George Zieman is a thorn in the side of the RIAA, questioning their statistics, their ethics, their methods. He was the artist nuked from selling his own recordings on eBay by DMCA rules last October.
Now Zieman is seeking to become not just a thorn in the side, but a tremendous pain in the ass:
- The views represented in this article are those of the author. They represent my opinion solely and I am legally responsible for any action taken as a result.
Let’s sue the RIAA. Now. In my name.
I am ready to lend my name as the plaintiff in a class action discrimination lawsuit against the entire recording industry on behalf of all the independent musicians in the country. This will be part of a greater action, as the facts of my case will enable an anti-trust suit against the industry, if the two are not one and the same.
The charges are:
1) Monopolistic domination of the marketplace and preventing access to all others.
2) Market restrictions which apply to all competition except the major labels.
3) An attempt to ignore all authorized music in an effort to establish a pay-for-play marketplace, even though the freely authorized music is the majority of recorded music available on the Internet.
4) False testimony before Congress. When Hilary Rosen went before Orrin Hatch in the Napster hearings, she knew for a fact that sales would be down in 2000. They engineered it. She lied to Senator Hatch’s face.
What happened in 1999 was a carbon copy of what happened in 1997.
5) Perpetrating a fraud against the government of the United States. There is no empirical data to support “downloading as theft.” In fact, if the labels would shut up, stop sending out free goods, and post a few mp3s, they would save about $2 to $4 billion a year.
Just ask Madonna how much exposure she got from her free “What the f***
are you doing?” hit song. And then ask her how much money she spent on this world-wide promotion.
The Internet is the world’s most powerful promotional tool. It works. And it’s free.
That’s just the start. When I get a lawyer (I have asked Gerry Spence and leflaw) to take my case, we’ll fine-tune a little. Because there is lots more.
After six months of printing my accusations, there has been no reply from the RIAA, although I have written directly to Hilary Rosen numerous times. I have asked her to respond to these accusations. She has ignored me. She can’t ignore me if I take her to court.
I have told Ms. Rosen that if she can refute my data, I will retract my statements.
I have offered to debate her on live television. Preferably at CNBC, so that a boatload of financial analysts can prove me wrong, too. And give her 90% of the air time to present her case before I destroy her in the remaining 10 percent.
To date, the RIAA has not responded to any of my charges or challenges. They have not disputed any of my data. They have not asked for a retraction. No cease and desist order. They have not even asked me to shut up.
No one has even argued with my facts, much less come close to disputing them.
Because it’s the RIAA’s data. And I’m right.
Let’s take them to court. The only way they can win is to open their books. Because so far, they haven’t even explained the first line on the 2002 year-end statistics.
And if they didn’t lie to Congress, they lied to their stockholders. Because none of the 2001 year-end reports mentions file-sharing or “piracy” as a cause for the sales decline. The only one who even mentions file-sharing is BMG, who used its potential as a reason to justify investing in Napster.
And then there is the question of organizations like CNN, Time-Warner, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and the Washington Post, who refuse to print our side of the story. They are co-conspirators in the lie and are promoting it at the expense of the truth.
Not to mention ASCAP and NARAS, both of whom have failed to stand up against this lie. In fact, the recent publisher letter from Marilyn Bergman, ASCAP’s president indicates that ASCAP is just as deep into the RIAA’s pocket as anyone else.
They have all discriminated against the majority of the country’s artists, songwriters and copyright owners to the detriment of our ability to make a living.
Who will take my case?
Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?