|I have no comment. And I don't need one.|
The RIAA has become a household name in the few years. Ask someone who has been living under a rock since 1998 what the RIAA is and they'll probably smack you for making it up. Today, however, you aren't able to find a person that doesn't know about the RIAA. In making themselves infamous, they're making themselves enemies of consumers, which they've done by suing their customers for stealing music.
Techincally, if we're going to brand these people, let's get the name right. When you purchase a CD, a piece of computer software, a book...anything, really, you aren't actually purchasing the CD, piece of software, etc. You are purchasing a license, which gives you the right to use it. However, that license is a legal document that says what you can and cannot do. "Stealing" music isn't really possible, because, in effect, you'd be stealing the right to use the music in ANY POSSIBLE WAY, which includes putting it on the radio, putting it in video games, etc. So, instead of calling these people "music thieves", which isn't possible, let's describe them as what they really are. They are really just "license circumventers".
Now, admit it to yourself. If someone arrested you and called you a license circumventer, would you take them seriously? Would a judge? Would a jury? Of course not. Well, maybe they would, but it would get the point across better with "music thief". License circumvention sounds stupid. Music thief sounds more malignant, more damaging.
License circumvention was brought to the mainstream with a wonderful program named Napster. After that, it just began to snowball as more and more people signed up, more and more songs were downloaded, and more and more services were created to feed the public's desire for free music. Of course, Big Brother wasn't too happy with this, and started fighting back, to no avail.
So, this is a problem. What can be done about it? The problem lies a few places. One, the RIAA sat on this for too long. They should have realized back in the days of Napster that the Internet is a very lucrative, viable platform for moving music. If Apple's music store is a demonstration of the inclination of the future, 500k songs a week is not bad at all. And that's just representing, what, 5% of the home market share? Spread the same, easy rules to every computer user, and that'll go up by a factor of 10 or more. The RIAA must also realize that times change, and people change with it. The fact that they've been getting free music for the past 5 years is going to create a tough sell to get people to pay $20 for a CD with 8 songs on it again.
So that brings us to now. The RIAA has dug itself it into a hole and there is no getting out of it. I'm sitting here, hoping that this whole thing causes the RIAA to dissolve. They make too much money, and they sue 12 year olds. Really great system they're running here...