September 12, 2003

If You're Happy and you know it, pay your fine!

A new industry group, P2P, is going to pay the $2,000 fine that was imposed on 12-year-old Brianna LaHara by the recording industry for illegally downloading music. The little girl's single mother agreed to the fine to settle a lawsuit filed against her by the Recording Industry of America.

Says P2P of RIAA:

But the executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based P2P United, Adam Eisgrau, says the RIAA should pick on someone its own size, not a little girl who downloaded songs like "If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands."

He is also calling on the RIAA to abandon its campaign and stop going after children and grandparents--one RIAA target is a 71-year-old grandfather.

Personally, while I agree that intellectual property must be protected, suing little kids and grandparents isn't the way to go about it - in fact, it'll turn into a PR nighmare for the recording industry. - Industry Group Pays Child's RIAA Fine

Posted by at September 12, 2003 4:50 AM | PROCURE FINE OLD WORLD ABSINTHE

There is no difference in the violations of law of a 71-year-old grandparent, a poor 12-year-old girl or a rich 35-year-old guy. They are all equally guilty or not guilty.

The thing is that the RIAA didn't properly prepare for future advancement in the computer/internet areenas and it's now biting them in the ass. It is their fault and the artists' fault.

The system needs fixing. They needed to make sure everyone KNOWS it is illegal and then only prosecute offenders in the future. The past is done, they need to let it go.

Posted by: ...a moment with Easycure at September 12, 2003 8:02 AM

Well, by 12 I knew ignorance was no excuse for breaking the law. And I have issues with the mother's excuse that she thought it was free because she paid her $29.99. So for the price of one and a half CD's she thinks her daughter is entitled to unlimited music? Why not go into a record store, pay thirty bucks and walk out with all the CD's she can carry What's the difference?

What I find angers me the most is the same outrage isn't applied toward spam or child pornography.

Posted by: Cynthia at September 12, 2003 10:48 AM

RIAA~Ridiculous, Idiotic Association of Assclowns.
Instead of "going after" these offenders, and spending LARGE amounts of money doing that ( when they are complaining about sales being low ), you have to think about that, I suggest the following strategy: Build a system for downloading music ( Itunes by apple as an example ) and charge 25 cents a song. Establish it for a year THEN go after the ppl who are downloading music illegally. The amusing part of all this, is most of the downloaded music is of questionable quality. The above service would work, provided the music was of high quality. That and cutting prices on CD's to about 5-7 dollars apiece would help as well. $17 dollars for a CD? Are they MAD?

Posted by: Bob at September 12, 2003 6:27 PM

They're not exactly mad, Bob. They're charging monopoly prices -- copyright-protected material is inherently a monopoly -- and trying to sweep back the tide that threatens their bastion. It's been done before, though seldom successfully.

IMNSHO, they've fouled their own legitimacy by failing to exercise proper control over their wares. More, technology has rendered the whole rubric of digital expression a place where one needs the most extraordinary goodwill and voluntary compliance from consumers to preserve anything resembling a copyright. Under those circumstances, wise men don't antagonize their customers further; they try to placate them, by methods such as you suggested.

Apparently, the powers-that-be at the RIAA are not wise men.

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at September 13, 2003 9:46 AM

No, no. $30 is the price of 3-4 music CDs. The industry just hasn't figured that out yet. One and a half? Puh-lease!

I do agree, where have people been that they haven't heard it's illegal? Actually, my interpretation of fair use is if you have bought the song on other media, you can have a copy as MP3, and it doesn't matter how you obtain it. It's a fair use copy and they made their money. When I used Napster, which I did very little, I almost exclusively downloaded things I already owned on CD, tape or vinyl, and some that I might not have ever found any other way. I didn't want to be blatent. And I would rather have most of it on CD too, one way or another, but damn, they seem to think people are rich the way things are priced. So in short, downloading an MP3 isn't illegal in and of itself IMHO, but it is if you don't already own it and it is in print, available for sale and still in copyright.

I agree with the sentiment that they should forget past offenders. Get the word out and then prosecute going forward. And dammit, setup a system for people to get music digitally! How lame can an industry be?

Posted by: Jay Solo at September 13, 2003 10:27 PM

Cynthia, are really that stupid or are you just trying to impress everone? if the woman paided her 29.99 then they should have sued Sherman not the 12 year old or her mother. Sherman is offering something that is illegal just like drugs, and like drugs apparently both the seller and buyer get in trouble, and sometimes the one just holding it for someone else

Posted by: Dana at December 14, 2003 4:36 AM