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MPAA, RIAA Seek Permanent Antitrust Exemption 759

Devistater writes "Webcasters sued RIAA two months ago in an antitrust case for anti-competitive behavior. The response? An exemption from antitrust laws. Today's Register tells about RIAA/MPAA's efforts to get just such an exemption written into law. They could become permanently exempt from such a suit, if the bill passes. They snuck it into a bill sponsored by Orrin Hatch called EnFORCE Act (Enhancing Federal Obscenity Reporting and Copyright Enforcement Act of 2003). Orrin Hatch says this bill contains "First... an antitrust exemption in the Copyright Act [for] record companies and music publishers" Why? Because of 'market realities.' Which ones? The 12-year-old girl? The 15-year-old girl? Or the 66-year-old Grandma with a Mac?"
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MPAA, RIAA Seek Permanent Antitrust Exemption

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  • 'market realities' (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:04AM (#7567937)

    I wonder whether Mr. Hatch ever paused to consider that porn is a market reality as well...

    • by EinarH ( 583836 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:47AM (#7568382) Journal
      You have to see this in the same view as the executives at the major record companies to understand why they would want this protection. They see a different market reality than we do.

      Recently EMI wanted to buy the music division of Time Warner and Sony and Bertelsman also want to do a large merger. This could be stopped in USA or Europe by monopoly laws ,[legitimate] fear of even more anticompetitive behaviour and anti-trust laws.
      But if they proactivly construct laws that can exempt them from lawsuits the mergers could get through easier and with less complications later.

      Even after Bronfman bought the TW music division they are planning on mergers to squeeze out a couple of hundred million dollars in "long term" (two year) cost savings.

      So expect to se RIAA release a couple of dubious reports that "proves" that "piracy" is hurting their business.
      It's sad to see how easily some US politicians are bribed.

      • by TopShelf ( 92521 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @11:21AM (#7568749) Homepage Journal
        Bzzzzttt... This exemption applies specifically to copyright law, it's not the type of sweeping antitrust exemption that would remove barriers to corporate mergers.

        That said, of course this is just another industry-crafted bill that will work its way through the process just like so many others these days. Fall in, RIAA/MPAA, alongside the domestic steel companies, big agri-business, and textile companies while you all leech off the public teat...
      • by jkabbe ( 631234 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @11:21AM (#7568759)
        The RIAA needs to be considered in a different light than its individual members. The proposed legislation would essentially allow the RIAA members to act together as a cartel legally. This isn't the same thing as allowing the RIAA members to buy each other or others without government review. Even though such reviews would be irrelevant in light of the legalized monopoly they would still likely continue. Kind of like the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.

    • I mean, they're not a government body. They only have power because they say they have power. If everyone ignored them, there is nothing they can do about it.

      It's time to forget them. They are the past. The genie is out of the bottle, and they can't ever put it back in. It's time to look for a new business model I'm afraid. They want to only hold on to what they had and not pursue what is the future.

      Remember, they only have power because everyone believes they have power. They were not voted on, we didn't elect them. The President didn't appoint them.

  • Exactly how much the RIAA pays off chumps like Orrin Hatch.
    Must be nice having a senator in your pocket....
    • by palutke ( 58340 ) * on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:17AM (#7568068)
      According to Open Secrets [], a lot.

      1997-1998 PAC Contributions []
      1999-2000 PAC Contributions []
      2003-2004 PAC Contributions []

      Important to note:
      1. there's no data available for 2001-2002 Cycle
      2. The 2003-2004 is a running total
      • by banzai75 ( 310300 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:40AM (#7568298)
        Well heck, I thought it would be more expensive to buy off a senator. We should start saving up and buy our own Slashdot senator or congressperson.
        • by MrHanky ( 141717 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @11:27AM (#7568824) Homepage Journal
          Anonymous Coward for president!
        • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @11:58AM (#7569151) Homepage Journal
          It's really simple if you have a well honed sense of irony.

          Our difficulty stems from how we defined the problem. We tend to think of the problem as being "Money in elections." It is not. Attempts to simply limit fundraising are not going to fix the system.

          By limiting the supply of money in elections, we ensure that it becomes a critical resource. The marginal value of the next dollar is higher, and the marginal cost (to the politician) of obtaining it is higher. The politician must make each donor's contribution go farther, and on the other side of the equation the donors are assured that even modest contributions will have a large impact on the candidate's behavior.

          In short, the system of making it harder for candidates to raise money virtually ensures that political influence will be cheap to buy.

          Of course, simply having politicians become more expensive to buy is not really any better. If anything, it would be great if I could buy an hour of my congressman's time for the price of a latte. In a sense, democracy would be restored. Unfortunately, it would be impossible to drive the price low enough that an ordinary citizen could "buy access".

          What really needs to be extirpated is not money in elections, but the influence of people with money.

          This can be done in two broad ways:

          (1) Ban fundraising altogether.

          (2) Limit the utility of raised money.

          Naturally, banning fundraising would take a constitutional amendment, so its best to focus on limiting the utility of raised momey.

          One way to limit the utility of raised money is to impose spending limits. This has two problems. The first is consitutional, of course. The second is that influence will be bought through soft money and "advocacy". Regulating advocacy in particular would require vigorous and unacceptable limitations on free speech.

          The best way to limit the utility of money is for the public to make up the difference between the best funded candidates and the least funded ones that meet some minimal criteria of electability (e.g. signatures from a fixed percentage of the electorate stipulating they wish this candidate to receive public funding). This means as a candidate, I can gain no competitive advantage through fundraising. The costs in this scenario tend to be self limiting, since time spent by a candidate in raising funds actually puts him at a disadvantage. The candidate bears the costs of raising money in time spent away from campaigning. In the current system costs to the public are not limited, since the candidate can pay off his contributors with somebody else's money (the taxpayers).
    • by plemeljr ( 250971 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:24AM (#7568141) Homepage
      Well, according to Open Secrets [], Hatch has raised $152,360 for his 2004 campaign from TV/Movies/Music industries. In the 2000 election, he raised $515,207 from the Communications/Electronics sectors.

      Viacom and GE have given him over $14,000 each.
      • by snooo53 ( 663796 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @01:27PM (#7570235) Journal
        Although Orrin Hatch is the last congressman I'd trust giving money to, this goes to show that members of congress could be bought.

        If enough people who cared about these issues could get organized and donate $5-$20 to an election campaign, it'd be possible to outbid the RIAA. There's a lot more little guys out there then there are people in the RIAA's pocket. Again, you'd have to find the right politicians (certainly not Hatch) but it is possible. What the anti-RIAA/MPAA movement needs is a lobbying group!!

    • by frenchtouch ( 188954 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:53AM (#7568434)
      Top 20 Senators
      Rank 6 - Hatch, Orrin G (R-UT) $404,388

      Source []
  • by Perseid ( 660451 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:05AM (#7567954)
    the mob is exempt from murder charges due to 'market realities'.
    • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:41AM (#7568307)
      Now is the time, GOP congress and President? An especially "pro-business" well pro-big-business with deep-pockets administration in an anything goes legislative spree is the *perfect* time to peel away some fair use rights. It would be foolish if they didn't try, not that I condone this.

      Look at the success of Patriot Act II, just attach it to a spending bill and it passes while we were all sleeping. [] No debate, no nothing. The RIAA knows this is a good thing, for them.

      Whatever your political persuasion, its fairly obvious that legislative reform should have happened a long time ago and the current congress and executive branch are pulling every dirty trick they can.

      Greg Palast chronicles a lot of the abuses we don't hear about in his book The Best Democracy Money can Buy. [] Worth checking out if you want to know how stuff like this happens and why non-monied interests have little say in the affairs of government.
      • by harriet nyborg ( 656409 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @11:26AM (#7568812)
        o Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

        o The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.

        o Government should relax regulation of Big Business and Big Money but crack down on individuals who use marijuana to relieve the pain of illness.

        o "Standing Tall for America" means firing your workers and moving their jobs to India.

        o A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

        o Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

        o The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.

        o Group sex and drug use are degenerate sins unless you someday run for governor of California as a Republican.

        o If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.

        o A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies, then demand their cooperation and money.

        o HMOs and insurance companies have the interest of the public at heart.

        o Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.

        o Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

        o Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.

        o A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense. A president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

        o Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.

        o The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's driving record is none of our business.

        o You support states' rights, which means Attorney General John Ashcroft can tell states what local voter initiatives they have a right to adopt.

        o What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.

        o Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

        • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @12:08PM (#7569269) Homepage
          Trade with Cuba is wrong because Castro is one of THEM. Iraq needed to be cleansed because Hussein was one of THEM. Kim Jong-il and the Ayatollah Khamenei are also evil men, and therefore their countries are evil.

          Vietnam and China, however, don't have such controversial leaders. Jiang Zemin has few blemishes on his record, and therefore China has few blemishes on it's record (despite having human rights violations codified into law). And who knows who Tran Du Luong is or what he has done? Obviously they can't be put onto the axis of evil, because they aren't lead by a James Bond supervillian.

          I think few people in this country reacted when George Bush gave his "axis of evil" speech because it was so patently ridiculous to point at three countries with improving diplomatic relations and call them the devil. When Bush gave his "you're either with us or against us" line, people seemed to accept it as a liberally used figure of speech. Now that Bush is claiming that the people who wanted a UN resolution before declaring war in Iraq were supporting Osama Bin Laden, it has become clear that this is actually how the man thinks.

          Bush believes himself to be good, therefore everything he does is good and above questioning. Clinton did bad things and therefore is bad, therefore everything he did should be overturned and turned over to the press. Ashcroft is a good man, acting in what he believes to be the public's best interest. Therefore whatever Ashcroft does is in the public's best interest. This logic is, of course, flawed. I'm sure Ashcroft believes he is acting in the public's best interests, but his viewpoint of the world is greatly skewed by the line of work he is in.

          In a way it is an extension of the monarchy. Bush has actually said on occasion that he has been chosen by God to rule. Once again, this was taken to be the liberal sprinkling of praise for God that peppers oscar acceptance speeches and winning locker rooms. But in light of actions, it is becoming apparent that the man truly believes he has a divine mandate to rule... That god works through him and therefore he is above reproach. As his decisions are perfect, so too must be the decisions of those people whom he chooses, and such the divine mandate trickles to his staff and people.

          This is not just a crackpot theory on how the president thinks. This is a theory based upon how the president himself claims that he thinks. Honestly, I would be surprised if he found any problem with either the accuracy of the theory or the morality behind the thought pattern.
        • Let's see here....

          Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

          Under Clinton/Gore/Reno, the prison population of the United States DOUBLED, primarily due to nonviolent drug offenders.

          Government should relax regulation of Big Business and Big Money but crack down on individuals who use marijuana to relieve the pain of illness.

          In 1996, California legalized medical marijuana. That didn't st
        • While I'm not a Republican, I do most often vote Republican, so since no one else has had the poor sense to do so (at least at the time of this writing), and though you are very obviosly a troll, I'm off today, so WTF, I'll reply. I suppose I could make a similarly jaundiced list of items about Democrats, instead I think I'll just be lazy (I did say I was on vacation) and respond to your list.

          o Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness

        • Many Americans are responding to this saying "The republicans aren't the bad guys! It's those damned DEMOCRATS!"

          I'm Canadian. And as an outsider, it doesn't matter. Republicans and Democrats are so slightly different. As far as i'm concerned, this is a comment on how the entire Country seems to behave, not just a particular political party. The country is moving togther, probably most citizens are aimless, but you cannot divide this into party politics. You know how every outsiders says they can't te
  • Oh great... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bjb ( 3050 ) * on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:06AM (#7567959) Homepage Journal
    Imagine how this could permanently squeeze out anyone who isn't associated with the RIAA (indie labels, or just people making music on their own). Since the RIAA would be the only source, and given their power they could push everyone else around semi-legally, everyone would be forced to buy into their world. I guess this would ultimately mean that I couldn't webcast my own music, I wouldn't be able to sell my songs from my website without paying them, etc.

    I have faith that SOMEONE in the government will see the absurdity of this request and will stop it before it gets too far.

    • Re:Oh great... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by UberOogie ( 464002 )
      I have faith that SOMEONE in the government will see the absurdity of this request and will stop it before it gets too far.

      The sad part is, I don't even have that anymore. I, for one, welcome our new RIAA overlords.

    • Re:Oh great... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Slider451 ( 514881 ) <> on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:11AM (#7568013)
      I just heard on NPR this morning that many indie labels are trying to get off the RIAA's list (Many indies want to be file shared to get the word out). Apparently the RIAA claims to represent thousands of labels, many of whom have never joined the organization.

      The theory goes that for them to be effective they must appear to represent the majority of labels. The reality is that they represent the major labels and their affiliates. The quicker the truth comes out the less power they will have.
    • Re:Oh great... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:13AM (#7568026)
      You know what is really sad? The fact that the RIAA was found guilty of price-fixing on CDs, was giving a one fingered slap on the wrist, and got to get out of paying pretty much anything by a loop-hole...

      Support freedom of music people. Only support bands that allow the free copying, distribution, and listening of their music in any format you choose.

      It's the public that supports the RIAA by purchasing their merchandise. DO NOT DO IT.

      Sharing the Groove [] and FurthurNET []
      • Re:Oh great... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Red Rocket ( 473003 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:49AM (#7568394)

        Support freedom of music people.

        It's even more important than freedom of music. It's our freedom of culture that's at stake. Our true culture has been stolen from us and replaced with manufactured culture. By monopolizing our culture they're taking away who we are and replacing it with a world of culturally ignorant "consumers". It's good for their profit but absolutely horrendous for our heritage, our freedom, our inspiration, our creativity, and our happiness. It's short term thinking that is rotting society from the inside.
        • Re:Oh great... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by 5KVGhost ( 208137 )
          It's even more important than freedom of music. It's our freedom of culture that's at stake.

          I Agree. When someone can control the songs your kids can sing around the campfire, or demand payment for singing Happy Birthday without being laughed into silence then things are seriously screwed up.

          Our true culture has been stolen from us and replaced with manufactured culture.

          Have to disagree there. Culture has always been a combination of grass-roots folk tradition and manufactured content. Great works of
          • Re:Oh great... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Red Rocket ( 473003 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:40PM (#7571177)

            Great works of classical music, drama, and literature were written, ultimately, to make money...

            No, the ones you eventually heard may have been created that way, but the ones that moved the people and created the culture that those works grew out of were created from the heart and the soul. A lot of them are lost to history. No record was made of them because no money was involved and recording them on paper and maintaining the record were, historically, things only the rich had the power to do. Cave men, sitting around the fire, singing and banging on hand-made instruments didn't do it for the money. They did it to create and maintain their culture. It's the human spirit that motivates these things, not money.

            A rare and significant example of the real tide of culture was recorded by John Lomax [] who traveled the country, funded by the Smithsonian (thank you government) to record musicians where they lived. That's real stuff, not manufactured pablum and it would have been lost to history had he not been there to record it. In fact, there was a man born in Tupelo, Mississippi with a certain swivel in his hip and a voice that made women swoon. But that man never made a nickel because he was black. Then a couple of years later, Elvis came along and the rest is history. Record makers believed they couldn't make money on black artists so they picked white ones who emulated their black peers.

            Britney Spears isn't popular because her music is culturally significant. She's popular because she's the tip of huge marketing machine. It just sounds like the ka-ching of a cash register to me or the beep of a truck backing up -- just the sound of money being made. The real culture is hidden and if anyone is guilty of myopia, it the person who can only see and hear what our corporate media presents to them. You are being manipulated and controlled so that someone else can make a buck. Some real artists can still be heard, though. Check out Mountain Stage [].
    • by Urkki ( 668283 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:32AM (#7568216)
      Next logical step is to make any music's copyright automatically go to RIAA so they can protect the artists rights against evil pirates.

      And this eventually leads to you not being allowed to play your own music without paying RIAA, since they own the copyright...

      Oh, and whistling is also music, so any whistler is liable for up to 5 years of prison and $25000000 fine if caught in the act without proper RIAA license...
  • I am ashamed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jlechem ( 613317 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:08AM (#7567985) Homepage Journal

    to have Orrin Hatch as my congressional representative. I have never voted for him and after several news stories like this will never vote for him in the future. When will the people of Utah wake up and see that he does our state no good and harms our nation as well. Anti-trust laws are there for a reason. To keep companies from running rampant and having ultimate power to do as they will without regard. Nice move Orrin how much money did you take to get this law written? I suggest everyone write a letter to Senator Hatch and tell him what you think of this law. Utahans especially but it helps if anyone sends a letter in.

    *Ok rant's over, flame on!

    • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:25AM (#7568147)
      I am ashamed to have Orrin Hatch as my congressional representative.

      And well you should be. As an American, I am ashamed of virtually everyone congress and the presidency, and a number of Supreme Court justices. It is appalling how deep the rot is ... I do not have any optomism whatsoever that our government will ever recover from its current despicable state without a descent into revolution and chaos, and I do not have much optomism that our society will survive such a descent. In other words, I think it likely that our culture and our political system is about to consume itself and collapse utterly, and I am of two minds as to whether or not that will, ultimately, be a good thing or not.

      When will the people of Utah wake up and see that he does our state no good and harms our nation as well. Anti-trust laws are there for a reason. To keep companies from running rampant and having ultimate power to do as they will without regard. Nice move Orrin how much money did you take to get this law written?

      To answer your question, Orrin Hatch whored himself [] out to the entertainment industry for $150,000 or so. Interestingly enough, he is brazen enough to take $100,000 from the computer industry at the same time (one wonders if that isn't Microsoft priming the pump for TCPA/DRM ... they are the only ones in the industry who would support this atrocity).
  • by Valar ( 167606 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:08AM (#7567986)
    If I were in congress, I think I would just start voting down anything with a clever acronym for a name....
  • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:09AM (#7567999)
    Market realities that radio is being consolidated into a handful of companies and you now have more control? Song royalties for Internet radio are cost prohibitive in most instances? You are spending millions of dollars to develop trash movies and music and the consumers aren't buying into it anymore?

    How about we stop allowing them to pay off these lawmakers with huge donations (even through other channels) and they stop being able to throw their weight around.

    Although I guess they could just ignore any findings of the government like someone else we know and go about their business as usual w/o fear.
    • Market realities?

      The reality of the market is that the cost of entry into the music market is no longer very high. Any artist with a few thousand dollars can get his song or album recorded, and distributed through an Indie label (or distribute it himself). No longer do they have to borrow large amounts from big record companies who turn artists into indentured servants.

      Another reality is that the cost to become a record label isn't that high anymore either. Many of the small distributors (like CD Ba
  • by canfirman ( 697952 ) <pdavi25@yaho o . ca> on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:10AM (#7568008)
    "Any bill that further increases the RIAA's power over consumers is extremely disconcerting to us," president of the Webcaster Alliance, Ann Gabriel told us today.

    Great. This is what we need. More power to those who hold the purse strings. Give more power to big business and less to consumers.

    The thing that concerns me is that the RIAA is trying to circumvent a diplomatic process. I always thought that, while not completely effective, challenging an organizations actions (even in court) kept what organizations do in check - that the could not overstep their boundries. Now, the RIAA is trying to be immune from it's actions, while suing consumers for their actions.

    This could start a dangerous precident - allowing corporations immunity from their own actions. Hope SCO isn't watching.

    • by Red Rocket ( 473003 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @11:31AM (#7568868)

      Great. This is what we need. More power to those who hold the purse strings. Give more power to big business and less to consumers.

      Stop thinking of yourself as a "consumer." That's exactly how they want you to see yourself. Start thinking of yourself as a citizen with all the power the constitution gives you. The consumer is at the bottom of a food chain. The citizen is at the top in a democracy.
  • Bah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by softspokenrevolution ( 644206 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:12AM (#7568020) Journal
    I don't care what you say, there is no reason, no reason at all for anyone to be exempt from anti-trust laws. The reality of the market? What on earth does that mean?

    Clearly the music and movie industries are larg amalgams esigned to stigle anything that resembles competition, is that the reality that they're talking about? The only reason a company would want an exemption from anti-trust laws would be if they were or were planning on becoming a monopoly, or if they are or plan on just raping those laws in the name of extreme profit. Those laws are in place to protect not only consumers but the economic and creative interests of the United States of America.

    What a bunch of bums, really. I don't care if no one likes you. I don't care that your companies are losing money because people found out that they didn't have to pay $20 for a CD (they could pay like $10 with I-Tunes). Why should you be immune the the laws? I'm sorry Mr. Corporate Conspiracy Group, but the laws are there to apply to everyone equally, and no one should get exempted from them, this is what we call equality, if you don't like it, then you can stick it in some place and go move your companies out to Vantua with Sharman networks.
    • Re:Bah... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      but the laws are there to apply to everyone equally, and no one should get exempted from them, this is what we call equality, if you don't like it, then you can stick it in some place and go move your companies out to Vantua with Sharman networks.

      Major league baseball is exempt from anti trust laws. So are many power companies (witness the fuss made over deregulation, deregulation from monopoly status)

      I don't like this development any more than you do, but to carte blanche say that "monopolies" are ev

      • Re:Bah... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ahfoo ( 223186 )
        Those are very interesting points and they go along with the interesting comment made, I guess by Timothy, that said
        "From the watch-people-blame-the-free-market dept."
        I think the problem is that people use terms like "free-market" or "competition" as though they were magic spells that could solve all problems and have some mystical, sublime and transcedental meaning. Being for or against "free-markets" is totally irrelvant.
        This a case of a logical problem created by the sloppy use of language
  • by Zak3056 ( 69287 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:13AM (#7568025) Journal

    Orrin Hatch, he went to congress, DUM DUM DUM DUM DUM

  • So far this week (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:15AM (#7568041) Homepage
    So far this week our government has passed laws legalizing spam and giving huge kickbacks to insurance companies. They have a majority on a bill indemnifying oil companies for MTBE pollution. They declared intent to ban gay marriages in the US. Now there is a bill that would give all publishers the right to become monopolies? And this actually received sponsorship?

    Isn't our government supposed to behave near elections?

    • Isn't our government supposed to behave near elections?

      They are. Just watch what happens when elections are over.

    • by ccmay ( 116316 )
      They have a majority on a bill indemnifying oil companies for MTBE pollution.

      And so they should, given that MTBE was forced on the oil companies by the government and the 'watermelon' public interest groups in a misguided attempt to reduce air pollution.

      If anyone should pay for cleaning up MTBE, it should be the EPA and the Sierra Club. I don't think the oil companies should pay one red cent.


  • .. not only at the in-your-face cheek that it was done at all, but that it may even get past congress.

    Wonder if this is how government has always behaved and now they're being found out more, or whether it's a particularly crap current bunch...

  • Why? Because of 'market realities.' Which ones? The 12-year-old girl? The 15-year-old girl? Or the 66-year-old Grandma with a Mac?

    What? This antitrust exemption seems like pure shit to me, but, last time I checked, 12 year-olds are not exempt from the law, nor 66-year olds (NOT that old). I don't understand why the RIAA suing young or old people is some sort of condemnation.

  • by reimero ( 194707 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:20AM (#7568097)

    Hatch is trying to pull this off at the same time Congress is debating whether the BCS violates antitrust laws. The NCAA [] doesn't have an antitrust exemption, and neither does the NFL. [] To my knowledge, Major League Baseball [] is the only group of that sort to have an antitrust exemption, and even that's come up for debate during all those strikes.

    A simple public awareness campaign should put an end to the madness. In the context of other "market realities," it simply doesn't make sense. In fact, Congress has taken an active interest in limiting those other "market realities." Seriously, what's the difference between one group controlling all access to recorded music and one group controlling all access to pro football?

    • It's a commonly held misconception that baseball alone has an antitrust exemption. In fact, this is not true. There is nothing in antitrust law, be it the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, or the Taft-Hartley, that grants Major League Baseball an exemption from anti-trust laws and their penalties. The "exemption" is purely judicial.

      The original judicial review of baseball's anti-competitive actions came in the Federal Baseball [] case, where, and this is very important, the Court decided that Major League Basebal

    • It's interesting that you mention Major League Baseball, because they appear on the RIAA's member list [].
  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:24AM (#7568138)
    This is the classic powerplay of the statists - set up a straw man scenario, get people to believe that the 'market' is 'free', then show its failures, thus proving the need for State intervention.
    A classic argument for this is health care (in the US, sorry for you non-US folks). The argument goes as follows: Health care is expensive, due to those rich capitalist pigs raising the prices of drugs. This conjures the emotional response of jealousy, and subconscious imagery of sick people dying due to 'greedy' doctors. This argument neglects the reality that government monopoly money (in the form of Medicare/Medicaid) was been pouring into the medical establishment for 40 years. Given a customer with infinite cash, any business will jack up its prices to infinite levels.
    Returning to the music argument, the industry has so manipulated the legislation that it is far from a free market (DVD encoding, DMCA, even region-encoded discs) that they can no longer claim the same right to protection under traditional law. It was only a matter of time, inevitable, that they would require blatant exemption and special treatment.
  • by curtisk ( 191737 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:24AM (#7568142) Homepage Journal that the RIAA and MPAA have lost touch with their markets and artists, and yes, reality. They need to adapt to the changes in technology and society or they will eventually die (albeit with alot of kicking and crying), they don't get it, they are their own PR nightmare.

    While at the core their arguements against piracy are valid, unfortunately the reason it is so bad for them is because of the "market-plan" they have set for themselves, which isn't an option anymore, people know what CD's actually cost, people know that the artists see pennies on the dollar, people don't want to line **AA's pockets with their cash anymore if **AA's profits are down, you're cutting into their "lifestyle" so whats another way to produce revenue? Lawsuits settlements!

    They're saying ,one way or another, they will get your money from you whether you like it or not. Time for them to re-assess their plans.

  • by bahamat ( 187909 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:27AM (#7568174) Homepage
    So if Microsoft writes an origonal song for each relase of Windows the way Theo does for OpenBSD they become a music publihser and are therefor exempt from anti-trust laws?

    Thanks Orin. I feel so much better now.
  • by Kevin Stevens ( 227724 ) <kevstev @ g> on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:30AM (#7568193)
    Why? Because of 'market realities.' Which ones? The 12-year-old girl? The 15-year-old girl? Or the 66-year-old Grandma with a Mac?"

    I am as much against the RIAA as anyone, and have been a victim of their tactics (in 1998/99 I was threatened with a suit via my school over an ftp site, ended up being protected by my school, but got slapped w/ loss of network access and academic probation for a year). But come on now guys, these quotes are the same type of crap pulled to get these laws in place 'for the children.' (Ok this doesnt apply really to the DMCA, but it doesnt change the central point). What is worse, is that we are now throwing grandmother's in the picture. It is equally heinous to sue your customers regardless of age, or maternal status. Can we please try to keep the loaded language to the mass media and off of slashdot? If not, might as well do some digging around, im sure one of them has or had cancer, perhaps is HIV positive.

    Come on guys, lets keep the standards high, and use solid arguments in place of trying to sling mud at the RIAA.
  • class system (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ender Ryan ( 79406 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:32AM (#7568210) Journal
    It seems to me that our current political "leaders" are only interested in ensuring that the current class system, where 1% of the population controls 90% of the wealth, continues to remain as it is.

    Anti-trust law has been entirely shirked during this administration. In the last, the DMCA was brought into law. It seems to me that the divide between Democrats and Republicans is simply a minor power-struggle in the top class.

    Every new politician who might care is used as a pawn, and they will either have to sell out their people to become part of the upper class, or get ousted from the political machine.

    Then there is the push by the top powers in the world for "free trade" that is starting to look to me to be anything but.

    But here's the real kicker. There is not really any group or persons who controls this political machine, it is simply the manifestation of the greed of the top 1% as a whole. Each one may not see themselves as "selling out" their people, but each one doing so in minor (sometimes more than minor) ways creates this monstrosity of a machine that keeps the rich rich and the poor poor and the middle class working harder and harder.

    How do you stop the machine?

    • Re:class system (Score:3, Informative)

      Stop buying into their bullshit.

      Money doesn't buy influence. Votes are influence. A politician ultimately answers to the populice. You cannot win a war when the enemy controls where the battle is to take place, the rules of engagement, and the weapons you are allowed to use.

      Put simply, we need to organize this murmoring into a chorus. Not a riot. Not a protest. A chorus. We do not need to tear apart our cities to get our point across. The cities are already ours. We do not need to yell at one another. W

  • Welcome to America (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bigjnsa500 ( 575392 ) <.moc.oohay. .ta. .005asnjgib.> on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:32AM (#7568215) Homepage Journal
    I hope people will finally *see* the light with all the legislation passing these days. With every bill like this (and before) our freedoms and rights are slowly being taken from us. Pretty soon we won't be able wipe our asses with Brand 'B' toilet paper because Brand 'A' holds a copyright on the use of paper to ass.

    Am I the only one out there?

    Politicians don't give a rats ass about their constituency. Ever notice when one is interviewed its always "I feel this bill should pass" or "I don't like this bill." Shouldn't it be "the people who put me in office want/don't want this"?

  • Your fault. (Score:3, Informative)

    by dada21 ( 163177 ) <> on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:35AM (#7568245) Homepage Journal
    Thanks for voting. Democrat? Republican? All the same. The Constitution limits our Congress to certain enumerated rights. Copyright and anti-trust regulation ARE within those enumerated rights, but we've given them so many other rights (health care, FBI, FDA [], FCC [], etc) that they can now pass any law, any time, even if the laws are obviously pork for their friends.

    This is the problem with democracy. If 49 people disagree with 51, the 49 people lose. Everyone's a loser. Stop voting for authoritarian parties (Democrats, Republicans, Greens) and start voting for parties who actually want to downsize DC [].
  • Market Realities (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dlur ( 518696 ) <.ten.wi. .ta. .ruld.> on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:36AM (#7568254) Homepage Journal

    The "market reality" is that the RIAA and the recording companies that they "represent" have completely lost their sense of reality. They are so afraid of losing the market share they currently posses to new and emerging technologies that they want to litigate and lobby until nobody but them and their archaic means of distribution are legal.

    Look at how the movie industry fought against VHS, BetaMax, and more recently DVDs because they would "destroy" the movie industry. Now VHS and DVD rentals and sales are a huge chunk of the movie industry's sales each year. Just as cassettes were once a huge chunk of the RIAA's child company sales.

    The simple reality of the situation is that very, very few high quality products are being released in this day and age by large corporate media companies (both music and movie). There are no musical groups that can compete in record sales with the likes of Elvis, the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and the like and there are no movies any more that can be compared in out-and-out quality with older movies like Scarface, Gone With the Wind, the Wizard of Oz, etc. Everything now is about image and flashy special effects and the simple reality of the market is that this stuff just doesn't sell as well as a good product.

  • by Charles Franks ( 686911 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:37AM (#7568265)
    Two reasons:

    1) it shows how scared the industry is... that they realize they cannot continue to abuse their customers and survive... they need protection from new and disruptive technologies. This cycle has been seen many many times and signals a major overhaul is well under way whether they like it or not.

    2) gives us another avenue to the Supreme Court to challenge copyright law. 'Protection by Law', whether it be an exemption to anti-trust law or perpetual copyright extensions, does not serve the interest of the people.

  • 10th Amendment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigjnsa500 ( 575392 ) <.moc.oohay. .ta. .005asnjgib.> on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:39AM (#7568292) Homepage Journal
    Doesn't anybody read the Constitution anymore?

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

    • Re:10th Amendment (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dada21 ( 163177 ) <> on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:48AM (#7568387) Homepage Journal
      Exactly. The reason the Democrats, Republicans, and Greens ignore this portion of the Constitution is that their public "education" indoctrination camps would rather teach them to be touchy feely and learn the arts instead of learning to read and understand the rebellious document that was supposd to keep my rights protected against the wishes of the average slashdotter.

      The outcome of this proposal is directly related to everyone here who wants more regulation of business, more control of business, and more taxation of business. It has nothing to do with business but with the federal power that is granted to certain individual organizations -- and that can only be enforced at the point of a gun.

      The only monopoly here is big government. It is time to downsize, downsize, downsize.
  • Ridiculous (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Decameron81 ( 628548 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:42AM (#7568322)
    From the official RIAA web site:

    "The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry."

    The RIAA is not a governmental institution. And as such it is doomed to be interested in protecting only one group of companies/people. Proposing and accepting laws like the one that would excempt them from anti-trust laws would be like putting the RIAA one step above of what it really should be. It would be too much power for them to use it wisely.

    But the truth is that both the RIAA and the government are getting so linked and interlaced one with another, that it makes me wonder how much I want the recording industries to get in control of my life.

    You see, they play the role of the weak side. They are always being "robbed" by "evil people" (they would try to convince you that "evil people" stands for "everyone"). So they have a "right" to make you pay piracy taxes on the CDs you buy, make you pay by giving you less content and eventually pay more for it, make you pay by instilling fear in your everyday life.

    I can only see that offensive and absurd to say the least. I've never heard anyone call thieves his own customers, and then expect them to keep buying.

    Diego Rey
  • by thepuma ( 721283 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:48AM (#7568392) Homepage

    Isn't this simply the music industry grasping at straws to save itself?

    The simple fact is that no legislation can force individuals to buy their music from any specific source, and if people start getting their music some other way, there's very little the music industry can do to stop it.

    When some other music distribution system finally takes away most of the RIAA's customers, an exemption from anti-trust lawsuits will be useless to them. Noone will be suing them for anti-trust when they are no longer a monopoly!

  • FOR SALE: America (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Petronius ( 515525 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:49AM (#7568399)
    The proposed relaxations of the media ownership rules this year, the 'stuffed turkey' Energy bill, the Medicare bill, the Boeing DOD deal, the Halliburton 'rebuilding' of Iraq, and now THIS.
    This is what GWB stands for: if you're a big business that can fund my reelection campaign, you have a friend in the White House.
    Happy Thanksgiving, don't choke on the turkey.
    • Re:SOLD! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @12:14PM (#7569335) Journal
      Campaigns take money these days. Lots of it. If you don't have name recognition, it takes even more. I live in a county with a population of 17,000 and we just had a well constested Sheriff's race. The winner (and - thank goodness - the best man for the job) spent over $8,000, and he was pretty cash strapped. I would guess he did about 1/2 the advertising as the other two top candiates, and I know he painted some of his own signs to save money. He probably talked to more than half the residents in the county face to face, door to door. There are no radio or television stations which cater to this county, and there is single weekly newspaper, so there was no big $$$ media.

      Why are candidates so dependent on cash? VOTER APATHY! Yes, it's still our fault. We don't do research, we vote by name recognition and the "message" which has been tested and massaged by the political machine. Now, I'm not foolish enough to believe that I'll get a chance to talk one-on-one with the next presidential candidates, but I'll be doing a little legwork prior to the democratic primary elections.

      I already know that Dubya is not a man I can trust to protect my values. IMHO, his eye's are bigger than his stomach, and his mouth is faster than his brain - I probably wouldn't vote for him if we mostly agreed on how the country should be run.

      I don't know much about Dean, yet, but I will. He doesn't carry the baggage a congresman usually carries, but he's got a record to follow. I find looking at the "other" sides literature is a good starting point. Find out why they think he shouldn't be in office. Once you know how he handles his missteps, then look at his purported successes. Look at how he's handles problems, then judge his actions based on intent and available data. When you invest money in mutual funds, do you take a look at the historical data or do you look at the methods and values of the manager? Most folks who choose based on the former are sorely disappointed in their investments over time - you're constantly moving money into last year's great performer.

      Now, I'm nearly as lazy as the next guy, so I won't even look at the candiates until a moth or so before the primary, when I'm stuck with four or five lousy choices from the original field of fifteen or so. But hey, at least that's manageable.

  • by thumbtack ( 445103 ) <[moc.onuj] [ta] [kcatbmuht]> on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:54AM (#7568444)
    Senator Hatch is a songwriter, who stands to benefit from legislation like this. In 2002 he made $18,000 in songwriting royalties. He stands to benefit directly financially from any copyright legislation,

    Imagine the outcry from Jack Valenti or Cary Sherman if Wayne Rosso or Anne Gabriel were writing the legislation. The screams of the MPAA and RIAA would be heard around the world. The mainstream press would be doing their normal reporting by press release and Wayne and Anne would be run out of town on a rail..
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:56AM (#7568472) Homepage Journal
    This is one of my biggest complaints against congress in general ( aside from their hell bent agenda to deprive us of our rights )

    They 'sneak' thru radical changes on the back of seemingly unrelated or benign bills, or adding things AFTER committee hearings are complete. ( not to mention we have to many redundant and insane laws already... )

    This practice should really be illegal, and *everything* should be in the open and 100% straight..

    Yes I'm being idealistic, but perhaps if enough people get fed up enough on all the secrete agendas, etc that run our government, we all might be able to do something about it. Short of a total revolution..
  • by Alcimedes ( 398213 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @11:00AM (#7568523)
    So they bought Orrin Hatch. Crap. Now what do we do? I'll tell you what we do.
    We buy our own Senator the old fasioned way. With voice and votes. If you don't like what Orrin is doing I suggest you contact [] Norm Coleman. He's been more than willing to go after these assholes before, and if we can show that enough people care, I'm sure he'll continue to do so. Do something about it rather than sitting around and squaking like a bunch of tired old men.

  • by fudgefactor7 ( 581449 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @11:19AM (#7568734)
    and BITCH up a fucking storm that ol' Orrin is in league with the businesses he wishes to protect....ask things like "how much was he paid by the RIAA/MPAA to support this bad bill?", and demand that your congressperson NOT support the bill.

    Of course you could ask them to bitch-slap Orrin as well, but that's probably not going to endear you to your elected official.

    People, we can take back America, but it requires you voters doing your job, knowing the issues, and screaming at your reps for doing stupid shit. Do you know how to contact them--let alone who your reps are? If not, you need to find out.

    Send a nasty-gram to Orrin Hatch as well...tell him you're not happy with him selling his office like that. Even if you're not in his state, that sort of thing can make a difference as well. It is the right and duty of the populace to complain about stupid shit. This is one of those times.
  • by JKConsult ( 598845 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @11:19AM (#7568735)
    I posted this upthread, but I think it's important for everyone to realize that baseball does not have an exemption (nor should they, or any other business, especially the **AA's, those bastards.) It's a commonly held misconception that baseball alone has an antitrust exemption. In fact, this is not true. There is nothing in antitrust law, be it the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, or the Taft-Hartley, that grants Major League Baseball an exemption from anti-trust laws and their penalties. The "exemption" is purely judicial.

    The original judicial review of baseball's anti-competitive actions came in the Federal Baseball [] case, where, and this is very important, the Court decided that Major League Baseball was not covered by anti-trust laws because it was a game, not a business. In 1953, George Toolson sued MLB [], and the Court followed stare decisis, upholding the previous Court's ruling without considering the merits of the case at hand, and of course, in 1972, Flood v. Kuhn, et al. [] hit the Court, and again, the Court upheld the prior ruling, noting (as they did in the Toolson case), that Congress was responsible for legislation to either uphold or deny baseball its exemption. In other words, the Court recognizes these days that the earlier decision was wrong, but it's Congress' job to fix the problem, not the Court's.

    Obviously, baseball is a business. It is an industry with billions in revenues, and it is rapidly becoming a worldwide concern. Ironically, horse racing, boxing, and football have all been specifically deemed subject to anti-trust laws by the same Court(s) that granted baseball its "exemption." (One notable exception: Congress passed legislation specifically exemption of the 1971 NFL-AFL football merger from anti-trust legislation.) That's why Congress is always having legislation introduced to revoke baseball's exemption. It's a major hammer for Congress to wield to affect change in MLB. If they ever actually get around to using it, MLB will be under the same constraints as the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, and scores of other professional leagues, and many of their (still) abhorrent practices can be done away with.

    If you've made it this far in this comment, I would highly, highly suggest you pick up a copy of A Whole Different Ball Game, by Marvin Miller, the man who basically created the Major League Baseball Player's Association and single-handedly dealt the owners blow after blow at the bargaining table. You might not like the MLBPA now, what with their $10 million a year contracts and their foot-dragging on steroids, but when you actually read how players were treated before they had a union, you'll be on their side for life.

    • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @11:47AM (#7569023) Journal
      Whether legilstive or judicial, it does have an exemption. Courts interpret law, and the courts have interpreted, and upheld, that anti-trust legislation does not apply to MLB. You admit yourself that the courts have ruled that congress must pass a law _including_ MLB in order for them to be bound by it.

      The courts have made MLB exempt by requiring their explicit inclusion in legislation. Until congress makes it illegal for anti-trust behavior to occur in baseball, it is legal. There's no exemption written into the law, but it's not necessary - the exemption exists nonetheless.

      To compare with another popular /. topic - Time-shifting of video is legal. It is not explicitly allow for under US law, but it is legal because the courts have viewed it as fair use. They've essentially changed the legislation to include timeshifting, and in order for it to become illegal, congress must act to include timeshifting as an infringing act.

  • by Jesrad ( 716567 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @12:00PM (#7569177) Journal
    Freedom, Egality, Due process, Right to protect one's home, Right to own weapons, Pursuit of happiness...

    Can't find "Corporate Profits" anywhere. It's about time politicians in the US realise that corporations don't have a voting right, and thus are not full citizens.
  • Desperation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by johnos ( 109351 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @12:52PM (#7569822)
    It comes to this, without legislative exemption from anti-competitive laws, the **AA can't compete. And they know it.

    The RIAA has been a bit hysterical and made some cruicial blunders. They first went to court instead of to Washington, and their scorched earth campagin isn't working out too well. The various challenges to their subpoenas may invalidate the "shoot first and ask questions later" provisions of the DMCA. I think the MPAA is not amused or appreciative. What they are is scared. This weekend one of the pre-movie commercials at my local Cineplex was an MPAA thingy showing a real working stiff in the movie business to make the point that movie trading hurts real people. Unlike their music buddies, the MPAA has used the courts sparingly and put most of their effort into Washington lobbying. But even that's not gone well. Fritz Holling's bill was a PR disaster. Orrin Hatch's remarks earlier this year that copyright holders should be able to invade people's computers was worse. Even the senate big-wigs felt compelled to issue statements disagreeing.

    And now this. They need the Government's protection to survive. They need exemption from anti-trust laws, no matter what the political consequences, or they're toast. Even if you believe all politicians are dishonest bastards, its hard to see how Hatch's little trick will work. One thing politicians really don't like is political headaches. And most are quite willing to toast contributors if there is a need for expediency. Can you imagine the furor if this got passed? Every representative would be flooded with requests by other industries for a similar exemption. All would demand that if it could be done for the movie and music businesses, it could damn well be done for them. And that's a headache no senator or congressman wants to get. Look for a lot of senators suddenly being too busy to answer Hatch's phone calls.
  • We can only hope... (Score:3, Informative)

    by trainsnpep ( 608418 ) <mikebenza AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @01:08PM (#7570015)
    We can only hope that US lawmakers took history: Back in Boston, in say the mid to late 1700s, there was a company called the British East Indea Company. They controlled a large part of trade with the colonies. They muscled out other competetors. They were therefore a monopoly. Monopoly, class. Add that to your vocab words.

    A Monopoly is "Exclusive control by one group of the means of producing or selling a commodity or service: 'Monopoly frequently... arises from government support or from collusive agreements among individuals' (Milton Friedman). "

    The British East India Company used their power to inflate prices on imported tea. Then, the British Government (which owned the British East India Company) taxed that tea. Hrmm...Does anyone in the class know what the Boston Tea Party was?

    Other Monopolies...Everyone knows Rockefeller Plaza, correct? And Carnegie Melon University? And J. P. Morgan? John D. Rockefeller was a monopoly owner in the late 1870s. He controlled the whole of oil refinery. He didn't care who drilled for it, or who sold it, he just refined it. 96% of it. He cut prices so low that other businesses couldn't compete. Andrew (I believe) Carnegie controlled steel production. He controlled every part from the mining of its components to the shipping. He used a new process (I believe's been a few years) which made steel cheaper, stronger, and easily manufacturered. J. P. Morgan? The money guy: He controlled most of the banks in America. He actually was so rich and so powerful he brought the whole nation out of depression. He brought all of the bankers under his control, said "OK, how much can you give to the government?", "And you?", "And what about you?". He brought the whole damn nation out of a small but potentially disastrous depression.

    Roosevelt passed the Sherman Anti-trust Act. From this act, "Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding $10,000,000 if a corporation, or, if any other person, $350,000, or by imprisonment not exceeding three years, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court. "

    Source: USDOJ []

    There are other anti-trust laws (Clayton Act, also on the above page). The purpose of them is so that no one corporation or organization can come to control a large part of any market. It is a protection to the consumers. We have been without protection from the RIAA for years. We've been forced to pay their steep prices for a long time, until the idea of Napster came around.

    US Lawmakers must remember the past. They must ignore the few million they got from the RIAA in their campaigns. The must not pass any sort of legislation such as what the RIAA is aiming for. The RIAA is a monopoly. To exempt them would only give a hundred new arms to the octopus that it already is. Write your local congress-critter and express your views.

    (Footnote: Please excuse any historical errors. I am a history buff, but it's been three years since I studied American History. I can ensure you it's mostly accurate...)

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