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12/11/2003 Archived Entry: "More on RIAA"

Congratulations to RIAA Radar for creating a really useful tool: on their web site you can search by recording artist and find out if their albums are RIAA or not. I'm happy to learn that some of my favorite artists, Trout Fishing in America, Electric Bonsai Band, and The Capitol Steps, are "safe." Just in time for Christmas shopping.

(Sadly, I won't be buying any more Dar Williams, Moxy Früvous, or Dixie Chicks for the duration. Maybe I'll try out some of the "similar albums that are non-RIAA" listed by RIAA Radar...another helpful service.)

Those with a more activist bent against the RIAA may find Downhill Battle interesting. From there I learned of the IP Justice site, which blasts the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) Treaty as 'a "wish list" for " special interests" such as Microsoft, the MPAA, and the RIAA.' According to IP Justice,

The FTAA's Chapter on Intellectual Property Rights threatens to:
# Mandate imprisonment for P2P file sharing anywhere in the Americas
# Forbid consumers from bypassing the technical restrictions on their own CD's and DVDs, more broadly than the DMCA
# Would send non-commercial infringers to prison
# Limit consumers' traditional "Fair Use" and "Personal Use" rights
# Create monopolies over media devices and aftermarket replacement parts
# Reduce the public domain by requiring all 33 other FTAA countries to extend copyright term to a minimum of 70 years after the death of a creator
# Chill freedom of expression and scientific research by outlawing technical papers
# Force individuals to send Internet domain name disputes to a private unaccountable organization for a determination of rights
# Restrain trade and inhibit competition in favor of industry incumbents
# Expand the scope of copyright to permit copyrighting of data and facts

I've just started reading their White Paper on the FTAA, but if half of what they say is correct, it just confirms my opinion about these supposedly "free trade" agreements: they're really just wholesale political favoritism with a deceptive name.

Meanwhile, the RIAA has hired the former head of BATF as enforcer. Yes, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the guys who torched the Branch Davidians. Perhaps the RIAA is planning to take a harder line than just suing kids and grannies. Those who are sharing their MP3 music files may want to stock up on fire extinguishers.


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