Stand up against bullies: Stop doing business with the RIAA

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is a proxy for its members—mostly corporate record labels. The RIAA has launched more lawsuits against everyday people than I can count. They aim their lawsuits at people like your neighbor and your neighbor’s children. The defendant is encouraged to settle out of court and pay the RIAA well before any investigation occurs, so the RIAA hasn’t actually done their homework by the time your neighbors get sued. Who are these defendants? Ray Beckerman explains:

As to the defendants, since no investigation is made to ascertain that the defendant is actually someone who engaged in peer to peer file sharing of copyrighted music without authorization, there are many defendants who have no idea why they are being sued and who did nothing even arguably violative of anyone’s copyright. Defendants have included people who have never even used a computer, and many people who although they have used a computer, have never engaged in any peer to peer file sharing.

Sometimes the cases are misleadingly referred to as cases against ‘downloaders’; in fact the RIAA knows nothing of any downloading when it commences suit, and in many instances no downloading ever took place.

It is more accurate to refer to the cases as cases against persons who paid for internet access which the RIAA has reason to believe was used by some person — possibly the defendant, possibly someone else — to engage in peer to peer file sharing.

Beckerman would know because he and his partner Ty Rogers defend people against the RIAA. They also blog about their work. Beckerman also posts to Slashdot from time to time.

In a recent Slashdot thread discussing a defendant’s lawyer who stood up to the RIAA, Beckerman has some choice words about the RIAA:

The RIAA is absolutely a schoolyard bully.

I disagree with your outlook.

Here is mine.

Rule Number 1: All bullies are also cowards.

Rule Number 2: The only way to stop bullies is to beat them.

Rule Number 3: When you draw blood they run away because of Rule Number 1.

It’s time to stop doing business with the RIAA.