Wednesday, November 19, 2008

RIAA's Ripoff Of Tennessee

The state's colleges and universities just got burned, forced by a new state law to shell out millions of dollars to police computer networks to make sure someone isn't downloading a song illegally. The state estimates the cost of this sweetheart deal for the RIAA at nearly $13 million initially and then another $1.9 million each year thereafter.

Gov. Bredesen, signing the law, on the eve of the CMA Awards says:

The illegal downloading of music has a profoundly negative effect on the music industry. As home to so many record companies, music publishers, writers and artists, I am proud that Tennessee is taking action to prevent it."

But the truth is not one penny of this massive payout will go to any artists or record labels the RIAA represents.

Wired Threat Level notes that some 21 people, earning some $75,000 a year, will work this new software and hardware to monitor schools -- and the state says tough luck to those schools in need of teachers and students who face ever increasing tuition costs.

The students may have more time to pilfer copyrighted works because their classes might be canceled for lack of funding. Using conservative estimates, the piracy measure is equal to the price of about 100 Tennessee professors' wages and benefits."

In the current fiscal year, the higher education system has had to cope with $100 million in budget cuts and more cuts are expected in the next budget.

But the RIAA got what it wanted - your money.

RIAA's CEO Mitch Bainwol makes it sound like this law will lend some benefit to musicians and store owners. But that is a load of crap.

"It's fitting that on the day the world focuses on Nashville and country music that Tennessee would take the lead in protecting the creativity that this state so uniquely inspires,” said Bainwol. “We have all seen the effects illegal downloading has had on Music Row – too many record stores have been shuttered and too many songwriters are out of the business of writing songs. This bill, the first of its kind in the nation, addresses the issue of campus music theft in a state where the impact is felt more harshly than most.”

It's sickening to hear Bainwol blame illegal file-sharing for the shuttering or record stores when it was in fact record labels that hastened their demise by cutting deals with big-box retailers like Wal-Mart that allowed them to undercut competitors with lower "loss leader" prices.

He also doesn't acknowledge that music has gone digital and that you don't need a Tower Records store for distribution. [Nashville's Tower Records closed two years ago.]

"We commend Governor Bredesen, Senator Tim Burchett, Rep. Rinks and all the cosponsors of the legislation for their leadership on this important issue, which will not only benefit those who care about music but American creativity and jobs," said Bainwol.

I highly doubt that singling out poor 18-22yo college students will do much to protect "American creativity or jobs." If anything, the only American creativity will see is from these individuals devising new means of sharing content with family and friends. The only jobs it will protect are those of the empty suits running the RIAA's legal offensive.

No comments:

Post a Comment