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RIAA Offers Amnesty to File Sharers 789

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the turning-yourself-in dept.
Mister Dre writes "Apparently, the RIAA is planning to offer amnesty to file sharers who promise to delete copyrighted material from their computers. To take advantage, of course, you 'have to send a completed, notarized amnesty form to the RIAA, with a copy of a photo ID.'" Hey RIAA, how about I just stop sharing files, and we call it even? I know I own most of the CDs for the files I listen to, but I stopped buying those too so you'll know where I stand.
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RIAA Offers Amnesty to File Sharers

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  • first, they drop the price of CDs. now they're offering amnesty.

    somebody call satan to see if hell froze over.

    Mike
    • by Goldberg's Pants (139800) on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:07PM (#6875826) Journal
      Sure... "Amnesty"... Photo ID...

      This is a like those stings where wanted criminals "win a prize" and when they go to collect it, get arrested.

      They need to drop CD's a LOT further in price before anyone I know will buy them again.
      • by mrpuffypants (444598) * <mrpuffypants@NoSPaM.gmail.com> on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:26PM (#6875991)
        Homer: Up and away in my beautiful my beautiful motor boat! Da da da da!
        Bart: But we didn't enter any police raffle.
        Homer: That doesn't matter, the important thing is we won.
        [parks]
        Marge: I don't know, there's something very peculiar about
        this!
        Homer: Sheesh! You're the most paranoid family I've ever been
        affiliated with. [gets out]


        Later on, after Homer enters the Police Station, to Wiggum: I'd like a yellow boat please, with extra motors.
      • Guilty (Score:4, Informative)

        by meatpopcicle (460770) on Friday September 05, 2003 @12:26AM (#6876397) Homepage
        Its like admiting your guilt. And who knows if they get a new CEO or new lawyers or profits are down or its a blue moon they might come after you. They will simply tear up their "amnesty" deal.

        Its happened before!

        Doh!
      • by Spy Hunter (317220) on Friday September 05, 2003 @01:06AM (#6876639) Journal
        Right. If you submit this, all the RIAA has is your word that you deleted the files. It even says in the article: "Those who renege on their promise will be subject to charges of willful copyright infringement". So basically, you give your identity to the RIAA and tell them you have committed infringement in the past, and you get what? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! You can't keep downloading music, you can't keep the music you already have, and you don't have immunity from being sued in the future. You only have a guarantee that if the RIAA already knew you were sharing, and were *just about* to file a lawsuit, they won't. The chances of that are slim to none.
        • by Reziac (43301) on Friday September 05, 2003 @01:13AM (#6876678) Homepage Journal
          That was my take on this as well. It smells like a honeypot, aimed at collecting identities of hitherto-unidentified file sharers.

          And even if the RIAA doesn't sue any suckers who come forward, they'll sure have put themselves under the watchful eye for the rest of their online lives. Care to bet that the RIAA won't be using these IDs to coerce information from the suckers' ISPs??

          • by Spy Hunter (317220) on Friday September 05, 2003 @01:35AM (#6876770) Journal
            I doubt it's a honeypot. I don't think many people would sign up for this and then continue sharing, and I don't think the RIAA would turn around and sue people who abided by their terms (it would be PR suicide). In fact, I don't think many people will sign up for this at all. Rather, this is just a PR stunt, so the RIAA can later say "We tried to be nice, we even gave you amnesty! What more do you want?" It'll look good in the news. They want to get public opinion back on their side.
            • I think it amounts to the same thing. It looks good (as a public relations move) NOW, but I'd guess the RIAA is *expecting* the suckers to fall back off the wagon, and *will* be monitoring their online activities one way or another. First time a sucker makes a mistake (however trivial), that warrant will be at their door. So I think ultimately the objective is to achieve examples of "We tried to play nice, but you didn't hold up your end, and now you're gonna PAY."

              The "mistake" might even be a legal downlo
            • by Oddly_Drac (625066) on Friday September 05, 2003 @05:04AM (#6877462)
              " doubt it's a honeypot. I don't think many people would sign up for this and then continue sharing, and I don't think the RIAA would turn around and sue people who abided by their terms (it would be PR suicide). "

              Dude. RIAA. In PR terms they're beginning to stink up the crawlspace. The next thing would be that people are asked to audit their own systems from a form that would just skirt legality in terms of threats and mention the heavy fines that they're trying to buy from Congress. It'll then go into a database, and you'll probably receive junk mail from these people ad infinitum.

              Personally I consider them less trustworthy than crackheads and half as competent.

              For those interested in the ongoing debate;

              David Munns (EMI) whines about the high cost of CD Production and recieves no sympathy. [bbc.co.uk]

              The views that prompted the panicky music exec. [bbc.co.uk]

            • Parents (Score:5, Interesting)

              by David Hume (200499) on Friday September 05, 2003 @11:54AM (#6880154) Homepage

              I don't think many people will sign up for this at all.


              I think this is aimed at parents. I also think that many of them may fall into the trap for two reasons.

              First, to avoid being sued themselves. I can see the questioning now. Who owned the computer? Who paid for the computer? Did you know that junior was downloading our copyrighted songs without permission? Really? Where did you think he got the 10,000 songs on his hard drive? Do you want to pay the $50,000 now, or in easy monthly installments secured by a trust deed on your home? Faced with that, parents may tell junior to say he is sorry, sign the damn release, and promise to never, never do it again.

              Secondly, I think parents may pressure Missey to do this "because your whole life is ahead of you, and you don't want to ruin your future." This can be viewed as a "youthful indiscretion" that is best resolved quickly, quietly, painlessly, and then forgotten. Missy is 17 years old. Her parents want her (and themselves) to spend years in litigation? Blow the college fund? I don't think so.

            • (it would be PR suicide)
              So, just another day at RIAA HQ, right?
        • by letxa2000 (215841) on Friday September 05, 2003 @01:31AM (#6876751)
          Yup. Reminds me of the BSA.

          If you "renege on the promise you will be subject to charges of willful copyright infringement." So basically you are giving up any possible defense you may have because you've entered into a contract where you agree to accept those charges.

          Plus, how are they going to know if you renege? I'd rather not be the subject of a surprise search of my hard drive to verify that I'm complying with my side of the deal even if I am. I don't need that kind of aggrevation any more than a business wants to deal with a BSA audit even if they're 100% legit.

          The less the BSA, Microsoft, RIAA, government, etc. know about me personally the better, even if I'm 100% legit.

        • And even worse.... (Score:3, Informative)

          by Mistlefoot (636417)
          And even worse....if you don't accept this may form some sort of future legal argument.

          While I understand that ignorance is not an excuse, the argument that "I didn't know it was illegal" if believable, sure helps take the wilful out of the argument, and may aid in a defense. Now, not only does the average citizen know, but they chose not to atone and are now wilfully "stealing" (according to the RIAA) music. This may bias more politicians and judges to their side.
        • And note how they emphasize that reneging will result in a "willfull infringment" case. That's important because they're suggesting that they're not necessarily pursuing willfull infringement claims the first time around. And that makes sense because obviously a lot of people are going to plead ignorance so proving evidence of infringement rather than demonstrating willful infringement is going to be much easier in court. But, this becomes very important if the defendant files for personal bankruptcy.
      • They need to drop CD's a LOT further in price before anyone I know will buy them again.

        A 12 song CD should be around $5.

        I should be able to got to RIAA.com (or wherever) and pick 12 songs from their archive, paypal them $5, and then a couple days later, I get my cd in the mail, with jewel case, liner notes and lyrics for each song in the packaging.

        Space permitting, the CD could be in a DAM CD format -- mixed media CD's that will play on both audio CD Players and in Computers as either MP3 files or Audio Files.

        Shipping and Handling should be 2.95 (non-priority) for up to 10 CDs.

        Sure people would still share or burn extra copies, but since each CD would be more-or-less customized to an individual's personal taste, a lot of people would *want* a complete burned copy of the disc.

        Peole may want a individual song, but for $5, it's easier to just go and order your own CD, with your own music.

        There would be no more incentive to run all the P2P networks to get music. This proposed service would have filled the need with a better offering. iTunes is still too expensive, IMHO.

    • by dietz (553239) on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:21PM (#6875948)
      Jack Valenti [mpaa.org] is actually the head of the MPAA [mpaa.org]. They are in charge of suing you when you download movies or distribute open source software to play DVDs.

      The RIAA [riaa.com], the subject of this story, is in charge of suing you when you download music or copy CDs. The head of the RIAA is Cary Sherman [riaa.com], after Hillary Rosen retired recently.
    • I've got so many people that I know personally that hate the RIAA. We're going to have a field day sending them all kinds of joke photo ID's.

      Hey, keeps us off the streets.
    • by macdaddy357 (582412) <macdaddy357@hotmail.com> on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:35PM (#6876074)
      They are beginning to understand that their practices have made countless former customers abandon them, and have led to the creation of organizations like dontbuycds.org. [dontbuycds.org]

      The recording industry must reform itself, or perish like the horse-and buggy industry did after the automobile was invented. If you don't like that comparison, try this one. If your head is in the basket, you were on the wrong side of the revolution. The RIAA are trying to avoid sharing the fate of Louis XVI.

  • by tcd004 (134130) * on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:06PM (#6875809) Homepage
    For your viewing pleasure: A copy of a subpoena from the RIAA. [lostbrain.com]

    Tcd004
  • What a deal (Score:5, Funny)

    by mpeg4codec (581587) on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:07PM (#6875816) Homepage
    So, in order to buy amnesty from the RIAA, I have to sell them my identity? Sounds fair...
  • Fair Use? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by evil carrot (669874) <evilcarrot.lickable@net> on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:08PM (#6875831)
    Tell you what, RIAA... if and when you attempt to charge me for all of the MP3 files I have, then I will send you a notarized letter of contempt along with pictures of my CD collection. In fact, I'll even include a list of all 1478 CDs that I legally own.

    I have stopped buying new CDs and stopped downloading new music. From here on out it's iTunes Music Store or nothing at all... though I do like how UMG is cutting MSRP to $13. That may help.
    • Re:Fair Use? (Score:4, Informative)

      by JesterXXV (680142) <`jtradke' `at' `gmail.com'> on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:28PM (#6876009)
      If you're not sharing these files, then you have nothing to worry about, since they are only (as I understand it) going after those who are sharing copyrighted files. If you are, then you are offering copyrighted material up for grabs for people who may or may not own the CD.

      Just because you legally own the CD's does not make sharing them legal.

      • Re:Fair Use? (Score:3, Informative)

        by EvilAlien (133134)
        Thats right, a very important distincton. Fair use and "private copying" (in Canada) protect personal copies of media even if you don't own them (at least up here in Canada), however distribution of works protected by copyright is risky/dumb. Personally, I 've never really "shared", only made private copies which I do not share back out.

        The RIAA is trying to undue all that pre-school programming we got where they taught us it is good to share ;)

    • by QEDog (610238) on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:44PM (#6876150)
      Why do I have to prove that I own my music? It is their responsability to prove that I don't own it. WTF?
  • by GoofyBoy (44399) on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:09PM (#6875840) Journal

    I won't even get off my ass, go store and buy a CD so what makes them think that I will get something notarized?
  • Oh Good... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quaoar (614366) on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:09PM (#6875843)
    So you mean I can sign a document that might guarantee me jail time if I ever download an mp3 again? Where do I sign?
  • No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JAYOYAYOYAYO (700885) * on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:10PM (#6875845)
    Keep in mind the RIAA is not the only organization that owns copyrights on music. Whats stopping some other company from taking advantage of these admissions of guilt?
  • by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedyNO@SPAMtpno-co.org> on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:10PM (#6875846) Homepage
    This is the same trick I use when I am trying to fire an employee. I make them reread the company policy, and sign that they did, so the next violation, I can boot them legally.

    Now extend this. You sign your soul to these folks, and they catch you sharing files again. Water tight case as far as they and the court systems are concerned.
    • by El (94934)
      Not the same. Somebody that wants to keep working for you is pretty much forced to sign the paper. But I don't see any reason why anybody that intends to share files in the future would feel that indentfying themselves to the RIAA is in their self interest.
  • by Locky (608008) on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:10PM (#6875854) Homepage
    To NYCGirl

    We'll forgive you for your evil-doings. Just send us Photo ID, address details, mother's maiden name, breast size and we'll let you go free. We promise.

    Love,

    Your Friends, The RIAA.

    XOXOX
  • question. (Score:5, Funny)

    by holzp (87423) on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:11PM (#6875859)
    Does this cover all the naked pictures of Hilary Rosen on my hard drive too?
  • by Wes Janson (606363) on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:11PM (#6875866) Journal
    F***. You.

    That is all.
  • by retro128 (318602) on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:12PM (#6875874)
    Dear Filesharer,
    We know we can't possibly track all you bastards down in order to put you (or your parents) into financial ruin just like you have done to our starving "artists". So instead, just give us your photo, name, and address and admit you are pirating music and we promise nothing will happen. Really.

    -The RIAA
  • by holzp (87423) on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:13PM (#6875888)
    or is it copyrighted too?
  • New amnesty (Score:5, Funny)

    by secolactico (519805) on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:14PM (#6875891) Journal
    I hereby offer amnesty to whoever it is that stole my car stereo two months ago.

    All you have to do is come (unarmed) with me to the nearest police station and sign a full confession. I will then proceed to "forgive" you. You won't even have to return my stereo (wich you probably sold inmediatly to support your crack habit).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:15PM (#6875895)
    Send in your notarized form with photo ID IQ: 50
    Send in your notarized form w/o photo ID IQ: 60
    Send in the form with only your first name IQ: 70
    Use the form to line the kitty box IQ: 80
    Ignore the whole thing IQ: 100
    Send in the notarized form with a local politician's name IQ: 130
  • by Henry V .009 (518000) on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:19PM (#6875935) Journal
    This is dangerously close to extortion. On the face of it, obtaining identity by means of threats is probably not extortion because it is not "money or [an]other valuable thing." However, if these identities are later used to persue court cases which result in monetary settlement, this could be considered extortion.
    • Oh yeah, since this is interstate communications we're talking here, I'll cite Title 18 USC Chapter 41 - EXTORTION AND THREATS. I'm sure it's on the web.
    • DirectTV is already well along the path that the RIAA is just starting. DirectTV has sued over 10,000 people so far for purchasing Smartcard programmers that could allow theft of satellite TV. While the details of the DirectTV and RIAA lawsuits differ, on the "extortion" question they are similar.

      One group sued by DirectTV, counter-sued alleging extortion. The judge dismissed their case (Blanchard vs. DirectTV) [hackhu.com]. The judge's reasoning was, in part:

      As Plaintiffs explained during oral argument, their claims

  • by Quaoar (614366) on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:23PM (#6875964)
    Catching you guys is HARD. Please just turn yourselves in...pretty please?
  • by DogIsMyCoprocessor (642655) <dogismycoprocessor@ya h o o .com> on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:25PM (#6875986) Homepage
    the state troopers offer amnesty to you for all the speeding you've done up until now that they didn't catch you doing. But if you speed from now on, they might ticket you.
  • by petabyte (238821) on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:32PM (#6876044)
    it was a joke that everyone would have to be a lawyer "when we grew up" because that would be the only way we could survive. Its kinda sad that its almost to that point now (if not a lawyer then a healthy knowledge of the law is required to do just about anything).

    That said I'm planning my return to law school to study Intellectual Property Law. Any suggestions? I hear GW has a good program but funny thing is that one of the top internship providers listed in their viewbook is this RIAA association ...

    I'd prefer the EFF.
  • by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:42PM (#6876129)
    Can someone remind me of the law that makes it illegal for other people to access files I own over a network?

    I (used to) buy lots of CDs, and I store copies of tracks in MP3 and OGG to simplify transport of the music I purchased. These files happen to be accessible over a network; I am permitting some limited access to my personal resources.

    to my personal resources

    RIAA can suck my octet stream. Go innovate, you lazy bastards, instead of clinging to a failing business model and screaming in a hissy fit whenever someone transports data you didn't even create (artists created their songs, and most see very little money from CD sales). The recording industry as you know it is DEAD, because people like me get pissed off and stop buying CDs.
  • by KU_Fletch (678324) <<ude.uk> <ta> <1samohtb>> on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:43PM (#6876139)
    The RIAA today announced sudden gains in profit due to an undisclosed source of income. This comes on the heals of collecting names and photo id's of file traders during an amnesty period.

    In completely unrelated news, identity theft claims in the US jumped sharply. Officials are baffled as to the sudden influx.
  • by child_of_mercy (168861) <johnboy@the- r i o t a c t . c om> on Thursday September 04, 2003 @11:50PM (#6876201) Homepage
    For Gods sake people,

    stop listening to the drek the record companies churn out as part of their protection racket.

    There are great artists in all but the smallest local communities, they are turning our good quality CD's in their garages (seriously).

    How all the Open Source Zealots (of which I am proudly one) justify refusing to use MS's products while they still propagate the popularity of the record compaines (who are far more exploitative than MS ever was, how many MS coding billionaires are there? a lot more than singing billionaires) is hard to credit.

    Illegal file trading is just the same as running cracked copies of proprietary software.

    And there's a bloody good local alternative thats going to get a lot better if you support it.

    Let them have their crap music (and even the good stuff they very rarely produce) and get on with building a better alternative.

    And you'd be mad to take part in this amnesty, it only applies if they don't know about you, in which case, why put your hand up?
  • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Friday September 05, 2003 @12:17AM (#6876348)
    How 'bout we give you amnesty if you, collectively and individually, admit to illegal price fixing [forbes.com], and actually give us our money back?

    Did anyone sign up [musiccdsettlement.com] for that? And actually get any money?


    This is no better than a mugging.
    "Gimme all your stuff, and I won't kill you (financially). Oh, and we'll be watching you. Forever."

    Get caught stealing 1/2 billion dollars, and no one went to jail? And the fine is 1/3 of the take? And they want to screw us?
    WTF is that about?
  • by JimBobJoe (2758) <swiftheart@NOSPam.gmail.com> on Friday September 05, 2003 @12:26AM (#6876398)
    I got very irked once when a friend of mine mentioned that he was asked to copy his photo driver's license in order to get phone service (fortunately he lived in an area where you can choose another phone service provider, and he did.)

    I then realized the catch...in order for Ameritech/SBC to give phone service, you have to send in a copy of your own driver's license...which indicates what race you are. So as part of my troublemaking activities, I sent out a press release for my little privacy organization saying that Ameritech was illegally collecting racial information on its clients, as a condition for phone service. (And if they kept it on record, any Ameritech employee could find out what race you are simply by checking your file.)

    After a phone call or two (and a radio station claiming that Ameritech said that the photocopies didn't copy well enough to indicate race, but most photo driver's license will copy well enough to show the race of the individual, especially those licenses here in Ameritech's service region-(the east) I believe the've stopped the practice.

    Now...what's this about the RIAA collecting racial information?

  • by _RidG_ (603552) on Friday September 05, 2003 @12:35AM (#6876452)
    I don't like this one bit. Sure, the RIAA promises not to sue the users for sharing music files, but what's to stop them from quietly slipping your name to proper authorities and tell them that since you admitted to having illegal files on your computer, there's a good chance you might have software in addition to music. Ehh...I don't know.
  • by NineNine (235196) on Friday September 05, 2003 @12:44AM (#6876510)
    Here's my picture [goatse.cx]. My name is John Smith, and I live on Main St. in Smallville, USA.
  • by failedlogic (627314) on Friday September 05, 2003 @12:44AM (#6876512)
    Most Slashdot readers should remember about the college students being sued only a few months ago by the RIAA
    http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/06/09/ 131125 5&tid=123; linked here is one for Jesse Jordan.

    IANAL, but I'm sure these guys are p****ed about this news. Sure, most (if not all) the money was recovered through donations and Paypal but I'm sure they would rather have instead signed a document w/ their photo id instead. Beats the hell out of forfeiting life savings, having your credit ruined and risk dropping out of school for lack of funds.

    In light of this news, I will remember the RIAA when I next go shopping for CD. I'm sure all my choices will be artists who aren't with the big labels. I'd encourage everyone to shop for CD's from smaller labels as well.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 05, 2003 @01:00AM (#6876617)
    First, the RIAA doesn't own the copyrights. The record companies and/or the artists own the copyrights. You might just as well have the ASPCA give you amnesty for copyright violations.

    Second, (in the US, anyway) copyright violations are violations of a federal law. They can be prosecuted by the federal government - in theory even without the consent of the copyright holder.
  • by Charcharodon (611187) on Friday September 05, 2003 @01:13AM (#6876675)
    Really people don't you read the articles. There was one not to long ago that stated, and accurately I might add that sending it by mail is alot faster than uploading/downloading by way of high speed interenet connections. Send that portable harddrive priority and you can "upload" 120gb of media in three days to just about anywhere in the US. Not only is it fast, it is the one place where the RIAA will never be able to go no matter how much above the law they think they are.

    "Never under estimate the bandwidth of a stationwagon full of CDr's" Quote stolen and modified from said article.

  • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Friday September 05, 2003 @02:06AM (#6876873) Homepage Journal
    How about boycotters come up with a knock-off of their form, but instead of promising to delete MP3s, we promise never to buy another CD from a major label? (no incriminating language on it about file-sharing) Then we attach out ID (money-where-mouth-is) get it notorized and send them THAT? I think that's what I'll be doing. I wonder if they will sue me for copyright infringement if I take their pdf file and modify it for mine?
    • Satire, and political speech are both 100% protected.

      If you post a picture of Mickey Mouse, you will be sued to hell. If you post a picture of Mickey Mouse, with "Facist" written across it, it's legally protected speech.

      It's the fact that the first is illegial that REALLY bothers me.
  • by Powercntrl (458442) on Friday September 05, 2003 @02:21AM (#6876938)
    Karma be damned, this has to be said.

    I am going to get the nicest, glossiest printer paper I can find and print the goatse picture on it. Those of you familiar with it already know why, those of you who don't should consider yourselves very lucky. Underneath it, I will print add the words...

    "Want your copyrighted material back? Reach on up there and get it!"
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday September 05, 2003 @03:13AM (#6877136) Homepage

    "Hi Rogerborg! Please return the enclosed confession, detailing the extent of your copy right violations. In return, we agree to record your confession, but will probably postpone suing you over it until such time as you piss us off or we change our management or strategy."

    Further spooky prediction: you'll receive regular queries about how much you've spent on CDs.

    "Gee, Rogerborg, we know that you like music, because you told us that you had 10,000 mp3s. Now you say you didn't buy any CDs this year. We find that awfully strange. Isn't the balance of probability* that you've gone back to your wicked ways? Shouldn't you consider buying some CDs? Alternatively, just send us a check direct."

    Complete one of these forms, and you'll be the RIAA's bitch for life.

    * Note: balance of probability is the criteria in a civil suit. They don't have to prove that you're still filesharing, they just have to convince a court that it's probable, using your own confession against you. In fact, given that their "amnesty" will simply be a statement that they might might not sue you over your confession, they could just sue you over your past actions without having to demonstrate a damn thing. Bitch for life.

  • by TitanBL (637189) <brandon@@@titan-internet...com> on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:44AM (#6877953)
    Wow - the RIAA has to be pretty damn desperate to pull this kind of Mickey Mouse BS. The RIAA's warped sense of reality rivals that of the Heaven's Gate cosmonauts. This one last chace to surrender [theonion.com] tactic is pretty pathetic. I guess you cannot expect them to just throw in the towel, but I think that the use of these these desperate scare tactics are yet more evidence that the fight is over.

    One has to kinda feel bad for the recording industry, poisoned by the P2P, we watch this dinosaur breath it's last few breaths. Sympathy aside; do we need record labels? What need or demand do they fulfill? They take artists - produce, advertise, then distribute their albums - their revenue is generated from record sales of which 1-8% ends up going to the artist. Artists make money by touring and endorsements.

    Recording equipment used to be extremely expensive - thus making bands dependent on record labels to front the money needed to make an album. This is not the case anymore. One can make a professional recording studio for under 30,000 dollars, and this number keeps shrinking every year. Bands can produce/fund their own albums. Technology has brought 'Recording' to the individual - eliminating the 'Industry'.

    Control of society's sources of information (radio/tv) is the foundation of the recording industry's business model. The RIAA's stranglehold of radio and TV is becoming more and more irrelevant as the masses are turning to the Internet for their info. The Internet is intrinsically decentralized - thus the RIAA cannot dictate what content is avalibe via the web. One's exposure to new music is no longer limited the 50 song playlists of their local radio stations or what they see on tv...

    Distribution - I think it is evident the Internet is a pretty effective medium for distributing music.

    So, where does all this leave the artists? Pretty much right where they are now - they can still make money by selling concert tickets/merchandise - as long as they do not suck. Offsetting lack of talent with marketing will become increasingly futile. No more mass marketed music? Sounds like a good idea to me. No more boy bands, brittany spears, lincon park, etc. What does marketing have to do with art anyways?

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