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“Gimme an ‘R’ – Gimme an ‘I’ …”

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Setting aside the merits of file sharing legality and morality, check out the spin on this story from Billboard - any doubt about who butters their bread or fluffs their pillows?

    It seems that music companies can’t catch a break these days.

    Recent news coverage of piracy lawsuits has been unfairly critical of the record industry, according to an informal survey of entertainment lawyers.

    And the biased reporting, they contend, is overshadowing the legitimate legal reasons why the actions are being pursued.

    To industry lawyers, that a few teenagers have been involved in the cases is beside the point. The real issue is that downloading copyrighted music is stealing, pure and simple.

    “Nobody criticizes a store owner for stopping a shoplifter, whether it’s a 12-year-old girl or a grandmother,” says Stan Soocher, an entertainment lawyer and associate professor at the University of Colorado at Denver.

    The Recording Industry Assn. of America is portrayed as the “heavy” because it’s seen as representing a rich and powerful industry, according to Soocher, who wrote the book “They Fought the Law: Rock Music Goes to Court.”

    The spotlight should be turned back on the real issue, which is theft, lawyers say.

Is the writer, Samantha Chang, blind, dense, or just so far up the recording industry’s sphincter it feels like a miniskirt? Mainstream media coverage of file sharing, the Napster suit, and industry news in general has been almost universally told from the industry’s perspective: taking the industry’s claims that file sharing is killing the industry as gospel, labeling sharers “pirates,” etc. It was only after the RIAA started suing alleged infringers en masse and with reckless abandom for huge sums all out of any semblance of proportion to the alleged infringement that the press sat up and said “uh, maybe there’s another side to this.”

If the RIAA’s cheerleaders at Billboard think the media tide has turned against the industry (and it surely hasn’t overall), the ndustry’s own action is the direct cause of the shift.

About Eric Olsen

  • mike

    Billboard has gone downhill since the death of Timothy White, its former editor. White’s eloquent editorials presented both sides of issues like file sharing, and were informed by a powerful social conscience. Without his editorials, and his guidance, the paper has degenerated into a flack for the industry it covers.