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Another RIAA Hack
January 11, 2003
Thomas Mennecke
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As many are aware, the RIAA's website was hacked earlier today. The hackers left the general layout intact, except added a list of top file-sharing networks. You can take a look at the hack here, courteously of Kevogod.

Although one would think that would be enough for one day, it seems those committed against the RIAA haven't given up just yet. While it seems the RIAA website is up and running normally, an interesting headline that reads "A New Vision for the Recording Industry" is displayed in their news section.

Upon initial reading, the press release seems legitimate. It's well written with no obvious grammatical or spelling errors. Here's an except below:

"Finally, we promise to stop trying to brainwash the world into thinking of music as property, something that an artist has an innate right to control, even after the media that embodies that music has changed hands."

However, this and other out-of-character comments made it obvious that this release was indeed a hack. In addition, this release didn't have date or author, something all legitimate RIAA articles contain.

*Editors Note: When this article was completed, the RIAA removed this article from their website.*

Read the full, hacked press release below:

A New Vision for the Recording Industry

The past year has been one of the worst in the previous decade for the music industry. While factors beyond our control, such as the down-turn in the American economy, have no doubt contributed to this, the industry itself can certain not completely escape blame. In an attempt correct this, representatives from our member labels recently met to discuss ways of reforming the industry. The result of the meeting was a set of changes to current policies, outlined below, which, when implemented, we hope will pull the industry out of its current slump.

Our member labels will halt all plans to sell copy-restricted CDs. Restricting the use of CDs devalues the product, reducing the incentive for consumers to buy them. Also we believe that as time goes on, the public will realize, as we have, that due to the viral natural of distribution through file-sharing networks copy-restriction will never be effective at preventing online piracy but rather is indented to force our customers to buy the same music on multiple media.

We also vow to stop pursuing the companies behind file-sharing networks in court. In light of studies by reputable pollsters that have shown that most users of file-sharing networks reported that their music purchases increased in frequency, there seems to be little reason to continue spending millions in an attempt to shut down these services. Instead, we plan to propose to settle out of court in exchange for a royalty system based on a fraction of profit (only fair, given that these profits are derived in part from our products).

We will also stop lobbying politicians to impose draconian copyright laws on the American people. Last June, Rep. Rick Berman, who received more campaign donations from the entertainment industry than any other Congressperson, proposed legislation that would exempt rights-holders from anti-hacking law in order that they might exact vigilante-style justice on file-sharers. Initially we were thrilled at the display of the political might of our money, but later were sickened as we realized the implications for democracy in America. Morally, we cannot continue this manipulation of the political system.

In addition to the reasons just given, we also are doing both of the above, halting the lawsuits against the companies file-sharing services and stopping our coercive political contributions, in an attempt to restore consumer confidence in the music industry. Our customers will know longer will feel guilty after buying a CD, now knowing that the proceeds from their purchases will not be used to support causes that harm them and their peers.

To further convince consumers that the proceeds from their music purchases are well spent, we will be attempting to treat our talent more fairly. At the core of this effort will be the halting of collusion between labels on recording contracts. While overlooked by anti-trust law, the elimination of competition caused by collusion is just as harmful to the producers of content as it is to the consumers. No longer will artists be forced into signing contracts which reduce artist''s royalties for a multitude of arbitrary or antiquated reasons for if any label attempts such abuse, they''ll be certain to lose their talent to a competitor. We believe that this can be undertaken without damaging industry profitability. Firstly, the previously mentioned reduced legal and political expenditures will help to offset the cost. Secondly, we plan fix the sobering statistic that nine out of ten industry ventures end up failing recovering their costs. This figure would be unacceptable outside the entertainment industry and, while it was viable inside it due to the abuse of artists, there is no reason it should not be possible to vastly improve upon it.

Finally, we promise to stop trying to brainwash the world into thinking of music as property, something that an artist has an innate right to control, even after the media that embodies that music has changed hands. Rather, we will recognized only the original goal of copyright law in America, to benefit the average citizen by creating a incentive to produce creative works. We will also launch a publicity campaign to remind the public of this principle, unknown to many. We hope that upon learning that the true purpose of copyright law is to benefit them, average citizens will be more likely to respect it.

It is our hope that these policy changes will revitalize the industry and make it deserving of the unique place it holds within American culture.


This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Entertainment Industry :: RIAA
Technology News :: Security

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