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: 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