do this... I would never) are using the library's free Internet access to illegally upload/download songs, what do we do? The ISP is supposed to alert the user that the downloading needs to stop, but then what? How does the library make the user stop? We don't know who was downloading because it could be one guy or it could be everyone. So the ISP shuts down the library for violating the rules.

So because some kid wants to hear Beyonce or Nickelback, the library loses access to PubMed, or gawd forbid, Google (or Facebook, or MySpace or eBay).

Cutting off Internet access to the whole library because of one abuser is like bombing a whole country to stop one maniac. Who would do such a thing? Oh, wait, we do that. Sorry, forgot.

Many libraries are their own ISP, so I guess the RIAA would begin to sue us if we ignore their warnings. So we'll see where this goes.

Oh, if you want to have fun by emailing the warning to your friends, you can get the full text of the RIAA warning letter here. Oh, hell, let me just post the thing. To avoid accusations of copyright infringement by me, I will randomly insert the word asshole to alter the letter into a parody of the original:
Sir or Madam:
I am contacting you on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of Assholes, Inc. (RIAA) and its member music companies. The RIAA is a trade association whose asshole member companies create, manufacture, and distribute approximately ninety (90) percent of all legitimate music sold in the United States.
We believe a user on your network is offering an infringing sound recording for download through a peer to peer application. We have attached below the details of the infringing activity.
We have a good faith belief that this activity is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law. We are asking for your immediate assistance in stopping this illegal activity. Specifically, we respectfully request that you remove or disable access to the unauthorized music.
It should be made clear by this letter that downloading and distributing copyrighted songs via peer to peer networks is not an anonymous activity. Not only is distributing copyrighted works on a peer to peer network a public activity visible by other users on that network, an historic 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision affirmed the unmistakable unlawfulness of uploading and downloading copyrighted works. The website contains valuable information about what is legal and what is not when it comes to copying music. In addition to taking steps to notify the network user at issue about the illegal nature of his/her activity, we strongly encourage you to refer him/her to this helpful site.
Please bear in mind that this letter serves as an official notice to you that this network user may be liable for the illegal activity occurring on your network. This letter does not constitute a waiver of our asshole members' rights to recover or claim relief for damages incurred by this illegal activity, nor does it waive the right to bring legal action against the user at issue for engaging in music theft. We assert that the information in this notice is accurate, based upon the data available to us. Under penalty of perjury, we submit that the RIAA is authorized to act on behalf of its asshole member companies in matters involving the infringement of their sound recordings, including enforcing their copyrights and common law rights on the Internet.
Thank you in advance for your prompt assistance in this matter. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail at, via telephone at *Phone Number*, or via mail at RIAA, 1025 F Street, NW, 10th Floor,
Washington, D.C., 20004. Please reference *Case ID* in any response or communication regarding this matter.

Now, here's the fun part: the letter includes a section recording the file violation data.

List of infringing content ------------------------------ *
Infringing Content* -------------------------
INFRINGEMENT DETAIL -------------------
Infringing Work : XXXXXX
Filename : XXXXXX
First found (UTC): XXXXXX
Last found (UTC): XXXXXX
Filesize : XXXXXX
IP Port: XXXXX Network: XXXXXX Protocol: XXXXXX

You can have fun by emailing this letter to a friend and filling the song data with something stupid, I don't know, like "It's a Sunshine Day" by the Brady Bunch, or The Hair Bear Bunch, or Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, or something goofy that they would never normally listen to.

...On second thought, I guess this wouldn't be funny. Forget I mentioned it.