Tuesday, April 22, 2008

EMI Suing MP3tunes. Next Up: They'll Steal Your Children

I am so sick and tired of the music industry!!! My involvement with the music moguls has been only as a consumer of music. I really enjoy my Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Warren Brothers, and Van Halen music, to name just a few of the hundreds of artists whose albums I own.

Here's some background material that demonstrates my disdain for the recording industry:

CEO of Universal Music Is Clueless
Music Lessons that Apply to (Almost) Everything
Compact Disc outlook weak

So, today, I got this letter (reprinted below) -- through the grapevine (and no, I won't tell you from whom, for fear that the dickheads of the RIAA will hunt her down and sue her) from the CEO of MP3tunes, Michael Robertson. The service allows one to store her digitized music online in addition to the way we all store our digitized music now, on local hard drives.

When you buy a CD, for example, free-use allows you to make a copy of it and store for archival purposes. Nobody can tell you where to store it. It doesn't matter whether you store it on this hard drive or that. You just cannot share it. Bah!

When you rip a CD's contents and convert it to a technologically inferior format (like mp3 or AAC -- both lossy formats), I don't see any issue with doing so. To me, it's like recording your LP to a cassette. The music industry may have not liked it in the 80s, but they lived with it. And the courts decided in the favor of the consumer.

However, now that there is widespread sharing of music, even in inferior formats, the industry has been having hissy fits over music copying.

(Did you know that when you "buy" a downloadable song from iTunes, for example, you are not buying the music file per se, but rather the rights to play the music file? What kind of crap is that?)

I'm not really even sorry that the music industry's attempt to dominate the entire copyright world was usurped by technology that they should have and could have envisioned. I'm downright sick and tired of them bitching about (and suing) people who they think may have copied, some of whom may have shared said music with some people.

Here's the letter from Robertson:
Dear MP3tunes Customer,

Let me start by saying that as the CEO of MP3tunes I appreciate your support over the last few years. Your suggestions and patience have helped us build the Locker system we have today. We just launched AutoSync that makes managing your music collection easier than ever.

As you may be aware, the major record label EMI has sued MP3tunes, claiming our service is illegal. You can read about the case here. Much is at stake -- if you don't have the right to store your own music online then you won't have the right to store ebooks, videos and other digital products as well. The notion of ownership in the 21st century will evaporate. The idea of ownership is important to me and I want to make sure I have that right and my kids do too.

I would like to ask for your assistance in our battle for personal music ownership. We need your help because we are a small, 15-person company battling an international giant. They would like to make us spend all of our money paying legal bills. Here's what you can do to help:

1) Please upgrade to a Premium account. This week MP3tunes is launching 3 service levels. I hope you will consider signing up for one of the paid levels. This will not only help us pay for the costs of our service (machines, storage and bandwidth) but a portion will go to cover our legal costs in our case with EMI.

2) If you have a chance to talk publicly about our cause on your blog, with friends, reporters or even EMI personnel please do so. MP3tunes is working hard to design a secure personal music service. We don't promote sharing of music in any manner. We want people to legally acquire their music. But once they do, we think it's important that you be able to use it how you want for your personal use. The AmazonMP3 store says: "You may copy, store, transfer and burn the Digital Content only for your personal, non-commercial, entertainment use." and this is what MP3tunes allows you to do.

You have my commitment that I'll continually battle for your right to store your music online and listen to it anywhere on any device. I hope you'll consider helping MP3tunes in our battle. Thanks.

-- Michael Robertson
So this is my attempt to get you, my loyal readers, to do something about EMI and their recording industry brethren's attempts at separating you from your music and your money.

Write about this. Comment here. Tell your friends. Copy this letter and send it to your employees, also known as your Congressional representatives in Washington, D.C.

I implore you: Please DO SOMETHING!

These rapscallions of the RIAA will do anything and everything to keep their empires alive, even though it's their own fault for letting them die. Sick bastards!