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New Round of Filesharing Lawsuits

SO THERE’S A NEW ROUND of lawsuits. The RIAA filed 532 suits yesterday; this time they have to go through the courts before they can get the names. Of course, these suits are the same corporate extortion– the cost of fighting is so high that no one who’s targetted will able to defend themselves in court. We were quoted in a couple newspaper articles today, including this Newsday story. Our main point to reporters was that even short-term success in slowing filesharing (which itself is arguable– check out this conversation with Big Champagne) will never succeed in the long run against secure filesharing software like MUTE or mesh-nets like WASTE. The major record labels’ current calculus is that the bad publicity is an acceptable cost if it helps stop filesharing. But when secure filesharing wins out, all that’s left is the PR game. That’s why we’re here.

As we’ve said so many times before, if the major labels stopped payola, started paying artists fairly, gave up on DRM, and worked on a filesharing licensing system, then they could win back public support and we’d all be on the same page. But it would mean giving up their monopoly and decentralizing the industry. That’s no good for record execs making millions of dollars a year, so they’d rather bet it all on a scorched earth strategy: crush a few thousand families with lawsuits, squeeze out a couple more years of personal enrichment, and then bail out to a top job in another industry while blaming their failure on pirates. If you pretend for a moment that you don’t give a damn about musicians or culture, their strategy starts to make a lot more sense.

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