RIAA Shamnesty Program

By | September 8, 2003

I’m starting to think that when Philip Morris paid to enter the corporate villian protection program and was renamed Altria, another part of the deal was that the RIAA and SCO agreed to act like World Wrestling Foundation bad guys to draw away the heat. I mean, it’s not like the RIAA and SCO are literally killing their customers, but they aren’t exactly breeding much customer loyalty, either.

The RIAA’s amnesty offer is absolutely laughable. You have to send in a photo ID with the affidavit. How many people are stupid enough to do that?

The only thing you get out of the program is that you won’t be sued by the RIAA for past infringement. But now, you’ve admitted you’ve knowingly downloaded music illegally in the past and you’ve given them an easy way to track you in the future. You get no legal protection for future actions, and you can guarantee they will be trying to track everything you do from here on out. Then, when they later take you into court on trumped up evidence for alleged new copyright infringements, they will parade out the affidavit you signed as evidence of you being a recidivist, just like a heroin user who couldn’t stay away from the smack.

You should participate in the shamnesty program only if:

  1. you have done a very large amount of copyright infringing in the past
  2. you believe that you infringed only RIAA copyrighted works
  3. you honestly believe you will never infringe RIAA copyrighted works again
  4. you trust the RIAA (whose website, by the way, gets regularly owned by hackers) with any private info contained on your photo ID
  5. you did a very poor job of hiding your identity while using file sharing networks
  6. and you think the RIAA is just about to sue you

I’m tempted to send in a couple hundred affidavits with fake photo IDs of Hillary Rosen, but I suspect that they would send the FBI after me, while at the same time counting those affidavits as part of the total number of participants in their soon to be labeled “generous and well-received” amnesty program.

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