In a classic example of “cut off your nose to spite your face,” the RIAA, the record industry’s lobby, is now saying that copying a CD to your computer is stealing. In a bid to save their dying business model (and no doubt, the lifestyles of countless record executives), the RIAA has already filed hundreds of suits against free-loaders (downloaders of free music). One recent example led to a fine of over $9000 per downloaded song ($220K total).
In papers filed in a suit against Jeffrey Howell, the RIAA asserts “that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.”
The evil genius of this position should be plain. They want me to buy an artist’s CD. If I want to take it with me in the car, I should take the CD or, if I want to use my iPod, I should buy the same music again in an electronic format. Likewise, if I want to listen to the music I’ve purchased in a cafe, at work, wherever, I should take my CD collection, or buy it all again. Did I say evil genius? I meant evil idiocy.
They need not take this hard line, which will only serve to further alienate customers. The Post’s article explains: “As technologies evolve, old media companies tend not to be the source of the innovation that allows them to survive. Even so, new technologies don’t usually kill off old media: That’s the good news for the recording industry, as for the TV, movie, newspaper and magazine businesses. But for those old media to survive, they must adapt, finding new business models and new, compelling content to offer.”
But the RIAA and the companies it represents don’t want a new business model. They want their monopoly back.