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state of digital music

Music was such a simple concept before digital came along. A person bought a professional copy of the songs pressed onto an album. No one really thought about distribution and copy “rights”. Now it seems that everything everyone does is illegal. In other parts of the world consumers are just now getting the right to transfer music to their mp3 players.

The music cartels cry wolf so often now that nearly everyone thinks they are lying about their losses. Everyone except their lobby arm, judicial puppets, and the senators they keep in their pockets. RIAA slaps on new restrictions to consumer usage without giving anything up in return. In a balanced equation both sides must transact for the balance to work. For instance, Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a new assault on how consumers may interact with their purchase. In the past music was NON-RETURNABLE because a consumer could theoretically make a copy of an album (since the cassette days and especially with CD’s) and the assumption of honesty was never (ever) extended. DRM is supposed to make the latest music impossible to mass produce (only limited backups are possible) yet consumers are still not able to legally return purchased music if they are not satisfied. A balanced approach might be to allow the return of any DRM “protected” CD.

Due dilligence is normally required of any and all legal transactions on the part of a corporation. If a lawsuit were to be launched against a customer then overwhelming evidence must support and justify the suit. Yet RIAA has launched over 18,000 law suits on the basis of network traffic from a hired 3rd party (bayTSP, media enforcers, etc). It is not possible that RIAA conducted a fair amount of due dilligence before issuing all those “settlement offers”.

Software developers and consumer electronics makers must hire out armies of legal help just to figure out if they will find themselves in a legally “actionable” position. Note that I did not say they needed to know if what they were doing was illegal. This is of course an issue but sometimes what seems legal doesn’t matter since RIAA has a massive war chest to fund “expeditionary legal attacks” in civil courts

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