In what can only be viewed as bizarre, the RIAA have hit new lows in their fruitless attempt to prevent music piracy. They have gone after children, the computer inept, even the dead, in their relentless quest for justice. Now they have decided that the homeless should be caught in the net. Of course it is kind of doubtful that they will be able to collect, lets face it, if you can’t afford rent, you likely don’t have the mega bucks in your account to pay for the damages that the RIAA want.

What are they going to garnishee, the guys shopping cart?

Here in Alberta many of the homeless collect cans and bottles, a beer can has a 10 cent recycle value on it. With the average RIAA settlement this poor guy will need to collect about 40,000 beer cans! When you factor in the cost of garbage bags, maintenance costs on the Safeway shopping cart, shoes, etc. you are probably looking more in the 50,000 beer can range.

While we may find this story hugely amusing, it is alas true.

I am sure that the ‘founding fathers’ of this wayward child the RIAA are just rolling their eyes right about now. The RIAA was never conceived to be an enforcement agency, it was designed to be a link between the big players in the music business.

The music (Lawyering) business whines a lot about lost sales, people are “stealing” the music they tell us. That might be true, but the only way to know for sure is to see the Bottom Line. How much money have the RIAA actually given back to the musicians who’s work was copied? I have searched high and low, and I can not find a single musician that has got 2 cents from the RIAA. If I was cynical, I might be tempted to make remarks about just how expensive the monthly fees are to lease a new BMW. And, lets face it, you have to be wearing a $1000 suit when you threaten the homeless guy, of course they would not write the letter themselves, thats why they have assistants.

To quote Ray Beckerman in an interview I did with him recently, he described the RIAA as “The ugliest and cruelest school yard bully I have ever encountered, and I have seen some bad ones.”

One wonders how long it will be until the recording industry bails from this group that is obviously doing them more harm than good? It used to be the Big 5, now it is just the Big 4, with the RIAA doing their thing, it could be the BIG Zero, and then who is going to be making the payments on the BMW?

Simon Barrett

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