Victim or Persecutor: Differing Takes on the MPAA and RIAA

Letters on Press Play’s last antipiracy story are coming in. This one basically doesn’t like my tone, and defends stealing music from bands like this. Read D.’s take. What do you think? RIAA = devil or rape victim?From: [email protected]
Your recent article on downloading was one-sided, uninformed, and just plain
biased. David Downs goes beyond the common comparison between downloaders
and murderous thieves of the high seas, and actually compared the tactics of
peer-to-peer networks to Al-Qaeda’s. I’d be hard-pressed to think of a more
loaded comparison. Declines in conventional album sales may be down, but
online sales services like iTunes are picking up the slack and the MPAA, far
from “fighting for [its life]”, actually set records in 2006 for US and
International box office numbers, as well as numbers of movies produced and
movies grossing more than $50 million, all without increasing the cost to
make and market movies. Christian Castle, who previously defended Napster
but now makes his money as a “vigorous advocate for strong copyright
protection and enforcement”, argues that the RIAA has never had so many
people “who are trying their best to destroy them”. In reality it’s quite
the contrary. While music listeners have always and always will make copies
of music they own and pass it on, the RIAA is petitioning the federal
government to reduce the royalties paid to artists and songwriters while
suing children, the dead, and those who don’t even own computers. Until
people realize that peer-to-peer technology is both legal (see the Betamax
Case) and useful, articles like this vilifying downloaders and making the
RIAA and MPAA out to be victims will continue to pass as journalism.

D. Olsen

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