by Timothy Lee
Thu, Oct 18th 2007 9:16am
The RIAA has apparently been getting a lot of negative publicity for its six-figure judgment against a single mother for file-sharing. RIAA president Cary Sherman has a taken to the Web to defend his organization's actions. Personally, I don't have a great deal of sympathy for Jammie Thomas given the strong evidence against her, but I did think Sherman made a couple of misleading arguments. First, Sherman claims that the lawsuits have "created a legal marketplace" for music. But the primary way you create a "legal marketplace" for your products is to offer better products. The market is growing because services like Apple's iTunes make it convenient for consumers to get the music they want in a convenient and flexible format. But the major labels can hardly take credit for that, since they had to be dragged kicking and screaming into signing on to the iTunes store. Sherman says he'd rather be "helping artists make great music that we can distribute in lots of exciting new ways that music fans want." But for the most part, their approach has been the opposite: doing their best to sue new music technologies out of existence and sharply limiting the ways consumers can listen to the music they want. Secondly, Sherman repeatedly equates copyright infringement with theft, going so far as to say that the jury found Thomas "liable for copyright theft." But of course there's no such thing as "copyright theft." As the Supreme Court and others have pointed out, copyright infringement and theft are two different crimes, and it's misleading to treat them as if they were identical.
If you liked this post, you may also be interested in...
- Cops Getting Free License Plate Readers In Exchange For 25% Of The 'Take' And All The Driver Data Vigilant Can Slurp
- No, The Internet Hasn't Destroyed Quality Music Either
- David Bowie Wasn't Just An Incredible Music Visionary, But An Internet & Business Model Visionary Too
- Homeland Security Admits It Seized A Hip Hop Blog For Five Years Despite No Evidence Of Infringement; RIAA Celebrates
- Court Says RIAA Can Just Tell Cloudflare Any Site Is A Grooveshark Clone... And Cloudflare Has 48 Hours To Dump Them