Salon’s Farhad Manjoo down in the trenches talking amnesty with Vietnam War draft evaders – no, wait, acid flashback – discussing the RIAA’s Clean Slate program:
- Perhaps to show that it wasn’t the big bully file-sharers claim it is, the RIAA also introduced an “amnesty” program for people who have not yet been sued. Under the program, called “Clean Slate,” file-traders can send the RIAA a notarized declaration that they will delete all stolen files from their hard drives, and that they will never again trade MP3s. If you agree to live a life free of Kazaa, the RIAA will not sue you; but if you happen to fall off the wagon, you better watch out.
After the RIAA’s announcement, Salon surveyed the Web for reactions to Clean Slate. We e-mailed bloggers, Usenet users, people on P2P discussion sites and others who’ve been known to get a song for free every once in a while. Not a single person was willing to sign on the RIAA’s amnesty program. Here are their reasons:
Eric Olsen, a blogger who runs Blogcritics.org
I would not sign it for several reasons: the behavior in question has not been clearly identified as legal or illegal. Of the four factors the Copyright Act lists that must be weighed in determining fair use — 1) the purpose of the copying, including whether it is commercial or educational; 2) the nature of the work; 3) the amount of the work that is copied; 4) the effect of the copying on the market for the work — 1 and 4 are very much up in the air regarding music file sharing.
I object to the RIAA scorched-earth legal campaign on virtually every level, and would see seeking amnesty as moral and legal capitulation and tacit acceptance of its legitimacy. File sharers aren’t “pirates” or “thieves”: pirates make illegal copies of copyrighted works and sell them on the black market. File sharers make no profit. Nor is it “stealing” in the sense that any property has been taken: it is still a very open question whether in fact file sharing may actually increase legitimate sales via exposure and experimentation.
It would be foolish to put myself on record as having committed a perceived offense with the very organization that most wants to maximize that action as an offense, and to commit myself to never again committing an act that may or may not end up being at least partially legal, or legal in a mutated form.
Lastly, without questioning the integrity and good intentions of the RIAA, the track record of database security is such that I wouldn’t trust that kind of sensitive information about myself with any organization……
Many others quoted as well, and as Farhad mentions, none would participate in Clean Slate.