Copyright terriorists can’t take what they dish out

Aw, poow widdle awe-aye-ay-ay! Poow widdle bay-bee!
The RIAA, if you recall correctly, is endorsing legislation that would permit copyright terrorists holders to knock off or hack into computers they suspect are being used to violate copyright law. So I guess calling what they want “copyright terrorism” is apt.

Well, starting sometime on Friday and ending at 2 a.m. Monday morning, the RIAA’s web site was inaccessible, the apparent result of a denial of service attack.

I feel bad for them. No really, I do. But I’m not just going to say I feel bad for them. I’m going to show it with my actions. Sympathy is one thing, and help is quite another. So… If anyone who works for the RIAA is reading this, listen up. Or if you happen to know anyone who works for the RIAA, please pass the word for me. RIAA, I want to offer you my services. I am a 27-year-old computer professional with approximately 7 years’ experience building and maintaining computer networks. I want to offer my services to you. For free. I will very gladly, on my own time, build new Web servers for you, running Windows NT 4.0 and IIS. All you have to do is provide the hardware and software, and I will very gladly configure them the way I, based on my extensive experience, feel is best.

(No, silly, I won’t install Code Red and Nimda on them. I won’t have to! They just show up automatically!)

Now don’t get me wrong. Just because I wish the worst operating system and Web server of the Internet era on them, don’t get the idea that I have no use for the RIAA. I care about them. Really! Yes, I care about the Recording Industry Association of America just as much as it cares about the artists slaves who don’t make up their official third initial. Yes, I said slaves. I say slaves because slaves aren’t paid for their work. Neither are musicians. At least when they’re in the studio, they aren’t. (You thought RIAA stood for “Recording Industry and Artists of America,” didn’t you? Well, you were wrong.)

I empathize with musicians. I gave a year of my life to a project. I sold the copyright to it for pennies, on the promise of royalties if it ever earned back my advance, much of which I had to spend in order to complete the project. Just like musicians. Aside from what was left of my advance money, I never earned a penny, because the book didn’t sell. It got fabulous reviews–one popular computer columnist in Canada went so far as to call it “the perfect reference book”–but my publisher didn’t market it.

Now, I can go and blame peer-to-peer file sharing, or Kinko’s. I’m sure there are plenty of copies of the book out there that no one paid for. But the fact is, illegal copies or no, it didn’t sell. My publisher didn’t market it right.

Not that I’m complaining. It’s much better to be the author of a book that didn’t sell than the writer of a book that was never published. (I happen to be that too.) And Aimee Mann was critically acclaimed and her stuff didn’t sell either. I like having something in common with Aimee Mann.

Do you think that might be the reason why most record albums don’t make money? Inadequate and inappropriate marketing? Interesting concept, no? But it’s much easier to blame peer-to-peer networking than your own marketing people.

So the RIAA doesn’t help musicians much. It does help multinational corporations. Big, multinational corporations are always fine, upstanding, honest, model citizens though, right? Right?

This law will permit the RIAA to act as judge, jury, and executioner, on suspicion alone. I think that’s an absolutely fantabulous idea. Best idea I’ve heard all year. Whoever came up with the concept behind the Fourth Amendment obviously didn’t live in an era of $18 CDs that aren’t selling. What a moron. Too bad he’s dead, or the RIAA could sue him for obstructing justice.

But it would seem not everyone held that view. Not the people who participated in the denial of service attack, at least.

“Don’t they have something better to do during the summer than hack our site?” asked an RIAA representative, who asked not to be identified. That’s always a sign of a really good and trustworthy source, by the way, when they won’t put their name where their mouth is. “Perhaps it at least took 10 minutes away from stealing music.”

Ah, so they automatically steal music, huh? I’ll tell you something, Mr. Spineless Nameless Source. I don’t steal music. There’s not really any point. The computer I’m typing this on doesn’t even have a working sound card.

So I’m not your enemy. Chances are I’ll never become a target of yours, because I don’t even have the client software for any of the questionable peer-to-peer networks. But I’ll tell you what. The way you’re behaving, if someone were to organize a distributed denial of service attack on your Web and mail servers to knock you off the ‘Net and keep you off, I’d think about donating my spare bandwidth to the cause. Part of me wants to say I’d even upgrade my DSL to the next level of service and track down a 33.6K modem and use my mostly-idle phone line to get just a little more bandwidth. But that’s the idealist in me. You’re not worth 20 bucks a month and a few missed phone calls. I’m not even sure you’re worth the extra bandwidth I’m paying for but not using. You might be worth the muck in the pipes under my sink and bathtub, but you’re definitely not worth the effort it would take to find out.

But like I said, I despise how you neglect your slaves and how you think the Constitution only applies to you and not to meager people like me. I despise that enough that I’d sure think about it. But my Daddy taught me that some people just aren’t worth the bullet it would take to kill them.

My Daddy was talking about people like you when he said that.

10 thoughts on “Copyright terriorists can’t take what they dish out

  • July 31, 2002 at 12:40 am
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    Oh, yeah!

    Beautiful!

  • July 31, 2002 at 1:09 am
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    Some of the commentary about this on /. today was only half-joking. To say the industry sells music on $0.01 media in $0.04 plastic boxes at huge profit ($18) isn’t far off. That the publishers use their treasure to buy laws that allow them to keep the scam going is dead on. And take a look at who sponsors these bills and who lobbies those sponsors. The action is *obviously* hot and heavy behind the scenes.

    There has been more than one study that refutes the supposedly deadly effect of sharing networks on music sales. I have my own theory as to this perceived decline in sales, and I know many who think the same: 99% of the music released today is over-hyped, over-processed, over-packaged, utter crap. But whaddya expect to get from a bunch of a… never mind.

  • July 31, 2002 at 11:12 am
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    Great post Dave. One of your best.

  • July 31, 2002 at 12:01 pm
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    Posts like these keep me coming back for more, Dave. Thanks for a good read!

  • July 31, 2002 at 2:01 pm
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    Stand back, he’s on a roll! I just sent this link off to Dave, and I think others here will be interested. It continues the “artists hosed by record companies” theme:

    Record Companies Can’t Account for Their Practices
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,59193,00.html#2

  • July 31, 2002 at 2:02 pm
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    OK, THAT was creepy… Dave, what number am I thinking of? 🙂

  • July 31, 2002 at 2:02 pm
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    Bah, it botched the URL. Try this.

  • August 1, 2002 at 9:14 pm
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    Nothing to say but, “Amen”.

    I hope they crash and burn in a blaze of glory.

    WATYF

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