Q. Why are you doing this doing this? Don’t you like music?
A. Of course we love music. That is why we are doing this. The RIAA and their membership have used Draconian contracts, to wrest control of the music away from the creators of the music, and once they got control of it, have used their unethical practices to restrict the music that is available to the public. Often this is at the expense of the creator. Less than 20% of the music ever recorded is available at any given time. How does that reward the creators? If its locked away no one makes any money. Not the songwriters, not the performing artist, and not the labels.
Q. What do we hope to accomplish in boycotting the RIAA member labels?
A. We hope to bring about common sense in copyright, to facilitate the thousands of musicians out there that have no access to distribution other than the Internet, and to make the public and labels aware that the consumer, not the labels, or Hilary Rosen control the music and availability of the music. The catis out of the bag. The consumers have spoken. Make it available or pay the price.
Q. What about the musicians and the artists? Won’t this hurt them?
A. It will actually hurt very few of them (and only those who can afford it). According to the RIAA less than 10% of the recording artists ever recoup (pay the expenses) of recording an album. This means that other than the initial advance they received, they will NEVER see a royalty, even if they could get an accurate accounting from the labels. In most cases the advance received goes to pay for the production costs along with mangers fees, and producer fees. The band sees very little of that money, but yet were required to sign over their copyrights, and publishing in many cases to the label.
(John Denver received 19 gold, platinum and multi- platinum records in May 2001, years after his tragic death. The accounting comes from the label (RCA); one would think it would have been in the interest of the label to provide these numbers before May 2001 (unless they were hiding sales and therefore royalties).
Q. You talk about copyright a lot. What’s wrong with copyright?
A. As a concept and as the framers of our Constitution intended nothing. One needs to understand the changes in copyright law in the past 30 years or so, to see where this is heading. The original terms were 7 years with 7 years extension (14). In 1909 they were extended to 28 years with 28 years extension (56 years total). Today copyright is life of the author plus 75 years. This does nothing to stimulate creators and artists as the original copyright law intended, but instead causes creators to sit on their laurels and not create.
Q. Why the RIAA?
A. The RIAA is a lobby organization funded by its members with a percentage of their sales. The record companies in particular the Big Five control the music distribution in the US. According to the FTC they are responsible for 90% of all music sold in America.
By boycotting the RIAA membership you boycott the parties who are responsible for the current online music upheaval.
Q. Are Mp3 files illegal?
A. No! Mp3 is a file format, not a file. You can record your own Mp3 files for your own use without any problem, even rip your record and cd collection to Mp3 with no problem.
Q. What about file-sharing? Isn’t that illegal?
A. Actually, NO!. Contrary to what the music industry would have you believe, the Napster case hasn’t even been to trial yet. All of these wins in court the recording industry talks about are all preliminary rulings. Napster has been found guilty of nothing, and if they chose to follow through with appeals (if found guilty), it stands a good chance of eventually being reversed, just like the Sony-Betamax case. Napster has valid non-infringing uses and as such should be covered under the Sony-Betamax ruling that gave us VCRs. This applies to other file-sharing programs as well. The recording industry seems intent on driving the file-sharing companies under with lawsuit after lawsuit running up millions of dollars of legal fees.