Letters to the Pilot

Tuesday, September 2, 2003

Music and monopoly


People all across this country are becoming increasingly concerned with the loss of privacy, and the loss of civil rights and protections afforded us under the Constitution. One particular area of concern involves the actions of a group called the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America). They have employed companies that use robots to enter P2P networks, and act in direct violation of the user agreements of those services, and to do so without probable cause. If the government did such a thing, this would constitute a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, and a violation of the Privacy Act of 1974. The RIAA then sought to use the questionable information which their agents obtained through repeated violation of private company's user agreement, to seek over a thousand subpoenas...

All they seem to care about is initiated a national campaign of terror against everyone use peer to peer network systems, without regard to their guilt or innocence... This type of action, especially at such a time of economic hardship and stress, to many of us, amounts to domestic terrorism...

Many are also concerned with the almost monopolistic control over the music industry which the RIAA wields, with issues such as allegations of payola and price fixing.

Methods of distribution of products and ideas are changing as the internet is turning us into a global community. Online models of music sales and distribution are definitely the wave of the future. The old method of distribution and promotion which the RIAA is desperately trying to lock the world into, allowed them to exploit musicians and songwriters, and to take a larger piece of the overall cost of each sale. I believe most folks would not mind a system by which they could purchase those songs they wish, directly from the artist. Most music enthusiasts want their favorites to continue to write and produce the kind of music they want to hear. And, ultimately, we believe that a solution will be found. But, in the interim, we cannot let our nation be dragged, terrorized, have their rights violated, and have their entire lives disrupted by a greedy corporation who, pursuant to violating a private corporation's entrance and usage agreement, develops some idea that someone MAY have files which are copies of copies of a song which may be under the copyright of one of their label members or artists. There needs to be some balance with regard to the damage they are doing to hardworking, taxpaying voters around this country... We are supposed to look to our congress people as our advocates as citizens. We are supposed to have the ability as citizens, to redress the government for grievances. Here we are asking for your help. Our grievances include the need for the repeal or modification of the DMCA, and for a serious investigation of the actions of the RIAA and their associates, and the immense damaging effect which their actions are going to have on the courts by overloading them, and on the American public.

Dean Bodholdt, Storm Lake