Fighting Back Against the Thieves (Screed #14)

July 7, 2009…


As The Federation stated recently on this site, the Recording Industry Association of America should be ashamed of themselves for charging a Minnesota woman (by the name of Jammie Thomas-Rasset), as well as a few others, millions of dollars in fines simply for illegally downloading music off the Internet. Well, it seems she is fighting back. “Such a judgment is grossly excessive and, therefore, subject to remittitur as a matter of federal common law,” Thomas-Rasset’s attorney reportedly told the court. Thomas-Rasset’s legal team also argued that evidence gathered by MediaSentry, a company that locates copyright-violating IP addresses, was presented at the trial, which Thomas-Rasset’s lawyers claim broke private investigator rules and thus should not have been admitted.

We hope Ms. Thomas-Rasset, as well as Boston University grad student Joel Tenenbaum, emerge victorious against the evil, dying empire that is the RIAA. It absolutely sickens us that they are being so utterly greedy and vindictive in this matter. The RIAA does not exist to protect the interests of the recording artists. The RIAA exists to protect the interests of the RIAA. They are trying to protect an outmoded business model and grab as much cash as they can before they go under for good. They are clearly desperate and sinking in the floods that are rising quickly around them. We hope they drown in their own sea of greed.  

And while we are on the subject: who is the jury that sided in favor of the RIAA and this ridiculous amount in fines? They should also be ashamed of themselves. We hope everyone on that jury gets caught illegally downloading music someday.  

We are glad to also see that some recording artists are speaking out against the RIAA’s diabolical witchhunt. Singer Richard Marx recently stated,

“As a longtime professional songwriter, I have always objected to the practice of illegal downloading of music. I have also always, however, been sympathetic to the average music fan, who has been consistently financially abused by the greedy actions of major labels. These labels, until recently, were responsible for the distribution of the majority of recorded music, and instead of nurturing the industry and doing their best to provide the highest quality of music to the fans, they predominantly chose to ream the consumer and fill their pockets. So now we have a ‘judgment’ in a case of illegal downloading, and it seems to me, especially in these extremely volatile economic times, that holding Ms. Thomas-Rasset accountable for the continuing daily actions of hundreds of thousands of people is, at best, misguided and at worst, farcical. Her accountability itself is not in question, but this show of force posing as judicial come-uppance is clearly abusive. Ms. Thomas Rasset, I think you got a raw deal, and I’m ashamed to have my name associated with this issue.”

Writing on his official Website, Moby also joined in with his own comments, stating:

“What utter nonsense. This is how the record companies want to protect themselves? Suing suburban moms for listening to music? Charging $80,000 per song? Punishing people for listening to music is exactly the wrong way to protect the music business. Maybe the record companies have adopted the ‘it’s better to be feared than respected’ approach to dealing with music fans. I don’t know, but ‘it’s better to be feared than respected’ doesn’t seem like such a sustainable business model when it comes to consumer choice. How about a new model of ‘it’s better to be loved for helping artists make good records and giving consumers great records at reasonable prices’? I’m so sorry that any music fan anywhere is ever made to feel bad for making the effort to listen to music. The RIAA needs to be disbanded.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. We applaud Richard Marx and Moby for coming out this way and stating what needs to be said. We only wish more artists would speak out on this matter. 


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