Saturday, October 06, 2007

Let's teach the heartless, greedy bastards we're the customers and boycott Sony

The RIAA "victory" today in their lawsuit against a woman in Duluth, Minnesota, who downloaded 24 songs and was fined $220,000 is a total travesty of justice that happened only because she didn't have the money to mount a strong legal defense against the massed forces of the record industry. And the way a docile press carries water for the industry by reporting quotes like this is just pathetic:
The Thomas case did not go forward to stop file-sharing, he said. It will give artists and executives the "legal and moral high-ground" in their battles against copyright infringement, Castle said. It could also make it easier to lobby Congress for better protections.


As for Thomas, she got off easy, according to Castle, who said she could have been fined $150,000 per copy rather than $10,000.

"I think the jury was telling her 'We don't buy your story. You're guilty of doing this intentionally. We're going to give you a verdict that will sting but is not the gross national product of a small country," he said.
Huh? Moral high ground?

The RIAA position is greedy and absurd, and the lawyer who said the woman got off easy at only $10,000 per track is out of his mind. I can't take on the whole money grubbing industry, but I sure as hell can start boycotting a particularly vulnerable company that's a party to the lawsuit (vulnerable because they have far more at stake than just music) -- Sony. I used to love that company. No more. In addition to their devotion to weird proprietary formats (memory stick anyone?) and bizarre copy copy protection formats, this is the last straw.

Guess what, Sony -- not only are there other sources for music, but there are other sources for consumer electronics and photographic equipment. I'm putting my money where my mouth is -- sorry, Sony. I had been thinking about a Sony A100 DSLR, It's a pretty good camera at a good price. but the hell with it. I just bought a Nikon D40x tonight. My $700 is going to Nikon, not the heartless, greedy bastards at a once great company.

Please join me.


Anonymous said...


I used to worry about limitting my downloading to just albums I liked.

But if they're going to bankrupt someone for life over 24 tracks, I might as well download as much as I possibly can. The difference between being 200,000 in debt and 900 million in debt is pretty minor with the money that I make.

Hey, you reading this sony? That's how people think.

Stupid fuckers.

We Are The 801 said...

Madison Guy, I've been doing that for three years now.

And as far as music goes, boycott all RIAA music. Here's a VERY helpful tool just for that purpose:

This lists all RIAA albums, just type in your keywords to see if what you're interested in is RIAA.

You can also buy used CDs rather than new, even if the album in question is RIAA.

As a musician, I've wanted the Big Five to come down for a long time. Most people don't really understand how the music industry works & how musicians end up being indentured servants, making almost no money from CD sales (hence why they are always touring all the time).

Also, here's another excellent anti-RIAA site:

I love the internets. Down with these fuckers.

NameCritic said...

I agree wholheartedly. The RIAA claims to be protecting musicians when they and all record labels have been screwing music artists for years.

My post on the topic is at

Thanks for the RIAA links as well. Will share them on my blog too.

Dr Diablo said...

MadGuy, since one of your evergreen themes is Greedy Corporate Behemoth vs The Little Man, I clicked around to gather some material that would enable me to play devil's advocate. To my chagrin, I found that I will have to wait for a more defensible Behemoth. RIAA is hard to sympathize with, not because it's big but because it's wrong.

RIAA equates a download from the internet with a sale lost to the music industry. This assumption is self-serving but hardly self-evident.

If I read a borrowed book or tape a friend's CD, these are not lost sales. I borrow books and albums precisely because I don't want to buy them. Now, if I like them well enough, I might then buy them, and the loans will have then served as promotions of a sort. I have never downloaded material protected by copyright, but if I did, it would be because I didn't wish to purchase it.

It's not always easy to tell a friend from an enemy in the commerical world--or the personal realm, for that matter. The motion picture industry thought that VCRs would finish it off, but video players and recorders revived the movies by stimulating interest in them. To me, it's far from clear that music downloading is a huge threat.

I don't know if I can join your Sony boycott just now, as I am about to pruchase a plasma HDTV and a couple of Dylan albums. After that, though, it's power-to-the-people time. Anyway, I'm surprised that RIAA has been able to advance a stupid cause as far as it has. The more consumers they win huge judgments against, the more public outrage they will inspire, and the backlash will ultimately cost them more money than downloading ever could.

If I can ever figure out how to post my recordings with the Letter From Here Orchestra, listeners from Biloxi to Beijing will be free to download and share them without any penalty whatsover--other than the discomfort induced by listening to them.

Erin said...

I'm pretty outraged by this as well. So, first, there's a site up for Jammie Thomas that has a lot of good links to sites designed to fight this kind of absurdity:

Second, the RIAA did us a favor in pursuing this particular case. They are absolute idiots to think that suing a single Native American mother for an outrageous amount of money will engender sympathy for their cause. They've basically created the worst possible publicity for what they're doing.

That said, I do think it's important to correct the impression that she was sued for downloading 24 songs. She was part of an RIAA mass attack to go after 26,000 users of KAZAA and other p2p services. She was reported to have been sharing around 1700 songs, not 24. Those songs were used as a representative sample in the case. Most of the people RIAA went after settled. Thomas fought, which is how she ended up in court. You can read more about the details here:

Personally, I'm more appalled by the musicians who are featured in the promos such as the one featured on:

This website doesn't even identify who it is beyond listing the organizations affiliated with it. It provides no contact information and no public forum. The musicians who lend their name and celebrity to this kind of crap are the ones who deserve the boycott, I'm thinking.