RIAA sues itself for music distribution

From Joe Rasmussen – Entertainment Editor

The Recording Industry Association of America has taken its strongest step yet in its battle to stop music piracy, filing a lawsuit against the nation’ s largest distributor of copyrighted music, itself, on March 28.

“Though suing ourselves may seem like an extreme and absurd step to some, we decided that if we are going to go after new mothers for singing lullabies to their infants, we couldn’t in good conscience allow ourselves to go free,” said RIAA president Bill Simpson.

The RIAA is the largest distributor of recorded music in America, as
it represents all of the major record labels who produce the majority of music released to the public and nearly all of the mainstream records. “As the largest single distributor of music, it really makes sense that the RIAA would try to stop itself from distributing music,” said industry analyst James Griffin.

The move has been well received by artists as well. “I’m really glad the RIAA finally took some serious steps to stop people from hearing and sharing my music. I really don’t think our band could benefit at all from more people hearing our music,” said singer of the hot new rock group A Thorn For Every Heart, Mike Wilkinson.

The recent wave of lawsuits against internet users for copyright violations was set off by the growth of peer-to-peer file sharing networks, which many used to share songs with one another for free.

This is just the latest step the RIAA has taken in attempting to stop free music downloading, and is not the first to be viewed as a bit extreme by many. “I thought it was pretty surprising when they sued 6-year old Stephanie Hoffman for downloading music and when they started going after mothers for singing lullabies, but this is a whole new level. I think it may be the first time anyone has ever filed a lawsuit against themselves,” said Griffin.

The federal court in Chicago is expected to here the opening arguments of RIAA v. RIAA in the beginning of May. Although legal precedent in the area is unclear, most legal experts predict that the court will rule in favor of the RIAA. The RIAA decided to make the move out of concern for the artists it represents and their interests. “Really what the move boils down to is protecting the financial interests of our artists, regardless of what it means for our organization,” said Simpson. “Nothing could be more detrimental to our artists than more people hearing their music. To protect the true needs of musicians we need to make sure that as few people as possible hear their music.”

Via RockRap listserv, they note:

Joe Rasumussen is a Wisconsin high school student who wrote this for the April 1 issue of his school paper. Is it satire or prophecy?

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