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12/07/2003 Archived Entry: "Boycott the RIAA!"

"Of course you know this means war!" -- Groucho Marx

...at which Wendy's skill at web research will easily trump my technical credentials. Certainly I haven't come up with anything to match yesterday's "Switch to Linux." Luckily I chanced upon this item from Karen De Coster's blog: can you tell a Programming Langauge Inventor from a Serial Killer? (I blush to admit that I got only three correct...I guess I should turn in that diploma.)

It seems that Apple iTunes customers are learning that "Digital Rights Management" is code for "all your data are belong to us."

Jon Johansen (of DeCSS fame) is quoted as saying,

"By buying into DRM they have given the seller complete control over the product after it's been sold. The RIAA can at any time change the DRM rules, and considering their history it's likely that they will when the majority of consumers have embraced DRM and non-DRM products have been phased out."

Yet another excellent reason to boycott the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). We took part in the August boycott, but I can't claim a moral victory, since for me it was rather like boycotting escargot (which I dislike). Most popular music bores me, and except for the Dixie Chicks I don't think we've bought a new CD all year. Heck, for not much more than the price of a CD, we can buy a DVD.

If, like me, you're tired of the RIAA overpricing their albums, attacking privacy, suing grandmothers and children, knowingly selling defective products, and getting special favors from the feds, then here are some alternatives:

* buy used CDs instead of new CDs.
* buy CDs from independent labels (basically, anyone not on this list)
* seek out independent bands who publish their music on-line

Years ago, my college radio station would once a week play an album in full without any voice-over. Those of us with tape recorders could tape it off the air. As far as I know that's still legal, so if you have friends at a radio station, why not suggest this?

Meanwhile, I've just discovered RIAA Watch and will be checking in there for news.

On a somewhat related note, I'm sorry to hear that the million-song music archive of MP3.com has been destroyed. I hope that the artists who contributed their work to that archive are able to do so again. A big raspberry to Vivendi Universal who resisted all attempts to preserve this archive.

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