This Isn't The New Business Model We Were Hoping The RIAA Would Adopt

from the how-nice-of-them dept

As was leaked earlier this month, the RIAA is now offering "discounted settlements" to those it accuses of file sharing, if they agree to pay up before the RIAA actually takes them to court. As we explained when this deal first came out, this is a total scam. The RIAA had tried to do this in the past, but given the flimsy evidence it has, the courts found that it made more sense to argue these cases in court, rather than by letting the RIAA pressure people into settling early. This is nothing short of extortion. It's trying to scare people into paying up without giving them a real chance to defend themselves against what is usually very weak (and all too often, incorrect) evidence. Plenty of people probably will be scared into paying -- but if this is the RIAA's idea of a new business model, they're simply asking for trouble. Of course, it's no wonder that this comes out the same day that the RIAA announces it opposes Rep. Boucher's FAIR USE bill. Expanding fair use (even though the bill is pretty weak) would only cut down on the number of people they could extort this way.
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  1. identicon
    misanthropic humanist, 28 Feb 2007 @ 3:03pm

    violence and response to violence

    Calling it a "scam" is a little weak isn't it. It is extorting money by menaces as plain as the nose on your face. I 've learned my lesson here once today assuming I know American law by thinking it must be based in any kind of sanity, but here in Europe that is illegal. Do you not have laws against extortion?

    Perhaps somebody more familiar with US law can comment, but wouldn't sending one penny by registered mail amount to a settlement?

    The problem seems to be that your civil and criminal justice systems are totally disjoint. On the one hand large organisations can use the threat of violence (if you don't pay you will go to prison - ergo state sanctioned violence against the person) to intimidate and extort, but the individual does not have that power, in theory but not in practice.

    Unfortunately the correct and moral solution to extortion, which is a robust self defence, is illegal in a civilised society. In the old days you'd just invite them to send round a representative to your home. Upon arrival decapitate them and send back the head and entrails in a large sack. This ensures you won't be hearing from them in the future.

    These days you need to be more thoughtful. Using the system against itself, would it not be possible for a group of, say 100, 000 American citizens to sue the MAFIAA, what do you call that, a "class action" ? Take them face on for 1 Trillion dollars for massive public intimidation and psychological harm or something?
    Perhaps you could use the same approach on your government next time they blow up a building full of people to frighten you?

    Just ideas.

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