Soccer Mom vs RIAA

It’s the same old story. Kid downloads music, parent gets letter from the RIAA demanding thousands of dollars to “settle”.

It’s happened over 3,000 times in this country in the past three years. Only this time there’s an interesting twist. This time, the victim – a divorced mother-of-five refuses to pay up and settle out of court and says “prove it”.

It’s about time that the RIAA’s scare tactics and stupid pricing (currently $150,000 per song) were publicly called into question. It is about time that they explained why a parent is responsible for something that children did. I am all for parental responsibility, but technology is an area where most kids can run rings around their parents.

This is not about right and wrong, or even about legal and illegal. It is about money, and the RIAA’s propping up an outmoded “buggy-whip” business model to which they have become accustomed.The same RIAA that is always bleating about the artists’ rights does not represent the artists – if they were they would not “forget” to pay them.

So how is this going to turn out? It could go three ways.

  1. RIAA drops the case. Given their legendary greed, this is unlikely, but this puts the RIAA in a rather embarrassing position – from fighting piracy they are now putting people in jail, which is not exactly the kind of publicity that they would like.
  2. RIAA wins and goes for the throat – puts momma in jail or makes her homeless – and counts their winnings while the world looks on in horror.
  3. RIAA, unable to prove their case, loses… and the floodgates open.

I cannot see any way that the RIAA can come out of this without incurring either public ridicule or public scorn. This is a battle that they cannot win. Perhaps they should just forget the lawsuits and concentrate on producing quality music at an affordable price.

Like that’s going to happen.

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