The RIAA Goes Back on its Word

I, for one, am not surprised that the RIAA is going back on it’s word to “protect” users that have admitted to copyright infringement. The eligiabilty requirements for entering into the clean slate program with the RIAA were:

1. You delete or destroy all copyrighted sound recordings that you or others illegally downloaded to your computer(s) or devices (including all storage and portable devices) using a P2P Network, and all copies you have of those files in any format (including CD-R).

2. In the future you do not illegally download copyrighted sound recordings using a P2P Network, you do not allow others to illegally download copyrighted sound recordings to your computer(s), you do not make copies of any such downloaded files in any format, and you do not “share” (that is, upload/distribute) such files on P2P Networks.

3. As of the date your Clean Slate Program Affidavit is received, you have not been sued for copyright infringement by an RIAA member company for the activities that are covered by this Clean Slate Program and RIAA has not begun to investigate you by requesting from an Internet Service Provider (“ISP”), by subpoena or otherwise, identifying information about you.

4. Any downloading or file-distribution that you engaged in was done on a noncommercial basis. Individuals who undertook these activities for commercial purposes or for payment are not eligible for this Clean Slate Program.

Then through another 4 steps involving signatures in front of a notary public and mailing away the Clean Slate Program Affidavit, you’ll be all signed up.

However, for you suckers out there that actually deleted your MP3 collections, you will be sad to learn that:

The RIAA has finally seen the light with regard to its “Clean Slate” program, which offered false amnesty, or shamnesty, to people who admitted to file sharing. Citing the success of its “education” campaign, the group has abruptly cancelled the program.

“Clean Slate” promised that in exchange for a confession, you could gain meaningful protection from lawsuits for copyright infringement. In fact, the program left you vulnerable to lawsuits by record companies and music publishers, as well as bands like Metallica that retain independent control of music rights.

Eric Parke, represented by Ira Rothken, brought suit, charging fraudulent business practices — and here, perhaps, we can glean the true reason for the RIAA’s change of heart. Its attorneys announced during a recent court proceeding that the group had discontinued “Clean Slate” — and that therefore the case was moot. The announcement took Mr. Parke, his attorney and the judge by surprise.

When music is outlawed, only outlaws will have music. When will music distributors learn that people like downloading music? It’s not so much the price as it is the convience. We will pay a reasonable price but please give users a chance.

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