This is a letter to the local daily asking them for corrections on their false and misleading news story on music sharing on the Internet. DMN: The "Music Sharers Sued" frontpage article of 9/9/03 was full of misconceptions that need to be corrected. (Bedell and Maxon)
1. It is not illegal to download copyrighted music. I encourage people to download and share my music files. It is part of my record company promotion and it serves to build my career and the career of artists at my company.
2. RIAA does not represent me or most indy record companies.
3. If the RIAA sued anyone because of my copyrighted songs or forced anyone to remove my copyrighted files from their computer - they would be doing illegal behavior.
4. The DMN should stop perpetuating this misconception that it is illegal to download and share copyrighted files. It is doing real damage to websites like mine who encourage downloading and file sharing. Specifics: 'lawsuits against individuals accused of exchanging copyrighted music over the Internet." There is nothing illegal about that. I have copyrighted music that I encourage people to download and share. '1,500 people detected uploading copyrighted music files on popular peer-to-peer computer networks like ..." I WANT my copyrighted music files to be on these computer networks. I in no way want to invade the privacy of my listeners or acquire their names. That is terrible business. "Each copyright violation caries a maximum possible fine of $150,000". This seems to suggest that people should stop downloading my music for fear of fines. They will not be fined for downloading my MP3 or sharing them with others in any way they see fit.
Page 2 title "The day the free music died? File sharers sued" The industry is dominated by the RIAA but doesn't speak for me. My music IS still free. My file sharers are not sued because they have done nothing wrong. "And even after the record companies licensed their libraries to legitimate subscription services..." My free files were legitimate services. The article suggests that free is illegal. False "egregious infringers have been offering large music collections for copying by others." If it is all my music then it is perfectly legal. And there is nothing egregious about it. "there's no reason they should be accepting illegal downloading any more they would accept illegal shoplifting." Again the misconception is that there is no legal free downloading. That is false "and erase all copyrighted music files from computers." If the RIAA forces anyone to erase the copyrighted music of mine THEY are doing illegal behavior and I can rightly sue them. "W.S. said that rather than demand that file-sharers turn themselves in..." Again there is nothing illegal about sharing music files from me. I would never ask my legal customers to turn themselves in. "...the recording industry should consider making file-sharing legal in exchange for a reasonable fee." But it is legal in my case. You suggest it is not, and I am part of the recording industry. There is no need for reasonable fee, when it is free. Another false statement. "Stepping into the spotlight to admit your guilt..." There is no guilt to downloading my files. "is probably not a sensible course for most people sharing music files online, especially since the RIAA doesn't control many potential sources of lawsuits."
That just further confuses everything. In all the rest of the article you suggest ALL file sharing is illegal and ALL will be sued and ALL should erase. Now this contradicts your own statements and confuses the reader.
Please run a correction immediately. You are doing harm to my business, my website, my career, and the career of all of us who want nothing to do with the RIAA with these misconceptions and falsehoods. - Tom Hendricks, ed. of Musea
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